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Members sought for flags and emblems group

Two Union flags fly over Parliament Buildings at Stormont

RECRUITMENT is under way for members of a new Stormont body that will attempt to address the contentious issues around flags and emblems.

The proposal to establish the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition was included in last year's Stormont House Agreement. Its remit is to focus on flags and emblems, and where required, on broader issues of identity, culture and tradition.

It had initially been hoped the commission would have been set-up by June this year, however, it appears to have been delayed alongside several components of last December's deal.

The eight members appointed by the Northern Ireland Executive through the public recruitment process will be paid £300 a day plus expenses for an anticipated six half days' work each month. A chair and vice-chair will be chosen from the eight appointees, who are expected to be drawn from civic society.

Four of the commission's remaining seven members will be drawn from Stormont's two biggest parties, with the next three largest parties each nominating one member. It has been asked to produce an initial report 18 months from when it first meets.

"The establishment of the commission marks another key milestone in embedding the peace that has been built up over more than a decade and presents a unique opportunity to take a fresh approach to dealing with the complexities of flags, identity, culture and tradition," an advert for the posts states.

Last year's Stormont House Agreement was struck two days before Christmas after weeks of negotiations. Effectively a heads of agreement rather than a detailed accord, in addition to proposing the establishment of a commission for flags and emblems, it also recommended the assembly take responsibility for parades and related protests.

The elements of the agreement dealing with finances and the restructuring of Stormont were superseded by last month's Fresh Start deal.

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