Northern Ireland news

Loyalist councillor helps remove worn-out flags

PUP councillor Russell Watton has been helping to remove worn flags in Coleraine
Connla Young

A LOYALIST councillor has revealed how he has started to remove worn-out flags from lampposts around a Co Derry town.

PUP man Russell Watton last night branded the public flying of tattered flags in Coleraine as "disrespectful".

Hundreds of unionist and loyalist flags, often battered and torn, which were put up in advance of the Twelfth continue to fly in towns across the north.

The Causeway Coast and Glens councillor revealed that he and local youths have been helping to remove some of the flags in the Coleraine area over recent weeks.

"They are in tatters, it's a disgrace," he said.

"You can get dozens of boys to put them up but they leave them in tatters.

"It's the elderly people who complain the most, they say 'it's a disgrace, can you get them down?'".

Mr Watton revealed that he has been involved in removing old flags in previous years. He said that as lately as last night he has provided the use of vans and ladders to young people prepared to help.

"It's disrespectful," he said.

"Coming up to Christmas, they should not be up.

"I am more old school, we used to put them up in July and take them down at the end of August and that was it, done and dusted."

He added that his message to young people involved in putting flags up is "make sure and get them down".

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