Belfast Telegraph

Flags, identity and culture commission costs over £640k since 2016

A working group set up by Stormont to tackle Northern Ireland's issues around flags, identity, culture and tradition has cost over £640k since it was formed in June 2016.

The BBC have reported The Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) has cost £647,094 with almost half of that money (£330,020) being spent on expenses for members of the commission.

The commission, set up as part of the Stormont House Agreement includes members nominated by political parties and others including academics, community workers, Orange Order representatives and business leaders.

It was set up to try and tackle Northern Ireland's cultural and identity issues.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie is the only elected representative on the commission, but does not receive any money for his work.

Other members include foremr DUP MLA Nelson McCausland

A full breakdown of the expenses recieved by members can be viewed here.

The commission was set to report it's findings after 18 months but no date of publication has been set.

In March, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson claimed that he had seen a draft copy of the report.

He claimed the report's proposals include the prohibition of certain materials including flags on bonfires and that Sinn Fein had demanded the tricolour must be flown with the Union Flag on public buildings or no flags should be flown at all.

Mr Bryson claimed that the commission was planning to introduce new legislation surrounding bonfires which would require an application process.

The BBC have said that the publication of the commission's report may been delayed as it can not be signed off due to the lack of a power-sharing Executive at Stormont.

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