Offence-causing car implement impinging on neutral working environment

A Tyrone civil servant has had to remove a Tyrone GAA flag from her car following a complaint from a colleague at the Social Services Agency office in Strabane. The case raises an interesting/ depressing prospect: if items displayed/ attached from cars are to be restricted due to the interpretation of neutral working environment policies, wither the ‘Wear your poppy with pride’, Soccer/ GAA card figures and GAWA stickers that are clearly visible from many cars?

  • barnshee

    Quite right too

    Offence is in the eye of the beholder –isn`t that what thwe EC preaches

  • barnshee

    Quite right too. Consult the Equality bunch– perception is all offence in in the eye of the beholder.
    The emblems of GAA and Irish are offensive to many. Get used to it

  • Not Easily offended

    If someone was offended by a red & white flag then god help us.
    Personally I think that all flags – yep, even the tricolour & the butchers apron – should be banned. That way these morons can have their delicate sensibilities protected.
    Attitudes in the north bemuse me.

  • Carson’s Cat

    not easily offended
    “If someone was offended by a red & white flag then god help us.”

    If its so hard to get offended by a red & white flag then why propose the banning of a red, white & blue one?

    Frankly the most interesting part for me was when Barry McEduff claimed that no sporting flags could be deemed as offensive.

    Strange then that SF representatives have called for the removal of Linfield and Rangers flags in the past calling them “sectarian”. Clearly McElduff doesn’t do irony or consistency.

    Nothing new there.

    You can’t have it both ways – either people can be offended by symbols like those and they all should be banned, or they’re all ok and should be allowed.

    If sporting symbols are so ok then why did Sinn Fein support the removal of World Cup wallcharts from workplaces?

    Double standards & hypocrisy.

  • Not Easily Offended

    Carson’s Cat – If you read my post the you will see that I have said all flags should be banned.

    Personally I think that flags flown in loyalist areas – such as UVF & UFF flags – are infinitely more intimidating and worrying than a simple red & white flag.

    Petty point scoring by whoever reported this methinks.

  • flaminglip

    Jeepers, if anyone is GENIUNELY offended by a Tyrone flag, they need to take a good hard look at themselves.

  • miss fitz

    Well, lets hope the only other being scored on this issue will be by the bearded ones in Tyrone in Croke Park

  • miss fitz

    The only other points, I meant to say


    Attitudes in the north bemuse me.

    What bemuses me is how someone can call my national flag a butchers apron, then feign bemusement at any offence taken.

    Anyway, the story about the GAA flag is ridiculous, there should be a more aggressive approach to malicious complaints like this one.

  • Mark McGregor

    I can’t believe anyone would even suggest tit-fer-tat complaints over this nonsense.

  • 6countyprod


  • slug

    Well there was that chap who complained about the Union Jack Boots Chemists promotion and then this.

    Both very silly.

  • Maybe youse should have a lottery system that allows 4/5 five flags for either side per year.Ye could have the draw every new years day.

  • Glencoppagagh

    At last we can now see where this “ekwaality” (as squeaky Barry calls it) guff leads to and to think that people are paid to adjudicate on these piddling complaints.

  • RepublicanStones

    God but i hate them September Gaels. Im having trouble gettin a ticket, because of the fat-assesd 4X wheel drive biggest wallet in the village f**ks who decide now the red hands are in the final that they’ll go, havin shunned throw-ins all year until now.

    Can anyone help ‘aul Stones out?

  • Dec

    Voluntary coalition now!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    How’s this for compromise. The tricolour is flown on public buildings for one week (Easter) and the British flag is flown for the other fifty one weeks. Can anything be fairer than that?

  • RepublicanStones

    Perhaps the complaint was lodged by a jealous Derry supporter? Maybe it wasn’t themmuns after all hi!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Gregory Campbell has tickets that he isn’t going to use.

  • Exactly. Only a hypersensitive moron looking for something to be offended at could find MY flags offensive.

    Yours on the other hand symbolise centuries of bigotry and are highly offensive. Ban them now!

    Will you guys listen to yourselves, for goodness sake?

  • Bruachaille Eoghain Rua

    Commonsense has to prevail, sport is yet again being used for cheap political point scoring. Would those people who wish to play politics please keep sport out of the sectarian quagmire, for f&*k sake it is only a flag, and not a tribal emblem as is the poster displayed in my workplace of Davy Healy scoring that magnificant goal against england a poster and nothing else. What is going on here its been a shit summer with the weather never mind having to read and listen to shit like this.

    Bruachaille Eoghain Rua

  • RepublicanStones

    You’d think the fact that Tir Eoghain being the Red Hand county, that it would be supported across the commutnity, as ‘themmuns’ have taken a liken to that symbol in particular. Not to speak of the Orchard county and the colour they run about in, so that should be at least two teams we can all get behind…. except me being a Red Hand man and all, I have a reputation to protect !


