The wisest words from Downpatrick’s former town clerk, whom God preserve

Nothing more needs to be said – except perhaps next year the coat trailing SF councillor should be invited to head the parade 20 paces ahead of the main bunch in his own wee  demo,  if he must carry the tricolour. And on no account should the unionist schools  withdraw.

, , ,

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Fair enough – own goal by SF and given away when not under any pressure.

    Leadership should be shown on these occasions rather than jibber-jabbering about irrelevancies as to what happens elswhere in Honoluou or Timbuktu on the 17th March or what happens on the 12th July just up the road in Portadown or the Ardoyne.

  • When the great Daniel Mannix had his post war Paddy’s day parade with tens of thousands of veterans and 9 or so VC winners, it was stipulated the march had to be led by the Union Jack.
    The word was he got some drunk geezer to lead it with a tiny Union Jack. Maybe a Sinn Feiner can drown the shamrock next year in DP and do the honours.

  • Mac

    “Fair enough – own goal by SF and given away when not under any pressure. ”

    Probably best to wait to see the effect on the councillor in question’s vote tally, before calling it an own goal.

  • Hayes: “Thomas Francis Meagher would be spinning in his grave (if he had one) that the flag he conceived as a symbol of reconciliation between Orange and green should be used to cause division.”

    Meagher was one of the fiercer Irish nationalists, a fervent advocate of the repeal of the Union and a Young Irelander.

    From his Sword Speech: “Be it for the defence, or be it for the assertion of a nation’s liberty, I look upon the sword as a sacred weapon.”

    So much for all that nonsense about reconciliation.

  • “calling it an own goal”

    The bold Eamonn did score an own goal when he failed to note the ‘military association’ of the Irish Wolfhound; it’s the mascot of the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment. If he has a problem with the St Patrick flag why not the same problem with the dog?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Mac,

    I agree electorally it may go down well – I should have said qualified the own goal as strategic.

    SF need to be identifying those areas where there is common ground with Unionism to build on them not to undermine them.

    Difficult to call someone a friend when you* are pissing on their shoes.

    *Reference to male urination here.

  • Dec

    “Meagher was one of the fiercer Irish nationalists, a fervent advocate of the repeal of the Union and a Young Irelander.”

    What a swine, eh Nevin?

    WhatI’ve learnt from this episode is that 100% of the Irish Tricolour is offensive but 33.3% of the Union flag is cross-communal and in itself, rather beautiful. Maybe a single panel of Green, white or orange is in order next year, Eamonn, thus avoiding any controversy.

  • Mark McGregor

    “unionist schools” – what are they Brian?

  • Dec, do you have a problem with swine? :L There were Unionists who were fierce, fervent and who would have resorted to arms in the same era. I don’t see such Unionist and Nationalist mindsets disappearing anytime soon.

    Mac, only a very brave or a very foolish person would piss on a parapolitician’s shoes.

  • Mark, I’ve not heard of any Unionist or Nationalist schools.

  • Mac

    Nevin

    “The bold Eamonn did score an own goal when he failed to note the ‘military association’ of the Irish Wolfhound; it’s the mascot of the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment. If he has a problem with the St Patrick flag why not the same problem with the dog?”

    Mr McCauseland’s unconvincing arguement.

    One is a flag that is percieved to have been ‘created by the English’, the other is a dog that has been ‘co-opted by the English’, as it were.

    A dog that appears in the tain and earlier sagas, irish coins and insular celtic art does not have the same connotations as a flag that many nationalists believe is a ‘photoshop job’ as it were, to be shoehorned into the union flag.

    Given Nelson’s views, it’s no great suprise he can’t distinguish between creating something and co-opting it. After all, he’s done it with the whole universe as part of his little war against science.

    ItwasSammyMcNally

    ‘I agree electorally it may go down well – I should have said qualified the own goal as strategic.
    SF need to be identifying those areas where there is common ground with Unionism to build on them not to undermine them.’

