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UVF flags put up in mixed area

UVF flags have been put up in the Global Crescent and Cantrell Close - a 'shared neighbourhood housing scheme in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Connla Young

UVF flags have been put up in specially built cross community housing developments in east Belfast.

The paramilitary and other loyalist flags were put up in the Global Crescent and Cantrell Close ‘shared neighbourhoods' last week.

Both developments are located close to Ravenhill Avenue and the loyalist Woodstock Road areas.

It is understood that two flags have been hung from the majority of lampposts in the area. No flags were flown in the area last year.

Global Crescent is a £13m shared neighbourhood development which was built by Fold Housing, now known as Radius Housing, and opened in 2015.

A resident, who does not want to be named, said people felt intimidated and feared the UVF was attempting to "stamp their authority" in the area.

“Our community is made up of Protestant, Catholic, others and none," the resident said.

“I don't see paramilitary groups as part of anyone's culture.

“I respect this is an important time of the year for a lot of people but this can be celebrated without creating fear or causing intimidation.”

The PSNI said the issues of flags was not only an issue for police.

“Police action on its own is not sufficient - we all need to work together. The removal of flags is not an issue for the PSNI."

Alliance councillor for the area David Armitage said people had a right to celebrate their culture in a "respectul manner"...but that "the erection of flags glorifying paramilitaries is clearly not that."

“This is a mixed area and there is little to no support for these flags within the local community."

A spokeswoman for Radius Housing, which manages both developments, said the appearance of flags had "raised concerns among local residents and is at odds with the ethos of the shared neighbourhood."

She added that meetings had been sought with local representatives in an effort to find a resolution which "respects the cultural diversity of the whole neighbourhood.”

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