“We consult, negotiate and then take enforcement action..”

As the unionist marching season gets under way we can be guaranteed the reappearance of thousands of flags across the 6 counties which will remain in place for many months.

However, this week in Magherafelt the PSNI/RUC arrived in force to prevent éirígí activists replacing flags erected to commemorate the period between the start of the Rising and the final executions of its leaders. The flags had been removed following complaints from unionist elected representatives.

In 2006 the PSNI/RUC facilitated the erection of unionist flags in Lurgan town centre after they had been removed and previously in places like Dunmurry they watched on while they were erected outside the barracks.

So is the treatment of éirígí members commemorating an important historical event a foretaste of what unionists will be experiencing in the coming months? Or something the PSNI/RUC will be reserving for republicans alone?

  • RepublicanStones

    We know the answer already……

  • The Raven

    Frankly, and I reserve this comment for everyone thinking of putting some sort of flag out over the next few months, eirigi, orange or otherwise: it’s little more than dogs marking their territory.

    Most of us can’t be bothered with any of the various cult-ish flag waving yahoos in this region any more.

    So why don’t you just put them up on the front wall of all your houses, and leave the streets alone…?

    By the way…I must have missed when this particular period as described above, became an event of flag-waving importance… Any excuse, these days, is it?

  • Mark, éirígí might not be on the UK/IE ‘favoured status’ list; it might be the wrong sort of republican grouping.

  • Mark McGregor

    Raven,

    That’s a perfectly valid view but my point was on intervention by the cops when people are erecting flags and is it to be applied selectively or across the board. Something you completely ignored.

    As for the date; éirígí, in their short history, have focused on the actual date of the signing of the Proclamation and the document itself as something worth commemorating and have distributed thousands of copies on the anniversary in addition to publicly displaying the national flag and their own at that time. Seems a secular way of commemorating a republican document rather than being solely tied to the movable dates of a christian easter.

  • Ard Eoin

    In a shared political future the PSNI have to be seen acting impartially, and if the unionist politicians requests for the removal of these flags were answered so quickly then a call by nationalist politicians should be answered with similar haste.
    What about Stoneyford?

    Raven
    One of the main reasons that republicans don’t put flags out to commenmorate the Easter Rising is that to do so would lead to a raid by the security forces. When driving through various loyalist districts UDA/UVF men mark their houses with such memorabilia, yet no raids? The IRA has decommissioned it’s arsenal yet putting out a tricolour, our national flag, can still lead to a size 9 through your front door. The UDA/UVF are still fully armed, can advertise where they live and yet the PSNI do nothing, are these flags legal? The PSNI are carrying on where the RUC left off. Could this be another reason that unionists don’t want policing and justice devolved, the fact that they don’t want to have to deal with their own population when they flagrantly flout the law?

  • Connor

    It would be defensible if they were using tricolours, but this was just a publicity stunt to get their name out there.

  • Mayo Naoise

    Let a thousand flags bloom…in their gardens

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not sure what your objection is, Mark. Are you complaining that eirigi’s flags were taken down, or are you complaining that the unionist flags weren’t? What do you think should be done ?

  • anne warren

    Just so we know what we are talking about as we answer the questions:”So is the treatment of éirígí members commemorating an important historical event a foretaste of what unionists will be experiencing in the coming months? Or something the PSNI/RUC will be reserving for republicans alone?”
    http://eirigi.org/latest/latest030508.html An éirígí initiative to mark the 92nd anniversary of the Easter Rising came under verbal and physical attack in an area of the Six Counties notorious for sectarian discrimination against the nationalist community.

    The distribution of thousands of copies of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and other éirígí commemorative events were well received in Belfast, Dublin, the Donegal Gaeltacht and north Munster. The response from some in the south Derry area has been nothing short of vitriolic.

    Seven éirígí flags which were erected, along with a single tricolour, in Magherafelt town centre triggered a tirade of anti-republican abuse from unionist councillors and their supporters. The seven flags, one to symbolise each of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, were erected on Thursday April 24th to coincide with the 92nd anniversary of the start of the 1916 Rising.
    DUP MLA Ian McCrea said of the commemorative initiative:

    “This group honours the memory of terrorists and terrorism and therefore their flags are an offence to the decent law-abiding people of Magherafelt.”

    Following on from McCrea’s comments the flags where removed by persons unknown on the night of April 29th. Three days later, as éirígí members were in the process of replacing the stolen flags, the RUC-PSNI arrived on the scene and promptly demonstrated their own sectarian prejudices.

    éirígí chairperson in south Derry, Dominic McGlinchey:

    “While we were in the process of replacing the flags stolen on Tuesday night we were approached by members of the PSNI. Initially they told us that they were responding to a complaint from a member of the public relating to men carrying ladders in the town centre. Apparently it takes up to a dozen armed men to investigate this serious crime!“It wasn’t long before they started to question us with regard to the erection of the flags, telling us that it was an illegal act. But when asked what law made it illegal to fly an Irish tricolour in an Irish town they were unable to answer. Similarly when they were asked whether a large Union Jack flag had permission to be flown in the town they were left stuck for words.

    “If further proof were needed that the role and function of British policing in Ireland remains unchanged it was plain for all to see tonight in Magherafelt. While a large Union Jack flies undisturbed 365 days of the year an Irish tricolour is hardly unfurled before a dozen armed men arrive to investigate. And all of this is in a town with a nationalist majority!

    “We have made it clear from the outset that we would remove the flags on May 12th to coincide with the anniversary of the final executions of the 1916 leaders. It appears that the thought of the Irish national flag flying in Magherafelt, even for less then three weeks, is just too much for the bigots.

    “It is also a sign of the continuing abnormal state of the Six Counties that while the flag of occupation adorns the most prominent buildings in cities and towns, the flying of the Irish national flag sparks hysterical outrage.

