Terms of Reference

The Commission will be established to take forward a programme of work which will include:

  • scoping the range, extent and nature of issues relating to flags, identity, culture and tradition;
  • mapping the benefits and opportunities in terms of flags and related issues whilst also highlighting where challenges remain; and
  • producing a report and recommendations on the way forward.

As part of its role the Commission will:

  • identify and acknowledge the opportunities presented by having a rich diverse community in which cultural expression can be celebrated;
  • consult with the established and new elements of our community;
  • identify key areas of commonality as well as difference;
  • consult with the UK and Irish Governments as appropriate, should its work touch on the expression of sovereignty, national identity and political allegiance in a divided society; and
  • encourage shared learning, active listening and understanding in a meaningful way across traditional boundaries.

It will also examine and seek to co-design with all sections of our community innovative solutions to address:

  • the divisive nature of displays and expression of identity;
  • specific contentious instances-events;
  • sources of conflict which arise in displays and expression of cultural identity and in some cases sovereignty, national identity and allegiance and which compound the reality of living in a contested society;
  • an agreed protocol around public flag displays; and
  • displays and expressions of identity, or objection to such displays and expressions being used to provoke.

Being part of the Commission will allow the opportunity to contribute to a number of shared outcomes:

  • the development of a Community where cultural expression is celebrated and embraced;
  • the development of an open, tolerant and mutually respectful society, which seeks to increase and deepen understanding of differing cultural identities and expressions of these;
  • the development of a shared identity that relies on its mutual interdependencies and seeks to identity areas of common value;
  • an improved approach to dealing with contested displays and expressions of identity;
  • maximise opportunities to achieve significant reductions in manifestations and levels of Hate Crime;
  • the development of a society that can seek to identify areas of commonality and have constructive debate around where challenges remain; and
  • maximise opportunities to promote benefits of diversity and cultural expression.


The Commission consists of 15 members. Seven members are nominees appointed by the leaders of the five main political parties and eight have been drawn from outside of Government.

The Secretariat to support the Commission is provided from within the Executive Office.