Union flag: storm in a flowery teacup?

Over in Letterkenny the local radio station has been playing host to a minor controversy we thought was the sole occupation of those of us on the other side of the border. When officials from 12 countries came to judge the town’s entry for the Entente Florale competition, some local people objected to the flying of the Union flag as part of a tribute to the visiting group. Gregory Campbell from the DUP was quick to seize on the story. Yet as one local wryly noted to Slugger: “We’re talking a handful of objectors. Indeed, there would be more people objecting to the flag flying in Gregory’s own constituency than out here”. Ah, the joys of the silly season!

Adds: Damien has the audio from Talkback!

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  • Greagoir o Frainclin

    The British Showjumping team won the Aga Khna trophy last Friday. ‘God Save the Queen’ was played aloud and the Union flag flew proudly for the British team!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    It’s about time the republic lost it’s chauvinistic devotion towards the Irish tricolour. The Irish people have to change if they want unity!

  • Paul

    In what way Ulsters My Homeland?

    What changes would have you sign up for Re-unification ?

  • ggn

    “republic lost it’s chauvinistic devotion towards the Irish tricolour.”

    Is there any state on Earth which does not have such a devotion towards it own flag?

  • Wilkins

    In England the PC briage insist they shouldn’t ” ’cause that’s what the BNP do”

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “In what way Ulsters My Homeland?
    What changes would have you sign up for Re-unification ?”

    Now come on, the poor lad’s trying to be funny. Let’s just encourage that for now and we can get him to join some political dots in due course.

    I’m surprised Gregory Campbell got worked up. He’s normally so laid back and philosophical.

  • The Starry Plough

    Yes, chauvinistic devotion. That is a a phrase that makes so much sense it actually doesn’t, you know?

    The Tricolor represents both traditions on this island in a respectful manner. The Union Jack is both culturally and politically inaccurate, and perhaps brings back a few bad memories or historical misfortunes.

    But this is all a storm in a miniature teacup, isn’t it? yawn.

  • barnshee

    “The Tricolor represents both traditions on this island in a respectful manner”

    Er no ask the “other tradition” and they will tell you where to put the murders shroud (AKA the tricolour) Failing that watch an “11th” night bonfire

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Mike,

    if this is not ‘cat stuck up a tree’ territory then Iris Robbo is a liberal and Pete Baker is on Grizzly’s xmas list.

    Surely there should be a post on Non Iron’s olympic team – as some of them (I think) represent the papal south and some the evil Englezes – enough to get the Sluggeronian tribalistas in full flow.

  • i read that the Irish swimmers can’t wear the shamrock on their swimming caps…

  • Mick Fealty

    Silly season, how are you? Didn’t anyone read the headline?

    Have added Damien’s sound file of the Talkback discussion for the sake of wholeness. But I have to say that the story barely has the legs to get itself out of the bottle.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”What changes would have you sign up for Re-unification ?”[/i]

    The introduction of B-Special anti-terrorist unit specifically designed to counter dissident Republican and loyalist activity.

  • The Equality Fairy

    I like the idea of the tricolour respecting my Orange traditions.

    Tell you what, if you REALLY care about respect and equality and just representation, the best thing to do is empower people, to give them the authority to have their wishes carried out and their self determination respected. On that basis, I’d like to see the Orange third taken off your tricolour (we can start now if anyone has some scissors) until such times as you solicit our approval for the adoptions of our colours on this flag you insist represents us.

    To suggest that a flag that is not voluntarily adopted by a people represents them is an accurate reflection of the chauvinistic, if not the abusive, I would say.

    Until such times, it is true that that butchers apron represents nothing – other than the disingenuousness and hypocrisy of the republic.

    In adopting such lofty rhetoric regarding this most egaliterian of flags, whilst perpetrating such lowly activities, you prove only the wilful criminality of your movement to the eyes of history.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I’m surprised Gregory Campbell got worked up. He’s normally so laid back and philosophical.”[/i]

    That’s remarkable billie-Joe

  • Earnan

    Any crimes, murders, and heinous acts committed under the banner of the Tricolor pale in comparison to those done under the Butcher’s Apron.

    And those under the Union jack were usually sanctioned by the legal governing body.

  • consul

    Back when I was doing the final college block for my trade, for which I was required to head to Sligo, I got myself digs out the road from the IT, and ended up in the same house as two Donegal lads, one from Letterkenny, the other from Burt.

