The time for journeys has long since passed

The following letter appeared in the County Down Spectator on Thursday 22 June 2017

I write in relation to the recent erection of flags for illegal terrorist organisations such as UDA, UFF, UVF and Red Hand Commandos. Erected with seeming ease across North Down the flags now fly from lampposts across as our Borough providing a blatant challenge to the Rule of Law.

Like the overwhelming majority of law abiding citizens across North Down I am fed up seeing paramilitary  flags, insignia and murals erected and want them gone, for good along with all paramilitary organisations of whatever shade.

Over 22 years after the ceasefires these proscribed paramilitary organisations plus their Republican counterparts should have long since gone away but rather than packing up and standing down they have chosen to yet again mark out territory and remind us of their menacing presence with apparent impunity.

At times like this it incumbent for all in political life to speak about against this activity and call for the immediate removal of such, whether by those who erected the flags or by statutory agencies, with the support of the Police.

Thus far the DUP locally have been silent on the matter. Not one elected representative has called for removal despite repeated calls. I would therefore urge the DUP locally to break their silence on the matter and join me as an important first step in calling for the immediate removal of all paramilitary flags without equivocation or the usual reference concerning the need to give these organisations space to complete their journey. The time for journeys has long since passed.