The deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in regards to the flag vote at Belfast City Hall must be highlighted so that we can focus on the real issues facing Northern Ireland.
In her letter (January 30) Pauline Armitage repeats the false claim that “Alliance voted with Sinn Fein to remove the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall”.
It is a matter of factual record that an Alliance submission brought about a principled compromise on the flying of the Union Flag by pushing the long-held designated days policy of my party.
If anything, Alliance saved the Union Flag from being taken away completely by getting Sinn Fein and the SDLP to vote for our amendment. Reality shows that we have stuck to our robust position of a shared future and respectful society by having a policy of designated days implemented to allow the flag to fly with dignity and respect for all the right cultural reasons.
Pauline’s letter seems rather confused as in one sentence it suggests a special meeting of council for another vote on the matter where Alliance could abstain (this would ultimately give a nationalist victory on the flag issue given they have more councillors) and on the other she claims that Alliance could put the flag back on City Hall.
I’m sorry that she missed the news but Alliance did put the flag on City Hall – on designated days, which is our policy.
One thing that is destined to continue this dispute over flags for a protracted period is if people can’t even discuss the facts as they stand.
We need to discuss in a sensible, forward-moving manner as to how we resolve the underlying issues in a serious manner without the political posturing and finger-pointing. Unionism needs real leadership that doesn’t disenfranchise those it claims to represent.
Campaigns officer, Alliance Youth