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Removal of portrait of Her Majesty The Queen from NIO is outrageous – Lord Rogan

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Rogan has stated that the removal of Her Majesty The Queen`s portrait from the Northern Ireland Office is outrageous and demonstrates how the mandarins running the NIO have lost the run of themselves.

Lord Rogan said:

“Unfortunately the answer to my questions supplied by the NIO was light on detail and conspicuously avoids answering my original questions. All they have done is create more suspicion about their motivations and actions. It gives the impression that they have something to hide and would seem to confirm that Royal portraits have been removed from Stormont House. This is outrageous. It is political correctness gone mad.

“The vast majority of people will – like me – be wondering just how we have reached the ridiculous stage where a Government department - the NIO - feels it cannot display a portrait of the Head of State.

“The NIO is an office of Her Majesty`s Government and to suggest that a portrait of the Queen or Royal Family cannot be displayed within its walls demonstrates how much the mandarins who run the NIO have lost the run of themselves in a foolish attempt to appease republicanism. I will continue to ask further questions to get to the bottom of this.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

Question from Lord Rogan to NIO

Question:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any reports that civil servants in Northern Ireland have been offended by portraits of the Royal Family in (1) the Northern Ireland Office, and (2) the Northern Ireland Assembly; and if so, how many civil servants have made such complaints. (HL17174)

Tabled on: 15 July 2019

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria are used to determine which portraits are displayed or removed in (1) the Northern Ireland Office, and (2) the Northern Ireland Assembly. (HL17173)
Tabled on: 15 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any Northern Irish civil servants received compensation for offence caused by portraits of the Royal Family; if so, how many; and in each case, how much compensation was awarded. (HL17175)
Tabled on: 15 July 2019

Answer:
Lord Duncan of Springbank:

The Northern Ireland Office takes its responsibilities under Fair Employment legislation very seriously and seeks to ensure a good and harmonious working environment for all staff; the requirements of which are set out in the 1989 Fair Employment Code of Practice.

In line with the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland’s Guide, Promoting a Good and Harmonious Working Environment, the Northern Ireland Office is sensitive to the display of “posters, pictures, portraits or other displays that are more closely associated with one or other of the communities” and will consider any concerns raised by employees. I can confirm that the department takes steps to ensure no such images are displayed in Stormont House.

Information on employees’ personal data is sensitive, in order to comply with DPA requirements, and so I am unable to comment further. In line with the rest of the Civil Service, our staff need to be able to raise concerns in a confidential manner and without fear of repercussions.

In relation to the Northern Ireland Assembly, I would refer the noble Lord to the Clerk/ Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Date and time of answer: 23 Jul 2019 at 16:47.

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