Northern Ireland news

UVF flags taken down in Cantrell Close after Catholic families forced out of shared housing

 UVF flags have been taken down in shared housing development Cantrell Close in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

UVF flags have been taken down from a shared housing development in east Belfast more than a week after a number of Catholic families fled their homes following threats.

The four families had been warned they were not welcome in the area because of their religion and the threats were believed to have been issued by the UVF.

The East Belfast Community Initiative today said "Ulster Volunteer Force 1912 commemorative flags" had been removed "as a goodwill gesture". 

The housing development off Ravenhill Road was part of a multi-million-pound Stormont 'shared communities' strategy.

Allison Morris: Catholics forced out of Cantrell Close are the victims of political failure
Newton Emerson: Lack of PSNI action on eviction threats a disgrace

Police are investigating a paramilitary link to the intimidation of Catholic residents.

In the days following the threats DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly said she had offered to "personally remove them [flags]at the time", but no-one thought it was the "best option".

Today the East Belfast Community Initiative said the flags had been taken down after "positive discussions" with Ms Little Pengelly.

Earlier this week two community workers linked to the East Belfast Community Initiative were also warned by police that they were under threat.

Flags still fly from lamp posts in neighbouring Global Crescent which is also a shared housing scheme. Picture by Mal McCann


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