DUP block flying of Rainbow Flag for Pride celebrations on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon civic buildings

Sinn Fein councillors after they won a motion to fly the Rainbow Flag on Civic Buildings in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area
Sinn Fein councillors after they won a motion to fly the Rainbow Flag on Civic Buildings in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area

The DUP has blocked the flying of Rainbow flags on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon civic buildings for the Pride events by using a special 'Call In' procedure.

Branding the move 'disgraceful', Sinn Fein slammed the DUP who submitted the Call In today and effectively put the brakes on the flying of the Rainbow Flag on Saturday to celebrate Pride in the LGBTQ+ community.

Sinn Fein had brought a motion to fly the flag at the last council meeting and won it narrowly after a number of councillors abstained.

However the DUP were angered at the move and launched a bid to have the motion rescinded.

This afternoon, Sinn Féin Group Leader on the council, Cllr. Darren McNally branded the DUP move as 'disgraceful and disrespectful'.

Cllr McNally said: “Moves by the DUP to call in Sinn Féin’s motion to fly the rainbow flag at civic buildings across the area is disgraceful and disrespectful to our LGBTQ+ community.

“This call in came in the final hour - and is an effort to run down the clock on gaining legal advice and securing a special meeting of the council before Saturday.

“It is further evidence of their continued denial of rights enjoyed by citizens elsewhere on this island and in Britain.

“This motion was submitted following full and correct procedures and there is absolutely no adverse impact from flying the rainbow flag.

“We are calling on the Chief Executive to immediately get legal advice and call a special meeting of the council for Friday to ensure the flying of the flag is not unnecessarily delayed."

The DUP group on the council issued a joint statement saying: "The DUP Grouping on ABC Council firmly believes that due process has not been followed in bringing this motion to the Council and we have exercised our democratic right to have the process by which this decision was arrived at scrutinised.

"There are strict guidelines around flags and emblems and we believe the Council has went against its own policies in this regard by failing to carry out equality screening, public consultation and impact assessments on the matter. There has been a lack of discussion around the implications of the decision to fly the flag which requires consideration over an appropriate time period. This is why in our original comments we referred to the motion and it’s presentation to council as ‘haphazard’.

"The powers being utilised by the DUP on ABC Council are legitimate and open to all Councillor groupings and we will be interested in the findings of the subsequent inquiries into these matters."

A Council spokesperson confirmed a 'Call In' had been received.