Why is my colour in your flag?

Interesting question from Orangeman Derick Perry. He begins by drawing attention to the treatment in the Irish capital of some of his colleagues, ie when they petitioned, “the Republic Of Ireland government to address grievances, they were denied by sectarian bigots who stood under the Green White and Orange. I draw attention to the discrepancy between what the flag purports to represent and how it is all too often used”. “To all those republicans who refuse full acceptance of the orange tradition as part of your nation I say, to deny us our place in Ireland is to deny the essence of the founding of the republic and by your own definition you are found wanting. If you wish to persuade the Orange majority that joining you in your country is a good idea, I suggest you start by living up to republican principles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!”.

Paul at Northern Irish Magyar suspects this is a question that few Irish Republicans are ready to answer.

  • Martin

    There are always differences between what a flag sets out to represent and what it ends up representing. The Union Flag is about as much about a happy union of 3 nations as the tricolour feel included by the tricolour.

    “Pure” republicanism obviously should have no truck with sectarianism, anglophobia or any other form of bigotry. Unfortunately, however, and no doubt in the face of provocation, republicans themselves often display all of these attributes in word and deed. Gandhi said that he was a big fan of Christ but not of Christians – outsiders like myself see a lot to recommend in republicanism in theory but sadly not in the words and (less so latterly) deeds of republicans.

    In my view unionism is by its very nature irredeemable. A form of republic is the clearly way forwards but true republicans should realise that denigrating Britishness, in the form of its institutions or people, as some form of perpetually incurable evil, as they always is dropping to the level of their opponents. It’s just a shame that the only people who seem to realise this are Michael McDowell and an Orangeman which automatically puts them beyond the pale of people with opinions worth heeding in the green corner…

  • Occasional Commentator

    I would have thought that there are plenty of Republicans happy to positively embrace the Orange tradition, including Orange marches, Protestantism et cetera. The difficulty is that there are some Republicans who are not. And there might be a discussion over whether each group of Republicans will even recognise the other as ‘Republican’.

    I think/hope that all that is required is for the majority of Republicans to drown out the bigotted nonsense from the minority.

  • Stephen Copeland

    I wonder who Derick Perry was addressing his comments to? The southern state, to which 99% of its citizens give alliegence, did not ‘stand under the tricolour’ to pelt the Gardaí. On the contrary, the Gardaí, as representatives of the state, took a pelting trying to facilitate Frazer’s march, and the state went out of its way to allow him a mini-march (stationary) in front of Leinster House.

    It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of Irish people stood up for ‘republican principles’ that day, through their Gardaí and their public representatives.

    I think Mr Perry is simply trying to use the actions of an unrepresentative few to blacken the name of the vast majority. That he does so (presumably deliberately) tells us a lot about his real motives.

  • Stephen, you are of course entirely correct. What is hard to reconcile is that those who are most voiciferous in proclaiming their republicanism and wave the flag are usually those unprepared to tolerate the orange minority (however it is defined).

    Of course the same could be said about sectarian bigots standing beneath the Union Flag (and probably equally proportionate), but that’s not what was being addressed in the OP.

    “In my view unionism is by its very nature irredeemable.”

    Why? There is nothing inherent in wishing to remain British that cannot accommodate Irish culture or even republicanism (I think it was one of the PUP who described himself once as a British republican).

  • Of course, a better question would be what are British colonists doing living in Ireland?

  • lib2016

    Frazer and the group FAIR do not have clean hands, nor does ‘the Orange tradition’. I don’t support the people who used them as an excuse to attack the Gardai but there is certainly a republican case to be made for a peaceful protest against FAIR and it’s sectarian agenda.

    As for a unionist complaining that ‘republicans aren’t republican enough’? Usual nonsense, the Blanket really is scraping the barrel.

  • Martin

    Diarmid, whenever I post here I really really try to play the ball not the man, but your posts sometimes sorely tempt me…anyone who has visited your website is aware of your views on the forced resettlement (or worse) of anyone who does not have, in your view, the correct DNA to inhabit your ethnically pure all-Ireland state. You are of course entitled to your view. Some of are, on the other hand, tying to come to a peaceful and realistic solution that does not involve genetic testing. Your views sadly reinforce what I said in my first post about the intolerance of those who describe themselves as “republican”.

    Beano, yes, I think what I was trying to say was badly expressed and I apologise for that. More accurately I think that the 17th century political settlements in these Islands were wholly sectarian, and therefore irredeemable, and any viewpoint which honours and seeks to uphold them is also so. I was getting carried away with my own invective as you can probably tell from my typos.

