Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Robinson's wrong over attack on Alliance

As leader of the Alliance group on Belfast City Council, I refute yesterday's outburst from Peter Robinson and his attack in the Assembly on my colleague, Chris Lyttle MLA (News, February 12).

For the First Minister to accuse Alliance of "cosying up to" and "aligning with" Sinn Fein and the SDLP is a gross misstatement of the facts.

We stated our position on designated days 11 years ago and had no valid reason to change that position in 2012.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP abandoned their long-standing position of flying no flag at the City Hall and supported our position on designated days. This not only signalled a shift in their policy, but was also the first time republicans and nationalists supported the flying of the Union flag.

I can understand Mr Robinson's frustration at how his party mishandled the issue of flying the flag at the City Hall. However, his attack on my colleagues and I is entirely misplaced.

At every opportunity before the city council vote, I made the Alliance position perfectly clear.

I stated that our party policy remained unchanged since 2002 and that we would be proposing and supporting flying the flag on designated days – a view supported by the findings of the Equality Commission.

The Alliance Party group on Belfast City Council holds the balance of power, so it is up to us to make the difficult contentious decisions.

CLLR MAIRE HENDRON (ALLIANCE)

Belfast City Council

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