“The flying of a Tricolour inside church walls is not something I approve of…”

Whilst Willie Frazer recently (somewhat erroneously) raised the matter of National flags in schools, it would appear that unionist politicians are at loggerheads in Moneymore over the appearance of an Irish Tricolour as part of a floral arrangement in a protestant church in the town.

DUP MLA Ian McCrea has attacked his local UUP rival, Sandra Overend, due to her role in sponsoring the ‘grossly offensive’ floral arrangement. For her part, Overend has denied foreknowledge of the Tricolour’s inclusion in the floral display, which also included a Union Flag and flowers of a red, white and blue hue alongside those of  green, white and orange colours. 

Overend then went on to make the following comments:

The flying of a Tricolour inside church walls is not something I approve of and I was very surprised on Sunday when I attended the church and saw the arrangement.

Like the hullabaloo surrounding Willie Frazer’s remarks, this particular incident is most interesting if we take a step back and think of how the issue of flags and emblems in churches reinforces and, arguably, entrenches political divisions.

I’m interested in knowing if there are members of congregations out there where National Flags are flown inside church walls who would prefer if the practice was ended or, alternatively, who would like to see the development of a more accommodating culture to that articulated by Overend and McCrea which would take cognisance of the disputed national allegiances within the contested space that is Northern Ireland. 

Of course, those fully behind the stance articulated by the two Unionist MLAs are more than welcome to state their views as well.