Belfast City to fund inclusive Pat's Day

After having cancelled £30,000 of part funding for this year’s St Patrick’s, Belfast City Council is now planning to devote some £70,000 towards providing “an inclusive event in 2006 which could be enjoyed by everyone in the city, whatever their background”. Along with £25,000 that would be £95,000 in total. So, will we see a St Pat’s day, minus the green white and orange themed banners and tricolors? Thanks to reader John for the heads up!

  • slug9987

    Excellent, excellent, excellent.

  • Jo

    It’d be interesting to see how inclusive this can be made. Nelson McCausland has already indicated that those experienced in organising previous festivals have proven that they can’t make this inclusive and therefore should be..er…excluded.

  • Jacko

    Is sanity breaking out at last in Belfast?
    I hope so – great news this.

  • Baluba

    Great news altogether, but have to agree that if the bould Nelson is in charge, you’d have to worry about just how inclusive it will be or what restrictions will be placed on the celebration of Ireland’s national day…

  • Baluba

    Great news altogether, but have to agree that if the bould Nelson is in charge, you’d have to worry about just how inclusive it will be or what restrictions will be placed on the celebration of Ireland’s national day…

    Important not to be too cynical though. What and see with bated breath.

  • middle-class taig

    It will be one of many acid tests as to where we are as a society. A St Patrick’s Day festival without trace of the tricolour would be sick-makingly politically correct. A sea of greenwhitenorange would be a turn-off for unionists. Surely a balance can be found.

  • TAFKABO

    I don’t mind people waving their flag, whatever that may be, as long as they don’t insist on shoving it in my face.

    The Tricolour is but one of the two national flags of Ireland, surely both are acceptable at the parade?

  • Liam

    What would that balance be though?
    Will there be a dispute over the use of green?

  • fair_deal

    If an inclusive event is delivered this is good news

    “A St Patrick’s Day festival without trace of the tricolour would be sick-makingly politically correct.”

    I think this is the first time I think Down District Council has ever been described as politically correct.

  • Young Fogey

    Good news if it comes off, more and more Nationalists are finding St. Patrick’s Day turn into a Twelfth for Taigs and not liking what they see.

  • lib2016

    Could we possibly see the Tricolour and the Union Jack fly side by side in Belfast as they do everywhere else in Europe?

  • will

    y do u need either the Tricolour or the Union Jack? it shd be a day free from politics which it certainly is not at the moment.

  • bertie

    The Union Jack has St Patrick’s cross on it. Very appropriate.
    My late mother would have been delighted. She steadfastly maintained that St Patrick was as much hers as anyone else’s, was not going to let nationalists hijack him and was very annoyed with other unionists for letting them. I used to be the only one in my school who would arrive covered in shamrock on March 17th.

    I could see her being an enthusiastic member of any committee.

  • slug9987

    I think that neither state’s flag should be used at the event.

  • reality check

    Is the twelfth going to be inclusive?are paramilitary flags going to banned at orange parades?doubt it.St pats day is to celebrare irelands saint and the tricolour is part of that.I’ll be flying mine with pride

  • free2016

    The fact is that there is no way the Tricolour can be banned on Paddy’s Day given that the majority of Irish people feel allegiance to that flag. What I’m suggesting is that those Irish people who feel an allegiance to the Union Jack should be extended the same consideration.

  • Will

    the whole idea of the twelfth is to celebrate being part of the united kingdom so ive no problem with union jacks, ulster flags or orange flags being used. I do have a problem with paramilitary flags bein used in the odd case, they shd be banned out right, but the problem comes in trying to inforce this. “St pats day is to celebrare irelands saint” how is using the tri colour part of that? if u are goin to say that why not fly the union jack since it includes st pat cross? St pats shd be a none politcal day and no flags shd be used!

  • middle-class taig

    I could live with that TAFKABO. I would hope, however, that people wouldn’t be bringing Union Jack’s to a St Patrick’s Day parade in order to make some kind of point. There’s an inflammatory and a non-inflammatory way of doing these things. I’m sure you’ll agree, it would be a strange flag to wave on St. Patrick’s Day … St George superimposed, etc. (Whether that’s something we need to change is another issue.)