  • Brian Boru

    I suppose this is a fair point and would be conceded by the vast majority down here. Unfortunately a tiny minority were allowed to create chaos because of incredible incompetence by our politicians and Garda management – notwithstanding the courage of those Gardai on duty on O’Connell St.

    I think the great majority of us are prepared to make concessions to recognise the minority tradition on this island. However, a march should do what it says on the tin. If it really is a march for “innocent victims”, then kindly agree not to bring banners with photos of people like Robert McConnell, named in BBC NI Spotlight as allegedly involved in the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings. Willie Frazer refused according to Daily Ireland on 23rd April to promise that such a banner – already used in Northern rallies – would not be brought to Dublin. On Newstalk 106 a caller also claimed he had seen aa UDA banner among the marchers.

    A victims march? Fine. But please don’t glorify murderers as part of it. It is not really a victims march if such symbols are bring brought down. On the other hand, I can tolerate Union Flags being broughr down – even if it causes me considerable discomfort.

  • Eoin Madden

    “they were denied by sectarian bigots” – One can’t take seriously anyone who thinks the idiot teenagers that rioted on O’Connell Street are in any way representative of republicans or the general population of the republic.

    The actions of these fools was immediately condemned by all political parties (bar the tiny RSF).

  • Overhere

    Slow news day then and raining outside (well here in London anyway)!!

    If whoever moaned about Orange being one of the colours in the Irish flag will he also be moaning to the Indian Government (only one I can think of at the moment) for Orange being a colour in that flag as well.

  • Martin

    I guess one could complain about the Dutch football strip. Apparently in Pittburgh an orange flag means that there is poisonous discharge in the river which is potentially even more insulting.

    http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/newssummary/s_339852.html

  • Keith M

    I think there’s a very valid point here and it long predates the recent riot in Dublin. In 1922 the people of the IFS chose to accept partition. In 1937 the finally but only implicity accepted it. In 1948 they (or at least their government)chose to put a republic ahead of unity and finally in 1998 they enshired the Principle of Consent into the constitution.

    Gradually the people of this country have recognised partition and as such the orange (or “gold” as some would have it) is obsolete. If the orange was ever to have meant anything, then the “special position” of the Catholic church would never have been written into the constitution, divorce which was legal when we were in the U.K., would never have been banned and the state would not have ignored its duty to provide and indeed encourage non-secular education.

  • Brian Boru

    “I think there’s a very valid point here and it long predates the recent riot in Dublin. In 1922 the people of the IFS chose to accept partition. In 1937 the finally but only implicity accepted it. In 1948 they (or at least their government)chose to put a republic ahead of unity and finally in 1998 they enshired the Principle of Consent into the constitution.”

    No in 1922 we voted for a Boundary Commission to redraw the border in accordance with the Treaty. In 1937 we introduced Articles 2 and 3 laying claim to the whole island. In 1948 the govt passed the Republic of Ireland Act (without telling the public of its plans first) which declared a republic but still claimed the whole island. It is true that Dev saw this act as deepening partition because on the ground the North was still under the British Crown.

    “Gradually the people of this country have recognised partition and as such the orange (or “gold” as some would have it) is obsolete. If the orange was ever to have meant anything, then the “special position” of the Catholic church would never have been written into the constitution, divorce which was legal when we were in the U.K., would never have been banned and the state would not have ignored its duty to provide and indeed encourage non-secular education.”

    No. The latest poll in the Sunday Business Post showed 80% want a UI though only 25% of that number want it to be a top priority. We are just being realistic in admitted it can only happen by consent. But the current Articles 2 and 3 still contains an aspiration for a UI by consent and therefore the ambition of uniting Orange and Green in a UI is a legitimate one and so is the flag. The tricolour is also a reminder of republican ideals as the French flag heavily influenced its design.

  • Brian Boru

    Actually Keith M, while agreeing that that (now defunct) pro-Catholic Church emphasis should never have been in the Constitution down here, I would still point out that nationalists had been prepared to offer a federal solution to the Unionists and this would have catered for the concerns of your side. You are wrong. I also think it is arguable that had Dev not survived 1916 we may well have ended up with a more secular state than we got. Connolly was ardently secular and Pearse were more secular than him. It was only really under Dev that the overtly Catholic stuff came in.

  • El-circles

    Never mind that! Whats that white doing there too? I was hoping for one large green square – that should fairly represent the people of the yet to be founded Islamic Republic of Ireland

    (what do you mean Gadhaffi got there first?)