    They were good owl craic and we were out on the tear in Sligo probably four nights a week. Those student cards were deadly, shorts for about three euro I think at the time when you were to full for any more pints, you could easily get smashed on €50.

    Anyways one day in the digs one of them happened to be telling me about a protestant lad that they used to tease a bit in school and I said that I didn’t know there were prods in Donegal(I didn’t at the time). “Oh there are”, he said,”but they keep their mouths shut”. I didn’t say anything but for a throwaway remark it kinda stuck with me.

    For me it just goes to show that a line in the ground doesn’t change people, doesn’t alter their identies. Sectarianism is a problem no matter what part of Ulster you care to talk about, and I am not for a moment suggesting that the fault lies with the ordinary people on the ground. They are merely normal human beings being shaped as they grow by the atmosphere of the enviroment they find themselves in. It’s a problem they have inherited from history and the seeds as we know were sown some centuries ago.

    It’s up to political leaders in Ulster to shape society and to bring an end to sectarianism, this should be easier in Donegal than over the border, as political office is not dependent on institutionalised sectarianism.

  • “Gregory Campbell from the DUP was quick to seize on the story”

    Or was a journalist quick to seize on Gregory, Mick? If I heard him right, in an interview with Kevin Magee, he said that a journalist asked him for a comment.

  • Greagoir o Frainclin

    The Equality Fairy –

    “On that basis, I’d like to see the Orange third taken off your tricolour (we can start now if anyone has some scissors) until such times as you solicit our approval for the adoptions of our colours on this flag you insist represents us.”

    But there are Orange folk living in the Irish Republic, so it could be said that the Orange segment represents them. It is very much their flag, rather than the Union flag, the flag of a foreign country. I’m sure too had they found living the the Irish Republic rather repressive they would have headed over the ‘border’ long ago to live in that part of Ireland called ‘Britain’.
    Sure don’t they have in Orange parade in Rossnowlagh, County Donegal where they have to negotiate with the sheep about the use of the road!

  • Greagoir o Frainclin

    The Equality Fairy –

    “On that basis, I’d like to see the Orange third taken off your tricolour (we can start now if anyone has some scissors) until such times as you solicit our approval for the adoptions of our colours on this flag you insist represents us.”

    But there are Orange folk living in the Irish Republic, so it could be said that the Orange segment represents them. It is very much their flag, rather than the Union flag, the flag of a foreign country. I’m sure too had they found living in the Irish Republic rather repressive they would have headed over the ‘border’ long ago to live in that part of Ireland called ‘Britain’.
    Sure don’t they have an Orange parade in Rossnowlagh, County Donegal where they have to negotiate with the sheep about the use of the road!

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greagoir, would it be whataboutery to paraphrase you thusly:

    “But there are Irish folk living in the UK, so it could be said that the Union Flag/St Patrick’s Cross segment represents them. It is very much their flag, rather than the Irish Tricolour, the flag of a foreign country. I’m sure too had they found living in the UK rather repressive they would have headed over the ‘border’ or across the Irish Sea long ago to live in that part of Ireland called ‘The Republic Of Ireland’.”

    ————————————————

    “Sure don’t they have an Orange parade in Rossnowlagh, County Donegal where they have to negotiate with the sheep about the use of the road!”

    In the US, this would be considered a violation of the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech to banish a demonstration from where it wasn’t welcome to where it would not be seen nor heard. (Except in rare cases like the NYC Republican Party Convention, where the security of gov’t officials was invoked.)

  • Greenflag

    equality fairy ,

    ‘On that basis, I’d like to see the Orange third taken off your tricolour ‘

    So would I . We keep getting mistaken for either the Ivory Coast shower or Italians when their ‘red’ fades to orange . Damn nuisance

    Green only would be good and it’s the in colour from a whole Earth perspective . The white is probably now offensive to some of our new ethnic minorities so perhaps a narrow black and yellow stripe somewhere for the ‘new ‘ lads could be in order. Perhaps a wee red dragon to represent our ancient welsh connections and the newer chinese one ? Killing two birds with the one dragon /sorry flag 🙂

    To mollify those few who still attend the various empty churches a Celtic cross in the top corner for in honour of the great contribution made by the god messengers in our history . We could also insert a harp bottom right to represent our native musical traditions .

