Despite insisting they don’t have a homophobic agenda and constantly coming up with excuses for treating the LGBT+ community like second class citizens, the DUP have struck again with unnecessary aims to block the rainbow flag flying over government buildings during Belfast Pride.
The council had planned to make history by flying the rainbow flag over its civic buildings in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, which would have been an important first for the county and a showing of solidarity for the queer community. The historic event had been decided during a council meeting at the beginning of the week when Sinn Fein had raised a motion to give a visual representation of support during Belfast Pride week. It was passed by 12 votes to 11, with DUP councillors all voting against.
With the Belfast Pride Parade due to take place this coming Saturday, the DUP suddenly used a ‘call-in’ mechanism, blocking the raising of the flags. This call in procedure comes about when a decision can be delayed if 15 percent of councillors request it. What would happen then is the council’s chief executive would have 48 hours to seek legal advice before raising the issue again. However, this is Thursday, and no meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.
She stated: “Policy in the ABC council is only to fly the Union and Armed Forces Day flags and colleagues in the council felt this was a ruse by republicans to remove our national flag and it was not about respect or pride at all. Therefore, in that context I do support my colleagues. We should have respect but not if it’s going to be used as a ruse to take down the national flag.”
Catherine Nelson, a spokesperson for Sinn Fein, wasn’t buying it. She told the BBC, “This call-in came in the final hour. The clear intention was to run down the clock, to block the flying of the flag on three civic buildings, a motion that was agreed and passed. It is further evidence of the anti-rights agenda being pursued by the DUP.”
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