Unionist politicians have said they intend to fight a Sinn Féin attempt to have Union flags removed from administrative buildings in the North. The Sinn Féin proposal is included in the party's programme for government, due to be published next week. Sinn Fein also recommends that where Union flags and unionist emblems like the Crown are not removed or replaced, the Irish tricolour and nationalist symbols should be put up alongside them.

In a separate development, the Democratic Unionist Party has said it is prepared to work with the Irish Government in areas of common interest. The Party's Deputy leader, Peter Robinson, told BBC Radio Ulster that the DUP through the Northern Executive would work for the mutual benefit of people on either side of the border. However, Mr Robinson said he did not see the need for cross border institutions whose only purpose was to bring about a united Ireland. The DUP has said it will not be attending the inaugural meeting on Monday of the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh.