FINANCE Minister Sammy Wilson is shelling out up to £10,000 of public money on erecting further poles to fly Union flags in Belfast.
The assembly’s Department for Finance and Personnel (DFP) has approved the move for five buildings under its control.
It comes in the wake of a decision by Belfast City Council in December to only fly the Union flag on Belfast City Hall on designated days.
Last month, a bid by the DUP to fly the Union flag on the Cenotaph in the grounds of Belfast City Hall was defeated.
The Royal British Legion said it was not in favour of the move as it believed it would “politicise” the Cenotaph.
The flag already flies at four DFP buildings; Academy House, Ballymena; Colby House, Belfast; Queen’s Court, Queen’s Street and at the department’s headquarters at Craigantlet Buildings on the Stormont Estate.
Work is underway so the flag can fly at an additional five buildings: the DoE offices on College Street, Goodwood House and Victoria Hall, both on May Street, Clare House on Airport Road West and Rosepark House in east Belfast.
A department spokesperson said that a regulation “gives the discretion to fly the union flag” at government buildings on specified days.
“The Finance Minister has confirmed he wants the Department to fly the union flag at buildings where we have Premises responsibility,” they explained.
They said that the estimated cost per site ranged from £500-£2,000 depending on “the complexity of works required at each site – location of flagpole, structural issues, site preparation works required etc”.
The spokesperson confirmed work to erect the flagpoles should be completed within four months.