Irish Republican News · July 7, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI back off on flag intimidation

New legislation intended to tackle the issue of intimidatory sectarian flags has been undermined after the PSNI police refused to act on the issue in Larne, County Antrim.

A loyalist gang erecting a Six County flag in a mixed area of the town threatened an elderly woman with violence as she sought to intervene.

Rosaleen O’Connor, mother of SDLP councillor Danny O’Connor, had to be hospitalised after known unionist paramilitaries threatened violence against her in an incident in the Craigyhill estate on Monday night.

Mr O’Connor accused the PSNI of back-tracking on a pledge not to tolerate “intimidatory placing of any political flags”.

He said he could controversially quit the local District Policing Parternship, which co-operates with the PSNI on policing matters.

“They have the right to take anything down. They are trying to fudge the issue,” he said.

A PSNI spokeswoman said the flag, featuring a Red Hand and a Crown, was not the right kind to be removed.

“Officers responded to an incident to find that an Ulster flag had been erected. Police have no powers to remove non-paramilitary flags,” she said.

Almost all flags flown in the North, including Six-County flags, Union Jacks and Tricolours, have therefore been exempted by the PSNI.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News