The tricolour and its multiple meanings: Open thread

So as promised here’s the follow up to yesterday’s Irish flag thread. So normal rules apply now, you can debate with each other. I’ll open with three concise observations as a starter. There are probably more important themes, but these are just ones that leapt out at me:

  1. At the time of writing, the  most favourited comment is Keano’s (seven). It’s one I chose as well. It may be a reflection of the fact culturally the idea of a 32 county Ireland has more substance in culture and sport than it does politically. Both the GAA and the IRFU have for years organised across the island with the latter assuming in its professional era a popularity way beyond its traditional player base.
  2. Least surprising perhaps was the degree of alienation amongst unionist commentators. The IRA’s armed campaign was cited over and over as the epicentre of that alienation. But there’s a secondary and less urgent  line of thought which more or less accepts that the original motivating story (a variation on Tone’s idea of unifying Catholic and Protestant in the single name of Irishman) has lost its meaning.
  3. More surprising to me is a small minority of Nationalist who think the flag has outlived its time. There’s no single reason cited for this. ASF wants something more authentic and muscular (Sunburst). Alias wants a return to the old green standard to recognise the presence of two separate nations on the island. FJH with an adept “in the absence of any other credible flag, it is the flag of my nation.”

Finally, I’d just like to thank people for the contributions and recollections. And great to hear from so many new people or oldies we’ve not hear from for a while. The enforced civility of having to be quiet and ‘listen’ to others contributions no doubt helped.

It certainly induced more generosity (and directness) than we are used to seeing. Let’s try and keep that going now you are actually allowed ‘talk to each other’?

, ,

  • People born of Ireland are Irish, I know some identify themselves as British but they are still of Ireland, im not religious so whatever christian denomination people are from is irrelevant to me.

    There’s nothing whatsover I would disagree with there. It’s just when you spoke of “compromises” given by the “Irish people” to a “British minority” that I took a step back.

    I am Irish and British and I don’t see that classification of my national identity as a contradiction in terms. Again, theoretically, the flag of the ROI doesn’t either.

  • SK

    “The “orange” third means diddly squat in the ROI because they are making no real practical compromises for it remaining there;”


    As a southerner, can I ask what kind of compromises you feel should be forthcoming? Is there any substance to this vague sense of displeasure with us? Genuinely curious.

  • Reader

    Otto: Perhaps Reader, he meant to help reclaim “protestant” community politics from the reactionary Orange Order.
    Republicans have been trying to do that for the past 200 years, with varying degrees of sincerity and little sign of a plan. Putting orange on the flag as a means of doing so while rejecting both the monarchy and the union seems to be among the more hopeless efforts. Wouldn’t you prefer for it to be a bit of romantic, optimistic, symbolism instead?

  • Otto

    Here’s one other meaning for Orange in the 19th century Reader. I really don’t know if it’s part of what Meagher had in mind but I’m always ready to reedit history to suit the living. I’m more interested in the future and how we get there.

    If you read Nevin’s link to The Sword Speech Meagher talks about Whig (Orange) reformism and while he asserts the right of nations to take arms against despotism (the “Green” tradition) he rejects it in respect of the conditions of the time. He says that liberal reform will restore the nation as new property demands political protection and politics demands military (ie national) protection.

    So he wasn’t dismissive of that Orange tradition.

  • Red Lion

    So is it completely off thread to suggest a new flag for Northern Ireland? Surely such a flag could gain traction and be a force for good?.

    I suggest a red St. Patrick’s cross on a completely green background, with no star, no crown or no red hand in the middle.

    I wouldn’t mind one (just one) of the triangles to be blue to denote the Ulster Scots, also grassy NI’s relationship to the sea. But I’d forego this if it was considered too much red and blue for some at the expense of green.

    And its time to turn in

  • Otto

    Red on Green wouldn’t work too well for the colour blind RL.

    What about a bit of contrast?

  • DC

    how about the orange is just cut off the tricolour making it a new irish bicolour, plus the union flag is allowed to fly in NI?

  • Otto

    Limerick might be happy.

  • anne warren

    Your time is over DC.

    The British working class have other pressing problems.
    You are no longer of any use to the Establishment.
    No support for you there.

    The majority of people in NI do not support you.
    They too have other pressing problems.