    In the bottom right hand corner in very small lettering as comfort for the small remaining band of United Irelanders (after all this would be a 30 County Republic flag )- we could have ‘tiochfaidh ar la’ inscribed in pink writing alongside sod off King Billy just for old times sake and to make an anti monarchical statement . After all we are a Republic lest we forget 🙂

  • Mr E Mann

    > ‘God Save the Queen’ was played aloud

    Gotta respect the Brits for adopting that song by the Sex Pistols as their national anthem.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “But there are Irish folk living in the UK, so it could be said that the Union Flag/St Patrick’s Cross segment represents them. It is very much their flag, rather than the Irish Tricolour, the flag of a foreign country. I’m sure too had they found living in the UK rather repressive they would have headed over the ‘border’ or across the Irish Sea long ago to live in that part of Ireland called ‘The Republic Of Ireland’.”

    Occasional Commentator, yep that would be whataboutery. But sure this attitude already applies in NI!

    BTW, the St Patrick Cross has religious connotations and is not secular!
    While being an emblamatic and an internationally recognisable flag, the Union flag is disputable, it’s contrivance with the Cross of St George, a non British person (even if he ever existed) with a represention of an Italian symbol of the Catholic republic of Genoa from Catholic times; The cross of St Andrew, again another non British person from the biblical stories, leaving only St David who was actually an ancient Briton (the Pendragon symbol being of ancient Welsh origin) and St Patrick (who’s origins are unknown, but let’s say in anyway that he was an ancient Briton and a Protestant to keep some folk happy) with his red cross, again no evidence that he ever attired himself with it or proclaimed it to be his own…..leaves such an internationally recognisable flag with very dubious origins.

    Like Greenflag I’d be all on for removing the ‘equal’ sized Orange portion from the flag of the Republic of Ireland and save the Northern Irish Protestants further hurt and insult! It’s adoption was very wrong from the start by the Free Staters. The old Green Flag with a gold harp would suffice!

  • Dave

    “The Tricolor represents both traditions on this island in a respectful manner.”

    The two main traditions in the Republic are Irish and Polish. On the “island” theme, it’s hardly ‘respectful’ to incorporate a group of people into your national flag; thereby ascribing a nationality to them that is alien to them . Time to update the flag? 😉

  • Dave

    “But I have to say that the story barely has the legs to get itself out of the bottle. ” – Mick Fealty

    Mixed metaphor #285

  • Fantastic Fairy Fun

    Sigh,

    Representation is not the issue Greg, acquiescence in that representation is. The design of the Irish flag, being foreign to my Ulster home, is not important to me. The flag of the Protestant South is the ‘Saint’ Patrick’s Saltire.

    George of Cappadocia (St. George) was a Roman General and a Big Time Commercial bacon farmer (he supplied the legions), rising from obscure origins and was, in reality, a bit of a rum character. Anyone who does not see the Roman Catholic religion as laughable is in a poor position to mock Scotch fable, and ‘Saint’ Patrick was a proto-Protestant from central Scotland. The myth of Patronage and beatification was made in the 17th centaury (I finks) by some Anglo-Irish Franciscan called Luke Walding.

    but anyway…..If you wish to ascribe the character of the national banner to reality rather than romance and myth, one can only speculate on the fate of the rich legend of the tri-colour.

    oh yes, and your point about the Orange in rossawhatever speaks for itself .

    Liberty Justice and Equality for all, it may sound French, but one day British Majesty shall rule in Donegal ! hahahah, I just made that up as well. No more Nescafe for me….
    Up the Prods ! :>

  • J Taylor

    The Tricolour is not wanted in Northern Ireland nor the Union flag in northern Ireland.

    That is parity of esteem!

  • Greenflag

    J Taylor

    ‘That is parity of esteem! ‘

    Did’nt you mean parity of disdain ?

    The Green only flag will do with perhaps a harp . At least it would be somewhat unique in a world where many flags are bedecked with ‘crosses’ and many are tricolours vertical or horizontal . Can the Union Jack which is made up of three crosses of Christian saints be relevant in a country where 95% of people don’t bother with church ?

