Northern Ireland news

Executive Office urged to publish flags and emblems report

Colin McGrath called for the report on flags and emblems to be made public

THE EXECUTIVE Office is coming under pressure to publish a long-awaited report on flags and emblems.

The call came ahead of today's Stormont assembly debate on flags, identity, culture and tradition.

A report from the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition was delivered to Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill's joint office last July but has remained under wraps since.

The SDLP's chair of the Stormont executive scrutiny committee Colin McGrath called for the report to be made public and for the joint first ministers to "meet their obligations" under New Decade, New Approach by establishing the Office of Identity and Cultural Expression.

He said there was "no excuse for continuing to hold the report in secret".

"If there is any intention to act on the content of the commission's work, it needs to be undertaken before the end of the mandate," he said.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw said the Executive Office's "constant inaction" was allowing the abuse of flags, memorials, language and heritage to continue.

"It is beyond parody £800,000 of public money could be spent on a report for it to lie hidden from public scrutiny and subject to endless, unaccountable working groups," she said.

"Also now concealed in the black hole of the Executive Office is the Office of Identity and Cultural Expression, promised over a year ago but still delayed."

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