  • Simon

    I agree with ‘El-circles’. Bangladesh at one stage in 70s had a plain green flag, though I think they only use the one with the red circle in the middle of it now. So the plain green might be available …

    I agree, the Republic’s flag design is more than a little ironic given attitudes there to the Orange tradition over the years. When used by ‘Republicans’ though, the tricolour is particularly hypocritical – so actually quite a fitting flag for them. Particularly hilarious when flown at protests against Orange marches. Huge comedy potential those punters, if only they knew their talent.

    That said, the Union Jack doesn’t have a Welsh bit in it and they didn’t bother changing it when the South seceded, so we Brits can’t talk I suppose. In fact I’m coming round to the view we really shouldn’t bother with them at all.

  • David Michael

    Simon, would you believe I never thought about Wales’s absence from the Union Jack until you mentioned it? Eek.

    Come to think of it, there’s no Wales in the royal coat of arms either, on the shield. There’s an Irish harp, a Scottish lion – and SIX English lions!

    Dunno if the Welsh mind though. My Welsh friends certainly don’t.

  • DanDaMan

    Dont mind me and my little tangent here, but I noted the “or gold as some would have it” and it reminded me of something I was told but recently. According to a mate, some deliberately refer to the “green, white and gold” and even fashion flags as such so as to deliberately proclude the orange element and all that its meant to represent in the flag, as a deliberate snub to “tha prods like”. I had never actually thought about why some replace orange with gold, even if just in speech, but I suppose this does make sense. Any more qualified individuals shed any light?

  • Occasional Commentator

    DanDaMan,
    As has been pointed out on Slugger before, Sinn Fein themselves prefer to use the Italian flag instead of the tricolour – note the Green White and Red at the bottom of their home page. This suggests that SF don’t want an Orangeman about the place.

    I must admit, I found myself saying “green white and gold” when I was younger and didn’t know what it all meant. Nowadays I make more of an effort to say orange.

    How about changing the flag and putting a harp into the green bit, and a crown or something into the orange bit? It would make the symbolism more obvious, and require nationalists and republicans to make up their mind what they stand for.

    Even though I find myself becoming a republican over the last few years, I’ll never vote for a UI or for Sinn Fein until after republicans have genuinely and successfully embraced Protestantism et cetera, and disowned the numerous bigots who don’t want a Prod or Loyalist about the place.

  • David Michael

    Occasional Commentator

    “How about changing the flag and putting a harp into the green bit, and a crown or something into the orange bit?”

    How about getting rid of the damn thing altogether?

    I don’t need a flag. Why would I need a FLAG? Do you?

  • Occasional Commentator

    David,
    I myself don’t really care too much about flags either. My suggestion is directed towards those who do care about flags but don’t understand the flag they wave. I don’t want anybody waving a flag unless the meaning in the flag is well understood.

    My suggestion of a crown in the orange bit of the flag is probably not suitable. Protestantism, Orangeism, and support for a monarchy are different things. Somebody else could probably come up with a better choice of symbol(s). The important thing is that it clearly reminds people that the tricolour should represent non-sectarian ideals.

  • GAK

    Why not the skull and cross bones? There are more gangsters and scumbags on this island than decent people1

  • John

    Now that the terrorists have been defeated and forced to surrender by the vast majority of law abiding citizens of NI, and that the GFA now ensures that nationalists and unionists can work together to govern NI, we can expect to see NI become a solid memeber state of the UK.

    The large number of people moving to NI to work and live will not be orange or green, instead they will want to become british citizens and enjoy the benifits of living in the UK for them and their children.

    Unionst can be confident that the union will be stronger once the GFA is implement.

  • George

    Keithm,
    “Gradually the people of this country have recognised partition and as such the orange (or “gold” as some would have it) is obsolete.”

    Evidence please that recognising partition can only end when a majority in both jurisdictions means the orange is obsolete. That is a complete non sequitor.

    Can you please explain why over 95% of the Republic’s electorate voted in 1998 for a referendum that stated “It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions”.

    Seems it’s the firm will of the Irish people to aspire to the ideals of the national flag, which, according to Article 7 of the Constitution, is green white and orange.

  • circles

    The sentiment expressed by the green white and orange are extremely noble.
    Its a pity that has been clouded and fudged and sullied over the years by the imbeciles who smashed up dublin and by the imbeciles who lead marches to remove tricolour flags. As well as by those eejits who talk of the green white and gold.

    I would even like to see the orange white and green (just to change the order a bit) – unfortunately Cote d’Ivoire have dibs on that already.

  • Keith M

    George “Can you please explain why over 95% of the Republic’s electorate voted in 1998 for a referendum that stated “It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions”.

    George the people are united. The majority of the people in Northern Ireland believe that “the diversity of their identities and traditions” are best served within the United Kingdom. The people in this country are happy to allow them to make this choice. Unity does not necessarally mean living in the same juristiction. Remember John Hume’s “agreed Ireland”?