    Will, the Tricolour on St Patrick’s Day isn’t about politics. It’s about identity. It’s a day to celebrate conspicuously Irish identity, all over the world. I’m happy for that to include those for whom Britishness is an integral aspect of their Irish identity. Though I’m sad, but not surprised, to hear some unionists, usually heard complaining about airbrushing of British identity from public life, hoping to airbrush Irish identity from St Patrick’s Day.

    I wonder if an appropriate compromise, given the day that’s in it, would be for people attending for whom a tricolour does not reflect their identity to instead wave the portion of the Union Flag which purports to represent St Patrick, ie the red saltire. Thoughts?

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Ban both flags. The tricolour has sweet f**k all to do with St Patrick and if you allow both you’re only asking for trouble.

    Down already apparently just use the St Patrick’s cross (on its own, not in the Union Flag) which is more than adequate. I think something similar was done in Armagh.

  • Baluba

    Beano,
    The day itself has arguably f*”k all to do with St Patrick, but plenty to do with celebrating everything to do with being Irish. London, New York, Sydney etc etc will be covered in Tricolours and everything green and remotely Irish. It would be nonsense to ban the Tricolour, absolute ridiculous nonsense.

  • lib2016

    “It would be nonsense to ban the Tricolour…..”

    …. not to mention wholly impractical!

  • Will

    “The day itself has arguably f*”k all to do with St Patrick” if thats the case y not make it republican day?

  • TAFKABO

    It would defeat the purpose entirely to ban the Tricolour, we need to encourage it to be used in an appropriate fashion, not ban it.Same with the Union Jack.Perhaps we should be aiming for a parade that sees both flags being accepted and celebrated.

  • Will

    “It would defeat the purpose entirely to ban the Tricolour” and wat purpose is this? there should be no need to fly flags as it only hieghins tensions on wat is suppose to be a day for everyone to celebrate st pat, wether they see themselves as british irish or irish.

  • Baluba

    Tafkabo,
    I fully agree and also think that this is not an impossible thing to bring about at all!

    “The day itself has arguably f*”k all to do with St Patrick” if thats the case y not make it republican day?

    Will – Because it has nothing to do with republicanism, loyalism, communism capitalism or any other type of ‘ism’. It’s a celebration of Ireland and Irishness, which by the way, should include the British-Irish.

    Calling it Republican day would be more than a bit daft.

  • Baluba

    Correction – of course it has a bit to do with ‘nationalism’

  • slug9987

    What would St Patrick want?

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    He’d want us all to run through the Holylands with hurley sticks and completely trash the place of course.

  • slug9987

    NI flags should be used by unionists. This is about NI’s day in the UK. While Irish nationalists may bring their tricolours, NI unionists must come along in force with their NI flags.

  • TAFKABO

    “While Irish nationalists may bring their tricolours, NI unionists must come along in force with their NI flags.”

    So, one community “may” bring one flag, but another community “must” bring another.
    With respect Slugg, it’s not for you or anyone else to tell someone what best represents their identity, it’s for people to tell you what best represents their identity.

    That’s how it works mo chara.

  • slug9987

    Tafkabo – indeed. I will change the must to might.

  • Baluba

    ‘NI unionists must come along in force with their NI flags.’

    Come along in force? Mmm…me thinks you didn’t really mean that double meaning, but may well have used the exactly correct phrase.

    What’s an NI flag? If you mean the red and white flag with a red hand in it, I don’t see that as being too helpful. Ulster flags would be grand though.

    Banning flags would not be sensible (or democratic), but adding more flags and ones traditionally associated by many with anti-Irishness would probably cause a bit of bother. (Emphasis on ‘traditionally associated’)

  • slug9987@hotmail.com

    Yes – a red and white cross and a red hand in the middle. That is the flag the NI unionists should bring it to St Pat day in large numbers.

  • Mike

    “What’s an NI flag? If you mean the red and white flag with a red hand in it, I don’t see that as being too helpful. Ulster flags would be grand though.

    Banning flags would not be sensible (or democratic), but adding more flags and ones traditionally associated by many with anti-Irishness would probably cause a bit of bother.”

