Loss of day to fly Union Flag '˜small price to pay' for Brexit

The Union Flag will be flown from government buildings in the UK less often after Brexit, under new proposed regulations.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 7:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 7:34 pm
Europe Day on May 9 celebrates peace and unity in Europe

There are currently 18 designated days when the standard can be erected at full mast in Northern Ireland.

But that number is set to reduce by one, as Europe Day is to be removed from the list from next year.

A DUP MP said the loss of a designated day is a “small price to pay” for leaving the EU.

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Held every year on May 9, Europe Day celebrates peace and unity in Europe.

But it has been decided that Europe Day should no longer be celebrated in Northern Ireland once the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union.

The government has stated that it would be “inappropriate and unnecessary” to retain the legal obligation to observe Europe Day in NI after Brexit.

It added that the proposed regulations, made under the EU Withdrawal Act, would ensure NI reflects the customs and practice of the rest of the UK, as Europe Day will also cease to be a designated day in Great Britain after Brexit.

While DUP MP Jim Shannon said it was “a pity” that the UK would lose one of its designated days, he added: “The day we leave the EU will be a good day for people to fly the Union Flag high.”

When asked if he thought it was ironic that leaving the EU – a move his party strongly supports – would reduce the number of designated days, he said: “Leaving the EU is the ultimate goal and losing a day when the flag can be formally flown is a small price to pay for that.”

Designated days include the Queen’s birthday and Remembrance Day.

Protests sprang up after Belfast City Council voted in 2012 to fly the flag at City Hall only on designated days rather than all year around, as had been done for over a century.

The controversial decision led to street demonstrations across the Province, as well as sparking riots.