Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin: Flying of loyalist flags in mixed housing estate designed to 'raise tension'

Loyalist flags have been erected around Mountcoole Park in north Belfast

A SINN Féin assembly member last night said the erection of loyalist flags in a mixed housing estate in north Belfast was designed to "raise tension".

Gerry Kelly said his party had received a number of complaints from residents living in the Rosscoole Park, Mountcoole Park and Duncoole Park areas after flags were raised on lamp-posts in recent days.

"Flags should not be used to intimidate or harass people or mark territory," he said.

A resident also contacted the Irish News to criticise the flying of the flags in the area.

He said numerous loyalist flags have been erected close to where he lives on Rosscoole Park.

"I have lived here for nearly 20 years and there's never been any flags flown before, it's loyalists marking their territory," he said.

There has been criticism of those who erected the flags

He also said that residents, including Protestant people living in the area, had challenged those who were putting the flags up last week.

Mr Kelly also said he believed that the those responsible were "intent on raising community tensions".

"The erection of loyalist flags in these mixed housing areas is a clear attempt to intimidate," he said.

"Those carrying out such actions are interested only in exacerbating difference and fomenting discord. They need to desist. Flags should not be used to intimidate or harass people or mark territory.

"I condemn those responsible for putting these flags up in this area and I have reported these incidents to the police."

Flags that have been put up around Mountcoole Park..

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