Lyons calls for immediate removal of paramilitary flags in south Belfast

In News, SDLP by Donal Lyons

SDLP Balmoral Councillor Donal Lyons has condemned the erection of new Ulster Defence Association flags across areas of south Belfast and has called for their immediate removal.
He said: “I have a certain degree of sympathy with the police when they say that the flying of flags from lampposts in general is an issue needing political and legal clarity and I hope that the long overdue Flags Commission will bring much needed progress to this frustrating issue.
“However, there should be no confusion over the legality of flying the flag of a proscribed terrorist organisation. There can be no justification for this in any circumstance. Any notion that the PSNI should be expected to enter into negotiations with members of terrorist groups on issues such as these, undermines the basis of a just society. It only serves to legitimise these illegal criminal gangs.
“What confidence can any law abiding person have that their complaints about a paramilitary group will be taken seriously when they see these intimidatory displays going completely unchallenged?
“The UDA have said themselves in the last few months that they have no interest in disbanding and we’ve seen them try to recruit more young people to their ranks, so what justification can there be for taking a soft, incentive based approach to hoping that they merely go away?
“18 years on from the peace agreement the rest of us have moved on. There was was never any legitimate reason for these self appointed executioners and there is certainly no reason now for us to allow these same people to continue holding the rest of us back.”