    “This incident is reminiscent of the worst periods of the Flags and Emblems Act and the recent posturing of unionist councillors is in the same vein as that of Ian Paisley when he encouraged violent assaults on the nationalist community of west Belfast back in 1964. You have to ask the question – Has anything actually changed over the last forty years?“He was wrong then and they are wrong now.”Dominic continued: “Unionist death squads and their political allies fly offensive, sectarian flags throughout the Six Counties, and coat-trail, with state assistance, through nationalist areas en masse annually, yet republicans it appears aren’t entitled to remember the martyrs of 1916.

    “We are replacing these flags as a matter of principal. We intend to erect our national flag in Magherafelt from April 24 until May 12 of each year from here on in, regardless of interference, hindrance or the offence it might cause to the delicate sensibilities of the bigots.

    “Those dates mark the beginning and end dates of the most inspiring period of 20th century Ireland, from the beginning of the Rising until the execution of James Connolly and Seán Mac Diarmada, and we will remember them with pride in the simplest of ways – by flying the flag they fought under.

    “We would ask that comrades, friends and supporters attend the upcoming éirígí function on Sunday 4 May, at McNally’s Toomebridge to show their defiance of the bigots and their allies in the PSNI.”

  • Ard Eoin

    Stalin
    I don’t know what Mark thinks, but I think the point he raises regarding the actions of the PSNI are valid. The double standards when it comes to the putting up of flags are evident from the original post. Are you a psychologist or just a pedant?

  • Mark McGregor

    Comrade,

    I’m not sure what your objection is, Mark. Are you complaining that eirigi’s flags were taken down, or are you complaining that the unionist flags weren’t? What do you think should be done ?

    I’m raising a possible biased attitude to flag displays from the RUC/PSNI unless they intend to apply this approach in all future cases from now on. I thought that was pretty clear.

  • Aine

    “This group honours the memory of terrorists and terrorism and therefore their flags are an offence to the decent law-abiding people of Magherafelt.”

    Would these so called ‘terrorists’ be the same men the Irish Government saw fit to honour last year? The attitude of McCrea is indicative of the narrow-mindedness of the bigots determined to cling on to any semblance left of their wee pravince.

    The double standards that the RUC/PSNI operate under is mind-boggling to say the least. How come they respond to a call about men carrying ladders? When did this become a crime?
    For the past two weeks I phoned the PSNI regarding underage drinking in the area I live in. (The young people involved have in previous weeks stolen bins from the residents in order to burn them to keep warm whilst they drink. This type of activity was my main reason for complaining and the PSNI were told this.)The response I got was no more than I expected.
    “What else are they doing, or are they just drinking?” It doesn’t matter then that on two counts here the law is broken:
    (1) They are under age
    (2) They are drinking in a public place where signs are actually in place prohibiting such activity.

    On the first occasion a team of officers were sent in to the area. They sat and watched and were waved off by the youths. On the second occasion they didn’t respond at all.

    Sinn Fein have told the people of West Belfast to contact the PSNI regarding anti-social behaviour. I wonder do they understand that this is the response we are given. Will it take even more murders?

    Next time perhaps I should just phone and tell them there are a group of youths, no carry-outs to be seen, just a couple of ladders and what looks like tricolours rolled up under their arms!

  • slug

    What a tedious thread.

  • Aine

    “What a tedious thread.”

    If you can’t be arsed then read another one that interests you, your comment was pointless.

  • “I’m raising a possible biased attitude to flag displays from the RUC/PSNI”

    Mark, it’s possible the decision wasn’t taken by the police but by their political bosses. Perhas an FoI request would deliver an answer ..

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark,

    I doubt the PSNI have a proper policy on flags and took this particular action on a public order basis. I was hoping that, rather than dodging my question, you might suggest what they should have done.

    Aine,

    I had a problem like your one a while ago. I wrote to the chair of the District Policing Partnership about it, who then went and took it up with the sector commander at the cop shop. By the time the next DPP meeting took place, the police were able to confirm during it that they’d gone into to the area where the problem was occurring and arrested three of the yoofs involved. Yes, it is a bit ridiculous that you should have to do this, but making a bit of noise and forcing the police to account for themselves in public seems to work. Carping on internet groups, on the other hand, achieves bugger all.

  • LURIG

    Now some of you great intellectuals on here are probably sighing as you drop another cherry into your Vodka Martinis shaking your coiffured heads at the plebs regarding flags. HOWEVER it is minutae and on the street policing like this that influences MANY people’s perception of the PSNI and it’s duplicitous treatment of both communities. Over the last few weeks we seen a number of examples of why MANY MANY Nationalists are still very wary of this force and how it reacts to incidents that affect both communities. Let me enlighten you. Before the Linfield/Donegal Celtic match a bar on Castle Street was attacked by ‘alleged’ Linfield football suporters. The PSNI were VERY mute in their comment on this and several weeks on we are still in the dark as to who the PSNI think was responsible. Now compare this to the Derry City/ Bohemians match last year at the Brandywell. A Protestant bar on the Cityside was attacked by Bohs fans. Within hours the culprits were caught and within days received VERY heavy jail sentences. Likewise homes on Twaddell Avenue were disgracefully attacked by petrol bombers, who came the PSNI confidently told us, from Ardoyne. Last week homes in the Short Strand were attacked by Loyalist bandsmen which led to two nights of rioting. Again the PSNI were VERY mute in who they thought triggered the trouble as they stood and watched these same Loyalists throwing missiles over PSNI jeeps at Catholic youths playing football. These points may seem petty to some but MANY Nationalists still perceive the police as reacting quite differently to incidents on the streets. The flags issue is the BIG failure of the PSNI as EVERY year Loyalists are allowed to bring cranes in, close off streets and shut down towns to put up paramilitary flags and arches in places like Glengormley under a police escort. It is scandalous that this goes on and who can blame people for highlighting the double standards when it’s obvious the hypocrisy stinks to the high heavens. Oh and it was only a coincidence as well that last week ALL charges against Carrickfergus Loyalists involved in feuding were dropped?

  • Garibaldy

    There was talk about the price of insurance putting a halt to the arch in Glengormley a while back. Does it still go up?

  • Driftwood

    Anne Warren
    We have a similar problem in South Down
    Ginger (obviously loyalist) cats have been observed shitting in Nationalist gardens.
    This is a disgrace! and obviously the PSNI/RSPCA (and the Royal shows these animal bigots in their true colours!!!) are ignoring the issue. And by not bringing these feline loyalists to account, are merely upholding 600 years of opression, the famine etc..
    Get a fucking life.

  • Séamaí

    Nice Driftwood. Maybe you should open your eyes, and mind.

  • Driftwood

    Both are open “sama”
    just not to Mopery on a grand scale

    But there is obviously a problem with loyalist /SAS cats released in to nationalist gardens by MI5 agents breeding them at Palace Barracks.
    don’t forget it was MI5 that started the famine, indeed invited john De Courcy over here in the first place to plunder Ireland’s gold/oil reserves etc etc.
    Check out SF website for details.
    Like I say, get a life FFS

  • observer

    when will these boys learn that the tricolour isnt their national flag, its the flag of The Repuplic of Ireland. And Magherafelt. isnt a Irish town , but a british one, so the Union Flag is the national flag of the town

  • Kinky

    Magherafelt, knowing it as I do is a quiet town inhabited by hard working people.

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

    Eirigi spokesman Dominic McGlinchey:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_McGlinchey

    A great lad his father “mad dog” was too…

  • Danny O’Connor

    Are there not better ways to commemmorate and honour the dead than flying flags on lamp posts.No Offence intended,but it just gets a bit ridiculous as each group tries to make it’s point,othersgroups will try to fly more and for longer ,just to make a point.
    The issue then (as the thread proves)is more about the flags than the events they were erected to commemorate-which gets lost in all this.

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: I’m raising a possible biased attitude to flag displays from the RUC/PSNI unless they intend to apply this approach in all future cases from now on. I thought that was pretty clear.
    Since there has been a large Tricolour flying at the entrance to the Markets area of Belfast for most of the last year, I assume that matters are dealt with on a case by case basis. And one-size-fits-all mopery won’t help with the analysis.

  • Mark McGregor

    Kinky,

    You are full of shit. You can’t even get the right son. I can’t edit your comment, I’ll wait for Mick to remove it tomorrow and hopefully ban you for libel and trolling tomorrow.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Mark
    It is obvious that this person hasn’t got the guts to put their name to the post.I may not agree with people sometimes,but at least I respect those who are prepared to have the courage of their convictions to sign their posts,especially if they are making allegations against someone.

  • CYNIC

    Its great to see that their actions were so warmly welcomed across the entire area. Yeah right, thanks for the proclaimation. Never seen one of those before. Anyone want to do a straw pole of recycling bins to see where most of them finished up?

    PSNI also say they consulted on this.I wonder did the local Nationalist / Republican political reps suggest that the flags should remain up? I think probably not.

    As for sectarian bias, well if your actions are annoying the majority of Unionists and Nationalists, is that sectarian? People are entitled to honour their dead … and some of those rights are enshrined in law, but they arent absolute rights and there are legal limits, as well as practical ones.

    Finally the pedigree of some of these looks wonderful. Ah yes….Dominic McGlinchy or ‘Mad Dog’ as he was affectionatly known to his associates. Didn’t he:-

    1 get thrown out of PIRA because he was mad

    2 mainstream on the armed robbery side of the business mostly in the Irish republic with a little sideline in republicanism

    3 get himself killed by his own organisation in disputes over criminality / drug deals

    Oh yes and in calling its ceasefire in 1998 didnt the INLA later admit

    ‘the faults and grievous errors in our prosecution of the war’.

    and that

    ‘innocent people had been killed and injured ‘

    and that

    ‘at times our actions as a liberation army fell far short of what they should have been’.

    Good people to now lecture on Huiman Rights then.

  • CYNIC

    PS never trust spell check …as in ‘straw pole’

  • young fella

    I think “both or neither” is the way to look at the overall issue of the legitimacy of flags. And since flag-waving is so dear to people around these parts its going to have to be “both”. That being the case then, more discretion is going to be required of all sides; those erecting them, police and local representatives. The response from Unionists in this case was hysterical but the counter from Eírigí was also lacking composure. Lazy flag flying in public should be cast into the past. If these people who want to fly “national” flags they should be up in the morning to erect them and there in the evening to take them down. Otherwise its hard not to convince the bystander its not simply dogs pissin’ on posts.

  • young fella

    *”If these people want to”

    ….lazy posting

  • Turgon

    I do not wish to impinge on Mr. McGregor’s nice MOPE but there are many examples of flags of both sides all over the place. The police seem to step in somewhat haphazardly but it seems largely based on when flags are going to cause significant problems. Yesterday on the way to my mother’s house I drove past a vast tricolour in Kilrea which has been there for months. It does not really irritate me that much though I suspect it may be a hazard to low flying aircraft due to its size. I was not in Garvagh but I am sure alternative national flags are about to appear again.

    I do enjoy the idea of the important historical time between the end of the Easter rising and the execution of the leaders. Maybe I can commemorate the important historical time between the last Stormont elections and Paisley doing the lundy and agreeing to enter government.

  • Oh what a short and selective memory some people have, have you forgot that round one of the long war started over a flag in a SF office which Mr Paisley believed he had a right to destroy.