    That doesn’t sound very inclusive to me. It seems to boil down to “nationalists can bring the flags that represent their identity, but unionists can’t, unless nationalists decide they won’t take offence at them”

  • Baluba

    Slugg9987

    Do you reckon that would really be a sensible thing to do? What would the motive for adding more flags, especially ones that are not associated with St Patrick’s Day celebrations, to the parade?

    Mischievous at least.

  • Will

    “traditionally associated by many with anti-Irishness ” do u include the union jack or the ulster flag in these as i am proud to be both irish and part of the union. however i cant see me goin into belfast in st pats day with a union jack flag/ulster flag and comin out in one piece. So this is my reasoning to not using flags of any sort in belfast as flags are much more politically sensitive here than anywhere else…

  • slug9987

    Baluba

    “Do you reckon that would really be a sensible thing to do? What would the motive for adding more flags, especially ones that are not associated with St Patrick’s Day celebrations, to the parade?”

    Its not adding a flag it is including the flag of NI. St P is the Irish patron saint and NI is the Irish part of the UK and therefore its sensible to unionists that the NI flag rahter than the Union Flag is used on St Patricks day by unionists. Rather than bring the Union Flag, I would recommend that unionists bring the NI flag on St Patricks day.

  • Baluba

    I’m not saying to ban them, however, I don’t see that it would be too sensible. Perhaps with dialogue an arrangement could be reached that would allow it to happen.

    What I’m asking is what would be the motivation for bringing those flags if St Patrick’s Day is generally accepted the world over as a celebration of Ireland and all things Ireland. That’s why I suggested bringing the 9 county Ulster flag. It’s an Ulster flag that both could be happy with.

    The read and white flag + red hand is traditionally associated with the 12th and the British side of the divide, usually signifying their non-Irishness, so why would it be flown?

  • GavBelfast

    This all seems a bit trivial today, nonetheless ….

    I don’t doubt that the easily offended allow themselves to get annoyed by anything green, but for me anyway it is not the sight of a Tricolour that offends, but the intent on the part of carriers. When waved in faces and generally flaunted, accompanied by a mass of Celtic shirts, and belligerent singing or slogans, who would not be put off? I work with loads of nationalists and they wouldn’t be near the like of the gathering in recent years – not least because of the tackiness. As has been said, the obverse of the worst aspects of the Twelfth.

    So, no problem with the Tricolour in the right spirit, or with a sea of green and good-natured paddywhackery, but an Irish as opposed to republican day please. Of course, Irish unionists have their own part to play by actually giving it a go.

    Let’s hope they get it right – I hope they do.

  • slug9987

    “The read and white flag + red hand is traditionally associated with the 12th and the British side of the divide, usually signifying their non-Irishness, so why would it be flown?”

    But the NI flag is the flag of the Irish part of the UK. Its Irish and British. Just like St Patrick.

  • Baluba

    I’d say that with dialogue it could certainly happen and other groups like the Chinese, Filipinos etc could also be represented if this is done sensibly.

    This could even become a breakthrough if Nelson Mc Causland doesn’t come up with more nonsense like he has here.

  • Mike

    “What I’m asking is what would be the motivation for bringing those flags if St Patrick’s Day is generally accepted the world over as a celebration of Ireland and all things Ireland.”

    Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland too. Northern irish unionists are part of the island of Ireland too. Just as much as the Republic of Ireland and irish nationalists.

    “That’s why I suggested bringing the 9 county Ulster flag. It’s an Ulster flag that both could be happy with.”

    No, it wouldn’t. Especially not if people were told “you can’t bring your country’s flag, only our national flag is allowed, you’ve got to bring this instead”.

    “The read and white flag + red hand is traditionally associated with the 12th and the British side of the divide, usually signifying their non-Irishness, so why would it be flown?”

    Leaving aside the bit about “usually signifying their non-Irishness”, which I gisagree with, is this not supposed to be a day for all the people of the island of ireland? Or it it an exclusive on only for those who are of irish nationality and those from the island who are British and/or Northern Irish can’t take part?

