Northern Ireland news

Queen Elizabeth's portrait back on display at Stormont House

Secretary of state Julian Smith has a photo of the queen in his private office at Stormont House

A PORTRAIT of Queen Elizabeth has been put back on display at Stormont House after being removed in the summer.

The Northern Ireland Office conducted a review into why the image of the monarch was taken down at its Belfast headquarters.

Secretary of State Julian Smith requested the internal review after a row over images flared.

In July, Lord Maginnis, the former Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said a senior civil servant was handed £10,000 in compensation because he was offended at having to walk past the painting.

The employee is understood to have been consulted about what image should be displayed instead, and suggested one of the Queen meeting Martin McGuinness.

Pictures of the Queen were subsequently removed.

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey said he raised the issue with Boris Johnson during a visit to the north and said the prime minister "looked a bit shocked".

Fellow Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan described it as "political correctness gone mad".

The NIO confirmed today that the image was again on display in the public area of Stormont House.

A spokesman added that the portrait was being displayed "alongside a balanced set of images celebrating and reflecting the work of the Northern Ireland Office".

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Rogan said it still leaves the question of why it was removed in the first place unanswered.

 

“I welcome reports that the queen`s portrait has been restored to its proper place in Stormont House. I am glad that some common sense has been applied.

 

“It`s a pity that the common sense which now appears to have been applied to this issue hadn`t been on display in the first place and could have avoided the embarrassment heaped on the NIO.

 

“However it still doesn’t answer the question about why the queen`s portrait was taken down in the first place."

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