Flag reflects sovereignty not identity - Hillis

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The Ulster Unionist Group Leader on Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Norman Hillis, has rejected comments from a Ballycastle councillor in relation to a Council decision to fly the Union Flag all year round at nine locations across the Borough.

Councillor Hillis said: “The fact is that the Council has had a democratic vote and decided that the Union Flag should fly over Council premises throughout the Borough.

“The comments by Councillor Padraig McShane have ranged from hysteria to threats but this is of little surprise given his track record.

“The Union Flag flies to respect and reflect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom in Northern Ireland which was enshrined in the Belfast Agreement. Councillor McShane is confusing sovereignty with identity. His Irish identity is in no way affected by the flying of the Union Flag in the Borough.

“The decision of Causeway Coast & Glens Council is no different to the vote in Belfast City Council which reduced the flying of the Flag from all year round to designated days, or in the new Mid Ulster Council, where a nationalist and republican majority voted to end the practice of flying the Flag on designated days in Dungannon.

“It would be a curious type of democracy which demanded unionist minorities accept democratic council decisions but somehow absolved nationalist minorities from the same requirement.

“The policy must be applied consistently across the Borough, from Limavady in the west to the Glens of Antrim in the east and all points in between.

“We would no more have a different policy for the flying of the Flag than we would seek to implement different charges for common burial fees or refuse collection in neighbouring areas. There is no such thing as a Protestant town or a Catholic town and we would not wish to differentiate. All policies must be applied equally throughout the Borough.”