    A Green only flag will suffice for a 30 county or so Republic following a fair ‘repartition’ of Northern Ireland . The smaller Unionist State would be free to choose an Orange only flag with perhaps an insert showing a 17th century Dutchman astride a white horse or whatever else takes their fancy 🙂

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greenflag:

    Are you suggesting the resurrection of Ulidia, with a refortification of the Dane’s Cast?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘On the “island” theme, it’s hardly ‘respectful’ to incorporate a group of people into your national flag; thereby ascribing a nationality to them that is alien to them .’

    To speak nothing of ‘icorporating a group of people into your little sectarian ‘Rhodesia’. Thereby ascribing a minority status to them because you don’t like their religion. Anymore pearls of wisdom?

  • Greenflag

    OC ,

    I’m not a believer in ‘resurrection’ either spiritual or political . Ancient mythology is not a solid foundation for building a new state .

    NI in it’s present format is a failed political entity despite rumours to the contary . It just needs a new border more in keeping with the inhabitants separate national aspirations .

    Other than that the ‘Ulidians ‘ can call their State Sodomia or Orangutangistan or Nopopia and wave whatever pieces of coloured cloth take their fancy 🙂

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greenflag:

    Isn’t Irish nationalism based in large part on a resurrected Gaelic mythos?

  • Dave

    “Anymore pearls of wisdom?” – Republican Stoned

    Yeah. It’s best practice not to engage in ‘debate’ with somebody who, in all probability, when not locked into his padded cell making chess pieces out of his own faeces, spends his days wandering up and down the Falls Road head-butting parking meters.

    Now take note, child, if I am forced to read another asinine post from you, I’ll sue you for brain damage. 😉

  • Greenflag

    ‘Isn’t Irish nationalism based in large part on a resurrected Gaelic mythos?’

    It depends on which Irish ‘nationalism’ you mean.

    Here’s your multiple choice take your pick.

    Version 1.0 – 1798 Republicanism
    Version 2.O – Daniel O’Connell’s Repeal Movement
    Version 3.0 – Young Irelanders -Mitchell,Davis
    Version 4.0 – Parnell & Irish Home Rule
    Version 4.2 – Davitt and the Land league
    Version 4.5 – 4.0 Updated to 20th century to
    the John Redmond ‘model’
    Version 5.0 Anglo Irish Literary revival
    and ‘discovery’ of all things
    bright and beautiful including
    the word ‘Celtic ‘.
    Version 5.5 Easter Rising -Pearse , Plunkett
    McBride etc .
    Version 6.0 The Irish Free State 1922 to 1932
    Version 6.5 Dev’s Restoration Period
    complete with Eucharistic
    Congressing and Constitutional
    underpinning for the new State.
    Version 7.0 Pragmatic ‘nationalism’ the
    Lemass revival .
    Version 8.0 Celtic Tiger economic period.

    The later adaptations and modifications or any I’ve left out you can add in yourself .

    To answer your point directly –

    Irish ‘nationalism ‘ when all is said and done is not about ancient ‘mythos’ but simply about the belief held by the vast majority of people on this island that their interests better served through self government than by government from Westminster. This political fact became more and more obvious to the vast majority from the time of the Act of Union onwards . Irish Nationalism has proved itself to be capable of being taken on board by every political movement on the island from Repeal of the Union -to Home Rule to full Independence -with the exception of course of ‘unionism’. It does not require an independent State to survive e.g it’s continued presence and growth in NI over the past half century is proof enough of that not to mention it’s survival through 122 years of Empire . It’s going to be around for a long time to come so I’d try and get used to it in whatever form it takes .

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greenflag:

    And you’re chairman of the “Convince NI Unionists That A UI Is In Their Best Interests” Committee?

    I may just have to burn all my books on Irish and related topics.

  • Oilifear

    “On that basis, I’d like to see the Orange third taken off your tricolour (we can start now if anyone has some scissors) until such times as you solicit our approval for the adoptions of our colours on this flag you insist represents us.”

    Do you mean it be removed from a flag popularised by a Londonderry Presbyterian clergyman, elected to the London House of Commons, and married at Drumcree parish church?

    On the wider issue, though, comments that the tricolour represents both the Green and the Orange today are utterly disingenuous. The Young Irelanders may have had their hearts in the right place in at the time of the Famine, but reality is that there is no Orange in that flag today.