    The comments to this thread by the unionists are little short of bigotry and display an inability to even try to comprehend the nationalist communities mindset.

    Every day of the week Republicans and nationalist have to walk pass Union Jacks on public buildings etc. Yet unionists are unwilling to see the Irish flag or a republican political logo about the place.

    Carry on, demand that your tame police tear the flags down and intimidate those who put them up, why not go all the way and have a rematch of the last 30 odd years.

    Republicans for a host of reasons have to live with your statelet, why not show them some respect and give a little slack. Or does a few flags about the place really make your knees knock, no thought not, time to grow up.

  • Turgon

    Good MOPEing Mick Hall.
    The main reason that republicans “have to live with your statelet” is called democracy. I am sorry, and I am sure that in the socialist paradise of you and Mr. McGregor such irritations could be overcome.

    The reality is that flags are taken down when they are causing a problem or likely to do so. A union flag on Coleraine street in Kilrea would cause a problem. Hence, if anyone were stupid enough to put one up, it would need to be removed. Equally a tricolour on the main street of Garvagh would be stupid and need to be removed. I am not dying about the way flags are used here but they are and that is unlikely to change.

  • Turgon

    Why is it the job of the police to remove these flags and emblems when they are not causing any offense and under what law do they do so. Or does some Unionist politician just have to pick up the phone and the PSNI/RUC chief constable replies how high should I jump sir.

    I refuse to get into an argument about democracy in the context of the north of Ireland as it would be ludicrous.

    You are happy to throw words about like mopery, yet you refuse to deal with my main point. Why not just say you want no Irish flag and republican emblems about the place, then we would all know where we stand.

    By the way if you are so keen on democracy lets have a joint UK, RoI referendum on the constitutional position of the six counties, or are you only keen on democracy when you have an inbuilt majority enforced by British arms and the UK tax payers money.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick Hall,

    Quit with the ranting. There are tricolours all over the place which have not been removed by the police. Additionally there are plenty of murals and other things commemorating the IRA, which are on public property and which have not been painted out despite the fact that there is almost certainly legislation somewhere that they are in violation of.

    Technically, attaching anything to a lamp post or other Roads Service public property is illegal. I very much doubt that the police take orders off unionist politicians to remove flags, otherwise the countless tricolour and other flags hanging around the place, some of them in close proximity to loyalist areas, would have been removed a long time ago.

    Let’s be clear what this is all about. It’s about a micro-group with no mandate trying to generate publicity for itself by baiting the police and the loyalists, just like the INLA/IRSP do in Ardoyne. How much do you want to bet that eirigi deliberately called the cops themselves ?

  • “Let’s be clear what this is all about. It’s about a micro-group with no mandate”

    Comrade stalin

    Much like the early christians? 😉

    What you seem to be saying is that all this amounts to is a bit of fly posting, if so I would ask again what are the police doing taken these flags and emblems down? Surly this is a case for the local authority workers, after all it is not as if Eírigí has denied ownership. If they persist a summons could be put in the post.

    Can the PSNI/RUC really spare the manpower to do this type of work, would they not be better to be out there policing the community, rather than acting as a local council graffiti squad?

  • The Raven

    “Raven,

    That’s a perfectly valid view but my point was on intervention by the cops when people are erecting flags and is it to be applied selectively or across the board. Something you completely ignored.”

    Oh sorry. Here then: “I’d like to see the peelers out taking down ALL the flags and throwing them back into the yards/gardens/front walls of the houses of the people who put them up in the first place, and its a disgrace that they picked only these few flags to take down at the behest of their Unionist masters”.

    Better now? I kinda thought that was implied in “I reserve this comment for everyone thinking of putting some sort of flag out over the next few months, eirigi, orange or otherwise”

  • nineteensixtyseven

    I don’t like to see any flags up in my town but there has been a Union Flag at the end of my road for nearly a year, tattered and ripped and faded but yet it is still up. Every time someone erects a Tricolour on the same street its taken down rather quickly. I’m glad they take the Tricolours down, don’t get me wrong, but I wish the police would extend the same treatment to the tattered flag from last year’s marching season.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,
    I was at church; how annoying that during my absence you rather successfully stopped the rant by Mick Hall. He has seamlessly moved from MOPEry to Whataboutery with true skill.

    Mick Hall the problem is flags being used offensively. Hence, the union flag in Kilrea’s Coleraine street would be utterly inappropriate just as the Tricolour in Garvagh’s main street. I see last time you failed to answer these points preferring to accuse me of saying there should be no Irish flags and emblems despite me saying that Tricolours do not irritate me. Why let facts of what people say get in the way of a good rant though. Incidentally if you knew just a little about South and Mid Londonderry you could easily work out which flags are being placed in people’s own areas and which ones are being put in place to annoy the local residents.

    In terms of the police sparing the manpower: well if sparing the manpower early on spares a subsequent breach of the peace / small riot, I would call that sensible preventative policing.

    Now please do feel free to continue with the MOPE / whataboutery.

  • Turgon

    When people throw insults and accusations about rants, it is because they are beyond civilized debate. In truth it is not flags nor emblems that you find offensive, but the Irish flag and republican emblems, Why not get some back bone and say so, or are you going to deny this fact.

    Republicans regard the flying of the Union Jack on Irish soil as provocative and shameful, but such is life, we do not hide this fact or dress it up in lies and contortions, we speak the truth as we see it. When you are prepared to do the same we may have something to discuss, as things stand you are deaf to rational argument.

    So stamp your feet and call people names, it is what your tradition have been doing since the Statelet’s was created by your masters in London. Only when you are willing to recognize that you have no god given rights and all that you possess was given to you by an English government, will you come to your senses and start treating all Irish people with the respect you demand for yourselves. As things stand you are unwilling to do this turgon, which makes you what?

