FULL MEETING OF BELFAST CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON FLAG REMOVALS

Flag to be removed at Belfast City Hall?

ALL eyes will be fixed on next month’s full meeting of Belfast City Council to see if councillors ratify a flag removal proposal.

Today, the council’s policy and resources committee recommended that the Union flag no longer be flown over Belfast City Hall.

It also backed the removal of the Union flag at the Ulster Hall in Bedford Street and the Duncrue cleansing depot.

But for the proposal to be successfull it needs to be ratified by a full council meeting on motion to take effect the decision must be ratified by the full council on Monday, December 3.

At present, the Union flag is flown over Belfast City Hall 365 days of the year.

Today’s motion was backed by 11-9.

Former IRA prisoner and Sinn Fein councillor Jim McVeigh said that a civic flag was a possible alternative and that Belfast was “not as British as Finchley”.

“For a long time now we have been advocating no flag flying or a neutral one,” he said.

“The status quo won’t continue, that’s for sure.”

The DUP’s Lee Reynolds said his party would be trying to persuade the Alliance Party to block the move at the full council meeting.

He said the flag should be flying for 365 days a year.

“It is common practice across Northern Ireland and Great Britain and across the world, we’re not asking for special treatment,” he said.

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