Views sought on council flag flying
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.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
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