Views sought on council flag flying

Published Wednesday, 13 June 2012
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Belfast City Council is giving ratepayers the chance to voice their opinions on flying the Union flag on council owned property - and on displays within the City Hall and its grounds.

Views sought on council flag flying
The flying of the Union Jack at Belfast City Hall has proved controversial. (© UTV)

The flying of the Union flag and displaying of British memorabilia, including images of the Royal family, has long proved controversial.

Views are being sought between now and 1 October, 2012.

Last June, the then Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast removed pictures of Prince Charles and the Queen Mother from his parlour at City Hall, and replaced them with the Proclamation of Independence and a picture of the United Irishmen.

At the time, Niall Ó Donnghaile said the space previously only had items representing one of the city's traditions - unionism - on display. But his actions were criticised by DUP councillors.

In a separate and unrelated incident the following month, the Union Jack at Belfast City Hall was torn down and damaged Belfast City Hall. The theft was described by DUP councillor Robin Newton as a provocative act.

Views are being sought as part of equality impact assessments (EQIA) on the current policies relating to the issues, according to the Council. The consultation process will be open for 16 weeks to allow for the summer holiday period.

At present, the policy on the flying of the Union flag affects three separate council buildings - the City Hall, the Ulster Hall and the Duncrue complex.

A statement from Belfast City Council explained: "These buildings have different functions and are used by different groups of people and it is therefore necessary to examine the impact of the policy at each building individually."

City ratepayers are being invited to attend public consultation meetings to address the issues on 13 September in the Ulster Hall from 2pm-3pm and from 7pm-8pm.

Comments can also be made through questionnaires and response forms which are available on the Belfast City Council website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/equality

© UTV News
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19 Comments
Julian in Belfast City wrote (662 days ago):
Why do we now have to find "a way of reconciling the situation" over the number of Union Flag flying days? The reduced number of days legally and democratically voted in by the Council now means we fly the Union Flag pretty much the same number of days as the rest of the UK. If these selfish hooligans want so much to be like the rest of the UK, hasn't anyone told them that's exactly what the new change does? In the meantime our business people, tourism and our world image slides back another 20 years. For their violence to be pandered to with reconciliation or multi party meetings is to condone and reward their illegal violence. The Councils decision was democratic and brings us into line with the rest of the UK. Simply arrest people breaking the law, why is no one suggesting this simple action.......... that would also bring us into line with the rest of the UK! Their actions would not be tolerated anywhere else in the UK, why here?
Michael Barrie in orangefield wrote (704 days ago):
I see no problem with flying the flag of the United Kingdom at the Belfast City Hall all year round, after all it is the capital city of Northern Ireland part of the UK .
J in Bangor wrote (707 days ago):
As part of the United Kingdom why would we not fly the Union Jack at the city hall? History is history and we are now part of the United Kingdom.
D in Derry wrote (868 days ago):
Maggie if you knew your history at all you would know that Ireland was held to ransom to accept partition or else face all out war. Not because of the lack of family planning... And just to clarify, I don't for one second think it is narrow minded to WANT to fly the Union flag. What IS narrow minded is thinking that this is a black and white issue, and wonder why people are irritated by it. Of course nationalists and republicans are going to be offended!
Looking in in Over the pond wrote (869 days ago):
Michael H. Why can People from the north of/northern Ireland be proud to be Irish. Wales and Scotland are both part of the UK but they fly the Y Ddraig Goch (the red dragon)and the Saltire (St Andrews cross)flag, not the union jack. Ask a Welsh or Scottish person what nationality they are??? As you stated you were born here (Ireland) there fore you should consider your self Irish and proud.
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