Can I thank Ian James Parsley for once again highlighting the fact that the Alliance Party is doing all it can to facilitate Sinn Fein and the SDLP’s petty and bitter plans to remove the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall, the Ulster Hall and Duncrue Street.
Despite his furious spinning to the contrary, the facts of the situation are perfectly simple. Firstly if the flag comes down or comes down on all but a few days of the year it will be because that is what the Alliance Party wants to happen. Sinn Fein and the SDLP inside the City Hall have both indicated they are supporting the designated days option: that is a position shared by the Alliance Party.
It is therefore accurate to say that Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance are all singing from the same hymn sheet on this matter.
The recent decision of the policy and resources committee is mere window dressing to keep their hard-line backwoodsmen happy.
This proposed change is unwanted: more than 90 per cent of people who responded to the public survey on the matter said they wanted no change to the current policy. This proposed change is also unmerited: the overwhelming majority of people, including a majority of people from a Roman Catholic community background, said they had no problem with the existing policy. Alliance’s claims that their position represents “mainstream” practice throughout the United Kingdom have also been exposed as falsehoods. If this unwanted, unmerited and unjustifiable change goes ahead, it will be because the Alliance Party wants it. Anything else is a side issue.
Alliance can still do the right thing and I would urge them to do so, but they should be in no doubt whatever that the entire community will know who is responsible for tearing the flag off City Hall, if such a disgraceful act is to occur. Should such a vista become a reality, then unionists will know that, in Alliance’s vision of a shared future, we have no place.
DUP Deputy Group Leader
Belfast City Council