2 The policy. (EQIA - The Flying of the Union Flag)
2. The policy
On 1 April 2015, local government reform created the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council out of four “legacy” councils. Each of these councils had their own flags policy and practice as detailed in the table below.
Legacy council Current arrangement Detail
Ballymoney Borough Council The Union flag is flown on designated days The policy applies to three Council
and days designated by Her Majesty the Queen. buildings:
The Mayor and Chief Executive have discretion to Riada House, Joey Dunlop Leisure
fly on additional days, for example, death of Centre and the Town Hall.
Coleraine Borough Council The Union flag is flown 365 days a year at Coleraine
Town Hall and the Council Offices at Cloonavin and
during July and August at Portrush Town Hall. The
Council also flies the Blue Seaside Award Flag.
Limavady Borough Council The only flag that is flown by Limavady Borough
Council is the Blue Seaside Award Flag.
Moyle District Council The only flag that is flown by Moyle District
Council is the Blue Seaside Award Flag.
As an interim approach, it was proposed at the Shadow Council’s Governance Committee on 12 February 2015 that these existing legacy Council flag-flying arrangements would roll over to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. A new policy for the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council was then to be developed at a later date.
2015 Notice of Motion
A Notice of Motion was submitted to a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council on 28 April 2015.
The following Notice of Motion was proposed:
“That this Council supports the following policy with regard to the flying of the Union flag in Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Area. Civic Centres and former Centres of local Government (Coleraine Town Hall, Ballymoney Town Hall, Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre – formerly Limavady Town Hall, Portrush Town Hall and Portstewart Town Hall) – 365 Days. Council Admin HQ (Cloonavin) – Working Days and Designated Days plus, including other days at the discretion of the Chief Executive. Council Admin Centres (Riada House, Limavady Council Offices and Sheskburn House) – Working Days and Designated Days plus, including any other days at the discretion of the Chief Executive. This proposal is supported by All members of the DUP, UUP, TUV, PUP and Independent Unionist.”
In accordance with Council policy, the Notice of Motion was referred to the appropriate Council Committee for consideration, and it was therefore placed on the agenda for discussion by the Council’s Corporate Policy and Resources Committee.
The decision of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee on 16 June 2015 was to recommend to the Council that the motion be adopted as Council policy subject to the requirements of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The minutes of the meeting of 16 June 2015 were subsequently ratified by Council on 28 July 2015. At both the 16 June and 28 July meetings, an amendment proposing a policy of the flying of no flags on any Council buildings in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area was proposed and lost.
A screening exercise of the proposed policy was carried out, which resulted in a recommendation that an EQIA be undertaken with regard to the proposed flags policy. However, it did not progress until the present motion was proposed on 4 May 2021 and adopted by Council on 5 October 2021.
2021 Notice of Motion and proposed flags policy
A Notice of Motion proposing a revised policy and procedure to fly the Union flag on Council buildings 365 days a year subject to consultation was presented at the Council’s meeting on 4 May 2021 and referred to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee meeting on 25 May.
The Council then ratified the following Notice of Motion at its meeting on 1 June 2021:
“That this Council falls in line with the new guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to have the Union flag flown on Council and Civic buildings every day (365 days). Therefore the following buildings would fly the flag in accordance with this policy; Coleraine Town Hall, Cloonavin Council Headquarters, Limavady Office (Connell St), Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Ballymoney Town Hall, Riada House, Portrush Town Hall and Portstewart Town Hall.  This list of buildings will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. The Union Flag is the National Flag of the United Kingdom, and it is so called because it embodies the emblems of the constituent nations united under one Sovereign – the Kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Northern Ireland”
The motion was followed by a Call-in Notice which expressed an objection under Section 41(1)(b) of the 2014 Local Government Act, that is that the “decision would disproportionately affect adversely any section of the inhabitants of the district”. The Call-in Notice stated that:
“This decision disproportionately impacts a section of the inhabitants of the council area, namely those who reside within the council area who do not feel represented by the Union flag […] Some inhabitants of our Council area, those who use, visit and work in the council buildings are adversely impacted by this motion and may be made to feel uncomfortable, unrepresented and deterred from using public buildings as a result of this motion.”
The Motion was reconsidered by the Council in accordance with the Local Government Act and adopted on 5 October 2021 with a vote of 20 for and 11 against.
In relation to the issue concerning ‘This list of buildings will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.’ The Council has confirmed that, ‘There is a possibility that the Council estate may change and may trigger a review of flying the Union flag on its estate. This will necessitate an equality screening at that time”
Alongside arrangements for the flying of the Union flag, in February 2016 the Council agreed to fly the Armed Forces Flag at Coleraine Town Hall for one week following Armed Forces Day.
In August 2021 the Council also agreed to fly the official flag of the “Emergency Services Day” at Cloonavin (Council headquarters) along with the Union flag on 9 September annually.
 Portstewart Town Hall is no longer part of the Council estate and has been removed from the list.