Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

While Allister talks, DUP acts on flags issue

The DUP started and led the campaign for increasing the number of days on which the Union flag flies at Parliament Buildings. Therefore, it is extremely disingenuous for Jim Allister to attack it on the matter (News, January 30).

Jim Allister should know that unionists did not have sufficient support on the Assembly Commission to fly the Union flag on Ulster Day.

DUP MLA Jonathan Bell raised this matter as a point of order, saying: "Although there were tens of thousands of Union flags there on the day, the Union flag was not flying above this building, which concerned many people. The Democratic Unionist Party opposed the Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order 2000, which designated 17 days. There should be an additional day for Ulster Day and I would like the support of the House for Northern Ireland Office legislation, under the Secretary of State, to ensure the Union flag flies above this building on these significant days."

The voting arithmetic of the commission is 55 unionists, 43 nationalists and nine others.

Two UUP MLAs have already indicated that they wouldn't vote for a 365 days a year proposal.

While Jim Allister has been sounding off, the DUP has been working to further our objective of increasing flag days. When the commission met on Wednesday, it was discussed and a further meeting takes place next week.

PETER WEIR (DUP)

MLA for North Down

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