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Union flags at Sprucefield Park and Ride to stay

Police and DRD have indicated they will not be removing union flags erected at Sprucefield Park and Ride facility. Picture by Mal McCann
John Monaghan

THE PSNI and Department for Regional Development have indicated they will not be intervening to remove Union flags which have been erected at a park and ride facility in Co Antrim.

Despite sparking a flurry of comments on social media the PSNI and DRD said they had "not received any complaints" about the additional flags, which are now on display at Sprucefield Park and Ride, on the outskirts of Lisburn.

It is understood that Union flags were first erected at the site following protests over restrictions on the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall in December 2012.

New flags appeared in recent weeks, with almost every lamp post at the site now bedecked with Union flags.

One social media user said: "Will be interesting to see how long it takes Translink to take them down. It IS a workplace after all."

However, the police indicated that they would not be intervening to remove the flags.

Park and ride facilities across Northern Ireland are owned and managed by DRD. In a statement issued on behalf of both organisations Chief Inspector Derek McCamley said: "Police in Lisburn have not received a complaint about flags at Sprucefield Park and Ride in recent months."

The Irish News reported last week that executive departments are at odds over how many meetings have taken place to discuss flags protocols.

Different departments provided varying statistics for the number of meetings which had taken place under the multi-agency initiative.

The flag protocol was launched in 2005 and set out several specific objectives, including the removal of all paramilitary flags and displays and the limiting of flag flying to particular dates and times.

The approach appears to have had limited success however. There have been calls to replace the failed protocol with a licensing authority.

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