Belfast Telegraph

SDLP claims seven police officers investigating tricolour on Stormont incident

By Claire Williamson

An SDLP MLA has slammed the police investigation into the flying of the Irish Tricolour over Parliament buildings last week as "scandalous" and that it is turning Stormont into a "laughing stock".

Unionists reacted angrily after an Irish Tricolour was flown from Stormont last week.  

East Derry MLA John Dallat dismissed the incident as a prank and criticised the amount of police resources dealing with the fallout.

It was reported to the PSNI who have started an investigation - Mr Dallat has claimed there are seven detectives investigating the incident.

The roof and fourth floor of Parliament Buildings are currently undergoing construction work and is under the control of building contractors.

In a statement the Assembly said "two flags were flown without permission from the roof" and that it was investigating the incident.

Mr Dallat claimed there are seven detectives investigating the flag incident and that security staff are being instructed to scan workers.

He said: “I have been told that there were seven detectives interviewing workers in Stormont on Friday with an additional three constables bringing in individuals to be interviewed in three locations in the building. This morning I have been told that security staff has been given instructions to scan workers to intercept any other flags which might be weaving their way onto the roof of Parliament buildings.

“These revelations are both laughable and lamentable. With serious crime on the increase, hundreds of murders unsolved across the North and harsh public sector cuts being implemented on the PSNI, having seven detectives tied up investigating a flag is scandalous.

“Too much is being done to placate the calls of some people who simply have no sense of humour. I feel sorry for the workers who have operated in some of the most inclement weather and worked very hard to restore the roof on Parliament Buildings. Perhaps the real problem is that there is no room up on the hill for a little mischief making.”

The Assembly spokesperson said that as soon as they was made aware of the incident the flags were removed.

The PUP called for the police investigation while the DUP wrote to the assembly speaker Mitchell McLaughlin demanding an explanation.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "We do not comment on operational matters, however where Police receive a complaint we have a duty to investigate."

Further reading:

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

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

Stormont tricolour furore: Health and Safety Executive called in


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