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Pearson abdicating responsibility on flags

7 July, 2004

South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has accused the British direct rule Minister Ian Pearson of 'totally abdicating his responsibilities regarding intimidation resulting from the flying of flags'. Mr Maskey's comments come after Ian Pearson refused to act over the erection of loyalist flags in the mixed Newton Park/Saintfield Road area of South Belfast.

Mr. Maskey said:

"In recent weeks I have been approached by residents in the Newton Park and Saintfield Road areas who felt intimidated by the erection of loyalist flags in the mixed area for the first time. I raised the residents concerns with the Minister responsible Ian Pearson and demanded immediate action from him.

"Mr Pearson has now responded and has basically refused to take any action for at least another two weeks when he claims a local PSNI member will endeavour to meet with the residents. In other words he is refusing to act to stop blatant intimidation and is supporting the continued flying of the flags over the twelfth period. I have to say that it is my view that Ian Pearson is completely abdicating his responsibility in this regard.

"Unionist political representatives also need to realise that defending the erection of unionist parafinalia in mixed areas is the same as condoning and encouraging the intimidation of the catholic population." ENDS

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