  • Mack

    Tyrone Flags are not necessarily offensive however Ian McCrea DUP MLA in Mid Ulster has condemned those responsible for taping up a Union flag from flying in Cookstown when erecting tyrone flags and bunting. I welcome his comments and feel that this action is more offensive and that this proves that the GAA and its supporters are offended by British culture and flags.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Whoever was offended by the Red and White flag will better pray to their god for a Kerry victory, coz I’m sure if Tyrone win the All-Ireland the whole county will be swamped in the county’s colours!

    Regarding the objection to the flag I suppose this is parity of esteem, but Northern Ireland style. Maybe Tyrone supporters should wave the Red & White flag of NI, but I bet the aggrieved would still find something to complain about. Anyway good luck to Tyrone in the All-Ireland!

  • dunreavynomore

    this is a problem waiting to rear its head all over the place. once some genius decided that tokenistic issues like flags were a major problem for the wee 6 this was bound to happen.
    like miss fitz and as an armagh man i hope there are plenty of points in the final and a few pints after and i wish tyrone all the best. up tyrone, up ulster, bring sam back to the 6 cos? the north? northern ireland? whatever you want to call it yourself. bring sam back anyway.

  • HeadTheBall

    “bring sam back anyway.”

    Amen to that.

  • frustrated democrat

    As usual people look for something to complain about. This whole area needs to be revisited and respect for our diversity celebrated instead of being used as a weapon to beat the other side with.

    I will be supporting my fellow countrymen in Dublin, just as I support Ulster in rugby and Northern Iraland in football.

    We here have a lot more in common than we have to separate us, if only we could recognise that think how much better a place this would be.

  • oneill

    However, Aodhan Harkin, of Sigersons GAA Club in Strabane, said a Tyrone flag was in no way offensive.

    “I thought we had started to move on in this country,” he said.

    “We accept everybody else’s cultures but we can’t accept our own.”

    And when did all this widespread acceptance of “everyone else’s cultures” start? Also, I think The Newsletter was taking the p yesterday, getting Barry McElduff (the man who was offended by David Beckham’s mush on the workplace World Cup charts several years ago) to comment on the matter.

  • #

    How’s this for compromise. The tricolour is flown on public buildings for one week (Easter) and the British flag is flown for the other fifty one weeks. Can anything be fairer than that?
    Posted by Pancho’s Horse on Sep 12, 2008 @ 10:29 PM

    Oh you can be much fairer than that, senor pancho ! How about the Irish tricolour flown on 43.7% of the time of the year and the buther’s apron flown the rest of the time, commensurate with the relative sizes of the populations of the north east corner of Ireland.

  • Nathan

    Having a flag up in a car and driving to work in it…its really unprofessional and a sign of an unrefined individual who (hopefully) won’t be there for too much longer.

    Nevertheless, the flag probably wasn’t posing any safety risk to the driver in terms of obscured vision – I hope she feels she can put it up outside working hours

  • miss fitz

    Unfortunately, I dont get to fly the flag of my county too often, but on the rare occasions we make an appearance in Croke Park I have no hesitation what so ever in flying the flag.

    I would consider myself quite a refined young lady, so I think your comments are not quite to the point.

  • gram

    I take it the poppy is banned from social services buildings as well?

  • pfhl

    How does this affect people with bumper stickers supporting a premiership club? Nathan, do get out of your own ass. Unrefined my ass, the woman is happy her county is playing for sam after the awful start they had. With this parity of esteem we will ahve no more poppies. Thank god for that

  • Tom

    If people cannot see why the GAA might cause offence to someone then there really is something wrong. The GAA are not a purely sporting body. I don’t have a problem with someone kicking a ball around and lifting it up every so often. What I have a problem with is the relationship the GAA has with violent Irish Nationalism. Until it gets rid of this I have a legitimate right to feel offended.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘…violent Irish Nationalism.’

    Which was brought about by violent british activity in Ireland. Its like the chicken and the egg, except in this instance we actually know which came first !

  • Dave

    “With this parity of esteem we will ahve no more poppies. Thank god for that .” – phfl

    Don’t you mean Parity of Contempt?

    Instead of folks blaming those who use the law, they should turn their ire on those who devised it – not forgetting which tribe demanded it.

    Parity of Esteem translates as Parity of Contempt when it is used by the tribes to censor expressions of each other’s culture. Law won’t compel folks to hold each other’s culture in esteem. That’s not to argue that neutral workplace isn’t a good idea when it comes to banning the display of the sectarian symbols belonging to murder gangs such as PIRA and UVF, etc. But how does the British flag or a poppy or a flag belonging to a football club fall into that category?


