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Department for Infrastructure must take ownership of contentious flags issue - Kearney

4 October, 2019 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney today lead a party delegation, including South Belfast Cllr Deirdre Hargey to meet the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure to address the illegal erection of flags and other emblems on Departmental street furniture in Antrim town and South Belfast. 

The Party delegation also raised the use of Departmental land for the construction of illegal bonfires.

The South Antrim MLA said: 

“This meeting was held with the Permanent Secretary arising from ongoing concerns that the Department for Infrastructure continues to default on its legal obligations to address the illegal erection of flags in communally mixed neighbourhoods in Antrim town and South Belfast.

“However this problem is not confined to these areas alone. Unionist and paramilitary flags, and other provocative sectarian emblems are erected with impunity across the north.

“These are designed to intimidate, provoke and cause further segregation within our society. That is unacceptable and the opposite to what is required to build a shared future.

“The illegal erection of flags and emblems on Departmental property is a deeply contentious and divisive issue. This has resulted in legal action against the Department for Infrastructure as a result of its inaction and failure to address these situations.

“In the absence of any other initiatives, Sinn Féin put the Department for Infrastructure on notice today that it carries primary responsibility for bringing forward robust proposals to ensure that Departmental property no longer continues to be used for the illegal and intimidatary erection of flags and emblems.

“Sinn Féin will continue to engage with the Department for Infrastructure in the coming months on all of these issues.”

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