A shared past…

IT was too good to last. After the Union flag and the Irish tricolour flew alongside one another for the first time at a war memorial in Derry to remember Irish and British soldiers killed at the Battle of Messines in 1917, someone had to complain.The DUP’s Willie Hay had the following objections to the flying of the Irish flag alongside the Union flag (as well as a few other nations):

People have no problem with the Legion coming up from the South of Ireland but what has annoyed some people, and rightly so, is this plan to fly the Union Flag and tricolour side by side. This conjures up all sorts of problems.

and:

I and my fellow unionist councillors received a number of calls on this issue. While it is interesting to note the Irish government have finally recognised the role of their countrymen in the First and Second World Wars, there are genuine concerns that some in the nationalist community could use this situation to see that the tricolour could be flown alongside the union flag on other occasions.

It is alright in principal, and I agree that other flags were flown, but when you look at the situation with flags in this city, it is a step too far for unionists.

While I realise that the 16th Irish division fought alongside the Ulster division and I applaud their role, I think they should be remembered under the same flag, the Union flag, because it was more or less a war that Britain supported and fought.

There was no trouble at the event, which seemed to be a real attempt to remember the war dead of six nations together. What on earth was Mr Hay so afraid of? Has he been upstaged by a peaceful parade?

  • Mick Fealty

    Previous thread removed.

  • George

    “While I realise that the 16th Irish division fought alongside the Ulster division and I applaud their role, I think they should be remembered under the same flag, the Union flag, because it was more or less a war that Britain supported and fought”

    The 16th Irish only fought under the same flag because they were forbidden by Lord Kitchener from fighting under their flag, the Irish Harp flag on a green background, the flag which served from 1798 until the early twentieth century as a symbol of Irish nationalism.

    British PM David Lloyd George had this to say of Kitchener’s decision:

    “From that moment the effort of Irish Nationalism to reconcile England and Ireland by uniting the two peoples in a common effort for the oppressed of another land failed, and Lord Kitchener’s sinister order constituted the first word in a new chapter of Irish history.”

    Hay is merely repeating the error of Kitchener 90 years ago. His error is equally sinister.

    If you cannot give equal respect to the flag of a people, you cannot respect the people.

  • darth rumsfeld

    paranoid nonsense George- the Ulster Division didn’t fight under a political banner, though I imagine they might have been happy to do so. And what country did Kitchener come from again?- a clue: it’s the island to the west of the Isle of Man on most maps.The only sinister thing about it is the discountenancing of an Irishman who was unequivocally British.

  • George

    Darth,

    “At the same time the patriotic ladies of Ulster were embroidering the Red Hand of Ulster on the flag which they designed to present to a division which was being raised in Ulster. In due course the two flags were presented to the respective divisions. One was taken and the other left.

    When Lord Kitchener heard of the green flag and its Irish harp he ordered that it should be taken away. But the Ulster flag was allowed to wave gloriously over the heads of the Orange soldiers of the Protestant north.”

    Source: War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, 1938, (Odhams)

    Not my paranoia, the British Prime Minister at the time’s memoirs. Are you calling Lloyd George a liar? Why should I believe you and not the PM of the day?

  • tony

    hi my great great grandfather is named at the diamond and its a honour to respect the dead irish and british fighting as one force to over come evil god bless them all who dead.
    It is also nice to see the tricolour flag and the british flag flying together as one for a change