    Back onto topic – didn’t this sort craic happen in Cork too, recently? There’s something particular about the nature of it. A 10-foot English flag can drape happily over a pub front in Templebar, or alongside Scottish and Welsh flags outside many a pub across the Republic, but the British union flag raises hairs (I’m not immune to it either). This kind of thing is utterly shocking – and people getting their knickers in a twist over the UK flag being flown at a flower contest is absurd – but, can it really be called “racism” or “bigotry” when the object of offense is the symbol of a political entity rather than a people?

    Objection to the European union flag would not be evidence of “racism” or “bigotry” towards Europeans. Can objection to the British union flag be considered as evidence of “racism” or “bigotry” towards Britons?

  • Steve

    Oh sure Olifear get them slabbering on about their britishness again

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Now take note, child, if I am forced to read another asinine post from you, I’ll sue you for brain damage.’

    Sorry Dave, truth hurts me ‘aul flower.

    Hows those turd chess pieces selling?

  • Greenflag

    Occasional Commentator ,

    ‘And you’re chairman of the “Convince NI Unionists That A UI Is In Their Best Interests” Committee’

    Sorry OC you got the wrong chairman . I’d rather try to persuade grass to grow slower. It would be less of a waste of time . Just as it would be an utter waste of time for a Unionist to try to persuade me of the benefits of the Union , I hold the same view re Nationalists and/or Republicans trying to persuade Unionists of the benefits of a UI.

    ‘I may just have to burn all my books on Irish and related topics.’

    Nothing wrong with educating yourself re the rest of the people on this island . I take an interest in our neighbouring island although mercifully I don’t have to learn their language 🙂

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    May I just interject and add Occasional Commentator, that all the majority of people here in Ireland wanted was self governance. Self governance for the people of Ireland, originallly within the UK Union, the Commonwealth, the King/Queen still head of state! It was a fair request to be as Canada,etc… but it was constantly ignored and turned down by the London government at every opportunity….. and not forgetting the militant reaction by Britannia’s pet favourites in NI!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    And may I just add that regarding the ‘resurrected Gaelic mythos’ which was started by the educated and more privileged Protestant class of 19th century Irish society (not the poor papist peasant) it has a far more historical fundamental basis than the peculiar mythos conveniently manufactured for a partitioned Northern Ireland and a ruling and rather isolated Protestant people, who were led to believe in an Ulster of Pictish/Cruithni ‘British’ folk distinct from the ‘barbarian’ Gaelic Irish! These Pictish/Cruithni folk, sole ancestors of the Protestants of Ulster and Northern Ireland today, God’s chosen people and all that, just like the Israelites, and who included among their ranks the practicing original ‘Protestant Orangemen’ St Patrick and Cúchulainn themselves. Not forgetting the ‘Apprentice Boy’ St. Columba of ‘Londonderry’ and the ‘Orangemen’ of the ‘Dál Riada’. What contrived bollocks! No wonder it didn’t catch on!

    ATQ Stewart being a progenitor of such nonsense!

    Erin abú!

  • We salute or ill-educated neighbours

    I remember the morons of Jordanstown taking down the Tricolore from the catering training noticeboard because they thought it was something else.

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greenflag: Earlier, I was put off by your (Wolfe) Tone.

    “(I)t would be an utter waste of time for a Unionist to try to persuade me of the benefits of the Union , I hold the same view re Nationalists and/or Republicans trying to persuade Unionists of the benefits of a UI.”

    So then, why not go back to the gun? Many an issue has been decided through Trial By Combat.

    ————————————————
    Greagoir: It can be no secret to you that the changed demographic in the north of Ireland because of the Plantation of Ulster meant that self-rule that encompassed the whole of the island would be problematic.

    And, yes, there were apparently many “Prod” members of the IRA in NI. Too bad for Irish nationalism that Catholic IRA from the south considered that unacceptable in the 1930s.

    It also seems that many opportunities to create common cause between both traditions were squandered because of a need to wreak vengeance upon “Prods”.

    But now that the dust has somewhat settled, perhaps a UI that assumed a status akin to Canada would be acceptable to both traditions across the island? Even Canada has a dual language traditions.

  • Dave

    “Sorry Dave, truth hurts me ‘aul flower.”

    In that case, your political beliefs must lead to a pain-free life.

    “Hows those turd chess pieces selling?”

    Get your own wholesaler. 😉