Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley said the issue of flags is one of parity of esteem.
The West Belfast MLA was speaking as Sinn Féin, after approaching the SDLP, had jointly issued a petition of concern on amendments to the Local Government Bill on flags.
Rosie McCorley said:
“This is the biggest shake-up of local councils for over 40 years. The new system of local government is equality proofed, has an oversight commissioner and a mandatory code of conduct for councillors. It is about bringing democracy back to the people.
“Amendments on the flying of flags are an attempt by political parties to impose their will on the whole community.
“It goes against the core of the Review of Public Administration (RPA), which is about putting democracy back into people’s hands.
“Flags are an issue of self esteem. The flag at Belfast City Council was dealt with in a democratic manner and unionists are now attempting to impose their will on others, even in councils where they are in the minority.
“Councils need to represent the whole community. There needs to be respect for all traditions, identities and cultures.
“These amendments were not genuine attempts at reaching a resolution to the flag issue.
“The issue of flags was dealt with comprehensively during the Haass process before unionists refused to move forward and instead went back to their trenches.”