A new report on the flags controversy in Northern Ireland has recommended that flags flown unofficially should remain up for two weeks only.

The study, carried out by academics at Queen's University in Belfast, also says that flags like the Union Jack and the Tricolour should only be erected with the consent of the local community.

It says such flags should only be flown to mark significant community dates like 12 July and St Patrick's Day. 

It also recommends that flags should be flown from council buildings on just 18 days a year.  

Three years ago moves by Belfast City Council to limit the number of days the union flag was flown from Belfast City Hall resulted in violent protests by loyalists which cost the PSNI over £20m to police. 

Talks chaired by US diplomat Richard Haas and discussions at Stormont failed to produce a formula to break the flags deadlock.

The proposals are likely to be considered by a cross-party Stormont commission set up to find a way forward on flags and parading.