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Murphy raises concerns over Flags with PSNI

18 September, 2008


Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has called for a re-examining of the current interagency protocol for the display of flags in public areas.

The protocol sets out an agreed inter-agency approach to the removal of flags and emblems of a paramilitary or sectarian nature.

The Minister was speaking after meeting with Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, to discuss the Joint Protocol in relation to the display of flags in public areas and current interagency cooperation.

The Minister said: "The Joint Protocol around the issue of the display of flags and bonfires in public places has been in operation for a number of years. Whilst Road Service's street furniture is commonly used to display flags, there are a number of agencies including the PSNI who have a role under the current protocol arrangements.

"I feel that whilst this is working for some areas, the current protocol has not had the desired impact in others. As a consequence, local communities feel isolated and intimidated where this practice is common and I want to re-examine these issues with government and the agencies involved and work towards a process which addresses and resolves the matter with community agreement."

Notes to Editors

1. Roads Service signed up to the "Joint Protocol in relation to the Display of Flags in Public Areas" at its launch in April 2005. The Protocol was drafted and published by the PSNI, following consultation with the other contributing organisations, OFMDFM, Roads Service, NIHE, Planning Service and DSD.

2. The Protocol sets out an agreed inter-agency approach to the removal of flags and emblems of a paramilitary or sectarian nature. It was developed as an action arising from OFMDFM's publication "A Shared Future: Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland".

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