Stormont Tricolour flag to be debated

Published Wednesday, 11 April 2012
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A Northern Ireland Assembly committee will discuss whether the Tricolour should fly alongside the Union Flag at Stormont as part of a debate on good relations.

UTV NEWS POLL

How do you think Stormont should resolve the flags debate?
How do you think Stormont should resolve the flags debate?



It will be the first time the issue has been debated at the Assembly.

No fixed date for the meeting has yet been set, however it could take place in the coming weeks.

Nationalist politicians have welcomed the news, while unionists are adamant the Irish national flag will not be flown.

Sinn Féin's Barry McElduff told UTV: "Institutional reflection of your identity is important and people are asking why it is necessary to fly the British union flag 12 days a year.

"It creates an unwelcoming atmosphere not just for visitors but for staff as well, so it is a legitimate point to raise but not the only item on the agenda."

The DUP's Peter Weir told UTV: "I think this is a degree of kite-flying, of gesture politics in particular by Sinn Féin to appease their supporters.

"At the Assembly, basically anyone can put forward any proposition on any subject so simply the fact that someone has raised this issue is not of itself significant.

"Unfortunately this is more likely to damage good relations than to build them which is supposed to be the object of this exercise."

The Assembly Commission, the body which is responsible for the running of Parliament Buildings in Belfast, said it has not yet considered the proposal to fly the Irish national flag.

However it says the issue can be raised during a future meeting on good relations between nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland.

The commission told UTV: "The Assembly Commission has not given consideration to the flying of the Irish national flag, nor is it on the agenda for any future commission meeting.

"The commission has agreed to have a future meeting specifically to consider good relations issues and members will be free to raise any related issues.

"The Assembly Commission is designated as a public authority under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) and under Section 75 (2) of the act, the commission has a statutory duty to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group."

It is understood the commission, which includes one MLA from each of the five largest parties, will seek to reach an agreement over the flags issue.

It could result in a proposal going out towards the Assembly's business committee and then before MLAs - however, with 54 unionist votes against a combined 43 from Sinn Féin and the SDLP, a motion in favour of the Tricolour would likely be defeated.

© UTV News
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464 Comments
Craig in N.Ireland wrote (230 days ago):
Does the Republic of Ireland have a Union Jack flying to remember its history? If we are going to let people be represented in this country with a flag, what happens when the other foreign nationals also living in Northern Ireland want their flag represented? Northern Ireland is British ruled so why fly any other flag?! It wouldn't even be considered in any other country! Its a shame some people have a paid job thinking up silly and childish ways to aggravate the people in our Beautiful country. Peace, not war!
Sabil Akmar in Harryville wrote (231 days ago):
If this is even debated it is a disgrace. This country is part of the United Kingdom, there is no need for foreign flags of any nature on parliament buildings. No other country does this. I am proud of my Britishness and am dismayed at republican attempts to try and stifle my nationality.
primy in belfast wrote (231 days ago):
why??????this isn't southern ireland
Collie McElroy in Gilford wrote (231 days ago):
This country is still a part of the UK until decided otherwise. And as such should have the flag of the country flying over its legislative HQ. And Peter Weir posturing about the Shinners trying to appease their supporters. You're some craic PJ.
Marie Greer in Belfast wrote (231 days ago):
This is the United Kingdom and The Union Jack should be the only flag flying at the City Hall as it has been there for years and nothing was said about it. This is the flag of our country God bless
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