Disagreement delays release of Stormont report on flags, identity and culture

Disagreement appears to have halted the publication of a long-awaited report on flags, identity and culture.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 5:22 pm

It follows the setting up of a commission in 2016 to find a way forward on the issues which spark deep division in Northern Ireland.

The commission is understood to have submitted a report to the Executive Office last July. It has not yet been published.

Independent MLA Trevor Lunn asked First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill at the Executive Office committee why the report has not yet been published.

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Mr Givan said he agreed at the Executive meeting on September 23 that the report should be published.

He said he had authorised from “his side of the office” for the committee to receive the report.

“I want to see it released into the public domain… so there is no hold up on my part,” he said.

Ms O’Neill said she also wants to see the report published.

“Where I know the difference is, I also want to see it published in its entirety but I want to see the accompanying implementation reports and how we are going to turn around and deliver on the things that have been asked in the report,” she said.

The deputy First Minister said the previous first minister Arlene Foster had agreed to the publication of both.

“This current DUP First Minister has not got that same view, so the blockage doesn’t lie with me, but certainly that is where I would want us to get to as quickly as possible,” she said.