Orange lily request plants seeds for formal guidelines

By Paul Ainsworth

A ROW over using the floral display at Ormeau Park to mark special occasions has forced Belfast City Council into drafting guidelines for future requests.

A recent application by the Ballynafeigh Orange Hall to plant flowers in the design of a large Orange Order lily symbol raised concerns over its impact in a ‘mixed area’, and sparked debate at city hall between unionist and nationalist councillors.

Following the request, the council admitted there was “no guidance” on dealing with such requests, and are drawing up a list of “principles and conditions” in order to filter out unreasonable requests and make sure only “bona fide” charitable, voluntary or community organisations could ask for flower displays.

The rules will relate to all council property, while the Ormeau Park is expected to be in demand as it features one of the most visible flower beds in the city, where it fronts onto the busy Ormeau Road.

Plans for the conditions include a five-year gap between displays from any one organisation, and ensuring a “significant proportion” of locals view any display as being important to them.

Local SDLP Councillor Claire Hanna told the South Belfast News she welcomed the guidelines, stating they should help prevent future rows over the issue at City Hall.

“We are in full support of this, as the last thing ratepayers want to hear is a ding-dong every week at council over flower bed requests,” she said.

“It is also important at a time when we are seeing so many centenary events coming up, and should help us with future issues which could otherwise have proved difficult.”

 

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