Will Mid Ulster Council fly Union flag to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday?

Mid Ulster council logo
Mid Ulster council logo

The DUP is hoping Mid Ulster Council will break its ‘no flags policy’ and mark the Queen’s 90th birthday next month by hoisting Union Jacks on all its buildings.

The party has tabled a motion for discussion at tomorrow night’s monthly meeting in Dungannon calling on the council to recognise this “historic milestone” in the reign of Her Majesty.

They want the nationalist controlled council to raise the flag on June 11 - the Queen’s birthday - in line with the government’s designated days for Union flag flying.

Mid Ulster Council’s strict no flags policy was put in place last year despite objections from Unionist councillors.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s debate, the DUP council leader Councillor Paul McLean said he did not think his colleague Councillor Clement Cuthbertson motion, should cause any controversy.

“It is an opportunity for Republicans and nationalists to make a non-biased decision on something which is important to the minority Unionist community,” he said, stressing the motion would be a test.

He was of the opinion that all parties should be able to support Councillor Cuthbertson’s motion.

“Sinn Féin shouldn’t have any problem supporting it given the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has personally met Her Majesty and shaken her hand,” he added.

But Sinn Féin Councillor Brian McGuigan said the council’s position was that no flags be flown on its buildings.

“That is the position and I can’t see the council stepping away from that or things would be all over the place,” he said.

“The no flags policy was adopted by Magherafelt Council, and I think Cookstown had one and in Dungannon flags were flown on designated days,” he said. “Mid Ulster Council took the position of flying no flags on its buildings.”

Councillor McGuigan said he expected his party would consider Councillor Cuthbertson’s flags motion before the start of tonight’s meeting.

SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney said his party would adhere to the council’s no flags policy.