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The DUP has a TUV plan in place to fly the Union Flag daily on all public buildings and war memorials in Ards and North Down Borough.

At the Council’s monthly corporate services committee, the DUP made an amendment to a motion from the TUV, effectively delaying the new flag proposal to assess “the potential risks of screening for equality.”

The TUV motion, put forward by the only party councilor in Borough Stephen Cooper, proposes a new policy of displaying the union flag on all council buildings and war memorials 365/6 days a year. He also proposes that the Union flags be half-masted on the death of any member of the Royal Family or of the British Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The current system flies the Union flag permanently only at seven designated sites: Castle Park, Bangor; Conway Square, Newtownards; Ballygowan War Memorial; le Carré, Comber; the Maypole, Holywood, the Moat, Donaghadee and Queen’s Hall, Holywood. He only flies on designated days, currently 15, at Church Street, Newtownards.

Councilor Cooper said the TUV proposal followed current advice from the UK government, after the Whitehall Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport issued new guidelines in the spring saying the flag should fly all daily on all UK government buildings, including council buildings.

He said: “I understand that there will be an attempt to assess the impact on equality, and that’s fair enough. This advice has already set a legal precedent by taking an EQIA and then doing whatever we wanted in a democratic vote, referring to the plaques in Donaghadee. It has nothing to do with unionism, it is our national flag.

He added: “The excuse used by the Alliance Party at Belfast City Hall was that we should abide by British policy, so I sincerely hope tonight that there is consistency and consistency. transparency on the part of the Alliance, that it should be a UK-wide policy to be adopted. “

DUP alderman Stephen McIlveen proposed an amendment which was adopted with the support of his party, the UUP and the Alliance, by 11 votes to three.

He is pressing; “A debate on this issue is postponed until a report is made available to members on the current position of flag policy in the borough, with advice and guidance on the flapping of flags on the council buildings and other council property, and the process to be followed if this motion passes.

He also asks the report to give a full count of the public buildings that should fly the flag and the costs that this would entail. Finally, the amendment asks “the potential risk associated with a full EQIA” of the proposed new flag policy.

Alderman McIlveen said, “We envision a policy change that we voted on only a year ago, and at the end of it we have followed an informed process. It is probably fair that if we are to come to a flawless decision that we make an informed decision about it, and that is why I am asking that the report be reported.

“This will be one of those situations that I can predict where positions will be set out during the debate that may or may not be correct, and I think it’s probably best to use a fact base as a starting position before. we.”

Councilor Cooper responded, “I can’t understand how a trade unionist wants more delay and more reports and some kind of informed process. There is nothing more informed that you need than the motion before you – that is to adopt the flutter of our national flag as proposed by the British government. “

He added: “What risk are we talking about exactly? We all know where the municipal buildings are. Any evaluation of equality will come back with what it brings. It is up to us, as elected representatives, to make a decision as we see fit. “

He said: “I could be cynical and say it might be appropriate or practical to delay until May with other reports, get bored and linger.”

Alliance adviser Nick Mathison said: “Our party’s position to fly the flag on designated days is well established, and I need not repeat these arguments. I think it is important that when we have a debate on this issue, he is well informed and that we have the right information in front of us to make a decision.

“There is undoubtedly a risk exposure to the board if we were to take the path that Councilor Cooper is proposing in this motion, as an employer. “