    Common ground with unionism doesn’t win votes, making the SDLP look too ‘accommodating’ can. A few friends in and around Downpatrick did mention to me that it’s absurd the amount of fuss created over one tricolour on this one day of all days, given the amount of flag waving that goes on during the summer.
    Whilst many Unionists (and others) would like to frame the debate without any reference to the marching season, nationalists don’t have to follow that suggestion, and based on what I hear ‘nationalist’ friends say when discussing the issue, they are ignoring that caveat completely.

    Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t think the whole thing was the decision of one local, I tend to believe it’s an experiment in tackling the SDLP in places ike Downpatrick and Derry by portraying them as too willing to self-censor expressions of ‘Irishness’ (at least the version of it SF promote) with little in the way of reciprocation.

    The councillor in question is easy to write off by all parties concerned, the electoral result of his stunt is more likely to be noted down.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Mac,

    re. “Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t think the whole thing was the decision of one local”

    I largely agree with your analysis of why it was done – I’m contesting whether it is a good move or not strategically.

    They are slowly gaining electoral ground in that area anyway and there is the bigger picture of how you conduct yourself in realtion to your principles and how that is seen on both sides of the border.

    ..and of course there is the concept of simply trying to be a good neighbour to your fellow countrymen.

  • fordprefect

    The dog is the hi-jacked mascot for the “Irish” Guards and the Royal “Irish” Regiments.

  • Mac, your attempted diversion is noted. It was Eamonn who referred to the ‘military background‘ of the flag; I’ve just pointed out the military background of the dog. I’m also presuming that Eamonn meant British military background.

  • otto

    “I’ve just pointed out the military background of the dog.” And the aristocratic and royalist background at that.

    So like words, symbols used in different contexts or by different people have different meanings.

    The Tricolour that flew at the Aviva stadium on Saturday was the happy symbol of a modern, pluralist state.

    The Tricolour carried by a Shinner in a Downpatrick parade is the adornment of the coffins of dead volunteers. Whether you think that’s honourable or not yo have to admit it’s not inclusive.

    If the English introduce a St George’s day public holiday as a celebration of all the various peoples who make up the modern English nation, then kids enthusiastically waving the St George’s Cross will be benevolent thing.

    If some twat from the BNP decides to swagger at the front of the Birmingham or Bradford parade with a St George’s Cross and a bulldog he debases both.

  • Mac

    ItwasSammyMcNally
    “I largely agree with your analysis of why it was done – I’m contesting whether it is a good move or not strategically.”

    Well, in the context of elections, I think it was a ‘good move’ strategically, if it was an experiment by the party leaders rather than a loose cannon shooting his load.

    Like I said, the distancing of ‘the party’ from the individuals involved is believable, helped in no small measure by the fact that the individuals are believable as the sort of local mouthpieces you would imagine the party would want to distance themselves from.

    The local representatives will either gain electorally and the party will have a potential strategy to tackle the stubborn SDLP vote, or they will lose out and the party loses nothing as it has already been seen to wash their hands of them.

    Sadly, being a good neighbour isn’t a good strategy in politics here. SF don’t get, and will never get DUP or UUP votes. Compared to Gerry, Martin has a very small pool of potential new voters, therefore I imagine, his best strategy is to erode the SDLPs votes by continuously eroding their credibility as ‘nationalists’.
    He’s also being helped in no small way by Tom Elliott’s recent announcements. Our political conduct is crystalised by that recurring moment in every electoral hall when a bunch of middle aged men of all parties shout YEOOOOOOOO!!!! at one another as the returning officer reads out the results.

    Nevin
    “Mac, your attempted diversion is noted. It was Eamonn who referred to the ‘military background‘ of the flag; I’ve just pointed out the military background of the dog.”

