Alliance Party Leader, Sean Neeson, has stated his party’s position on the flying of flags on public buildings. This is in response to a consultation from the Secretary of State with the political parties on this matter.
Sean Neeson said:
“Controversies over flags have the potential to polarise this community. It is incumbent upon all political parties to act responsibly and to avoid making an already divisive issue worse. The current attitudes of the PUP and Sinn Fein are particularly irresponssbile. People surely want more from their politicians than arguments over flags.”
“Alliance believes that a mature approach to flags on public buildings is required. This should involve three elements.”
“First, the flying of the Union Flag on designated flag days should continue as a recognition of the formal sovereign status of Northern Ireland as determined by the Principle of Consent.”
“Second, the Assembly needs to give urgent attention to developing shared symbols, including a flag for Northern Ireland. This is important to both further develop Northern Ireland as a distinct region within the British Isles, and to create a sense of common ownership of the Agreement and a shared destiny among the people.”
“Third, Alliance believes that greater use should be made of the European Flag to reflect the importance of Europe to the future of Northern Ireland.”
“Alliance would be opposed to placing the Union Flag and the Tricolour side-by-side. This would not reflect the current constitutional position, and would in effect suggest a dangerous situation in which the Union Flag is used to represent only the Unionist identity and the Tricolour is used to represent only the Nationalist identity at the expense of all other identities and a shared future.”