Limavady flag row rumbles on

A fresh war of words broke out among Limavady councillors last night as the row over the flying of a Union flag in the chamber rumbled on.

Within seconds of Sinn Fein Mayor Sean McGlinchey opening the monthly meeting, TUV Councillor Boyd Douglas erected a miniature Union flag.

Similar controversial scenes - in protest at the appointment of the former republican prisoner as Mayor - resulted in the meeting being postponed last Tuesday night.

Sinn Fein Councillor Anne Brolly asked the Chief Executive what the legal advice regarding flags and emblems was, resulting in members being locked behind closed doors for almost an hour.

When they returned and the media was allowed back in, Councillor Douglas had removed the flag.

Councillor Brolly said the flag flying should not be allowed to happen again. “We’ll end this one way or another tonight,” she said.

SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan said he was glad that the “kindergarten antics” were over to some degree, but that he had slight reservations it wouldn’t happen again “and hold this Council to ransom”.

However, Councillor Douglas hit back and said that he was responsible to the electorate and reserved the right to “display the flag of the country”. He said there had been “enough pandering to the media” and council members “should move on”.

Councillor Brolly then put forward a motion saying this shouldn’t be allowed to happen every month and that the flag be removed in light of the legal opinion. The six Sinn Fein members and the three SDLP members voted in favour of the proposal while the six unionists abstained.

Speaking during a recess, Mayor McGlinchey said he was “not happy” that the flags issue was still not resolved.

Councillor Douglas said if he had “been asked in a reasonable manner” to remove the flag last week he would have done but reserved the right to display it at any time.