    I’m not diverting, I’m disagreeing.
    The ‘military background’ or any other background for that matter, of the dog, didn’t start and end with British regiments as nationalists are acutely aware, Nelson cannot argue in a convincing manner the same for the flag.
    Why he bothered to pick up the gauntlet that the shinner threw down with that question at all I don’t know, when with a little forethought he should have realised that his evasion of the point by attempting to ‘deflect’ (as you put it) the issue to wolfhounds simply reinforced the perception rather than challenged it.
    I would see through it if his answer was during a tv debate were he had to think on his feet, but to sit down and type that out as a ‘right-back-at-you’ was worse than useless.

  • Brian Walker

    “Nothing more needs to be said,” I wrote. But somehow I more would be said, whether needed or not..

  • SDLP supporter

    I hope I’m not the only person on this site who is thoroughly sick of the misuse and abuse of all national flags in this benighted community of ours. I loathe, detest and despise the coat-trailing that goes on and if I never saw a union flag nor an Irish tricolour for the rest of my life I would never miss a thing.

    Maurice Hayes being Maurice Hayes ( eminence gris, Tony O’Reilly’s best mate, Olympian detachment, etc. ) can never resist a sideswipe tn the SDLP (objectivity and balance, don’t you know) and talks about “an attempt to outdo Sinn Fein in competitive rhetorical republicanism”. As I understand it, the SDLP were trying to address SF objections to the Cross of St. Patrick, which had been used for decades, by proposing the use of the Down District Council.

    As an Irish democratic republican, I feel the Irish tricolour increasingly fails to represent the diversity and pluralism of of modern Ireland. It wasn’t even the flag that flew over the GPO on Easter Monday 1916 and, if I recollect my history, was a construct of some French people who had never been anywhere near Ireland. The Franch minister who handed it to T.F. Meagher was, I think, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, who is noted in Franch history as someone who betrayed the French proletariat in the 1848 revolution and the most famous quote attributed to him is (possibly apocryphal) is “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

  • “I’m not diverting, I’m disagreeing.”

    I’m not referring to Nelson’s comments on his blog; I’m simply referring to Eamonn’s comment. I’d seen Nelson’s blog “Cross of St Patrick Controversy” but he’d made no reference to the dog when I’d referred to Eamonn’s comment two or three days ago. Perhaps he’s referred to the dog later.

  • “whether needed or not”

    Brian, if Hayes’ observations are worthy of challenge then I see no problem with them being challenged.

  • qwerty12345

    Would the flag of Ivory coast be ok next year?

  • Nevin: Irish wolfhounds are as Irish and nationalistic as Master McGrath. British regiments should not be using them. Let them adopt a Welsh terrier instead. or a rangers teddy bear. We want our wolfhounds,

  • Alan, it appears these animal mascots related to the main places of recruitment eg the Shetland pony is the mascot for one of the Scottish regiments. I’m told that the O’Kanes/Ó Cathain – the cat tribe – had a cat as their totemic symbol.

  • otto

    qwerty12345

    You’d think that if the churches all agree that the proper symbol of Irish Christianity is the cross patteé (and from their own logos it appears they do);

    http://www.catholicireland.net

    http://www.ireland.anglican.org/

    http://www.irishmethodist.org/

    as also endorsed by this methodist institution

    http://www.sportsfile.com/winshare/watermarked-b/Library/SF480/RP0068123.jpg

    that they could sign off on an official St Patrick’s Cross flag by this time next year. Forget republicanism – think of the royalties!

  • The Word

    The tricolour will certainly not be the flag of the country when we come to power.

    One of the beauties of this age is that it’s fairly free so that we know who wrote, said, or did whatever, we know who their friends are, and who they are prepared to work for and betray. It’s all there in black in white and in colour.

    Some people are waiting on judgment on this planet locally and internationally. What they fail to understand is that what is recorded now for posterity is how the future will see us.

    When some things are pointed out to them, they’ll want to go in a very different direction.

