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Summary

  1. The Licensing and Registration of Clubs Bill completed its second stage
  2. Education Minister Peter Weir and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir appear at Question Time
  3. Members discuss the new draft BBC charter
  4. SDLP's Claire Hanna brings adjournment debate on flag-flying in south Belfast

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Iain McDowell

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for today...

    Deputy Speaker Danny Kennedy adjourns the assembly.

    Be sure to join us tomorrow morning at 10:00 for live coverage of the Infrastructure Committee.

    Goodnight for now!

  2. 'I don't see how union flag intimidates'

    Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie "there's only one flag that represents the sovereignty of this country and that's the union flag".

    He says he does not see why anyone would be intimidated by it.

    A man flies a union jack

    However, he accepts that "because I can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't intimidate".

    He says he dislikes seeing union flags in tatters on lamp posts and has removed them in the past.

  3. 'Flags not just a south Belfast matter'

    Green Party MLA Claire Bailey says she believes "that the issue of flying flags in Northern Ireland is not an issue for south Belfast".

    Claire Bailey

    Ms Bailey says she would like to have a full assembly debate and "to have seen a full chamber and a raft of opinion on this".

    She says she thinks there needs to be legislation and that the Loyalist Communities Council has "done far more" to address the issue in recent years than the politicians.

  4. 'Don't stamp out tradition in spirit of neutrality'

    Emma Pengelly of the DUP says "we need to celebrate the richness of our cultural diversity".

    Emma Pengelly

    "Just because you don't have an affinity for a particular tradition should not mean that that should be snuffed out and stamped out in the spirit of neutrality," she says.

  5. 'We view same flags in different ways'

    Paula Bradshaw of the Alliance Party says it is not unusual for flags to be flown right across the United Kingdom.

    Protesters holding union jacks

    However, she says Northern Ireland "is distinct however in that people from different backgrounds can view the same flag in different ways".

    Mrs Bradshaw says she is preparing a private member's bill to establish the right to fly flags with "maximum consensus" and local agreement.

  6. 'MLAs tut-tutting at working class communities'

    The DUP's Christopher Stalford says representatives of other parties "dine out on nothing else" but the issue of flag-flying during the summer months.

    A man holds a union jack

    Mr Stalford says he grew up on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast and that he has no objection to seeing "union flags, Northern Ireland flags and Orange standards" flying in the area.

    He criticises MLAS at Stormont "standing up here tut-tutting at working class Northern Ireland communities who put flags up".

  7. 'Flying paramilitary flags acutely problematic'

    Claire Hanna of the SDLP introduces her adjournment debate on the "irregular flying of flags in South Belfast".

    Ms Hanna says she is "referring not to flags flying from either private residences or public buildings".

    A union jack

    She says that flags representing paramilitary organisations are "most acutely problematic" and "should obviously immediately be removed".

    Ms Hanna says the 2005 Flags Protocol, agreed between the police and various government departments "has been eroded in almost every aspect".

  8. 'BBC pursues left-wing liberal agenda'

    Communities Minister Paul Givan finishes the debate, saying "we are very well served here in Northern Ireland by the BBC... in the round".

    And it turns out he's a fan of one particular wee man from Strabane...

    "Hugo Duncan, I find, presents good value for money and is worth paying the licence fee for," he says.

    Hugo Duncan
    Image caption: Hugo Duncan - "worth paying the licence fee for"

    But he says the BBC "could do more in representing our culture" and says it "pursues an incredibly left-wing, liberal agenda".

    The motion - that the assembly "takes note of the content" of the draft charter - passes on an oral vote.

  9. 'Assemblies should defend under-threat BBC'

    The BBC's independence is "under threat", People Before Profit's Eamonn McCann says.

    "I'm not a starry-eyed, uncritical admirer of the BBC," he says.

    Eamonn McCann

    "But I believe it is a precious asset to our society.

    "Assemblies like this should step forward to defend the BBC."

  10. 'Insomniacs and burglars'? Surely not!

    Speaking of viewing figures, the UUP's Danny Kennedy refers to our very own political round-up programme on BBC Two.

    Danny Kennedy

    "It might be interesting to study viewing figures of Stormont Today for insomniacs and burglars," he says.

    Don't tell presenter Mark Carruthers...

  11. 'Need for BBC to make capital investment in NI'

    Another former culture minister, Nelson McCausland, tells the assembly there needs to be a better focus by the BBC on Northern Ireland, especially in terms of "equitable capital investment".

