Northern Ireland

Council committee back staff Easter Lily move

Derry and Strabane council is expected to ratify a committee decision to allow staff members to wear Easter lilies
Derry and Strabane council is expected to ratify a committee decision to allow staff members to wear Easter lilies

A council is set to introduce a policy allowing staff members to wear the Easter Lily.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane council’s governance committee yesterday.

The decision will now be brought before full council in the coming weeks where it is expected to be ratified.

If the move receives backing it is believed to be the first time a local authority will make the option of wearing an Easter Lily official policy.

The emblem, based on the whit Lily flower, is traditionally worn by republicans at Easter to remember Irish men and women who died during the 1916 Rising and subsequent conflicts.

It is understood council staff will also be allowed to wear the poppy emblem, which is worn in the run up to Remembrance Sunday each year in memory of British soldiers killed in various conflicts.

It is understood the lily motion was first brought forward by independent councillor Paul Gallagher two years ago.

Since then it has been considered by a working group and the Strabane based councillor says advice has been sought from the Equality Commission.

Mr Gallagher last night said his motion “was about inclusivity”.

“It is historical and ground breaking that it would be the first council in the north to allow staff to wear the lily,” he said.

“The Equality Commission said throughout the consultation that if council was to support this it would be very progressive."

UUP councillor Derek Hussey last night said unionists are concerned “at the equating of the Easter Lily with the poppy”

“The poppy should be separate from conflict related issues and the Easter Lily can be related to a conflict scenario”.

Mr Hussey said it was more appropriate to equate the Easter Lily with the Orange Lily - a symbol linked to the Orange Order.