    When they see a politician chuckling his way along a parade with a flag and a big dog, they’ll be quite sure that that is how it was meant to look. Doggy buscuit, anybody?

  • Zig70

    Filling in the census form is more interesting than flags in D’patrick by now. “Put out what flags you wish”. Is after they’re lit?

  • Greenflag

    Good article by Maurice Hayes and the add on quote of Louis Mac Neice sums up this fracas over nothing .-

    ‘One sad set of casualties were the pupils from eight local schools who had spent months on an EU-funded scheme preparing and rehearsing a pageant celebrating peace and reconciliation, who were withdrawn by the schools at the first sniff of controversy.

    Apart from exemplifying the over-protectiveness that forbids children to run in the schoolyard for fear of liability for a fall, it would seem to be a poor preparation for life in a divided society that children should be taught to back down at the first sign of challenge.

    “Put out what flags you wish”, cried Louis Mac Neice, derisively to both factions in the North, “It is too late to save your soul with bunting

  • Greenflag

    Question of the week :

    ‘What has an an SF Councillor and an Irish Wolfhound and a flagpole with a piece of coloured cloth got in common with an Orange Lodge marching the Queen’s Highway ?’

    Answer :

    A combined IQ of 47 🙁

    Don’t be offended now and don’t take it personal . In both cases it’s the dog and the drum that help boost the IQ scores above negative ratings ;)?

  • ThomasMourne

    Would people please refrain from writing about the flag of St. Patrick? He never had one. Nor did he wear the ridiculous multi-coloured fancy dress ‘he’ was portrayed in at various parades in N.I. on the 17th.

    Sinn Fein need all the gimmicks they can think of in an effort to hide from their gullible electorate the 25 years support for IRA killing which has progressed their policies to …. ?

  • “Good article by Maurice Hayes”

    Gf, it’s a curate’s egg. The comment about Meagher is rubbish.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Can anyone explain to me why – as someone who was not a martyr – St Patrick has a cross as his emblem? Or is this just a makey up unionist thing. Like Ulster Scots for example?

  • Coll, here’s a comment from an Irish republican website:

    ” A contemporary picture map of the siege of Duncannon Fort, Co Wexford, in 1645 described by Hayes-McCoy shows forces of the Catholic Confederation marching behind a Red and White Saltire.”

    No certainty of where the Confederates got the idea from although it may have come from the Gerry Fitzgerry House of Kildare standard.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘The comment about Meagher is rubbish.’

    I thought it had a nice spin to it . Meagher was a genuine Irish Patriot and was sentenced to death along with some others while Vicky and Co feasted off the fat of the land while a million died of a “natural ” disaster and millions more fled from the eh ‘richest ‘country on the planet at the time .

    But enough of the past . Fast forward to the brave new world of 2011 where 30 million have lost their jobs since the Lehman Collapse in Sept 2008 , another 50 billion have been pushed below the ‘poverty line ‘ and economic inequality in the USA is at it’s highest level ever in it’s history with 48 million on food stamps and 50 million without health insurance while two stupid wars have added 3.5 trillion dollars onto the USA’s national debt . Get yourself a DVD ‘Inside Job ‘ directed by Charles Ferguson and it’ll put saltires and tricolours in ‘perspective’.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffHFjlqIzKE&feature=related

    It could help you understand the Presbyterian Mutual minor fracas . Who ever thought that just because the board of the mutual fund was presbyterian that that inoculated from overweening ‘greed’.

  • FuturePhysicist

    @ Coll Ciotach – an interesting point, then again most crossed national flags are merely symbols of Christianity, be it the flag of Jamacia, Finland, Greece or Tonga. In the end all makey up things, in the end all symbols of Christiandom.

    @ SDLP supporter – I reiterate the correction you made. Lazy journalist wouldn’t mention which SDLP spokesperson said they were offended by the white and red saltire.

