‘Abide by the protocol’ says DUP

UVF flag.
UVF flag.

A local MLA has urged people to abide by the flags protocol after controversial UVF flags were erected on a number of lampposts across Banbridge.

Concerns were raised after the flags were placed in various parts of the town, including on the Newry Road at Abercorn Primary School.

The flag, which has also been erected in previous year’s bears the letters ‘UVF’ and the date 1912 - which refers to the original UVF which became the 36th Ulster Division in World War One.

A row over the flag on the BBC’s Nolan Show focused on a shared housing estate in South Belfast, and led to a DUP spokesperson stating: “Flags or any other emblems supporting paramilitaries have no place in our communities. We want to have them all removed.”

Commenting on the local flag issue, DUP MLA Carla Lockhart told the Leader that the flags protocol should be adhered to.

She said: “Within the Banbridge Area there is a flags protocol and I would encourage people to ensure that they participate fully in that.

“The DUP is on record as supporting the flags protocol fully and I would want everyone to adhere to that.

“Obviously I do not support paramilitarism or the trappings associated. I will continue to work in the area on issues that matter, healthcare, job creation and ensuring that we have a safe community.”

Asked should paramilitary flags be removed, Ms Lockhart said: “Yes, if they are specifically paramilitary flags then yes (they need to be removed), however there needs to be educational awareness around historical flags versus modern day paramilitarism.”