The 12th Ordinary meeting of the 165th session of the Literific took place on the 19th of December in the Elmwood Hall. It began with an opening address from the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers. She talked about the importance of a united community – her entire speech is here as we probably could not do it justice.
Derek Crosby, Dr Dominic Bryan, Ciaran Gallagher and Tina McKenzie spoke in proposition of the motion. Crosby argued that the Union Jack and tricolour both cause divides in the community and suggest there is no Northern Ireland. Dr Bryan said that while dealing with the past was more important, a new flag would do little harm. Mr 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. Tina McKenzie, NI21, 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.
Nigel Macauley, Conor Conneally, Trevor Ringland and Andrew Carruthers all spoke for the oposition. Macauley countered the idea that 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. Conneally said that flags are boring and if both flags cannot be flown with both communities respecting each other then there should be none. Mr Ringland stated that instead of a flag, he asked that real change be made to tackle sectarianism. Carruthers agreed that 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.
We then went to a vote, there were 34 nays, 4 abstentions and the motion passed with 38 ayes.