Jamie Bryson: 'Private citizen' put up UVF flags not loyalist group

ECBI spokesman Jamie Bryson said a "private citizen" put up flags in south Belfast

A LOYALIST community group has accused the Alliance Party of "spending their days lamppost spotting" in a row over loyalist flags which have gone up outside a shared housing development.

The Union and Northern Ireland flags have been erected along Ravenhill Avenue in south-east Belfast, near the cross-community housing schemes Cantrell Close and Global Crescent.

It is less than a fortnight since other flags were removed ahead of UVF-linked East Belfast Community Initiative's (EBCI) new flags protocol.

Yesterday, ECBI spokesman Jamie Bryson criticised Alliance councillor Michael Long's condemnation of the reappearance, which he described as "another failure even by their own terms".

The east Belfast UVF were reported to support a protocol stating flags will not be erected until June 1 and will be removed by October 7 at the latest.

Mr Bryson took to Twitter to hit out at both the Alliance Party - and the Irish News for reporting concerns about the appearance of loyalist flags.

"We welcome the interest of the Irish News in Unionist cultural expression and tradition, however we are already verging on 40 stories inside the first five months of 2018 and in our mind that does seem to display an excessive interest in these matters." Mr Bryson said.

"The real story here is the obsession of the Alliance party in relation to any expression of British identity.

"Their disdain for the national flag was clear when they contrived with Sinn Féin to tear it down from its rightful place at Belfast City Hall, and they are now spending their days lamppost spotting in order that they can try and demand that Union flags are similarly torn down from public display everywhere.

"It is noticeable how Alliance complaints started about Cantrell Close, then it was flags near Cantrell Close, then it was Ravenhill Avenue. They complained about legal UVF flags, then Ulster flags and now they are complaining about national flags.

"Their war on every expression of British identity is insatiable."

ECBI spokesman Jamie Bryson criticised Alliance councillor Michael Long's condemnation of the reappearance of flags at Ravenhill Avenue

Mr Bryson said the person who put the flags up was "a private citizen" with no links to EBCI.

"If private citizens wish to lawfully erect the Union flag on public lampposts then that is a matter for themselves, and certainly not something that the East Belfast Community Initiative is ever going to complain about," he said.

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