Residents asked to air their views on flags

Residents of two estates in Limavady are being asked to air their views on the controversial issue of flags in the town through a “community consultation”.

The Borough Council is set to launch a consultation exercise starting in the Glens and Coolessan estates. It will be held in both estates on Tuesday, 9 October from 9am – 6pm.

Council says the consultation will “address issues surrounding flags within the two areas and will allow positive communication on the issue for all those involved”. Questionnaires will be distributed to those in attendance to gauge public opinion and concerns.

Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey welcomed the consultation.

“You hear people going on about consulation all the time. Well, that is exactly what this is,” he said.

“I welcome the consultation and hope it leads to a positive outcome everyone is satisfied with. Wouldn’t it be better to have flags respected, flying on flag poles on whatever designated days are agreed, up at dawn and taken down at dusk, rather than them flying all year round? I think this is a proactive move and, perhaps, it will set an example to other areas in the North.”

TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said he wouldn’t be supporting the consultation.

“I feel it’s wrong,” he said, yesterday. “It is setting a precedent. It has never happened anywhere in Northern Ireland that any council or Good Relations has considered putting up permanent flag poles for any group. That’s the reason I am opposing it and I’ve told Good Relations I’m oppposed to it. A bit of common sense needs to prevail in the wider community.”

Council says consultants from St Columb’s Park House Peace & Reconciliation Centre will be present at both estates to provide assistance and guidance to all those who choose to voice their views and opinions.

Following this public consultation, focus groups will be held in both areas where all findings from the questionnaires will be presented to the community and discussed openly.

Sinead Barr, Good Relations Officer, Limavady Borough Council, said: “Council would like as many people as possible to attend these consultations and give their thoughts and feelings in relation to flags within their areas.

“This is an opportunity for everyone to have their voices heard; it’s your chance to provide the kind of information that will play a vital part in the success of this consultation process.”