Paramilitary flag displays ‘wholly unacceptable’ - PSNI

The paramilitary material in Greenisland that has sparked fresh controversy. INCT 24-084-GR
The paramilitary material in Greenisland that has sparked fresh controversy. INCT 24-084-GR

Police have pointed to a partnership approach to resolving the controversy surrounding paramilitary flags and symbols in Greenisland

It follows a call from East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson for a plan from statutory bodies to ensure the removal of the items, including a wooden structure bearing UDA slogans close to the entrance of Greenisland railway station.

Superintendent Ryan Henderson told the Carrick Times: “Police in Mid and East Antrim are firmly committed to working with partner agencies and local community representatives in an attempt to address the issues surrounding the flying of flags in public areas.

“The display of flags to promote or support a proscribed organisation or which can cause intimidation is wholly unacceptable in a peaceful and tolerant society.

“The Police Service is clear in its responsibility to work with other statutory agencies and communities to find acceptable solutions regarding flags.

“However, the removal of flags is not the responsibility of the PSNI and police can only act to remove flags where there are substantial risks to public safety.

“The experience within policing shows that the approach most likely resolve these issues is based on the principles of engagement between local communities, working with statutory agencies including local police and resulting in local decision making.”

In June of last year, a wave of complaints followed the mounting of a similar paramilitary structure close to the subway at Greenisland train station and the flying of flags along Lower Station Road.

Describing the recent development as “sinister” Mr Dickson said he has been contacted by many constituents.

“It’s now time for statutory bodies to step forward and work together to agree a combined plan in order to ensure that the proliferation of such flags is halted.

“The current situation must not be allowed to continue with people feeling intimidated by their presence. The rule of law must be enforced and politicians must provide leadership against these sinister developments.”