#Flegs: “That’s what we, in many instances, choose to see…”

Jason O’Mahony transposes the #flegs thing to the newly emerged, liberal and post Catholic state to the south:

…just count how many union jacks you see on the way to work. Last week, I saw plenty of tricolours, EU, German, and American flags, and even one Chinese flag. But not one British flag, despite the fact that we have more British tourists and trade more with the UK than anyone else. We happily fly the flags of all our friends and allies outside hotels and business, yet aside from official state events, how often do you see the union jack? And we think they’ve got a problem with a flag?

But it’s not our flag, some say. True. But neither is the Chinese or US or German, but we have no problem flying them. It is their flag, and if we were asked to only fly our flag 15 times a year over Leinster House we’d get very indignant. Ah, but they have to recognise that they live in a shared community, where the union jack is offensive to some. Again, true. But if those same people, whom we apparently wish to join us in a United Ireland at some stage said the same to us about the tricolour…

Put it another way: If Stormont offered to fly the tricolour for 15 days a year in return for Leinster House flying the union jack for the same time, as an act of mutual respect for both cultures, is there anyone who does not think we’d have all-sorts roaring and shouting about it down here, screaming “treason!” and “is this what the men of 1916,etc”, including a bunch of gurriers with tricolours wrapped around them, loaded up Dutch Gold and battling with the Public Order Squad, that is, in between robbing Champion Sports?


  • Paulk

    There is perhaps of course a small nod to the “North” as well so as not to offend the nationalists “up there” but i wouldn’t say its a major factor.

    I’d say the main reason why the ROI doesn’t fly union flags is because of the history of how it was created. Yes, everybody is friends now, and they are their biggest trading partners but that doesn’t mean they have to like it, its a marriage of convenience, necessity even. The UK buys what the ROI sells and vice versa and no country will bite their nose off to spite their face – thats suicide especially in these times.
    I’d say there is just that inherent dislike of the flag, in the same way the pro EU French, German, and Spanish dislike the British and the supposed arrogance they say they tend to display, of course the Irish have a bit more to complain about when it comes to Britain than most….

  • 241934 john brennan

    Mick: my anti virus provider has stopped allowing me access to ‘Religion Decoupled ….’ Says it is ‘malicious link.’

  • Bishops Finger

    “We happily fly the flags of all our friends and allies outside hotels and business,”


    Indeed, and up here we fly the tricolour outside hotels and businesses,don’t we?

  • Caoimhín

    On my way to work this morning, from the Docklands to the Four Courts I saw a flag of St George, a flag of St Andrew, a Royal Standard, two Union Jacks and a Flag of Wales. This guys is talking out his [language, please? – Mods]. When HM was over last year there were Union Jacks and Royal Standards in many places.

  • Crow

    The juxtaposition is interesting. As I have been pondering the causes of the loyalist flag protests, I am reminded of Patrick Pearse’s graveside oration for O’Donovan Rossa in 1915. One of the more memorable lines was of an Ireland “not free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well”. An absolutist position that would make any unionist shudder (although he also said he looked forward to the time when the children of the Sandy Row would curse the Pope in Gaelic!). However, in regards to the flag protesters, it seems that their position could be best summed up in a similar way, ‘not in the Union merely, but culturally British; not culturally British merely, but in the Union as well’. Arguably, if this was truly their position, the non-aligned and others could be attracted but the reality is that it is not British culture that is on offer but rather a loyalist sub-culture that is intimidating, exclusive, and repellent. Additionally, it is one that is both perplexing and alien to your average Briton across the water, who is at a loss to understand at all the sectarian singing, marching, bonfiring, flag-burning, and obsessive flag flying, that pass as stables of this culture. Remarkably at a time when all others are trying to draw the non-aligned to their banners, this group is happy with the mantle of ‘Ourselves Alone’ or perhaps in less loaded parlance ‘Nobody likes us and we don’t care’. The worrying thing is that they may not be reconcilable to the current disposition and it is unlikely that mainstream unionism has the gumption to cut them adrift. In less than a year after Pearse’s oration all had changed utterly and it could be the case here too. Let’s hope it is for the better.

