Naomi Long MP said:”The flying of flags is a sensitive issue in a divided society and as we try to resolve it, there are important principles which need to be considered including reflecting the constitutional position, mutual respect and, crucially, building a more united community.
“After last year’s vote by Belfast Council, there was talk by unionists of a legal challenge and suggestions that they would push for the flag to be flown 365 days a year at Councils which are under unionist control and which had, under the same advice, previously opted for a designated days policy. However, one year on, there has been no legal challenge and Councils, such as Lisburn and Craigavon, continue to have designated days as their policy, because those parties know that it is the most legally viable option.
“It has also been supported by a number of Unionist parties at various points over recent years, making their current opposition to it all the more manufactured.
“We want to see the issue of flags resolved across all Councils ahead of the reorganisation of local government, in order that the issue of flags does not become a distraction from the important business they need to address. The current Haass talks provide an opportunity for us to do this comprehensively and the poll makes it clear that if parties are interested in promoting the common good, a solution based on designated days is the most viable way forward.”