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Sinn Féin 'flag up' inequality at Ballymena Council

9 February, 2006

Ballymena Sinn Féin Councillor, Monica Digney, has said that she is determined to bring the Equality Agenda into play at Ballymena Council. Her comments come as the Council prepares to complete an EQIA (Equality Impact Assessment) into the display of 2 flags and a portrait of the British Monarch in the Council Chambers.

Cllr Digney said:

"After my appointment to Council last year I immediately raised with the Council the issue of inequality within the Council Chamber. The display of a portrait of the British Queen alongside both the Union Jack and the Unionist state flag reflects the identity of the Unionist community but there is nothing in the Chamber to reflect ratepayers of a nationalist/republican persuasion.

"This Council is run using the money of ratepayers from across the entire community, not just one particular political or religious persuasion, and Council must take steps to address this. The Council must subscribe to either Equality or Neutrality when it comes to issues like this and I would expect the Council's EQIA to reflect that.

"The Council must take steps to improve its image in terms of equality and tackling the issues of flags and symbols would be an all-important first step. I was elected on the commitment that I would combat inequality whenever or wherever I come across it and I have already opened a case with the Equality Commission regarding this. If Unionist Councillors are in any way found wanting in terms of resolving this issue that Sinn Féin will not hesitate in taking this case all the way." ENDS

Note to Editors

The Equality Impact Assessment on Flags and Emblems is due to be completed
by the end of March. The consultation documentation was issued by Ballymena
Borough Council on 6th February and the closing date for responses is 24th

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