The Northern Assembly’s governing body launched a fresh effort today to make a decision on whether to ban a controversial Stormont memorial for an IRA woman shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar.
Members of the cross-party Assembly Commission have failed at a series of three meetings to reach agreement on the Sinn Féin plan to commemorate the life of Mairead Farrell since the thorny issue was referred to them last week.
Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann applied to use the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings for an event recognising the life of the convicted terrorist as part of International Women’s Day.
The idea enraged unionists, who lodged protests with the speaker, William Hay, prompting him to refer the matter to the commission.
Farrell , who spent 10 years in jail for bombing a Belfast hotel, was gunned down by the SAS along with fellow IRA members Sean Savage and Daniel McCann in March 1988 as they planned a bomb attack on a military band in Gibraltar.
It is understood the commission is considering whether to introduce a blanket pre-condition for all events staged in the Long Gallery to receive cross community support in the Assembly first.
Sources close to the commission say members are still debating whether political parties had a right to stage events that did not receive such approval in their own private Parliament Buildings offices.