    People ‘take’ offense, it is a conscious act, it is impossible for a flag to act offensively, perhaps you would do better to show some restraint and start refusing to take offense every time you see an Irish flag or a republican emblem.

  • RepublicanStones

    Turgon i have alot of time for your opinion but your use of the ‘aul ‘mope’ is childish and a poor attempt at deligitimizing a perfectly valid point.People who use the ‘mope’ and ‘whataboutery’ slag do so because history makes them uncomfortable.

  • Turgon

    Republican Stones,
    I also respect you but when Mick Hall says as he does above what else am I to call it? Here is a direct quote from me: “Tricolours do not irritate me.” Then from Mick Hall “In truth it is not flags nor emblems that you find offensive, but the Irish flag and republican emblems”

    So when I say something Mick Hall knows better and knows that actually I secretly object to the Irish flag. This is fascinating. How does he know. Ah yes he is a mind reader.

    Of course people in nationalist areas fly the tricolour. I am unconcerned by this. It has done me no harm for 36 years and I suspect will continue to do me little harm if God spares me for another 36.

    I do not really like the way flags are used by both sides here. I do not really like territory marking and even more object to the way they look so utterly tatty when flown for ages.

    Still Mick Hall please carry on telling me what I think. Maybe you want to tell me what I ate for lunch?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Turgon,

    “I do enjoy the idea of the important historical time between the end of the Easter rising and the execution of the leaders.”

    Not your finest hour.

  • Turgon

    Oh so Mr. O’Loan clearly this is an important historical time which has been celebrated by the flying (and subsequent removal) of flags for ages in Magherafelt. Clearly I missed that.

  • earnan

    Wow. What a country/province you have here. Never ceases to amaze me. I wonder how long it will take for things to change at a fundamental level.

    BTW, what the hell does the “mad dog” have to do with anything? Leave him out of this. And for the record, I have read that he was targeted by British forces for murder. But like I said, irrelevant.

    I am not sure how anyone can call those involved in the Easter REbellion “terrorists” with a straight face. All of their tactics were conforming to the laws of war. They declared themselves openly. They treated their prisoners better then themselves in terms of food and medical treatment. They stopped the fighting when they realized it would result in more civilian deaths even though many of their strongholds hadn’t been attacked yet. THe only terrorist actions taken were by segments of the British army (see the murder of the pacifist Sheehey-Skeffington)

  • Damian O’Loan

    Personally, I don’t fly flags. I don’t think this is about commemoration either, just publicity.

    But to say you “enjoy” the thought of executions is, frankly, sick.

  • Turgon

    Mr. O’Loan,
    I do not enjoy executions and I would thank you to not deliberately misinterpret my comments. You are either unaware of many of my comments on this site or you are being utterly deceitful. I have frequently said I oppose all deaths and indeed am openly opposed to the death penalty.

    I merely said I was enjoying the idea that suddenly this was an important historical time which had always been commemorated rather than an excuse for Mr. McGregor’s little group to have a good time putting up flags in order to annoy people. That is all.

    I would ask for an apology for accusing me of enjoying death but I suspect I would do so in vain.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I didn’t deliberately misinterpret anything, but I’m sorry for getting it wrong. I did wonder given your normal posts, but you seem more and more bitter by the day. I hope not.

  • The Turning Away

    [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5151606.stm]Loyalists receive police protection erecting flags in Lurgan[/url]

  • I know this is quickly veering off topic but this kind of bullshit goes unchallenged far too much.

    “I am not sure how anyone can call those involved in the Easter REbellion “terrorists” with a straight face. All of their tactics were conforming to the laws of war. … THe only terrorist actions taken were by segments of the British army”

    Erm… http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/opinion/article2445124.ece

    “Who gave another gunman the right to shoot dead an unnamed woman outside Jacob’s factory, at point-blank range? Who gave Volunteer Garry Holohan the right to very deliberately and fatally shoot a teenage boy named Playfair during a raid at the Phoenix Park magazine? “

  • Garibaldy

    Who gave Westminster the right to withold the results of 40 years of elections in favour of Home Rule?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Garibaldi
    It makes criticism of mugabe look a bit hypocritical doesn’t it.

  • earnan

    The boy was running to alert authorities of the rising (he was shot steps from the police station) and as for the woman, I don’t know. They were not all angels, it was a chaotic week. True, they unleashed the violence so in some respect they are responsible for civilian casualties, but it was the British policies in Ireland that left them with no other choice.

    PC O’Brien worked for a regime that had brutalized, killed, starved, and discriminated against native Irish for centuries. He was warned thrice to let them pass and he did not. How exactly is that “terrorism” to then shoot him? Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate terror to get people to do what you want, not shoot a collobarating member of a brutal, cruel, occupying force, a member who was warned 3 times to let the party through.

    After everything that Ireland had been through at the hands of the British, they had every moral right to try to become a sovereign nation. Please don’t deny that at least.

  • RepublicanStones

    stupid link beano. Myers anti-republican agenda is well-known, after all this is a man who ends most of his pieces with an attack on 1916, ticolour, republicanism…yadda yadda yadda. And the link shows it is his opinion, which not doubt suits his readers at the unionist-lite Tele. next time try and pick someone without such an obvious bias in his/her writing. good man.

  • Turgon

    Damian,
    Okay sorry for over reacting. No I am not pleased that the 1916 rebels were executed. I am opposed to the death penalty. It was also probably stupid politics to kill them but that is another issue we could debate ad nauseum.

