Identity and St Patricks Day: Minor power struggles aside…

Well the two universities may have disagreed about how to tackle the annual saturnalia that grips the University student area around Queens, but between Queens’ decision to let a large number of their students to go home for the weekend and the University of Ulster’s full blooded threat something seems to have worked… So that ‘the Holy Land’ has had the quietest 12th St Patricks Day since 2008…

Elsewhere, as many readers of Slugger will already be aware, the trouble in Armagh portentously predicted by some, failed to materialise.  And in Limavady someone thought it a great wheeze to litter the route of the St Patricks Day parade with unionist flags along the Edenmore and Scroogey Roads just before. Negotiations, as ever are now ongoing. [Wouldn’t the simple enforcement of bylaws sort that out? – Ed]. You might say that, I couldn’t possibly.

And in Downpatrick, once a font of tolerance and co-operation Sinn Fein and the DUP (and where both, still, if only just, are minority players in the area)  play their part in helping rip up a long term consensus

Ironically, the flag — designed by the council’s Good Relations Forum — had been intended to defuse the tensions that arose last year when a Sinn Fein councillor insisted on carrying a 10ft Irish Tricolour during the procession.

It contains the symbol of a bishop’s mitre and crozier and includes the words ‘Downpatrick’ on one side and its Irish version, ‘Dun Padraig’, on the reverse.

Jim Wells, DUP MLA for South Down attended the carnival last year, but will not be there this Saturday in protest over the use of Irish. “I most certainly will not be attending the parade,” he said.

“It is my personal protest against the adoption of Irish language on the flag. I believe this is a highly retrograde step. “Unfortunately, by adopting this stance they are alienating moderate unionists who would have very much liked to be associated with the the event.”

Everyone else, it seems, had a great time….

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty