Manchester

Families told to remove flags from Manchester cemetery

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Media captionDozens of national flags have been placed on graves at the cemetery as well as the colours of football teams

Grieving families have been told to remove flags from graves in one of Britain's largest cemeteries.

Manchester City Council said all flags must be taken down in Southern Cemetery in Chorlton by 3 April after receiving "a number of complaints".

A spokesman said the flags, many of which are Irish, should be removed to make it "a quiet place of reflection".

Some members of the city's Irish community have said they are upset by the move, but others support it.

Adam Collins, 20, said his grandfather James Collins, from County Mayo, was "proud of his Irish roots" and, following his death in 2014, his family decided to place a flag at his grave.

But they've now been told that, if it's not removed by Sunday, it will be taken down by cemetery staff.

Image caption Adam Collins said his family are 'disgusted' that they have been told to remove a flag from his grandfather's grave

He said: "The family are pretty disgusted. My nana was in tears, very upset.

"It shows heritage and what the people who have passed away were interested in in their lives, so it's taking a little bit of them down really.

"It's not just a flag."

Dozens of national flags have been placed on graves at the cemetery as well as the colours of football teams.

Other families have come out of support for the council ruling saying they don't see the need for a flag to be placed on graves to "mark the person's nationality".

'Inappropriate'

The council says it has taken the decision following a number of complaints from bereaved visitors and members of the local community.

Barrie Jones, general manager of the council's bereavement services, said: "Cemeteries are a shared space and we have to be sensitive to the feelings of all those who visit them to remember loved ones.

"While we completely understand that some people have found comfort in these flags - which include those of football clubs, as well as nations - this is an issue we have received many complaints about from bereaved families and the local community, who feel they are inappropriate.

"We appreciate that this is an emotive subject, but on balance, especially given the number of flags involved, we believe that asking people to remove the flags is the most sensitive course of action."

Image caption The council says they have received complaints about the flags at the cemetery

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