Hate Crime on Display?

The front page of today’s Irish News has a photograph of the ‘Union Jack Souvenir Shop’ on Belfast’s Newtownards Road yesterday. For sale in the shop is the Irish Tricolour for £5, obviously for burning at Belfast City Council-sponsored bonfires and other less ‘well-maintained’ gatherings throughout loyalist Belfast and beyond on the 11th Night. But the label attached to the flags by the helpful proprietor kind of sums up just why the ridiculous efforts to brand the 11th/12th as potentially an all inclusive celebration and gathering are doomed to failure: “FENIAN FLAGS TO BURN £5.”

Of course, as I’ve stated before at considerable length, there is nothing wrong with the 11th/12th remaining a celebration primarily/ exclusively celebrated by unionists/ protestants. But there should be no place for wilful displays of incitement to hatred in the form of flag burning, which clearly only reinforces crude sectarian mindsets like those responsible for this sign.


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