The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has drawn criticism for its response to the erection of loyalist flags and the painting of kerbstones at Thaxton Village and Glenavy Road roundabouts in Lisburn.

Sinn Féin Councillor Gary McCleave contacted the department after kerbs were daubed with red, white, and blue paint in what he described as an attempt to "intimidate" nationalist residents in Lisburn. 

A spokesperson for DfI has confirmed that they have received complaints from residents in the area and “is currently investigating this matter".

"In all such cases we work closely with colleagues in the PSNI," they said.

"Our approach generally is that we will take action if displays create road safety concerns; we will also take action to arrange for the removal of flags/banners or paint from kerbstones/signs where there is clear community support for their removal and where we are satisfied that removing them will not further raise community tensions or present risks to the safety of our staff and contractors.  

"We will always act on the advice of our PSNI colleagues on such matters.

"We are also keen to engage with local councils and political representatives to respond to requests from local communities.  Dialogue with elected representatives is currently ongoing in an attempt to find a satisfactory outcome.”

Despite complaints from both residents and elected reps, DfI has not yet acted to remove the flags or graffiti. 

Cllr McCleave said he has not yet received a response to questions sent on the matter. 

"I had proposed to DfI and also the PSNI that they remove the flags and replace them with flowers, with kids from the local areas planting them, making it nice and taking away the flags," he said.

"The way DfI and the PSNI deal with these issues need to be reassessed," he added.

"We can't go on like this every single year. I have been inundated with messages from people who are up in arms about this from both sections of the community."

Lagan Valley SDLP MLA Pat Catney has also called for the removal of the flags.

“I have written to the Department for Infrastructure and have also been in touch with the local PSNI to arrange a meeting to discuss these issues," he said.

"I would call on the PSNI to act and tackle illegal symbols and illegal flags when they appear."