Violent protests in Northern Ireland continue for the 40th day following Belfast City Council's unbelievably ill-considered decision to not regularly fly the Union Jack (also known as the Union Flag--contrary to popular belief, both terms are acceptable and interchangeable).
Belfast City Council lacks the authority to make such a decision in the first place, and had they kept that in mind, the violence could have been averted. They rushed to the short-term, impulsive view--however arguably well-intentioned it was--instead of beginning their thinking with fundamental concepts: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a nation-state and, as its name denotes, includes North Ireland and, as the name denotes, is a monarchy--in this case, a British-style one, which means bound by constitutional laws and precedents.
The violent consequences of the decision belie the value that presumably the council placed on their own supposed wisdom. They ought to have appealed to the Crown to not fly the flag daily, and permission would almost certainly have been granted because neither the Crown nor Her Majesty's Government want trouble in Northern Ireland, and both respect the fact that uncompromising decisions inflame public opinion there. At that point, Loyalist violent protest almost certainly would have been completely headed off. Yes, there would have been Loyalist grumbling (and I think rightly so), but Loyalists could hardly vociferously protest a decision approved by the Crown itself.
It's called the rule of law, and it's where diplomacy ought to start, and decisions about state and national symbols in conflict-torn areas are matters of diplomacy. If you don't like the law, seek to change it--at least at first--but don't just pretend rule of law doesn't exist. The Belfast council no more had the right to make this decision than the council of New York City has the right to decide how the flag of the United States of America is or is not flown somewhere in New York City.
The council should publicly acknowledge its mistake, appeal to the Crown, and the Crown should grant the request as made.