    The orange is obsolete because there is no real orange tradition left in this country and when people from another part of the island want to show it they are met with bricks and petrol bombs. It’s time that our flag reflected our modern republic.

  • Harry

    I notice that some people talk about the Irish ‘not wanting to have a protestant about the place’
    The Irish do not talk in this way – that’s a unionist way of seeing things transposed onto the opposition. The vast majority of Irish people regret that the unionists decided to secede, thereby polarising the entire island along sectarian lines and creating 2 deeply conservative states.

    Irish people are republicans, in every sense of that term. It is unionists who use religious division to define and consolidate their identity.

  • Realist

    “On Newstalk 106 a caller also claimed he had seen a UDA banner among the marchers”

    And, of course, we should always take as gospel the word of all those who phone in radio stations.

    There’s never anybody with an agenda who phones in.

  • Keith M

    Harry “The vast majority of Irish people regret that the unionists decided to secede, thereby polarising the entire island along sectarian lines and creating 2 deeply conservative states.”

    We’ll start with a point of order. It was the IFS which seceeded. Northern Ireland has the option of seceeding as well and took a couple of hours to say “thanks, but no thanks”.

    “I notice that some people talk about the Irish ‘not wanting to have a protestant about the place’. The Irish do not talk in this way – that’s a unionist way of seeing things transposed onto the opposition.

    I’ve looked throught the thread and I cannot find the comment you have put in quotes and I don’t think it was the expilit arguement of anyone. Creatimng straw men hardly adds to the debate.

  • Harry

    And what’s with this unionist obsession with marching about the place? What’s that all about?

    Why, if they wanted to march in Dublin, did they not do a ‘getting to know you’ drive across the south in the months preceding it, putting their case and becoming known throughout the country? Why didn’t they increase their profile, get the issues across and invite others from all sides who have suffered to come and join them in the march?

    Instead they arrive in Dublin with pseudo-military regalia, flute bands and banners, with a clear message solely designed to highlight the criminal nature of republicanism (as they see it) and to march with an apparent disregard for the people of that city past the GPO – the greatest symbol of Irish revolution.
    They arrive with some of the same bands in tow that regularly barge their way through areas of the north they are not welcome, intimidating the locals and refusing to talk to the resident’s groups. What the rest of the world calls ‘bigotry’.

    To feign surprise at what happened in Dublin to Love Ulster or to characterise it as some ‘thugs gone wild’ is disingenuous and a denial of the truly political nature of what happened that day.

    I doubt you’ll be trying that again anytime soon. A word of advice; try talking to people.

  • Barry Swan

    The harp in the coat of arms. It’s a Welsh harp.

  • Realist

    Harry’s views epitomise why I want the colour signifying my tradition removed from the ROI tricolor.

  • David Michael

    Harry
    “And what’s with this unionist obsession with marching about the place? What’s that all about?”

    Good post, Harry. I think we ought to differentiate between a march and a procession.

    A procession is frequently associated with religious organizations, e.g. the feast of Corpus Christi. This is generally speaking a solemn display.

    A march on the other hand is militaristic. When accompanied by flutes and drums, more so. Drums are intimidating, often deliberately so — I know because my 16-year-old neighbour is practising to join a metal band 🙂

    The Orange Order purport to be a religious grouping. If that is so then they ought to consider holding processions rather than marches. If they still want to march, let them follow the advice given here on Slugger and elsewhere, and rent a stadium for a day or two. Does the Edinburgh Tattoo ring a bell? 🙂

    Give our heads peace!

  • Droch_bhuachaill

    Another tangent by the hungover drochbhuachaill;

    When the whole island is united, will we have a flag which represents everyone- like a tricolour with the red hand of Ulster superimposed on the white bit/

    p.s can anyone e-mail me some solphadene??!!!

  • bag’shite

    everyone at the minute is more intrested in chasing american dollars than settling a centuries old argument. maybe the flag should be a tiger scratching at a leprachauns pot of gold.
    lets face it in a few years ireland will be known as either johnwaynesville or new nigeria.

  • Conor Gillespie

    Realist,
    Harry’s views epitomise why I want the colour signifying my tradition removed from the ROI tricolor.

    Posted by Realist on Apr 14, 2006 @ 01:02 PM

    And your views epitimize why I want my symbol (i.e. st. patricks cross) removed from the Union Jack! (despite his roman background, Patrick is after all, an iradeemably Gaelic cultural icon.) (:

  • Our flag is fine as it is, if someone is upset by it they need to get a life. Get out and see the world, do some travelling.