Finance Minister orders removal of union flag from department headquarters

Posted By: January 22, 2017

The Sinn Fein MLA directed officials to have the emblem taken down

Maurice Fitzmaurice. Belfast Live. Saturday, January 21, 2017

Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir has ordered the union flag be removed from his department headquarters.

The Sinn Fein MLA directed officials to have the emblem taken down at Clare House on Belfast’s Airport Road.

It is not clear whether the Union flag flew at the building all year round or on designated days before the new direction.

Asked about reports the flag had been removed, a Department of Finance spokesperson said: “The Flags Regulations (NI) 2000 provided a list of government buildings in which the Union flag shall be flown on the days specified.

“As Clare House is not included in this list, the Minister instructed officials to remove the flag.”

In 2013, then Finance Minister Sammy Wilson ordered the Union flag to be flown at some buildings controlled by the department.

At the time, it was reported the move could cost around £10,000 regarding erecting flag poles and connected work.

In a statement issued at the time, a department spokesman said: “The regulation gives the discretion to fly the Union flag at any other government buildings on specified days, and the Finance Minister has confirmed he wants the department to fly the union flag at buildings where we have premises responsibility.

“Estimated cost per site is £500-£2,000 depending on the complexity of works required at each site – the location of the flagpole, structural issues, site preparation, works required, etc.

“Work should be completed at all sites within four months.”

Belfast Live attempted to contact the Department to clarify some issues after they issued an initial statement, but was unable to do so.