Belfast City Hall to fly rainbow flag for the first time

The Rainbow flag will fly at City Hall for the first time amid long-running same-sex marriage debates in Northern Ireland.

rainbow flag waves in front of city call in Pride in Belfast

The Rainbow Flag will be raised at Belfast City Hall in August at the conclusion of the Belfast Pride festival.

The Pride flag first flew from a government building in Belfast in 2017, but this marks the first time it will fly from the prominent City Hall building.

The decision comes amidst long-running debates regarding same-sex marriage, which splits Northern Ireland’s two major parties. Sinn Féin is in support of the introduction of same-sex marriage but the DUP is against it.

Michelle O’Neill, deputy leader of Sinn Féin, said: “It’s fantastic that the pride flag will fly over Belfast City Hall during pride this year. Our LGBTQ+ citizens make a huge positive contribution to the city of Belfast. This decision is an expression of solidarity and diversity that exists in our society today.

“Pride is an enormous day for Belfast — it is both a celebration of our LGBTQ+ community and a protest against the ongoing denial of rights. The LGBTQ+ community deserves full recognition and implementation of their rights, including the right of marriage equality which is available everywhere else on these islands.”

She continued, “As legislators we must put citizens’ rights before our personal beliefs in order to fulfil our public duty and to protect everyone equally before the law.”

The proposal was first brought to Belfast City Hall by Michael Long, an Alliance Party councillor, and it was seconded by his party colleague Emmet McDonough-Brown. Mr Long said that flying the rainbow flag would be a strong show of support for the local LGBT+ community.

The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee (SPRC) approved the move following the results of an equality screening. The screening reported that although attitudes to Pride differed, there were no major negative impacts in flying the flag. The proposal was also backed by the council’s strategic policy and resources committee.

Belfast Pride recently criticised the City Council on Twitter, noting that Pride receives less than 10% of the funding other festivals of similar size receive.

Belfast Pride will take place from Friday July 26 – Sunday August 4 2019.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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