Mid and East Antrim Borough Council seeks equality on flags, emblems and disability access

Gregg McKeen. INLT 21-396-PR
Gregg McKeen. INLT 21-396-PR

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee has agreed to Equality Working Group recommendations on flags, emblems, disability access and street naming.

At the meeting, which took place in Larne’s Smiley Buildings on Tuesday October 27, the committee agreed to the Equality Working Group’s recommendation to maintain the ”status quo” on emblems in council chambers, meaning that a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen will remain in all council chambers.

The move will see the portrait of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh continue to hang in Larne and Carrickfergus, with the portrait of the Queen remaining in the Ballymena chamber, for the remainder of the current council term.

According to a council report, the decision “should be subject to equality screening, and re-addressed after the compleiton of the first full four years term of council.”

The committee also voted in favour of the council’s Chief Executive Anne Donaghy undertaking further research and drawing up a report on the council’s policy on the flying of flags.

In addition, Mrs Donaghy will undertake further research on the council’s corporate pricing, which includes examining differences in the pricing of leisure services and graves througout the borough.

Disability access to council buildings will also be the subject of further research, and a new draft street naming and numbering policy will be drawn up.

Mrs Donaghy and other members of the Equality Working Group are working with equality expert Dr John Kramer, who is providing advice and support.

Speaking after the meeting, Alderman Gregg McKeen said that the moves would help to standardise the provision of council services across the borough.

“Currently pensioners can access Ballymena Leisure Centre for free while they have different allowances at Larne Leisure Centre,” he explained.

“The cost of graves also varies throughout the borough. We are calling for pricing to be made the same across the borough, so people in Larne and Carrick are not treated any differently to Ballymena.

“These equality issues need to be answered to make sure everybody receives equal treatment and services across Mid and East Antrim,” he concluded.