  • PaddyReilly

    The problem is that the Union Flag is not the flag of the closest neighbour, but of a mythical country which asserts authority over England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Flying it is thus the equivalent of Poles flying the flag of the Greater German Reich. The St George’s Cross would be a better choice.

  • “the newly emerged, liberal and post Catholic state to the south”

    This is not the impression I was given two months ago. The Catholic hierarchy may have lost some of its clout but I doubt if much else has changed.

  • 6crealist

    O’Mahony’s analogy is flawed.

    The Irish state’s sovereignty over twenty-six counties is undisputed.

    The sovereignty of the British state in six counties of Ireland is disputed by a sizeable minority, while the union flag itself has been so besmirched and dishonoured by a minority of so-called ‘loyalists’ in Northern Ireland that it’s considered an offensive by many nationalists.

    If he’s looking for a good analogy, how about dogs p*ssing to mark their territory?

  • tacapall

    “The Catholic hierarchy may have lost some of its clout but I doubt if much else has changed.”

    And the flip side of that coin from a northern nationalist point of view Nevin.

    “Prince Charles has openly expressed support for a recent population study by biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich, calling for drastic global efforts to reduce fertility worldwide.”


    The Queen and Prince Charles have been given at least 39 chances to veto legislation before it became law, it was revealed today.

    Secret papers show the most senior Royals have had numerous opportunities to torpedo bills that could change their powers, including a law that would have given parliament sole authority to sanction strikes on Iraq during the 1999 war.

    The extent of the influence the Queen and Prince Charles have over legislation has been laid bare because Downing Street lost a legal battle to keep details secret.

    It shows the Royals are playing an active role in the democratic process and we need greater transparency in parliament so we can be fully appraised of whether these powers of influence and veto are really appropriate. At any stage this issue could come up and surprise us and we could find parliament is less powerful than we thought it was.”

  • FuturePhysicist

    Leinster House should at the very least be compared with Stormont not the Belfast City Council. I never saw a tricolour or any other national flag flown from Dublin City Hall. Secondly, what has the Union Flag have to do with welcoming or trading with the UK? Does a flag somehow increase tourist numbers, why should I leave a country just to see a flag?

    An Italian restaurant puts up a flag to distinguish it from others, to have Irish or British fish and chips shops with flags outside the door you’d come across as silly.

    The UK flag will be up on several public bodies in Dublin as a fellow EU state during the Irish EU presidency, it will possibly even be up on bars during the British and Irish Lions Tour, it sometimes is put on a few hotels just like the other flags to attract an international status, it is even sold with other British merchandise in Caroll’s Giftshops alongside Irish merchandise.

    Where else in the city is it needed or wanted?

  • David Crookes

    Brilliant, Crow. “Nobody likes us and we don’t care.” We even form parties whose candidates fail to get elected, and we don’t care. We have an elected local government, and we don’t care.

    Many thanks for that link, tacapall. If Christian royalists like me follow your link back to the PoW’s own website, they will be greatly disturbed. I wonder if the PoW should be giving his support to dodgy globalistic pseudo-science.

    Better say something relevant to Mick’s thread. The doctrinal rights or wrongs of the #flegs brigade have become trivial. What we need to address is the feral conduct of the rioters. The fact that some people might go feral if the situation was transposed into the key of Dublin’s fair city helps us not at all.

  • iluvni

    Maybe the IRFU should start the ball rolling by hoisting St Patrick’s Cross alongside the Tricolour at Aviva Stadium during the 6-nations. Show us lot up here in Northern Ireland parity of esteem in action. That 9 county Ulster flag, at a level lower than their Republic’ flag just doesnt cut it any more.

  • FuturePhysicist

    St Patrick’s Cross flies outside Maynooth, I’m sure Lansdowne Road probably still attracts more Unionists though.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Yes I do realize I used the non-commercial name rather than the recognized name, force of habit.

  • Rory Carr

    While we may feel grateful to O’Mahony for his acute powers of observation what we are really hungry for is news of the number of violent protests being waged by disgruntled Dublin unionists taking umbrage at this failure to celebrate expression of their culture.

  • Mick Fealty

    Knock yerself out there Rory:http://sluggerotoole.com/tag/love-ulster/

  • Alias

    I did my bit for equality by banning the EU flag from my car registration plate. It is the most deeply offensive flag of all.

