Questions on flags…

Mark Durkan lays down a question we would quite like to hear the answer to:

Mark Durkan (Foyle):To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many flags have been taken down since the protocol on flags was agreed between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and departments; and if he will list the flags concerned, broken down by type.

  • boshank

    how vitally important

  • Daithí Ó

    boshank.

    Maybe from where you’re sitting this isn’t vitally important. I don’t live in Ireland so I’m not affected personally, but if you lived in a nationalist area, where your community has removed it’s flags, and you were surrounded by loyalist paramilitary flags, perhaps you wouldn’t be quite so smug as you clearly are.

  • fair_deal

    Correct me if I am wrong but he seems not to have read the protocol

    It is not solely about removal of flags as the questions suggests reduction of volume, moving/placement of flags, nature of flags (paramilitary and non) are also to be addressed by the protocol.

    Also it aims to achieve these through negotiation with those who put them up so any removals, reductions, shiting or different type will not have been done by the PSNI or Departments. So it looks like a question designed to make the protocol look like a failure.

  • Tochais Siorai

    It’s important if you don’t want to promote sectarian ghettoes.

    It’s important if you’re trying to get people to mix with ‘themmuns’, to socialise/shop in ‘other’ areas, to go to school in ‘other’ areas. An awful lot of people feel intimidated either by national flags that are not their own or by paramilitary flags.

    It’s important if you’re trying to get business people and tourists from the Republic to invest in areas where there are UVF/UDA flags flying from lampposts. Similiar with British people and republican symbols.

    It’s important if you’re trying to attract international investors where there are tattered paramilitary which no-one seems to want to move (my first question confronted by this in a strange country would be to ask will these people want protection money?)

    It’s important if you’re saddened by people who have to metaphorically piss like dogs to mark their territory.

  • Overhere

    FD are you sure you wanted to say that I suppose it give a new meaning to the “sh*t on from a great height”.

  • fair_deal

    “are you sure you wanted to say that”

    Which bit?

  • Pete Baker

    Ah yes, the protocol

    *ahem*

    PC: Ermm.. excuse me, Mr Community Worker?

    CW: Who’s asking?

    PC: Would you mind taking down that flag?

    CW: Piss off.

    PC: Oh… all right then. Bye.

    *wanders off*

  • The Hurler on the Ditch

    I think Pete may have summed it up nicely

  • Cap’n Morgan

    sluggerotoole may 2 Ulster says

    comment 9

  • Keith M

    I think this thread should be linked to the “SDLP: haemoraging members” one, for a perfect example of cause and effect.

  • Rapunsel

    Fair Deal. Your analysis is surely wrong

    “To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many flags have been taken down since the protocol on flags was agreed between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and departments; and if he will list the flags concerned, broken down by type. ”

    The question doesn’t ask how many flags the PSNI or the departments have removed but how many flags have been removed since the protocol was agreed. I can’t say I’m familiar with the protocol in detail but from what I do know asumed that one of the outcomes was to be a reduction in teritorial marking througb the erection of flags etc especially on public property.

    If there hasn’t been a reduction in flags etc presumably the protocol is and has been a failure as even as you explain ” it aims to achieve these through negotiation with those who put them up so any removals, reductions, shiting or different type will not have been done by the PSNI or Departments” presumably then the negotiations are either not taking place or are not working.

    Surely the point we need to reach here is that if you want to put up a flag on your own property go right ahead and stick one on your house in your garden or on top of your head but flags erected on oublic property without permission should be removed. The only point of any protocol should be to ensure the safety of any public servant charged with doing the job

  • fair_deal

    Rapunzel

    “If there hasn’t been a reduction in flags etc presumably the protocol is and has been a failure as even as you explain”

    If you seek four outcomes and achieve three is a policy a failure? (By the way I am not saying the policy has been a success or failure)

    “The only point of any protocol should be to ensure the safety of any public servant charged with doing the job”

    It was the unwillingess to do this is why they adopted the protocol instead.

    “Surely the point we need to reach here is that if you want to put up a flag on your own property go right ahead and stick one on your house in your garden or on top of your head”

    No disagreement with that (and reminds me I need to get a ladder to fix my flag holder among the other 10 DIY jobs I have supposed to have done every weekend for a month).

  • Concerned Loyalist

    In the summer of 2003 there were at least 7 UFF flags in my estate and they were not taken down. The following summer of 2004 this was reduced to 3 UFF flags, as local loyalists decided to concentrate on flying Union flags as a gesture of goodwill, and the 3 flags in question were situated around the bonfire and away from main thoroughfares. However, these were inexplicably taken down by PSNI officers transported in 3 armoured-personnel vehicles. Also in Coleraine town itself, in the past 2 years, numerous UDA and UFF flags have been taken down so I would have to say to Durkan that the PSNI have been acting “robustly” as they would say or “wasting taxpayers’ time and money in loyalist areas where little or no complaints have been heard”, as I would prefer to say.
    The PSNI are not consistent on the issue though, as UVF and YCV flags have not been taken down in the 2 years they have tackled the issue of UDA/UFF flags. I am led to believe this may be due to the fact the UVF flags are dated 1912 (when the UVF were legal) and the YCV flags celebrate World War I battles such as Ypres, but they should all stay up, or all come down as far as I’m concerned…hope that makes the issue clearer from a local, loyalist perspective.

  • bag’oshite

    if thats a serious question mark durkin must’nt be getting enough oxygen to his brain. flags are there for a reason so people know where they arent welcome. i’m not welcome in protestant areas just as they arent welcome in my area, fair enough. plus who gives a shit? in reality who cares how many have been taken down. where it does matter is when a union flag is flown from the city hall or from a police station and the answer is they should never be flown. i’ll happilly remove all the tricolours from my estate when that monstrosity is removed from city hall, the flag i mean, not mark durkin.

  • bag’oshite

    excuse the above typos i was in a hurry. i should like to mention that the only thing acceptable hanging from a lamp post is a dead hood!

  • Tochais Siorai

    “……..wasting taxpayers’ time and money in loyalist areas where little or no complaints have been heard…..”,

    Resident: ‘Excuse me, local UDA man, meself and a few people in the street were wondering would you mind taking down some of your flags as we don’t want to be seen to be supporters of your drug dealing sectarian murder gang.’ Lovely gold chain, by the way.

    Local UDA man: “…………………..”

    As someone with a “local, loyalist perspective” maybe Concerned Loyalist could fill in the response.

  • IJP

    The removal of flags is possible with strong pressure from local politicians.

    But I don’t dispute there is an element of farce to the ‘consultations with the community’ that have to precede such moves.

    However, it can happen. Many areas of North Down are now paramilitary-flag-free zones, to the relief of the vast majority locally. Even then, there’s a lot done, a lot still to do…