    @ alanmaskey – a union jack only applies to that flag being flown from ship masts of course. If a ship is being driven down the road I’m sure it will offend many! 😀

    @ qwerty12345 – The Downpatrick parade has been marked as a multicultural and ecumenical festival, Above all else St Patrick’s Day in Downpatrick should focus on the saint and not be hijacked by nationalism.

    @ Mac – St Patrick’s Day has no national significance outside of being a Christian feast day of the nation’s patron saint. The only “censorship” that the SDLP have asked for is the humility and respect for the occasion, not a ban on the Irish tricolor.

    How many flags should be paraded for St Patrick?

    The Irish Flag of course, so perhaps the Welsh and Union Flag for the Patron’s birthplace too? Perhaps the flags of Nigeria and Montserrat (another tricolour and a Union flag) where he is also a patron? Perhaps the Stars & Stripes who made St Patrick’s Day a festival across borders? Perhaps the flags of expats and diaspora coming back, from Canada, Australia, Argentina and across the world?

    As for the St Patrick’s Day cross, why is a cross being opposed on a Christian festival, by Christians … is it because it was a Protestant Cross? Now was Jesus a Catholic or a Protestant? He was a Jew … oh no, now an Israeli flag has to go up too!

  • FuturePhysicist

    Oh wait would it be a Palestinian one?

  • FuturePhysicist

    House of David, Land of Palestine.

  • Gf, here’s some more Hayes ‘insight’:

    “a symbol of reconciliation presented by President McAleese”

    I’ve commented previously on her endorsement of the Finaghy Crossroads Group, a paramilitary mutual appreciation society – splendid role models for kids.

  • Nevin: Interesting point about the O’Cathains and their cat mascot. I wonder how they used to get it to parade. maybe the RIR should have a cat,. even a tiger, instead of our dog.

    St pat’s crosws and clobber: There is no doubt St pat has had to carry his cross for Ireland. The actual saltire makes sense as it is in the traditional colours of red and white, which, with blue, is the colours of most Premier League flags. This is becausethey were the easiest colours to dye/fabricate.
    Jesus infamously wore purple, a Royal colour as it was hard to fabricate.
    The Citizen, in Ulysses, waxes about the Irish flag and the green of the O’Mores etc. Funny as The Citizen is, he can be taken no more seriously than sectarian Sinn Fein cpoat trailers. Or Crown Catholics like Maurice 1917 Down GAA team Hayes.

  • 241934 john brennan

    The dispassionate, impartial, fence-sitting Maurice Hayes, whose only real interest is Maurice Hayes

  • Mac

    FuturePhysicist
    “St Patrick’s Day has no national significance outside of being a Christian feast day of the nation’s patron saint.”

    Don’t be silly, you might be able to make that argument for the 1st of Febuary. St Patricks day’s national and international significance has now got more to do with Irish culture (the real and the imagined) than anything to so with the saint.

    “The only “censorship” that the SDLP have asked for is the humility and respect for the occasion, not a ban on the Irish tricolor.”

    Shame that marchers from san fran to wexford showed no respect by arrogantly waving the Irish flag on the day that the world associates with the Irish.
    Now that you mention it, I really must go and ‘unlike’ an English friend’s facebook album of her to trip to philadelphia, too may photos of her with her Yorkshire mates all waving tricolours during Phili’s week long St Patricks day celebrations.

    “How many flags should be paraded for St Patrick?”

    One? or is it two according to the SDLP?

  • Greenflag

    Nevin

    ‘ splendid role models for kids.’

    Indeed . She could have done a lot worse . She could have introduced them to a large group of Catholic clergy only under investigation for eh ‘offences’ , or perhaps a group of financial services executives or unjailed bankers headed by a Mr Fitzpatrick, or even the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Mutual Society, or the 20 remaining FF TD’s or even the leaders of the TUV .

