May 3, 2024
Effective legal authority needed to address issues of identity, culture and tradition – Kearney

Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney has called for movement on the implementation of effective legal authority to address the use of flags and emblems to entrench sectarian segregation and to harass or intimidate.

Speaking in the Assembly this week on the display of flags, emblems and banners, the South Antrim MLA said:

“We need a zero-tolerance position, both within our political institutions and wider society, towards the undignified and disrespectful flying of all national flags; as well as unequivocal opposition to the use of flags and emblems to entrench sectarian segregation, to harass, or intimidate. The misuse of public property to do so, and the lack of effective legal authority exacerbates this practice.

“The FICT (Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition) Report sought to address these issues and while it does not provide all the solutions, it identifies where challenges remain and offers a roadmap on how issues at the heart of division in the north, including our cultural traditions and identities, can be celebrated on the basis of equality and respect.

“Throughout my term as a Minister, I consistently sought to achieve not only publication of the FICT Report, but also an associated implementation plan. However, resistance from others frustrated all attempts to bring forward that plan to the Executive.

“The fact is that an effective resolution to these issues will only be achieved with categoric legal authority, cross-departmental coordination, and for agencies such as the police to meet their statutory responsibilities.

“In the absence of any legal authority to intervene, society will continue to suffer the same frustrations and potential for community tensions which result from the proliferation of flags and emblems.

“Such displays have been the source of deep annoyance and community tensions in my own constituency, and most recently with the flying of Israeli flags in shared spaces across Antrim town, particularly at the entrance of Antrim Civic Centre. Despite repeated representations to all relevant agencies, these flags remain in defiance of mounting cross community opposition and anger.

“For our part, Sinn Féin is committed to real delivery on how to deal with flags, identity, culture and tradition. That means urgent implementation of an effective legal authority to address these often-contentious issues.

“I want to see an inclusive, welcoming, multicultural society in the north which has anti-sectarianism at its core. This is the message which must constantly echo from our political institutions. That is what positive leadership must be about.”

Follow us online

Latest Tweets

Polls are now closed. 

Thanks to everyone who voted Sinn Féin today. 

Thanks to our Sinn Féin candidates, their families and their campaign teams, all of whom ran an incredible campaign for change.

Tosaíonn Athrú Anseo. Change starts here!

🚨Polls open until 10pm! Make sure you come out and vote Sinn Féin.

Vote for change.

Change starts here! 🗳️

#useyourvote #elections2024

If you want CHANGE, vote Sinn Féin today in the local and European elections in the South.

Our candidates will stand up for workers and families, and are committed to building a brighter, better future for all.

Load More