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Revealed: the Stormont team who’ll tackle thorny issue of flags and emblems

By Cate McCurry

Published 21/06/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) with joint chairmen Neville Armstrong (second right) and Dr Dominic Bryans
First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) with joint chairmen Neville Armstrong (second right) and Dr Dominic Bryans

A military Cross recipient and a former Sinn Fein Mayor are among the members of a new Stormont body set up to deal with flags and emblems.

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness yesterday announced the membership of the new Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition.

The group will examine the thorny issues of flags and emblems as well as identity, culture and tradition, and was established as part of the Stormont House Agreement.

Its members include Ulster Unionist MLA and former Royal Irish Regiment captain Doug Beattie, who was awarded the Military Cross for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.

He will sit alongside former Sinn Fein councillor and Belfast mayor Tom Hartley.

DUP Assembly member Nelson McCausland, former DUP MLA Ian McCrea and Orange Order worker David Hume will also join ex-republican prisoner Donncha Mac Niallais, travel operator Mukesh Sharma and professor of modern British and Irish history Thomas Hennessey.

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

Other members include Ian Crozier, Richard Good, Dr David Thomas Hume, Dr Katy Radford, David Anthony Robinson, and Carl Whyte. The commission will be chaired by Neville John Armstrong and Dr Dominic Paul Bryans.

Ms Foster said the establishment of the 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 added.

"It 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."

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