Assembly Commission Agrees To Implement Recommendations For Flying The Union Flag From Parliament Buildings

Session: 2014/2015

Date: 17 June 2015

Reference: AC 04/14/15

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission today agreed by majority that it would implement the recommendations contained in the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) review of the policy of flying the Union flag on Parliament Buildings.

The Union flag will now be flown from Parliament Buildings on designated days as defined by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (currently 18 days per annum). This is an increase of three days on the current policy. 

The full EQIA Final Decision Report is available on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Following the Assembly Commission’s agreement to review the policy on the flying of the Union Flag from Parliament Buildings and to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA), a full public consultation on the policy was held from 27 October 2014 to 2 February 2015.  This consultation was facilitated by independent consultancy company, Policy Arc Limited.

An equality impact assessment (EQIA) is a detailed analysis of a policy to determine to what extent a policy could impact upon the groups within the nine equality categories listed in section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and whether that impact is adverse. 

Commission Member Judith Cochrane MLA put forward a proposal to fly the Union flag on designated days as defined by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as recommended in the EQIA Report.

Commission Member Paula Bradley MLA put forward an amendment that the Union flag be flown 365 days a year. The amendment was voted on and the results were as follows

For:

Paula Bradley MLA            40 votes

Sam Gardiner MLA            13 votes

Total:                                  53 votes

Against:

Caitríona Ruane MLA        28 votes

Pat Ramsey MLA               14 votes

Judith Cochrane MLA        11 votes

Total:                                  53 votes

The Speaker exercised his casting vote against so the amendment was not accepted.

The proposal was then voted on (i.e. designated days as defined by DCMS).

For:

Judith Cochrane MLA       11 votes

Sam Gardiner MLA           13 votes

Paula Bradley MLA           40 votes

Total:                                 64 votes

Against:

Caitríona Ruane MLA         28 votes

Pat Ramsey MLA                14 votes

Total:                                  42 votes

The proposal was therefore accepted.

The Northern Ireland Assembly will now follow the arrangements for the flying of the Union flag from government buildings as defined in DCMS. They are:  

  • 9 January Birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge
  • 20 January Birthday of the Countess of Wessex
  • 6 February Her Majesty’s Accession
  • 19 February Birthday of the Duke of York
  • 09 March Commonwealth Day
  • 10 March Birthday of The Earl of Wessex
  • 17 March St. Patrick’s Day
  • 21 April Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
  • 9 May Europe Day
  • 2 June Coronation Day
  • 10 June Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh
  • 13 June The Queen’s Official Birthday
  • 21 June Birthday of the Duke of Cambridge
  • 17 July Birthday of the Duchess of Cornwall
  • 15 August Birthday of the Princess Royal
  • 8 November Remembrance Day
  • 14 November Birthday of the Prince of Wales
  • 20 November Anniversary of Her Majesty’s Wedding Day

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