  • Mike

    “What I’m asking is what would be the motivation for bringing those flags if St Patrick’s Day is generally accepted the world over as a celebration of Ireland and all things Ireland.”

    Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland too. Northern irish unionists are part of the island of Ireland too. Just as much as the Republic of Ireland and irish nationalists.

    “That’s why I suggested bringing the 9 county Ulster flag. It’s an Ulster flag that both could be happy with.”

    No, it wouldn’t. Especially not if people were told “you can’t bring your country’s flag, only our national flag is allowed, you’ve got to bring this instead”.

    “The read and white flag + red hand is traditionally associated with the 12th and the British side of the divide, usually signifying their non-Irishness, so why would it be flown?”

    Leaving aside the bit about “usually signifying their non-Irishness”, which I gisagree with, is this not supposed to be a day for all the people of the island of ireland? Or it it an exclusive on only for those who are of irish nationality and those from the island who are British and/or Northern Irish can’t take part?

  • slug9987

    Excellent points Mike.

    For me, St P day is a day for the NI flag. Not the UK flag, but the flag of NI. It is an Irish flag – a Northern Irish flag.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Perhaps the display of Ulster Banners on St Patrick’s day could help remove the perceptions of anti-Irishness that some mistakenly have with it.

    Nah, who am I kidding, the actual logic that the flag was being flown to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland would obviously escape those determined to be offended. I can see the furrowed brows and head-scratching now as both sides try to work out who should be pissed off before deciding it’s them.

  • Foolkiller

    Flags or no flags, if it is to be a re-run of the last few years’ Provie fests there will be very few prods there.

  • Elvis the dog

    It sounds wonderful, but I’m pessimistic that the Sinn Fein and their rentamob will allow any sense of inclusivity. Also pessimistic that the idiot contingent of ‘loyalism’ are capable of participating meaningfully.

    Looks like a riot waiting to happen to me. Shame.

  • snake

    Perhaps we should move the 11th night bonfire to 17th of march, then we could have the uda & uvf dressed in st.Patrick costumes, as they fire volleys of shots over the heads of their adoring public.

  • GavBelfast

    I see events in London haven’t dulled the lunatic fringe’s capacity to post drivel, or allowed them to develop a sense of proportion with our local ‘difficulties’.

    Plus ca change.

  • ann

    Because it is St Patrick’s day there will be the Irish flag at any event being held. Will This mean that Belfast City Council will stop the funding the following year by saying that it was not inclusive to all. The fact is they will find some excuse to stop the funding. Maybe if there was a bonfire at it they will allow all the funding they need seeing as they fund the 12th bonfires, which by the way are no go areas for catholic’s

  • Cahal

    Will
    “the whole idea of the twelfth is to celebrate being part of the united kingdom”

    Did I miss something? Isn’t it about marking the Battle of the Boyne which the OO has credited with delivering religious freedom of expression, the glorious revolution, etc?

  • Daisy

    Is the day about celebrating a saint, or your nationality (let’s pretend for a moment that it’s not just an excuse to get drunk)? If it’s to celebrate a saint, then use the saint’s flag which would be seen as neutral; if it’s to celebrate your nationality (although why anyone thinks such jingoism is acceptable in this day and age is beyond me), then fly your nation’s flag and call the day Nation day, not St Patrick’s day.

    Having had the misfortune to witness last year’s ‘festivities’ in Belfast City Centre I can assure you that I would want no part of that flag waving, jingoistic display. As someone said, it was like the 12th for taigs and was every bit as nauseating.

    Have a day of celebration for everyone; make it into a carnival for all to enjoy, but spare us the jingoism and arguments about pieces of coloured cloth!

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    “they [Belfast City Council] fund the 12th bonfires”

    Really? You’re sure of that are you? Did Noraid tell you that?

    What’s the weather like in Boston?

  • Ginfizz

    Can I ask why the council should be pissing money up against a wall on St. Pats Day and other crap like Trafalgar celebrations?

  • lib2016

    It’s awfully cynical of me but could we see the day fast approaching when City Hall delivers funding for both Paddy’s Day and the Twelfth?

    If it brings us together, why not? We’ve had ‘the long war’ and ‘the long peace’. Time for ‘the long thaw’! 😉