  • Ard Eoin

    So let me get the jist of where this debate is going straight:
    Republicans put up flags to commemorate the 1916 rising, which are then removed post haste by the PSNI, who had been called because men were acting suspiciously with ladders. Republicans ask for parity of esteem. Unionists react to this by labelling 1916 leaders terrorists while avoiding the issue altogether of parity of esteem. Unionists deny that nationalist/republicans have the right to put up a foreign flag in their wee pravince and any attempt to do so should be met with the full force of the law and that the union flag should be allowed to fly freely from each and every available mast in the north.
    Nationalism and Republicanism have moved on considerably through the past 40 years, to the point that physical force republicanism has been replaced by an embracing of constitutional politics. Unionism appears to be stuck in the ‘protestant state for a protestant people’ siege mentality that led to the last major outbreak of ‘trouble’ in the north. The Irish people in the north have proved themselves willing to work within that state to enable stability and prosperity to take root. Unionism is on the brink of destroying that peace from within. World opinion and pressure will not allow a return to ‘the good old days’ for unionism. If they want to be compared once again to regimes such as apartheid South Africa then they should continue on their present course, otherwise they should wake up and smeel the Irish coffee.

  • ulsterfan

    Ard Eoin

    Irish coffee? Where is it grown? Colombia perhaps!
    Hate the stuff myself.
    Hard to beat a good cup of tea from one of the Dominions.

  • Garibaldy

    Does the free state grow tea?

  • ulsterfan

    Garibaldy

    Of course not.
    Unfortunately they no longer have Dominion status or perhaps you are wishing it to be so.

  • Garibaldy

    Nor is anywhere else that grows tea.

  • ulsterfan

    Garibaldy

    That’s terrible news if you are right.
    Have we lost an Empire. I wish the children would keep me up to date .
    Sorry for disturbing you. Must get back to sleep.

  • Garibaldy

    Don’t worry Ulsterfan, there’s always neo-colonialism. Just look at the free state.

  • Debbie

    Interesting thread. I put a flag out once a year. It’s clean, (ironed even) on a flagpole on Easter Saturday night and take it down again dusk on Easter Sunday. Thats the way my family has always done it, and the way I’ll continue to do it.

    I think this flying of flags all year round hanging like dirty rags is not respectful, and ought to be stopped. The celebrations of Orangeism are in your face the whole summer, along with these awful bonfires which are environmentally damaging and dangerous.

  • Turgon

    Debbie,
    Funny but I put out a flag (a rather different one I suspect) on the 11th night and the 12th.

  • Bemused

    Debbie, Turgon – congratulations. I’m sure your neighbours are delighted at your stupidiotic attempts to lower the price of property in your area (that said, given that you no doubt live in some ghastly sectarian sink estate I suspect the price of property is the last thing on your tiny minds……..).

  • Rory

    Oh, for God’s sake! I’ve held off on this debate, hoping for some sign of ascent from “whataboutery” from “my” side, the republican side. I am largely disappointed.

    érigí are clearly engaged on a coat-trailing exercise here and their lofty appeal to historical date keeping does not hallow it differently or indeed, at all. Cheap is cheap. And this is cheap.

    Any way that is what I think of it. I may please be forgiven if I am unable to tell you what James Connolly might have thought about it. We were never really that close.

  • Dewi

    For a twelve month experimental period ban parades, flags and bonfires. Send in the UN to enforce it. I swear it would work.

  • CYNIC

    Amazing…you go away for a few hours and there are more handbags flying about here than on Ebay.

    Now now girls, calm down and let the valium do its work………

  • Artie

    I remember a conversation while on the blanket protest, where there was an argument as to what the new flag of the 32 county socialist republic should be. Bobby Sands thought it should be a lunch box, containing the working man’s lunch. Not bad.

  • picador

    Fair play to eirígí for pointing out the double standards applied by the authorities in our beloved wee province. For months of the year our streets are disfigured by rags placed by paramilitary goons with the connivance of the ‘police’, the Orange Order and unionists politicians. These displays are calculated to humiliate and to intimidate – and to remind nationalists to vote for Sinn Féin.

  • Dave

    “For a twelve month experimental period ban parades, flags and bonfires. Send in the UN to enforce it. I swear it would work.” – Dewi

    Can’t be done – contrary to the HRA, Article 11 (the right to freedom of association and assembly etc). And why would the UN enforce a law that breaches the European the Convention on Human Rights? Real world, Dewi. It begins when you graduate from college.

  • Mr Angry

    Article 11 is not simply “carte blanche”…..

    [i]”No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society [b]in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime[/b], for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.[/i]

  • I don’t put up a flag and the loyalist and republican goons don’t seem too annoyed about it.

  • Dewi

    Precisely Mr Angry – a complete ban “for the prevention of disorder or crime” seems to make perfect sense.

  • Hmmm. . . . I don’t see in the statement any right to commandeer public property for the exclusive use of those exercising their rights of association or assembly.

    Here in the US with somewhat similar rights, it is clearly understood that you still need permission from the government authority to use a road for a parade or public property for your assembly. Seems to me that that’s the rub.

    Generally speaking, here in NY, any organization wishing to use public property (including roads, walkways,parks, open spaces of any kind) must obtain a permit to do so which will be granted or denied based on the same rules applicable to all organizations. And those rules can and often do allow the local government to review and use the behavior of the organization in prior instances.

    So, Cave, the right is NOT “carte blanche” either under our law or, it’s clear, the European Convention.

    BTW, the permit for NYC’s St, Patrick’s Day parade is held by the local AOH and the parade is basically in honor of St. Patrick as the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese New York. It is a celebration of the contributions of the Roman Catholic Church to New York City, both past and present.

    Note that I used the term “Roman Catholic” here since I am specifically referring to the Latin Rite Catholic Church in this instance, as opposed to the Greek Rite Catholic Church or the Coptic Rite Catholic Church or any of the 20 other Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.

