Robinson in east Belfast flag talks

Published Saturday, 26 January 2013
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First Minister Peter Robinson has met with loyalist leaders in east Belfast for talks over flags, before a protest took place outside City Hall.

Robinson in east Belfast flag talks
Peter Robinson was heckled following the talks. (© UTV)

The DUP leader spoke to local church and community representatives at the Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road on Saturday morning.

He described the meeting, which was closed to the press, as "worthwhile". However it is understood that there were some angry exchanges.

Tensions were also high outside, where Mr Robinson was heckled by a small crowd and his car was struck by a flag pole as it made a speedy exit.

"It was a very worthwhile meeting," he told UTV. "It was valuable and we'll continue with the meetings.

"There was a range of opinions. Some were supportive of our position, some wanted us to do more, some wanted us to do other things but that's what you find in any large group of people - the important thing is that there's dialogue and we're trying to move the issue forward."

Later a demonstration took place in city centre for the eighth consecutive weekend.

There was a heavy police presence at Belfast City Hall, where several hundred people gathered to protest against restrictions to the flying of the Union flag.

A large number of them walked from east Belfast as armoured vehicles lined the route.

Members of the crowd have signed official letters of complaint.

The M3 offslip down to Middlepath Street and the Sydenham offslip at Bridge End were closed to traffic for a time but have now been re-opened. The protest at city hall passed off without major incident.

© UTV News
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41 Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (639 days ago):
BRENDY IN BELFAST===Advice received and implemented!! chilled out!! Agree with you regarding the hatred that is displayed by some of the comments. It can be truly depressing to see how little has fundamentally changed in the hearts of so many.Same for me regarding family's marriages.THANK GOD!! and I have to say I was blessed not to be brought up in a home that spewed sectarian bile.I have to say I really do feel sorry for those who have been [and still are] and unfortunately we see the results all around us.Life too hard [and too short] for all this hatred.
Brendy in Belfast wrote (640 days ago):
lucylou in belfast Agreed. Too much hate being portrayed by the politicians. It has always felt as though this place is run by children trying to one up eachother. Your also right about the 'divide'. I have friends and relatives married to different religions. I have always said that i'm more likely to be attacked by drunkin people from my own area than being a sectarian victim. You read through some of these comments and the hatred is unreal. Chill out, I always think of Johnny Adair saying if he was born on the falls he'd be fighting on the other side. Its all a fight over geography.
lucylou in belfast wrote (640 days ago):
BRENDY IN BELFAST I certainly wouldnt want to suggest that people with no strong religious affiliation would be more likely to riot.just that those who do riot sometimes pin their star to their perceived religion and in reality practice none.As for Ian Paisley he is and always was someone I personally would NEVER have voted for were he the last person standing.I feel that politics like that should never be aligned with any religion. The saddest thing to my mind is we still talk in terms such as either side of the divide or another which we hear all too often 'their side' or 'our side'.I think we are 'singing of the same hymn sheet!' no pun intended. roll on the day when there are NO 'sides'. I have no grieviences with my r catholic friends some of whom would love to see Ireland united.I simply respect their views.I personally could not care less what flag flies [or when] I just want people to be able to live in peace with each other in a society where everyone can do the best for their children.Unfortunately many of our politicans can only look back and when they do that they cannot see the way forward.
Aghast! in Antrim wrote (640 days ago):
@Eamo again. Nothing I wrote was to put you down as you will see if you read it again. I'm afraid you displayed a wee bit of a complex there. With regard to the flag you are under, you say it is for the PUL community as well. The orange part of it is supposed to represent the PUL community, that's true. But I have to say that when it is used as a straight middle finger at that community you are only defeating your dream of a united Ireland. Perhaps you would like to use your vast knowledge of Irish history to enlighten a simple-looking unionist such as I as to how that equates to the ideology of the Easter rebels? The peace process was supposed to give equal respect to both traditions but instead we have a situation where Sinn Fein and it's supporters are waging a cold war on the very identity of the PUL community in direct contradiction of the Belfast Agreement. My last word on this is if you really desire a united Ireland of equals then you need to re-evaluate your whole approach to the PUL people. Drop the comtempt, forget the premature triumphalism and realise that our people are every bit as Irish as you believe yourself to be. The Unionist statelet, as you refer to it, of unionist oppression (which many PUL disagreed with) is history and you need to build a bridge and get over it. Good luck.
Linda in NI wrote (640 days ago):
MMMMMMMM history & educational abilities are being questioned here unfortunately all too many people seem to conveniently overlook the fact that paramilitaries on each side did as much damage against their own communities as they did to the 'other side' but most people only want to remember what wrong was done to their community. Then again for some the only education needed is a paramilitary past especially to get into govt and those who regard themselves as politicians only give the 70grand jobs to their party members rather than unemployed Catholics who are most likely better qualified. So who's discriminating against Catholics now?
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