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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 07:14 GMT
Sinn Fein departments fly Union Flag
Flag flying above Stormont
The issue of flag flying has sparked controversy
The Union Flag was flown over Northern Ireland government buildings run by Sinn Fein ministers on Remembrance Sunday.

Sinn Fein ministers Bairbre de Brun and Martin McGuinness have refused to fly the Union Flag on buildings occupied by their departments on designated days in the past.

They have said they want the Irish tricolour to fly alongside the Union Flag otherwise no flag should fly at all.

But new regulations have been drafted in following the failure of the Stormont executive to agree a compromise on the issue.

Bairbre de Brun
Bairbre de Brun: Refused to fly flag

Sinn Fein have now been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of the Flags Order which governs the flying of the Union Flag over government buildings.

However, both the department of health and the department of education have said they will "comply with the regulations and fly the flag" in the interim.

This meant the flag would be flown on Remembrance Sunday, one of the 17 designated flag days.

However, Ms de Brun said: "The party is taking legal action because it has been forced to do so.

"This should have been dealt with in another way. Peter Mandelson has brought in regulations which, in my view, should not have been brought in.

"We should have had a situation, and I still maintain that we can and should have a situation, where we have either neutrality or equality.That is the way to move forward."

Meanwhile, Tuesday is the Prince of Wales' birthday and another designated day for flying the Union Flag.

But it is not certain if it will be flown over the buildings occupied by the Sinn Fein ministers.

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See also:

08 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Mandelson proposals over flag flying
08 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Committee to discuss flag flying
02 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Tension over flag flying
02 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein criticised over flag stance
04 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
SF expulsion motion fails
06 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
DUP flags motion defeated
04 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Trimble joins Union Flag row
26 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
MPs back new flags law
09 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
'Secret deal' claim over flags
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