Greenwood flags a cause for concern

SDLP councillor Brian Heading has called for flags to be flown on only designated days.

He made the comments following complaints that flags were being flown in Greenwood.

A local resident complained that flags were erected on lamp posts in Greenwood off the Union Bridge, and other areas of the town.

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“To place any national emblem of any nationality on a lamp post as an act of provocation is unhelpful,” said Mr Heading.

“It undermines the efforts to resolve the issue of the flying of the flags.”

One resident contacted the Star, complaining that people were marking out their territory by flying flags.

The resident said, “In recent years Greenwood has become an area populated by a range of different people, from different religious and cultural backgrounds.

“Over the last week flags have been erected in the area for the purpose of marking territory. This has made the residents very uncomfortable in their own homes.

“They are people who are too scared to speak out about it because such things often come with violent and intimidating reprisals.

“The area is full of people in support of the current status of our country, in support of the flying of our flag on government and council buildings. These people, however, are aware of the message that flag flying on lamp posts puts out. This is not the message these people want to put out. This has instantly installed a culture of fear in the neighbourhood, made it an unwelcoming place not just for outsiders but also for a great number of residents.”

The resident said that too many people are fearful to complain.

“This sort of behaviour and symbolism is not reflective of the open minded people living in the area,” the resident complained. “It is breaking hearts and causing a lot of stress.”

The resident said that the community were too scared to speak out but that the flying of the flags was not representative of them.

“I would like to make a plea for this behaviour to stop, for the culture of fear to be lifted, and let those who wish to remain living in a peaceful and welcoming neighbourhood (the vast majority of the area’s residents, if not all) be able to do so, and not have this kind of thing forced upon them against their will or desire,” the resident concluded.