    Nothing personal – just time marching on.

    Time and tide wait for no DC.

  • DC

    anne warren

    and since when did irish nationalism become fashionable, anne?

    you know, here’s the thing that i can’t square off re alliance and compromising with extreme irish nationalism – is that in the media such as the belfast telegraph etc etc, readers are conditioned to pooh-pooh jim dowson and BNP and british nationalism yet we are supposed to fall in love with irish nationalism for some reason…

    but i just can’t see any difference between jim dowson and SF’s jim mcveigh.

    “It’s now the place of Sinn Fein to lead the struggle.

    “Our objectives haven’t changed.

    “We’re still absolutely wedded, committed, to not only achieving a united Ireland, but working within, in this case Belfast City or wherever we are, obviously to advance the interests of the communities that we come from.

    “We’re absolutely committed to equality, to the rights of citizens.”

    The Belfast republican freed from the Maze in July 2000 made no attempt to hide his IRA background.

    “I’m not ashamed, not in the least bit ashamed about it,” he said. Asked was he proud of it, he responded: “Yes, I am proud of it.

    sorry – tell a lie, jim dowson has less blood on his hands.

  • In would appear that the orange, white and green flag was brought by Meagher from Paris [pdf file] and the peace narrative/spin was constructed later:

    In April, Thomas Francis Meagher, the Young Ireland leader, brought a tricolour of orange, white and green from Paris and presented it to a Dublin meeting. John Mitchel, referring to it, said: ‘I hope to see that flag one day waving, as our national banner’.

  • DC

    and you know what, i’ll go further, better a visible, bickering jim dowson and flag protest at your constituency door than a silent car bomb that you end up knowing nothing about.

  • Otto

    That might be fine if it weren’t for a few death threats, house attacks and fire bombed offices DC.

  • DC

    maybe it’s a case of cause and effect.

    do exclusive deals with extreme irish nationalists such as jim mcveigh and you end up getting extreme british nationalists at your constituency door.

    cause and effect.

  • DC

    Alliance has been fooled by SF and irish nationalism’s bogus charm.

    At least Naomi Long knows she has a death threat, just think under republican IRA terrorism, she wouldn’t know a jot.

    jump in your car, turn the key in the ignition. all of sudden – booom!

    You’re the devil in disguise!

  • Otto

    The GFA was 15 years ago DC. Your whataboutery isn’t even whataboutery. You’re justifying attacks on democrats today because other people might have done worse sometime in the past. Weak.

  • DC

    if somebody is proud about their ira terrorism, then proceeds to neutralise the union flag in belfast, who exactly has moved on?

  • DC

    You’re justifying attacks on democrats today

    It’s only a local democratic loophole because it sure as hell wouldn’t pass muster under regional democracy due to peace process arrangements and agreements, you think loyalists signed up to the peace process to see the union flag totally removed in belfast?

    How would nationalists like it if local democracy allowed them to take a vote that put the union flag up 365 days a year outside police stations?

  • DC

    ^ allowed *them – should be *’Unionists’.

  • SK

    “maybe it’s a case of cause and effect.

    do exclusive deals with extreme irish nationalists such as jim mcveigh and you end up getting extreme british nationalists at your constituency door.

    cause and effect.”


    Have a glass of wine too many and proceed to spout odious nonsense on the internet. Cause and effect.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Flags and anthems, like mission statements, work best when they ‘say’ something, though in our increasingly pluralist nation states, contradictions can become apparent.

    The ‘crosses’ within the Union Flag, like many other flags with crosses, confirm a Christian ethos within a country, whilst the Crescent Moon and Stars- and green colour- signify the Muslim tradition within many countries.

    Similarly, the Star of David’s place in the Israeli flag confirms the Jewish identity of the state.

    Old Glory makes the direct link between the 13 original colonies and the 50 States of today.

    The original message behind a flag, like that of a country’s anthem, can appear outdated and somewhat anachronistic, uncomfortable almost in a changed environment.

    The unflattering reference to the Scots in God Save The Queen, coupled with the absence of a place for the Welsh and non-Christians in the British flag, could be reasons to question the relevance of that flag to a modern, multi-cultural Britain which incorporates the whole of Wales but merely a fraction of Ireland.

    Similarly, the Star of David and symbols of Islam in many flags clearly identify the Nation State with single religious groupings.

    But the flags will likely remain for the simple reason that they take on a greater symbolism and benefit from an emotional attachment long after the original reason for their design is forgotten.

    And so it is for the Irish National Flag, internationally recognisable as the standard of the Irish and adored as such by its citizens, north and south, and Diaspora alike.

    Getting bogged down on the symbolism is a mistake quite simply because it misses the fact that the flag represents the people of a particular Nation, warts and all. It’d be akin to rubbishing the Union Flag on the grounds that no effort was ever made to attract the Irish catholic people purportedly represented by Patrick’s cross to the Union.

    I do personally like the idea of Irish nationalism challenging itself to define how the British identity of unionists will be guaranteed in the present and future constitutional arrangements, and have often articulated the view that it’d need to be by recognising and legitimising the Union Flag as the National symbol of that community, and that is one way of respecting the people symbolised by the Orange third.

    A reciprocal move with regard to legitimising the place of the Irish National Flag within the north would show that unionists were interested in taking steps to recognise those represented by Patrick’s cross in their own National Flag.

    To me, that’s a significant advance on the mindset that previously held sway within both communities (and still does to varying extent), which sought to ‘claim’ people for one side or the other, even using the symbolism of a flag as justification. Respecting the Other as they/we are, as opposed to how we’d like ‘them’ to be, is a pressing problem in this society.

    This was a good idea, and I do hope you’ll follow with a similar thread on the Union Flag as it would be important for each community to hear the Other’s views on that flag (with the hope that they’d see how the mirror tends to reflect….)

  • DC

    SK – that’s what i genuinely believe to be the case in terms of how certain people have perceived it.

    And OK, maybe it’s odious to you, but it’s what i think, also anne warren was provocative.

  • SK

    “And OK, maybe it’s odious to you, but it’s what i think”

    Of course it is, DC. Sure anyone who disagrees with the mob is basically asking to have their property torched. I mean it’s obvious, isn’t it?

  • DC

    And what about elected democrats that agree with the mob elect?

    I.e. what’s the difference between fascists on street and democratic fascists?

    Maybe 20 years, that’s all.

  • DC

    an exclusive deal with jim mcveigh gets you a jim dowson?

  • DC

    You look like an angel
    Walk like an angel
    Talk like an angel
    But I got wise

    You’re the devil in disguise
    Oh, yes, you are
    The devil in disguise

    I thought that I was in heaven
    But I was sure surprised
    Heaven help me, I didn’t see
    The devil in your eyes

    You look like an angel
    Walk like an angel
    Talk like an angel

    But I got wise
    You’re the devil in disguise
    Oh, yes, you are
    The devil in disguise

    You’re the devil in disguise
    Oh, yes, you are
    The devil in disguise
    Oh, yes, you are
    The devil in disguise

  • @DC,

    The loyalists seem to miss the whole point: by making a deal with the two nationalist parties, Alliance got them to agree to the same protocol that is standard in the rest of the UK. This was a huge symbolic compromise on the part of Sinn Fein, which Alliance accomplished. But I guess loyalists don’t want to actually behave like the British that they claim to be; they are much happier providing conflict with the nationalists so that they can demonstrate their “loyalty.”

  • FDM


    Elvis is deployed this time in the war against Naomi and the pan-nationalist APNI/SF/SDLP/IrishGov front? I must admit I’m all shook up at this development.

    I am sure Kate Bush is delighted she is off the hook.

    Not surprising to see you justifying the use of the mob, mob warfare and loyalist terrorist violence to override democratic structures and their decisions.

    Protestant nationalism aka “unionism” was only ever committed to democracy when they had the votes and the subsequent power.

    Now the veil has slipped and it is clear the same democratic principles that underpin governments all over the world are now unacceptable.

    “DEMOCRACY DOESN’T WORK”, so the banners read.

    “Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler???”

  • s a southerner, can I ask what kind of compromises you feel should be forthcoming? Is there any substance to this vague sense of displeasure with us? Genuinely curious.


    You’ve got the wrong end of the stick or possibly I didn’t explain it well enough.

