Alliance Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown has successfully proposed a public consultation into the removal of all flags on public property throughout the city.
Botanic Councillor Mr McDonough-Brown was speaking after members of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee backed the idea, agreeing to consult with members of the public on the issue. Further details of the consultation will be discussed and revealed at a later date. The decision will need to be ratified by full Council next month.
“The unregulated and illegal flying of flags from lampposts is without doubt a significant issue for a lot of people living and working in Belfast, judging by the volume of correspondence we receive as elected representatives,” he said.
“Flags are often displayed as symbols of marking territory in the community, intimidating residents and visitors, and can even impact businesses’ ability to trade. However, a shared future does not mean a neutral, nondescript future. The right to display legal emblems and flags in a safe and respectful manner is a legitimate way to express your culture.
“Therefore we need to get the views of the public on this issue. It is not good enough for the Council to attempt to take action on an ad hoc basis as flags go up. Alliance previously tried to seek a resolution to this in the Assembly, however, the collapse of power-sharing means a stop has been put on that. It is important therefore as a Council we step up and seek an answer, while giving an opportunity for everyone in the community to be heard on it.”