MoD asks council to fly Armed Forces flag for a week

Belfast City Council

The Ministry of Defence has asked Belfast City Council to fly a flag to mark Armed Forces Day.

However, the letter from the MoD, which asks for the flag to be flown for a full week, arrived too late to be discussed by the full council.

Armed Forces Day is on Saturday, 30 June. It is aimed at demonstrating support for Britain’s armed forces.

2012 will be the fourth year of the event.

In previous years, Belfast City Council has flown the Armed Forces Day flag for one day only, although there was no consensus between political parties on the issue.

General Sir David Richards from the Ministry of Defence wrote to councils across the UK asking them to fly an Armed Forces Day flag from Monday 25 June.

However, although the letter was dated 2 April 2012, Belfast City Council did not receive it until 11 June.

The full council is not scheduled to meet before 30 June, so a council committee has been tasked with coming to a decision on the flying of the flag.

DUP councillor Lee Reynolds said his party will be supporting the MoD’s request, as they have done in previous years.

He said it was wrong to presume that the flag would cause offence to nationalists.

“There has been increasing recognition of nationalism’s role in the armed forces, ” he said. “We would like to encourage that”.

However, the Sinn Fein leader on Belfast City Council, Jim McVeigh, said he would be unhappy for the flag to fly for even one day.

“This isn’t Manchester or London,” he said. “The British Army have played a divisive if not a malign role here in Northern Ireland“.

He said everyone was entitled to remember their dead and pay tribute but that now was not the time.

“Many in the nationalist community would find this offensive”, he said.

Some other councils in Northern Ireland, including Derry City Council, did not receive any request to fly the Armed Forces Day flag this year.

Police stop protest republicans

Republicans were protesting over the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag

Republicans were protesting over the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag

Republicans who were intending to protest at an event celebrating Armed Forces Day at Belfast City Hall were stopped by police.

A crowd of about 50 people walked down Castle Street in the city centre, where they were blocked by officers in riot gear on Saturday morning.

The police said that because the group stepped onto the road their protest became an “illegal parade”.

The crowd dispersed a short time later after some shouting.

The republicans were protesting over the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag at City Hall.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : BBC NEWS NI.

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One comment on “MoD asks council to fly Armed Forces flag for a week

  1. […] MoD asks council to fly Armed Forces flag for a week (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com) […]

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