  • slug

    Rory – thanks for a sane post.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick Hall,

    No harm to you but can you explain how you can say this :

    Republicans regard the flying of the Union Jack on Irish soil as provocative and shameful, but such is life,

    and then, in almost the same breath, say

    People ‘take’ offense, it is a conscious act, it is impossible for a flag to act offensively,

    ??

    I’m with the second of your two contradictory opinions. A considerable component of the “offense” and associated “provocation” in this country is people choosing to be offended or choosing to feel provoked. However, understanding this concept is the preserve of civilized people.

    Fact remains that eirigi were out to cause trouble and raise their profile, just like the INLA marchers in Ballymena a few years ago, and just like the Orangemen trying to march down Garvaghy Road. If people would just back the fuck off now and again, and if other people would just live and let live now and again, we’d all be a hell of a lot better off.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bob McGowan,

    Please stop it with the holier than thou stuff, disputes over the partiality of the police happen in the USA as much as they do here. Wasn’t there an issue with a black guy getting shot a few years ago ?

    The law is clear over here; it’s illegal to display flags or erect structures such as arches on the public roads. Sadly, lots of people in NI think that obeying the law is optional. Anyone who argues for rigid enforcement of the law is dismissed as being in favour of heavy-handed political policing.

  • [i]”Please stop it with the holier than thou stuff, disputes over the partiality of the police happen in the USA as much as they do here. Wasn’t there an issue with a black guy getting shot a few years ago ?”[/i]

    Well, CS, it seems that our problems with diversity were and are far more serious than yours. And yet, a society which has far more potential for violence still manages to lurch along pretty well. Doesn’t mean there are no incidents but the USA is about 50 times the size of NI and with a diversity of races, religions, political beliefs, cultures, and what have you that is greater than anything you folk in NI can even imagine. And we have learned and are learning how to get along together pretty much in peace. So, maybe, you could learn a thing or two from our experience and how we address those incidents that seem to cause so much problem over there.
    And just pointing out that freedom of association and freedom of assembly does NOT include the right to commandeer public property for your meeting or marches or whatever.

  • Comrade Stalin

    And we have learned and are learning how to get along together pretty much in peace.

    But you’re not. Racism is endemic in several US police forces, specifically the NYPD and the LAPD.

    So, maybe, you could learn a thing or two from our experience and how we address those incidents that seem to cause so much problem over there.

    So those huge riots which occurred in LA after a court let off police officers videotaped beating the shit out of a black guy were a figment of my imagination ? Get your own fucking house in order before you lecture other people, Bob.

  • Dave

    [i]Article 11 is not simply “carte blanche”…..

    “No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    Posted by Mr Angry[/i]

    Yes, well done. However, Dewi suggested banning all parades – which is a violation of the right to freedom of association and assembly under Article 11 – and not simply banning those parades where trouble is likely to lead to public disorder. Unless the goverment can establish that all parades fall into the category, then it can’t ban all parades.

    Hence:

    [i]“For a twelve month experimental period ban parades, flags and bonfires. Send in the UN to enforce it. I swear it would work.” – Dewi

    Can’t be done – contrary to the HRA, Article 11 (the right to freedom of association and assembly etc). And why would the UN enforce a law that breaches the European the Convention on Human Rights? Real world, Dewi. It begins when you graduate from college.

    Posted by Dave[/i]

  • Dewi

    Parades as a concept lead to public disorder. I think the legal ground for a ban would be OK – especially if alternative means of “celebration” were found.

  • Dave thinks that the right of assembly and the right of free association includes the right to use public property for such associations and assemblies.

    Such rights do NOT include the right to use public facilities. In point of fact, these rights do not include the right to use any facility without the owner’s consent/permission.

    End of story.

  • Dave

    “Parades as a concept lead to public disorder.” – Dewi

    What percentage of parades endangers public safety or lead to public disorder? Even if you have Bob (our keen amateur statistician) to help you out with the figures, I seriously doubt that you would draw any conclusion from the facts other than that the overwhelming majority of parades are peaceful, and are not calculated to lead to a breach of the peace. Besides, most objections are to the route of the parade and not to the right of the paraders to parade.

    “Dave thinks that the right of assembly and the right of free association includes the right to use public property for such associations and assemblies.”

    Have you been eating psilocybin mushrooms again, Bob? I think most readers are aware that parades require a licence from the relevant authority.

    “Such rights do NOT include the right to use public facilities.” – Bob

    I think most readers are aware that citizens have a right to use public spaces without undue restriction being placed on their freedom of movement. The right to Freedom of Assembly is qualified but “no restrictions shall be placed on the exercise” of it other than as set out in Article 11. In other words, you have a right that must not be unduly hindered by the State.

    “In point of fact, these rights do not include the right to use any facility without the owner’s consent/permission.” – Bob

    Thanks for that contribution, Bob. Now I know that I can’t assemble with others on private property without the owner’s permission.

  • Éirígí flags are fluttering on the Toome by-pass seemingly unmolested. Obviously the PSNI are an SS-Stasi outfit working to the bidding of their MI6/securocrat masters.

  • Alas, Dave, you seem to miss the point. If an organization or a group of citizens use public facilities for a parade or assembly, they are effectively denying the use of that facility to others for the duration of their assembly.

    Bottom line, Dave, is that you need the permission of the government to DENY others their rights.

    Simple, really.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    STALIN

    “I doubt the PSNI have a proper policy on flags and took this particular action on a public order basis.”

    I’d say you’re right, the police have no proper policy regarding flags. Hence, in situations such as this, they have nothing to go on but gut instinct.

    And that’s the problem. After eighty-odd years of the RUC, the gut instinct of our police force is still to side with the Prods and baton the Taigs. Instincts like that can’t be unlearned overnight (or even in a generation). They have to be ruthlessly stamped out by a Minister for Justice.

