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Stormont tricolour furore: Health and Safety Executive called in

By Noel McAdam

The Health and Safety Executive will be called into the row over the flying of the Irish tricolour at Stormont, it has emerged.

But any examination by it and a potential Assembly probe could be hampered until after the PSNI has completed its investigations into the incident.

The DUP said a meeting yesterday of the Assembly Commission, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of Parliament Buildings, had been unsatisfactory.

DUP commission member Paula Bradley claimed there had been an attempt to hide behind the police investigation into the security breach on the roof which led to the tricolour and an Irish Republic proclamation flag being displayed for around 15 minutes.

The North Belfast MLA is also writing to the Health and Safety Executive questioning whether proper safety logs were kept for workers and others who had access to the roof.

Now the controversy is likely to be debated in the Assembly on Monday after Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister tabled an urgent oral question to the commission.

And the commission, which is chaired by the Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin of Sinn Fein, is also due to meet again on Monday.

Ms Bradley said: "The commission meeting today was entirely unsatisfactory in terms of establishing what action will be taken to investigate this incident.

"If an individual was able to access the roof of any parliament or legislature across the world and erect an unauthorised flag on the building there would undoubtedly be an investigation by both the police and the managing authorities of the building.

"This should be no different in Northern Ireland. It is for the police to decide whether a criminal offence occurred and how they might pursue that."

But Ms Bradley insisted it was for the Assembly authorities to establish the detail of how the security breach occurred.

"There is absolutely nothing to prevent that being taken forward but commission members were told we would be given no information either today or at the next meeting on Monday about the logs for those who entered the building and the construction area or whether all procedures were properly administered.

"I will be writing to the Health and Safety Executive asking them to look into the incident also. There are issues for both the Assembly and the contractor if the proper procedures have not been in place."

Mr Allister said he had formally asked the commission "how a foreign flag came to be flown from Parliament Buildings on June 3 and what investigations have been conducted".

Tracey Brothers, the company that is completing work on the Stormont roof, was yesterday making no comment.

Further Reading

Poll: Should Union Flag and Irish Tricolour both be flown at Stormont?

Irish Tricolour flag pictured flying over Stormont: PUP demand police investigation

Anger over Irish flag at Stormont  

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