Flags, intimidation and sectarian politics


This type of tribalism debases our society

The issues around flags on lampposts, sectarian graffiti, territory marking and worse will continue for as long as political outcomes in Northern Ireland are determined by sectarian head counts at the polls’, Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has said

‘The erection of flags near a housing development in south Belfast is as intimidating as it is unsurprising. What other outcome can there be when the two main political parties – Sinn Fein and the DUP – whip their supporters up into a sectarian frenzy ahead of every election?

‘The only real surprise is that there have not been even worse consequences’ she said.

‘This is not an academic matter’, said Gemma. ‘It is not just fodder for radio phone ins and newspaper headlines. This type of intimidation, sectarianism and tribalism shapes and debases the society we live in and the values that it holds’.

‘We saw similar territory marking and intimidation at the new shared housing development at Felden in north Belfast at the end of 2015.

Responsibility lies with Sinn Fein and the DUP                                              Sinn Fein and the DUP rely on the maintenance of two divided communities to ensure their political power bases. They both go to great lengths to secure and maintain that position. Their respective spokespersons will try to justify the behaviour and the excesses of their followers while condemning their mirror image. Their scripts could have been, and probably are, written by the same person’, she added

‘Responsibility for this continued division, sectarianism and intimidation lies squarely at the feet of Sinn Fen and the DUP. They feed it, foster it and benefit considerably from it.

Well over half a million people gave their votes to Sinn Fein or the DUP in the last election. The payoff has been more intimidation, more flags and heightened sectarianism.

This society cannot continue to vote as it does and assume that there are no consequences’ Gemma concluded.

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