The 12th Ordinary meeting of the 165th session of the Literific took place on the 19th of December in the Elmwood Hall. It was attended by 85 members and although I had a month to write these minutes I totally did not leave them until the last minute to write and like a load of effort has totally gone into this.
The motion was THW Have a Northern Irish Flag.
It began with an opening address from the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers. She talked about the importance of a united community but in reality I probably couldn’t do justice to her speech anyway. It is available in its entirety online so I think it’s more important to tell you all that I totally offended her with my downright terrible sense of humour. Life tip, don’t ever ever try to make small talk, tell someone to move or make crappy jokes #sociallyawkward.
A preliminary vote was taken with the ayes winning.
I apologise in advance, let’s try and make this quick and painless because in reality all I can remember from that debate is a creepy doll and feelings of shame.
Derek Crosby opened the debate. He argued that the Union Jack and tricolour both cause divides in the community and suggest there is no Northern Ireland. Taking both away would just cover the problem, a new flag is thus needed to unite both communities.
Nigel Macauley opposed this, admittedly with some terrible Irish which I have since corrected him on. He countered that the leadership needed to bring both communities together through a flag does not exist, that both communities are separated at birth and trying to force them together would cause riots. Instead he suggested giving each city its own crest.
Dr Dominic Bryan said that while dealing with the past was more important, a new flag would do little harm. He drew on the power of symbols and how with time it would be possible to relate to them.
Conor Conneally said that flags are boring. He told the House that it wouldn’t please everyone, would be a stressful process and would not unite people. If both flags cannot be flown with both communities respecting each other then there should be none.
Ciaran Gallagher decided that a flag would be a good foundation for progress, for harmony and peace. He commented that a flag is easier to change than the population and it might encourage the idea of a shared past.
Trevor Ringland liked the idea of a flag but determined that now was not the right time and if made would only serve to separate people further. Instead of a flag, he asked that real change be made to tackle sectarianism.
Tina McKenzie said that the people of Northern Ireland are united in character and that the real problem is Stormont. She told the House that politicians wish to promote segregation. She encouraged the people of NI to take it back.
Andrew Carruthers closed the debate, yes, we’re finally at the last speech. While he was sure the idea of a flag was well meaning, he said it was flawed idealism. He said time should not be wasted on a flag but to instead spend time to make real change, that a flag would just distract from the real problems.
The debate then went to the floor. Questions were heard from Brendan Kelters, Marie-Louise Synnott, Cormac Ó Mainnín, Basil McCrea, Katy Waller, Stephen Goss, Paul Shannon, Paul Wyatt, Ross Brown and so many, many other people who left before I got their names or who I forgot to write down. We then went to a vote, there were 34 nays, 4 abstentions and the motion passed with 38 ayes.