    Which is why unionism is totally against the devolution of justice powers.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Incidentally, I agree with Dewi. If I were Minister for Justice, I would create an ad hoc squad mandated to remove every single illegally-erected flag in the six counties. I would introduce a licensing system whereby people would have to apply for a sort of planning permission in order to erect flags/bunting/arches/murals etc, and would face harsh punishments for erecting flags illegally, including gaol time.

    (Sporting displays would be explicitly excepted. The legislation would not penalise, say, fans of Ulster or Ireland if they had an unlikely Heineken Cup run or beat the All Blacks, Linfield if they pulled off a big European result or Armagh if they got to another All Ireland final.)

    In short, total war on flag-flying. An all-out offensive to crush the territorial pissers. And I’d make no apology for it either.

  • Garibaldy

    Where does that leave somewhere like the Falls or Shankill where national flags are uncontroversial? Are they to be banned there too?

  • Dave

    “Alas, Dave, you seem to miss the point. If an organization or a group of citizens use public facilities for a parade or assembly, they are effectively denying the use of that facility to others for the duration of their assembly.

    Bottom line, Dave, is that you need the permission of the government to DENY others their rights.” – Bob

    Bob, if you sit on a park bench or stand on a street corner then you are denying the use of that public space to others; so, by your curious logic, a person needs the permission of government to do either.

    Fundamental rights such as those set out in the Human Rights Act (which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law) cannot be denied by a government, Bob. That is the purpose of stipulating those rights.

    As I explained to you: “The right to Freedom of Assembly is qualified but “no restrictions shall be placed on the exercise” of it other than as set out in Article 11. In other words, you have a right that must not be unduly hindered by the State.”

  • DM

    [i]Incidentally, I agree with Dewi. If I were Minister for Justice, I would create an ad hoc squad mandated to remove every single illegally-erected flag in the six counties. I would introduce a licensing system whereby people would have to apply for a sort of planning permission in order to erect flags/bunting/arches/murals etc, and would face harsh punishments for erecting flags illegally, including gaol time.[/i]

    We’d need to reopen the Maze to handle the large volumes of people arrested under the Bunting Offences Act…

    Thankfully such draconian measures are unlikely to ever see the light of day.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Garibaldy

    “Where does that leave somewhere like the Falls or Shankill where national flags are uncontroversial? Are they to be banned there too?”

    Yes, they would. However, if someone from the Shankill or Falls wanted to go through the correct procedures, demonstrated plans to erect a proper flagpole and made a commitment that said flag would be run up in the morning, down in the evening, and generally treated with the respect due to them, I think that’d be fine.

    (Obviously UDA/UVF flags, being illegal, would not be permitted under any circumstances. As there is no such thing as an IRA flag, there isn’t really a republican equivalent.)

    “We’d need to reopen the Maze to handle the large volumes of people arrested under the Bunting Offences Act…”

    Gaol sentences would be reserved for those organising these breaches of law, and for the incorrigible repeat offenders. I accept that I’m proposing a hardline course of action here, but you could only describe it as “draconian” if you didn’t really think it was that bad a problem to begin with. Here, we disagree. I think our obsession with flags and emblems is a disease.

    Being a reasonably well-adjusted human being with more pressing concerns, I find the flying of flags/territorial pissing to be utterly pathetic and dangerous. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be able to fly flags – what I’m saying is, if they absolutely must, we should at least make them meet a certain standard first.

    As for the thugs and troublemakers who soil our streets, lamp-posts and kerbstones with malign reminders of the societal dead-weight they represent, I say they must be crushed. Crushed utterly and without apology.

    If they want to climb ladders, I have some windows need washed.

  • [i]Bob, if you sit on a park bench or stand on a street corner then you are denying the use of that public space to others; so, by your curious logic, a person needs the permission of government to do either.[/i]

    Poor logic. Dave. The public park bench was put there for people to sit upon. The street corner is there for people to walk on or wait to cross the road. Permission has been granted by the government for people to use either freely for such purposes.

    The bench can not be used as a platform for a public assembly nor the street corner blocked for people to listen to an orator without seeking the permission of the local government for the simple reason that using them for other purposes denies the rights of others to use them for their proper purpose.

    Likewise, public roadways are for the movement of vehicular traffic, not for parades without the specific permission of the government.

    Simple, Dave.

  • DM

    I agree that tattered flags on lamposts and painted kerbstones look terrible. I don’t think banning all flags and bunting is the answer though, and I honestly could never imagine legislation to that effect being successfully introduced into the Assembly.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    DM

    “I don’t think banning all flags and bunting is the answer though”

    I’m not suggesting a ban. I’m just suggesting that the flying of flags should be controlled, and controlled rigorously, by law, a la planning. If you want to fly a flag in public (ie on public property or in public view), fine. But there should be procedures you have to go through.

    And if you bypass those procedures, you’re in trouble.

    “… and I honestly could never imagine legislation to that effect being successfully introduced into the Assembly.”

    Ah well now, that’s a whole other issue. That’s why I was playing my fantasy game – “if I was justice minister…”

    Although I don’t think a minister for justice would require assembly, or even executive approval, for directing police to remove illegally-erected flags. (Pursuing punitive action against the culprits might be trickier.) Couldn’t he argue – rightly – that he was merely ensuring the cops enforced the law? I mean, illegal flag-flying is an example of law-breaking that is quite literally being waved in our faces.

  • Dominic Bryan

    Anyone interested in both the legislation and existing policies on flags in Northern Ireland and a survey on the extent of flag flying during the summer months can find reports at the following web site: http://www.asharedfutureni.gov.uk/

  • terrorpin

    What they are flags of is rather important. If Tesco put up flags on lamp posts advertising themselves without permission of course they should come down. These Eirigi flags are not equivalent to union flags or even tricolours. They are more akin to election posters.