The East Belfast Community Initiative has held positive discussions with local MP Emma Little-Pengelly in relation to the issues arising in Cantrell close, including the threats made to elderly loyalist community workers.
In these discussions Emma re-iterated her strong desire to de-escalate tensions relating to the Cantrell close situation.
As a result of these discussions we have secured agreement with the local community to have the Ulster Volunteer Force 1912 commemorative flags removed. This has now taken place.
These perfectly lawful and legitimate flags have been removed in this particular instance as a goodwill gesture.
It is our belief that this will demonstrate the desire of the local loyalist community to de-escalate the tensions that we believe have been whipped up by Sinn Fein and Alliance in the South/East Belfast area.
The East Belfast Community Initiative supports the right of the Unionist community to fly all legal flags.
We have been working with the east Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force ex-combatant group, which represents east Belfast and areas in North Down, Ards and Lower Ards as part of a wider positive development process envisaged by the Fresh Start agreement.
These discussions will continue and part of that process will involve detailed discussions around potential future flag protocols.