An Independent Councillor has echoed the call from residents in Mosside to have paramilitary flags removed from the village. UDA and Ulster Freedom Fighters flags adorned numerous lampposts in the village and one UDA flag has been hoisted on a flagpole at the entrance to Community Walk beside the Council’s community centre.
Councillor Padraig Mc Shane made the call following a meeting with several residents on Friday night. After the meeting he said residents were fed up with those who continued to besmirch the image of the village and the paramilitary flags were unrepresentative of the vast majority of those who live in Mosside.
Councillor Mc Shane said;
“It is no surprise that Mosside is in a state of decay with business closing and dereliction rife. Given the village sits on a main arterial route it should be booming. The bully boys who erect the ‘standards’ of murder gangs and who hold the community to ransom through intimidation, fear and violence must be faced down if the village is ever to recover.“The community is aware of who is behind the erection of the UDA flags. Several feral gangs exist in the North Antrim area marking out territories and inflicting their malaise on the community.”The Councillor is calling on the Housing Executive, the Council and the PSNI to all play their part in the removal of paramilitary flags in Mosside.“To date the issue of illegal flags has seen the UDA tail wag the PSNI dog. The PSNI removed paramilitary flags last year in Ballyclare and following sustained rioting, apologised to the criminal gangs for having upset them. It is now time for them to stand up for the honourable members of the community in Mosside and not only remove the flags but remove the criminal elements off the community’s back.
In response the PSNI released a statement saying no flags would be removed until a new approach to emblems and other contentious issues was agreed at Stormont.
Councillor Mc Shane responded;
The statement from the PSNI is lamentable. It sends out a clear message to the community that they have been abandoned and left to the decree of criminal gangs. It may be worth reminding the PSNI that the act of flying these flags is not contentious but illegal and that in fact, they do have to do something about it.“The PSNI may have ultimate responsibility but they are not alone. If Council or the Housing Executive have flags on their property they must also show support to the community and have them removed forthwith.”