Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein 'orchestrating campaign to lower Union flag at City Hall'

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Sinn Fein has been accused of orchestrating a campaign of opposition against the flying of the Union flag over Belfast City Hall.

Unionist representatives hit out after nationalist residents submitted letters of objection to Belfast City Council's chief executive Peter McNaney raising concerns about the flag and the amount of military memorabilia inside the landmark building.

In July the council agreed to launch a £12,000 probe to look at how often the flag was flown and reassess memorabilia in a bid to make the City Hall a more neutral working environment.

The findings of the Independent Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) will be presented to the council in October.

Geraldine McKee, from the Blacks Road area in the west of the city, wrote to council noting the "in-your-face military emblems".

Jim McVeigh, Sinn Fein leader at City Hall, denied the campaign was manufactured.

"People do feel passionately about the fact that the Union flag is flying over City Hall all year round," he said. "The place is coming down with unionist and British memorabilia. The last EQIA was done seven years ago and things have changed in those seven years."

However, veteran Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers said: "I have no doubt that this is being orchestrated (by Sinn Fein)."

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