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Northern Ireland's first Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition is announced

Published 20/06/2016

First Minister, Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, today announced the membership of the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition.
The Ministers also announced the appointment of Mr Neville John Armstrong, right, and Dr Dominic Paul Bryans, left, as joint chairs.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
First Minister, Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, today announced the membership of the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition. The Ministers also announced the appointment of Mr Neville John Armstrong, right, and Dr Dominic Paul Bryans, left, as joint chairs. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
First Minister, Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, today announced the membership of the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition. The Ministers also announced the appointment of Mr Neville John Armstrong, right, and Dr Dominic Paul Bryans, left, as joint chairs. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

A former army commander and a previous Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast are among the new members of the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition.

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have announced the membership of the new commission.

It includes Ulster Unionist MLA and former army captain Doug Beattie and former Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley, as well as DUP MLA Nelson McCausland,  former DUP MLA Ian McCrea, Professor Thomas William Hennessey, Orange Order worker David Hume, ex republican prisoner Donncha Mac Niallais and Mukesh Sharma.

Ms Foster said the establishment of this Commission "marks another key milestone in the Fresh Start Agreement".

"The Commission presents a unique opportunity to take a fresh approach to dealing with the complexities of flags, identity, culture and tradition," she said.

"The Commission will undertake a very important programme of work and I commend those who are taking an active role in shaping a Northern Ireland free from segregation and division."

Mr McGuinness added: "I welcome the establishment of this Commission which will identify and acknowledge the opportunities of a diverse community in which cultural expression can be celebrated. We must develop a society which is open, tolerant and mutually respectful. This Commission will contribute to this and pave the way for greater awareness and understanding of differing cultural identities."

Neville John Armstrong and Dr Dominic Paul Bryans have been appointed as joint chairs.

The full membership of the Commission is Doug Beattie, Ian Crozier, Richard Good, Tom Hartley, Professor Thomas William Hennessey, David Thomas Hume, Donncha Mac Niallais,  Nelson McCausland, Ian McCrea, Dr Katy Radford, David Anthony Robinson, Mukesh Sharma and Carl Whyte.

Seven members were appointed by the leaders of the political parties and eight were drawn from outside of Government.

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