    A firm supporter of Ulster-Scots culture, the DUP MLA says minority language coverage is an "equality issues and a "human rights issue".

    Daniel O'Donnell

    He accuses the BBC of a bias towards Irish culture and says viewing figures for Ulster-Scots programmes are "actually, in most cases, higher," than Irish language shows.

    He says one exception was a programme in which "Daniel O'Donnell (above) and his country music show goes to Newry."

    But he says that is "probably more a reflection of fanbase" of the County Donegal singer than "a measure of support and interest in the Irish language".

  12. 'BBC protected abusers, not victims'

    Sinn Féin's Carál Ní Chuilín, a former culture minister, says there is a need to look at the BBC's governance "failures" in the past, particularly sexual abuse cases.

    "They looked after the celebrity rather than the victims," she says.

  13. 'BBC more powerful than political parties'

    The BBC is "much more powerful than any political party almost certainly in Northern Ireland and potentially in the United Kingdom", according to the DUP's Christopher Stalford.

    Christopher Stalford

    He goes on to say the BBC has a repsonsibility to represent minority languages, and accuses it of "falling away" with its productions on Ulster-Scots culture.

    He adds that there should be a "greater parity" between the BBC's Ulster-Scots and Irish language programming.

  14. 'Government knows the value of nothing'

    The BBC is "uniquely well respected", says the Alliance Party's Naomi Long.

    Great British Bake off presenters
    Image caption: The Great British Bake Off - moving to Channel Four

    But she says "challenges" are being put in its way by the government, which "appears to want the BBC to be both public broadcaster, and, at the same time, commercially competitive".

    "It seems the government lives up the adage of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing," she adds.

  15. 'Only right we know who earns big salaries'

    The SDLP's Nichola Mallon says "it's only right" that the BBC publishes details of the salaries of its highest earners, an addition that forms part of the new draft charter.

  16. 'BBC must show balance to recognise opposition'

    Ulster Unionist Andy Allen begins his contribution by offering his party's condolences to the family of Paddy O'Flaherty, who died today after a short illness.

    Andy Allen

    He moves on to say the BBC must recognise the existence of an official opposition in the assembly and "balance its reports" accordingly.

    He finishes by saying that his party wants to see a BBC that is "fit for purpose and which meets the needs of the people of Northern Ireland."

  17. 'Give us a proper BBC production centre'

    Jonathan Bell of the DUP says he notes "with a lot of alarm" that the BBC has developed production centres in other parts of the UK "but none in Northern Ireland.

    "I think it's really important for Northern Ireland that we take a strategic approach to supporting the creative industries," he says.

    Broadcasting House, Belfast, in the 1940s
    Image caption: Broadcasting House, Belfast, in the 1940s

    He says a production centre in the region would give licence fee payers a return for their money.

    He adds that there is a "strong argument" for radio services to be "more appreciated by the BBC", particularly in Northern Ireland "where we have an ageing demographic".

  18. 'Charter of little interest of people in street'

    Michelle Gildernew, the Sinn Féin deputy chair of the Communities Committee, says the charter renewal is of "little interest to people in the street".

    Michelle Gildernew

    But she says what will matter to them is that "we have the confidence that the BBC here is well governed" and "maintains its independence from government".

  19. On the agenda: Renewal of BBC charter

    The renewal of the BBC charter, which sets out the future of how the corporation is run, is next up for members to debate in the chamber.

    With the current charter due to end in December, a new draft document was released earlier this year, due to last until 2027.

    BBC Northern Ireland logo

    The new charter would give MLAs a "formal scrutiny role" with regard to the BBC and provide for BBC officials to appear before Stormont committees, Communities Minister Paul Givan says, which would make the corporation "accountable and answerable to this assembly".

    He says Northern Ireland has been "underserved by public service broadcasting spend up to now" and calls for a "greater emphasis" to be placed on "homegrown talent".

  20. 'Can't have Easter holiday without religious respect'

    On the matter of pub opening hours at Easter, Mr Givan make a point that there would not be a public holiday at that time of year without its religious history.

    Christian cross

    "You can't argue we want to avail of the rights of having a public holdiay, which is given to you on the basis of religious belief, but then not expect that in some way there should be respect given to that holiday period."

    The minister moves the bill from its second stage and it is agreed on an oral vote.