Union Flag query over police games

Union flag
Union flag

TUV leader Jim Allister has accused the culture minister of dodging a question about whether the Union Flag will be flown to represent the Northern Ireland team at the World Police and Fire Games.

Mr Allister tabled an assembly question to Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, asking her “whether the Union Flag will be flown to represent the Northern Ireland team when national flags are being displayed?”

The minister said the content of the opening ceremony was still under development.

“The World Police and Fire Games Company are working closely with my officials to ensure the opening ceremony is inclusive and agreed,” she said.

But Mr Allister said: “Going on past form we know that when Sinn Fein start talking about inclusion it all too often means that they are trying to strip any elements of Britishness away.”

UKIP MLA David McNarry was critical that officers are to be allowed three days’ paid leave to take part in the games, saying they should compete “for the love of the game” and that budgets are very stretched.

The Fire Service said 222 staff were taking part but a Department of Health and Public Safety spokesman said it had been given assurances that service delivery will not be interrupted.

The PSNI said 327 officers are taking part subject to operational commitments, but that many of them are retired. PSNI officers who are members of the athletic association may be entitled to up to three days’ leave and others may apply for leave for other sports. The Prison Service said 22 officers have applied for up to three days’ leave.