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Stormont flags body costs higher than expected

The Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) was set up in June 2016 by the Executive Office

Stormont flags body costs higher than expected

The Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) was set up in June 2016 by the Executive Office

02 June 2018 Saturday 16:23
Stormont flags body costs higher than expected

The Stormont body set up to examine flags and identity has cost more than half a million pounds so far, according to figures obtained by BBC News NI.

The Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) was set up in June 2016 by the Executive Office. It was meant to report back within 18 months but has yet to finish its work.

The Executive Office said implementation and publication plans will be decided when a report is agreed.

The office told BBC News NI that the total cost for the commission, from when it was set up on 20 June 2016 to 31 March 2018, was £647,094.

About half - £330,020 - has been paid in that period to 14 of the panel's members for remuneration and expenses.

The commission, which has 15 members, is co-chaired by Queen's University academic Dr Dominic Bryan and community relations worker Neville Armstrong.

Seven members were appointed by political parties and eight were drawn from a recruitment process.

Five of those on the panel have links to unionism - it also includes a former Alliance Party special adviser, a former SDLP adviser and a former Sinn Féin councilor.

The only member who does not receive any money is the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MLA Doug Beattie, as he is an elected representative.

The commission was announced as part of the Fresh Start Agreement, negotiated by the Stormont parties in November 2015.

A DUP spokesperson said the commission had an important role to play in providing recommendations relating to the issues it were tasked to consider.

BBC

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