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Leonard calls for talks on all flags and emblems

15 April, 2008

Sinn Féin's Billy Leonard has called for inclusive talks among Councillors and community leaders on the use of all flags and emblems in the Coleraine area.

His comments come in the context of complaints about tricolours flying in Somerset Drive. Leonard has said that local knowledge suggests that one tricolour was removed by loyalists on Friday night and this triggered a reaction of putting up more Irish flags in the area.

Cllr Leonard said:

"This annual merry go round of complaints and headlines is pathetic. People rush for headlines on the same flag issues each year yet representatives do not get together to actually try and deal with the issues.

Complaints are made about tricolours but many people point to entire areas being festooned in loyalist and unionist flags for months on end. People were coming to me trying to get some of these down for Christmas: that's how ridiculous this is.

It is time for public representatives to sit down with each other and work towards taking out all flag flying that is merely to annoy the 'other' community and find ways of giving dignity to the flags.

I hope that councillors will favourably react to my call. The general context has improved so meaningful talks can be taken forward." ENDS

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