Twelfth flags a ‘major setback for business’

SDLP MLA John Dallat has claimed that the “proliferation of paint and flags” in the borough have created anger among some businesses.

Mr Dallat said that SDLP representatives spoke of their concern to the PSNI at how “previous efforts to create a neutral environment was painted over in one single night”.

“Community leaders also feel let down that their efforts to build an inclusive society shared by everyone has been obliterated by faceless people who have invested nothing in the reconciliation process and don’t depend on the passing trade to make a living,” he said.

“Portrush and Portstewart are our premier holiday resorts which should be free of any kind of sectarian symbolism and a beacon of light projecting a new beginning and a new era of inclusiveness but again the men who make the flag policy decision behind closed doors have again deprived us of the opportunity to tell the world, especially during the Irish Open, that we have moved on.

“We told the officers that they have our support in all their efforts to prioritise community relations.”

Mr Dallat added: “Those who painted Garvagh and extended their sectarian flags policy in other parts are a lost tribe who are making the work of community policies much more difficulty and they aren’t reflecting the wish of the vast majority of people to move on, embrace the past and say “No” to sectarianism, hate and racism.”