    Also, Jason needs to get his eyes tested: there are plenty of Union Jack flying around Dublin.

  • babyface finlayson

    “It shows the Royals are playing an active role in the democratic process”

    Before you get too carried away I would suggest they are playing a fairly passive role, in that they are not in the habit of using their veto.
    They are being advised by government ministers when to use the veto,and thus are mere pawns in the political game.


    Jason’s piece i feel is poor to say the least, almost saying that were it to happen to us then were would be as bad while having a go at some of his own country men and women.

    His piece seems to forget the relationship that these two islands have and as Paulk alluded to, when i comes to money and trade who cares about ‘flegs’.

    Picking up on a point you make about loyalism and their ‘britishness’. As an Irish Republican i was always intrigued about britishness both from a GB perspective and a Ulster Loyalism/Unionism perspective. This recent nonsense over the flag confirms to me what I always thought and that is that loyalism is no more British than people from India or Palestine. They believe they are British without truly understanding what that actually means.

    I suspect if given half the chance most of GB would happily vote to get rid of the North of Ireland quicker so than with Scotland.

  • With all due respect to Jason O’Mahony he has managed to pen (or rather type) an utterly moronic opinion piece.

    “When I was a teenager, I saw a photo of a Garda and a member of the RUC standing side by side at some joint border exchange. What struck me was how well equipped the RUC man was, with an earpiece and throat mike and flack jacket and Heckler and Koch MP5 machine gun. The Garda, on the other hand, had a uniform that didn’t seem to fit very well, no weapon, and an aul walkie-talkie around his neck with a worn leather band. It was very clear looking at the picture which one came from the wealthier country with its s**t together.”

    Yes, because we all want to live in a region with a heavily armed, paramilitary police force! As for his nonsense about the British national flag, I went this to work this morning and saw two British flags flying outside buildings in the Business Park where I am employed. In the “south”! The problem these Unionist sympathisers have is not with flags – it is with democracy. They only like democracy that serves their needs and their desired outcomes. Any other kind they disparage or attack.

    A referendum gives the “wrong” answer? Make them vote again! PR gives “too much” power to the electorate? Change the voting system! Government ministers are too democratically accountable? Bring in unelected “specialists” to man the cabinet!

    They are just as bad in their own way as the anti-democracy protesters.

  • Jacques Stadacona

    Jason raises a premiss that deserves to be examined with fairness and dispassion.

    It is a point of fact that some of the most ardent critiques of Northern Nationalists (for example, within the Fine Gael party) would blow a veritable gasket were the Union Jack mooted to fly over, say, Dublin City Hall for a couple of days a year. The Union flag in the south of Ireland is still seen in many people’s eyes, rightly or wrongly, in purely emotional terms, that is to say, it is perceived as a symbol of imperialism and Ireland’s abject subjugation within that enterprise known as the British Empire. Strangely, when the same perception is related from the Irish living north of the hastily contrived border, the purveyors of southern moral rectitude inform all and sundry that this is yet further evidence of the distance Northern Nationalists must still travel to catch up with their civilized, ratiocinative brethern elsewhere.

    Let us take a more realistic, if as patently unlikely, example; if, say, the Union Jack were proposed to fly over the Aviva Stadium in recognition of the partly Unionist make-up of the Irish rugby team, and God Save the Queen were to be played for, say, 1 match a year in conjunction with this extension of a fraternal Irish hand, what thence would be the reaction across much of the Irish Republic? I think further explication is not required.

    It is not any innate ”matureness”, or supervening mystic insight which is, alas, tardy in penetrating counties like Tyrone and Armagh which dictates that southerners are less riven by this issue than Northern Nationalists, but rather because they have repaired safely behind the border, far, far indeed from leagues of angry Ulsterman declaiming about ”Dublin Rule”, ”1690”, and ”No Surrender”.

    If they lived in the six counties of Northern Ireland, an empirical eye might justly infer that attitudes would be markedly different.