    All groups of fine upstanding ‘citizenry ‘ who would make fine role models for the young people of Ireland -North and South no doubt ? 🙁

  • Alan, I should imagine the cat symbol on an Ó Cathain battle shield was a wild cat, not a household moggy. The McCaughan surname has a horse tribe connection and the O’Doherty’s a deer one.

  • “She could have done a lot worse”

    Gf, the paramilitaries robbed children of their innocence and folks of their money and their lives. Surely you’d rather have your life even if you did lose a few bob.

  • Sean Og

    “I’m told that the O’Kanes/Ó Cathain – the cat tribe – had a cat as their totemic symbol.”

    I thought the O’Kanes symbol was a chicken?
    The McCains had a chip.

  • Sean Og, they didn’t have deep fat fried Mars Bars back then :L I wonder how many other ‘tribes’ had animals as totemic symbols.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Mac, other than St Patrick’s Death, what key Irish political event has happened on the 17th March that deserves special commemoration?

    Home Rule? Irish Independence? Declaration of the Republic? End of the Civil War? Re-Unification?

    Why is ‘this day’ any more ‘Irish’ than any other? Does Ireland become a ’32 sovereign country republic’ for a 24 hour period?

    It’s primarily a religious feast, that has been secularized and globalized by Americans, and this tradition has been imported by St Patrick’s adopted homeland in Ireland, the only other significance is that is a Bank Holiday (do we really want to celebrate the banks instead?). Previous to that, St Patrick’s Day in Ireland wasn’t celebrated by anything more revelatory than a prayer meeting or service.

    From San Fran to Japan, the problem has not been about the Irish flag or the national identity, or indeed creed or none. St Patrick is celebrated by Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians alike and his story/legend has attracted admiration and intrigue from non-Christians and non-religious, as Patricius is considered an important historical figure in Irish Civilization outside of the confines of the Churches.

    All I’m saying is people why are some people are offended that there is one ecumenical bastion of ‘St Patrick’s Day’ for those in Downpatrick in a world where the rest of the world has a Paddy’s Day. It’s only a small town, and it was the agreement of this town’s people that it should be that way.

    So in the name of Republicanism, (in other words governance by the people for the people), whose people does he speak for? Is it the town-folk, the people of Down, the Irish nation, or himself?

    Or maybe we should change the name to Downpaddy already, what a great act of Irish emancipation that would be!

  • Brian

    Actually, on March 17th 1921 Bonar Law left the British Cabinet due to ill-health. He was the most fervent ‘die-hard'(and a racist, lying blow hard) in the Cabinet and was opposed to any peace with the ‘murder gangs’. His exit made it easier to PM George to make peace overtures.

    Not crucially important, but surely not trivial.

  • Brian

    As for this flag thing, it’s another embarassment to NI. Does every goddamn celebration have to turn into a childish spat.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘Gf, the paramilitaries robbed children of their innocence and folks of their money and their lives.’

    The banksters added 30 million to world unemployment , drove 50 million below the poverty line and drove thousands to suicide in India and elsewhere and millions everywhere into foreclosure . In comparison NI paramilitaries are and I hate to say this small fry. This does not mean I haven’t any compassion for the victims or that I regard the former paramilitaries as new found political savants who have the answers to all NI’s problems .

    ‘Surely you’d rather have your life even if you did lose a few bob.’

    ‘Your money or your life is not a question I’ve ever had to answer ‘

    Just as well- I might prefer to hold on to the money-just to spite the bastards 😉

  • Greenflag

    Brian ,

    ‘Does every goddamn celebration have to turn into a childish spat.’

    Short answer -Yes . It’s the nature of the people , the place and the times that are were and probably always will be . But don’t take it too seriously . Most of it is just bull**** and at some future date people will look back and laugh at the codology .

    For many on both sides of the divide there is a lot more comfort in looking back than in looking forward -but that could just be because the future (political and economic0 is not what it used to be -but this is not just an NI phenomenon -its just that they missed the economic growth boat (some might say that was a good thing ) when it was passing by these parts .