Last night Belfast City Council voted to fly the Armed Forces Flag over the City Hall for six days next week. The Ministry of Defence had written to the Council asking them to fly the flag for six days to mark Armed Forces Day, which is Saturday 30 June. The request came too late to be dealt with at the normal monthly council meeting and so DUP councillors arranged for a special meeting to be held last night so that a decision could be taken.
An Alliance proposal to fly the flag for just one day was defeated and a DUP proposal to fly it for the six days, as requested by the MoD, was then passed with support from the DUP, UUP and Alliance. The SDLP and Sinn Fein voted against the proposal but it was passed since Alliance, who hold the balance of power, voted for the six days.
It is right that the Council in the capital city of Northern Ireland should recognise the service and sacrifice of our armed forces in this way. Last year the flag was only flown for one day, on the proposal of Alliance, but this year when their proposal for one day was defeated, Alliance voted for the six days.