  • 241934 john brennan

    ‘The sovereignty of the British state in six counties of Ireland is disputed by a sizeable minority’

    What minority would that be? In the 1998 referendum on the Irish constitutional question, the ‘sizeable minority@ in the North voting against majority consent was the DUP. Sinn Fein did not advise its supporters whether to vote for, against, or abstain. In that 1998 vote the overwhelming majority of SF and SDLP voted for retaining the status quo, until it seems likely a majority in the North wish to opt out of the UK.

    So, in the North, there is nothing to fight over except flegs and insults. Does anyone seriously think that a majority in the South will, even in the next generation, vote to join the North?

  • 6crealist


    respecting the wishes of the majority is not the same as affirming British sovereignty over six north-eastern counties.

    As for the southerners, this poll published two months ago is interesting:


    As far as progressing the unionist cause, the mob violence of the past few weeks is a spectacular own goal. I know a few people expressing similar views to those expressed by Gerry Lynch on Slugger last week. It’s had a real chilling effect: polarising political sentiment and hardening attitudes.

    That said, if a referendum were to be held in NI in the next few years, I’d still expect the status quo to be ratified, maybe by as much as 2:1.

  • Viridiplantae


    Leinster House should at the very least be compared with Stormont not the Belfast City Council. I never saw a tricolour or any other national flag flown from Dublin City Hall.

    I don’t think that that analogy really works either. Belfast City Hall would be analogous to the Dublin GPO and Dublin City Hall combined within one building, with Dublin City Hall more analogous to, say, Lisburn Civic Centre.

    Belfast City Hall was the historical site of the declaration of Unionist self determination, rather as the Dublin GPO was for Irish Nationalist self determination. Dublin City Hall, as with Lisburn Civic Centre has no such baggage, being as it is just some businessmen’s building commandeered after the event for it’s present purpose.

  • IrelandNorth

    Walking into town last Monday morning, I spied with my littel eye one missing conciliatory union jack (UJ) from outside Dublin City Council (DCC), with the other 26 European flags remaining. It was replaced on Wednesday, with hoisting/lowering ropes lashed to the flag pole with those plastic tags used for election posters. Seemingly, some dissenter repubicans or Europhobes took it down over the weekend, given a certain lack of perceived consensus. The problem with flying the UJ over Leinster House is that it contains the saltire of Saint Patrick, presumptiously representative of all of Ireland in the British union, despite all of Ireland no longer being such this past 90 yrs. Leinster Hse could reciprocate Ulster Hse (Stormont) by flying the pre 1800 UJ, and/or St Patrick saltire (as also the other emblematic components of the post 1800 UJ). An amicable compromise, in both Dublin and Belfast perhaps?

  • Rory Carr

    I did my bit for equality by banning the EU flag from my car registration plate. Alias

    While Ireland has such men as will make so great a sacrifice there must yet be hope that she will take her place at the fore of nations.

  • seamusot

    I think that every victualler throughout Ireland should erect a fleg of the Butcher’s Apron as a reminder of the slaughter visited upon the long suffering Irish populace by the imperial armies of the Betty Windsor mob. Perhaps the flegs should have the name Lenny Murphy printed across them.


  • Western Approaches

    The problem with flying the Union Flag in the 26 Counties – where it is free to be flown – is that it contains the red, diagonal cross of St Patrick.

    To many, this symbol refers to the island of Ireland.

    As an Irishman, I will happily salute, or bow to, the Tricolour, Patrick’s saltire, Andrew’s saltire, the cross of St George, the Welsh dragon, the flags of Ireland’s four provinces, and many other standards and ensigns that flutter above the rich mixture of the British Isles. As a Dublin University graduate, I’ll happily wear that red cross on my breast if I’m cheering my old college’s sports teams.

    But the problem with the Union Jack is that it is the flag of a neighbouring state which nolonger has a monopoly of power, authority or force within Ireland. It represents remnants of imperialism which are anathema to – I imagine – the vast majority of Europeans, and hints at sources of legal authority not emanating from citizens, but the banner under which subjects abide.

    And as an Irishman, it contains the Geraldine red cross. To any other nationality reading this thread, imagine how annoying it would be to see one of your country’s emblem proudly displayed on the flag of a state which repeatedly subjugated your self-rule, and still occupies part of your patrimony.

    Imagine how much that could vex you. And then remember that it shouldn’t irritate you too much, as it is just a piece of cloth hanging from a pole.