Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:19 UK

Irish flag unfurled by lord mayor

Tom Hartley
The flag will be kept in the lord mayor's parlour

Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Hartley has unfurled an Irish tricolour in his official office.

It will be kept in the lord mayor's parlour, which is at Clarendon Dock while city hall is being renovated.

Mr Hartley said the move would give parity of esteem to both nationalists and unionists.

The first republican lord mayor of Belfast, Alec Maskey, was the first to place an Irish flag beside the Union Jack in 2002.

"I inherited an office with a union flag in it, so rather than remove the union flag I decided to locate an Irish tricolour in the office," Mr Hartley said.

"I'm hoping to show that it's possible for the mayor of Belfast to act in an inclusive way and to engage with all the citizens of Belfast - principally the unionist and nationalist communities."

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