Flags put up in Newmills ‘without support’

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A UNIONIST councillor says those who erected paramilitary flags in Newmills, do not have the community’s support.

Councillor for the Torrent area, Kenny Reid, was speaking after it emerged that a woman who challenged loyalists as they put up the flags subsequently received a threat against her family.

Several UVF flags have appeared in recent days on lampposts in the village.

Police were contacted after residents saw young men putting the flags up alongside Union flags in the area.

It is understood police told a woman that a threat had been received “against her family and property”.

The threat is believed to have been issued after the woman approached the men and asked who gave them the authority to erect the flags.

The PSNI refused to remove the flags unless there is a “substantial risk to public safety”.

According to local Ulster Unionist councillor, Kenny Reid, it is the second year in a row that paramilitary flags have appeared in Newmills.

Cllr Reid said those erecting UVF flags were not from the area and their actions did not have the community’s support.

“These flags are not the sort of flags that the local village want put up”, Cllr Reid continued.

Police said they do not comment on individuals’ security.

“However, where we become aware that a person may need to review their security we take steps to inform them immediately and consider with them any measures to ensure their continued safety”, a spokeswoman said.

“We are aware that a number of flags have been erected in Newmills over recent days.

“The removal of flags is not the responsibility of the PSNI and police can only act to remove flags where there are substantial risks to public safety.”

A voluntary flags protocol had previously been in place across the north since 2005, which sought to remove all paramilitary emblems.