Union Jack motion defeated
Speaking on Monday, 5 June, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
welcomed the first Assembly sitting since the suspension of the
political institutions by Peter Mandelson in February.
Adams said: ``We are pleased to finally be getting back into
dealing with the issues that directly affect the lives of people
throughout the north. We have lost three important months. Sinn
Féin will play a central role in the creation of a just society
where mutual respect, equality and peace are fundamental rights.''
The first day was taken up with ministerial statements and the
first stage of a number of Bills. The most significant of these
was the Appropriation Bill, setting out the mechanism
distributing funding allocations to the various departments in
accordance with budgetary plans and financial estimates. Assembly
members approved the first stage of the Bill, releasing funding
for departments before the end of the summer recess.
Total public expenditure in the Six Counties this year will
amount to £7.8 billion, £4.3 billion of this now requires
The DUP's Sammy Wilson, recently elected Lord Mayor of Belfast,
accused Sinn Féin Education Minister Martin McGuinness of
``boasting'' to schoolchildren about his time on the run and
demanded assurances that this would not be repeated. Replying,
McGuinness said he had never boasted about this to
schoolchildren, that he had discusssed it with one reporter and
he pointed out that he was on the run from British forces who
sought to intern him without trial and that the RUC had no charge
On Tuesday, a DUP motion seeking to impose the flying of the
British Union Jack flag over the Assembly at Stormont and over
all Executive buildings on designated days was defeated following
a debate. To succeed, the motion would have required majority
support among both nationalist and unionist representatives.
SDLP Minister Sean Farren said that he would support the status
quo until a common emblem was agreed and that he would fly the
Union Jack from his department on designated days.
Mary Nelis, Sinn Féin Assembly Member for Foyle, said the DUP
motion was designed to stop the implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement and parity of esteem for all.