Discussions that could see the union flag removed from the City Hall are currently under way at Belfast City Council. An equality expert has submitted her reports on the flying of the flag and the displaying of memorabilia at the city centre building to the Council for discussion.
Denise Wheatley, an expert in equality policy, found that it was “acceptable and appropriate” for the Council to fly the flag at City Hall, but suggested that there should be no union flag flown at the Ulster Hall or the Council's Duncrue complex. With regard to City Hall, she put forward four potential options, including no flag at City Hall; two flags – the union flag and the Irish tricolour; a civic flag; or the flying of the union jack on named days of the year.
The reports and their options are currently being examined at Council and will then go out for public consultation, although no date has yet been set. Sinn Féin’s Jim McVeigh confirmed that the reports are currently being discussed.
“I wrote to the Chief Executive and asked for two EQIAs [Equality Impact Assessments] to be carried out, one on flags and one on memorabilia,” he said.
“We received the reports and they are currently under discussion. Due to the sensitivities involved, I do not want to elaborate on the detail.”