Pride flag will not fly on Smiley Buildings

Pride flag.
Pride flag.

An Alliance motion to fly the rainbow Pride flag at Mid and East Antrim Council buildings has been defeated by unionist councillors.

It was rejected at a meeting in the council chamber on Monday night by 28 votes to 10.

Larne Lough Cllr Danny Donnelly said that he was “disappointed” that the party’s proposal to fly the rainbow flag at Smiley Buildings in Larne, Carrickfergus Town Hall and The Braid in Ballymena was “defeated by the DUP, TUV and UUP”.

Alliance put forward a motion that the striped rainbow coloured flag be flown to mark “the occasion of Pride” next year, to show support for “equality and acceptance” and in recognition of the contribution to the borough of the LGBT community.

Speaking ahead of the vote, TUV Cllr Timothy Gaston said: “Alliance will bring about a divisive motion which seeks to brand ratepayer funded buildings with the rainbow flag - a symbol which stands for the redefinition of marriage.”

Cllr Gregg McKeen, DUP leader on the local government authority, said: “We don’t condone any form of discrimination against any group or individual within the borough. We feel it would be setting a precedent if we did it for one group. We could become inundated by requests from others.”

The organisers of the recent Larne Pride Festival said: “As disappointing as it may be, it’s only one flag on one building, when we had hundreds of rainbow flags supporting us this year the full length of the Main Street.

“To everyone who voted no, thank you for keeping our cause alive, making it stronger and fuelling our drive and motivation. Without you we wouldn’t need Pride.”