Judith Cochrane MLA said: “It is inappropriate for the Assembly Commission to meet in the current context of illegal protests, intimidation and violence. It is also questionable whether the Assembly Commission’s role of putting in place and maintaining the necessary corporate infrastructure to support the Northern Ireland Assembly, extends to deciding a policy for flag flying over Parliament Buildings.
“If this issue must come to the Assembly Commission, it will not be resolved satisfactorily through a forced vote. Instead the Commission must make their decision with respect for diversity. If a consensus cannot be achieved then the Party Leaders should be consulted as they have been on previous contentious issues.
“Although I did not attend the formal meeting today, I do respect the Assembly and its institutions, which is why I held informal meetings with Unionist and Nationalist members of the Assembly Commission. We discussed the process that should be followed to resolve contentious issues and I emphasised to my fellow Commission Members that our role is to serve the Assembly and not individual Parties, and that when making decisions, we should have due regard for equality at all times.”