Northern Ireland

Phil Flanagan, Sinn Féin, apologises over 'provocative comment'

Phil Flanagan
Image caption Phil Flanagan said he fully accepted the ruling of the Speaker

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has apologised to the Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin for comments he made during a debate last week.

He made the remarks during a debate on the use of the union flag on Northern Ireland driving licences.

Mr Flanagan said that he fully accepted the ruling of the Speaker.

He had been punished by Mr McLaughlin for challenging the authority of the chair.

It was stated that Mr Flanagan would not be called to speak in the assembly until further notice after being found to have made "provocative" comments.

He was found to have challenged the authority of deputy speaker Roy Beggs.

Mr Flanagan, an MLA for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, complained about the way the debate was being chaired after he was interrupted by unionists.

Mr McLaughlin said his party colleague had been provocative.

He said the punishment could be lifted by an apology to the House.

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