    Where do we draw the line here? Potentially EVERYTHING in the North/Northern Ireland could be deemed offensive. The David Healy flute episode DIDN’T offend me as a Nationalist, I thought it was funny and meant to be funny. Likewise I get behind the Ulster Rugby team when they play and if anyone wore an Ulster Rugby top in my office I wouldn’t bat an eyelid NOR would I if they wore a Northern Ireland football top. What next? People with ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday? I think it says more about the Social Security Agency and NI Civil Service in general which is full of saddos in jobs they hate who need to justify their existence. I mean who goes through school telling everyone they want to be a civil servant? Individuals who are NO good at anything else end up in these places and consequently are angry, bitter and frustrated in life. So they complain about things like this.

  • Dave

    Lurig, it’s a case of determining what aspects of cultural and political expression can reasonably be deemed to be offensive to others and should properly be censored. The keywords must be ‘reasonably’ because it you apply a criteria of ‘offence is in the eye of the beholder’ then you subject ALL aspects of cultural and political expression to censorship at the whims of others. So, you need an objective rather than subjective measure.

    Personally, I don’t know why anyone wants to allow a bunch of anti-liberation assholes in officialdom tell them what they can do or say, but a culture has been created wherein people are encouraged to allow the State to control all aspects of their lives – much of this is an EU culture in addition to being a product of local bureaucrats and the quangoes they spawn. This dismal culture uses the words ‘unregulated’ and ‘illegal’ interchangeably.

    I would work from a starting point that symbols of sectarian paramilitaries can be held to genuinely offensive to both Catholics and Protestants because both of those communities have suffered badly at their hands. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if folks displayed those symbols in non-workplaces, but it isn’t appropriate to display them in workplaces where people would have relatives or friends who were harmed by those illegal groups. It’s true that people were also harmed by the State (and deliberately so since that State has its hands soaked in the blood of its citizens), but it isn’t reasonable to be offended by the symbols of the State, particularly when you have endorsed that State and agreed to live under its law. Nobody can reasonably claim to suffer undue mental distress by viewing a Union Jack flag or a photo of Liz Windsor or, indeed, by being forced to endure the horrid spectacle of a wee GAA flag in a parked car. If the law is there that allows this frivolity, then folks will use it. This is kind of garbage that the likes of the Alliance Party and the ‘Everybody is a Victim but Luckily I’m a Solicitor’ industry adore.

    The only victim here is the woman who was told to remove a flag from her car. That is an outrageous violation of her civil liberties – and presumably she was directed to comply with the censorship under threat of losing her employment or facing criminal sanction.

  • Nathan

    Miss Fitz,

    Flying your county’s flag outside the comfort of your own house, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But putting such a large ‘implement’ in your car and driving to work with it, thats inviting trouble.

    She’s in the civil service for heaven sake – probably not the most well paid but at least its secure – in Northern Ireland where there is naff all enterprise its probably a good place to be in.

    For that reason she should be keeping her head down and not drawing unnecessary attention to herself – I’m sure she has family to think about, I’m glad for her sake she took it down.

  • Nathan

    Another thing which is glaringly apparent from this article – no mention whatsoever of the unions even though its clearly talking about the public sector.

    Maybe she isn’t a member of one.

    This would leave her in a more volatile position in the workplace.

    I hope she gets her name down if she hasn’t already

  • barnshee

    ” The keywords must be ‘reasonably’ because it you apply a criteria of ‘offence is in the eye of the beholder’ then you subject ALL aspects of cultural and political expression to censorship at the whims of others. So, you need an objective rather than subjective measure”

    Sorry the KEY word is perception. Go to the EC (at the drop of a hat) if you are in any doubt- there is a whole PC equality industry to support.
    Don`t complain just because it bit you on the arse

  • Reader

    Greagoir O Frainclin: Regarding the objection to the flag I suppose this is parity of esteem, but Northern Ireland style. Maybe Tyrone supporters should wave the Red & White flag of NI, but I bet the aggrieved would still find something to complain about.
    Just a different set of aggrieved – as I expect you already know! I don’t think it was an actual county flag – I think it was a GAA county flag, though the news report was a little vague.
    And yes, it is parity of esteem, NI style. For so long as I can remember, on casual days at work, *all* team shirts and colours with local relevance have been banned. And I’m not even in the Civil Service. I would be more relaxed than most about team colours about the place, but the employer has a responsibility to allow people more tense than me to be at ease in a shared workplace – especially in areas with a local imbalance of population.

  • bystander

    Don’t know why this makes the news when these petty complaints have been happening for years in workplaces all over NI. My friend who came back from spain with the Spanish national football top wore it to work, then had to return home and change it because somebody took offence to the crown on the badge. these are the laws to remove anything british that nationalists wanted and got, maybe they didn’t understand what equality really meant.

  • RepublicanStones

    So how about those tickets?

  • The original Sam Maguire

    Depends what club you are RS 😉

    I’ll stick you on the list anyway it’ll be later on in the week before I know.

  • The original Sam Maguire

    Outlook not so good RS, getting it tight at the moment