Flag report: “Belfast focus on flags ignoring the concerns of rural victims”
Belfast is mentioned 38 times but Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Down and Londonderry are not mentioned at all in the body of the report.
The report devotes two chapters to flags, citing flags 262 times and bonfires 135, also deserving a chapter.
However, memorials, which the report says are largely linked to terrorism, are only mentioned 82 times in comparison.
The report said commissioners were unable to agree to audit all memorials on public property.
Despite the instability created by the paramilitary-style funerals – particularly during the Covid lockdowns – there is no apparent mention of them.
Terrorist groups and their victims appear to be given similar weight in the deliberations, with victims mentioned 11 times, Republicans nine, and loyalists 14.
Kenny Donaldson, director of services for the SEFF victims group, said he was “deeply disappointed that little attention has again been given to the concerns of border communities.”
He said victims of the unrest were particularly concerned about “illegal terrorist memorials dotted around the countryside, illegal flags and the continued presence of terrorist signs, graffiti and other displays from telegraph poles and other property belonging to the city. to the public sector ”.
And he asked why the report did not appear to mention the Republican and Loyalist paramilitary style funeral “with Bobby Storey’s funeral being the most publicized case”.
He added: “The report has an underlying narrative of seeking to minimize the impacts of terrorism and of seeking to control the public narrative about how innocent victims should be ‘allowed’ to remember their loved ones. “
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