    The ROI doesn’t have to make any compromises or justify the Orange in their flag because to all intents and purposes that “orange” element of their society has gone. It would be a bit like the US incorporating an apache or comanche emblem into the Stars and Stripes- a nice gesture but a bit pointless after both tribes have more or less disappeared.

    Nationalists in Northern Ireland, on the other hand, do still live amongst the “orange” and they really do have to think much more deeply and carefully why that colour is included in the flag they believe in. So, it’s missing the point republican waving the flag at the same time as they hurl out sectarian or anti-British abuse.

  • tacapall

    “Nationalists in Northern Ireland, on the other hand, do still live amongst the “orange” and they really do have to think much more deeply and carefully why that colour is included in the flag they believe in. So, it’s missing the point republican waving the flag at the same time as they hurl out sectarian or anti-British abuse.”

    Oneill actions speak louder than words and the fact remains that during the marching season the vast majority, ( which would be thousands) of Orange marches, take place without any objection or incident. You cannot label the entire Nationalist population because of the actions of some, no more so than nationalists could label all those who take part in orange parades as being sectarian. Sinn Fein is a republican party, so is the SDLP, most nationalists would support one of the two parties but that does not mean they would support people wrapping themselves up in the tricolour shouting sectarian or anti British abuse at anyone.

  • DC

    No doubt the News Letter’s opinion columns and letters to editor section will be under assault by IJP defending Alliance on this, just like the union flag decision.

    If Alliance isn’t a party for unionists, why constantly write into the News Letter? to deceive the unionist electorate?

    Just like Alliance deceives all its younger voters that it is a party of shared future – that would be the same shared future that its party officials walked away from?

    And on liberalism too, free conscience votes given out on gay marriage and on abortion.

    I can hear elvis presley again:

    You fooled me with your kisses
    You cheated and you schemed
    Heaven knows how you lied to me
    You’re not the way you seemed

    You look like an angel
    Walk like an angel
    Talk like an angel
    But I got wise

    You’re the devil in disguise

  • Otto

    BUZZ!! Deviation and Repetition, DC.

  • DC

    Apologies. Is the point the trap door opens?

  • Otto

    If only!

  • DC

    Bogus liberals, bogus unionists begets bogus leaflets?

  • FDM


    If Alliance isn’t a party for unionists, why constantly write into the News Letter? to deceive the unionist electorate?


    Maybe the mistake you and others are making is calling yourself “unionist” when you are actually protestant nationalist.

    Alliance therefore being correct in “some of their number” identifying as integrationists, i.e. unionists in the correct meaning of the term.

    Perhaps its that great big fleg in your eye and not some lint in IJP’s?

  • DC

    A bogus caller alert might need to be issued next election in places like Carrick, Newtownabbey and east Belfast.

    ‘If you spot candidates calling at your door talking shared future purporting to be unionist, -purporting to be liberal – close the door immediately.

    Note – candidates may come carrying blue or yellow cards or both and mention the word ‘Alliance’. ‘

  • BarneyT

    “…the Colour is Orange, associated with the Orange Order, the Republic chose how they wanted to represent the Unionist tradition and should stand over it”

    ok I was going to let this ride until Mick described it as spot on. Is the Republic not 100 years older than the Irish tricolour itself? Petty point perhaps

    As the flag was conceived when Ireland was united, perhaps the orange element was directed at an element of the protestant community (orange order) rather than protestants as a whole?

    I repeat, it is surely wrong to have the Orange Order and tradition represent all Protestants. Would you have the KKK represent northern American whites?

    So clearly in my view the Orange or shade of orange colour is misrepresentative if indeed the flag is to extend to all on the island (in an all-Ireland context of course).

    My gut tells me that a new flag should emerge and that the St Patricks element must be included even if it has British military origins. It can represent a transition from the British Union and if retained in the Union flag, it can continue to represent a link to their past and heritage.

    Green, white and gold would remain within the redesign. If I could display it in this blog I would. Anyhow know how to do that client side?

  • Otto

    Er. Why not just keep the saltire and drop the orange Barney?

    I still can’t find a user guide or the brand guidelines from Meagher. Apparently he rolled it out at a dinner in 1948 and said something like “speaks for itself, needs no further explanation”. Awkward bugger.

    So – Orange can be constitutional monarchists, Whigs, the Orange Order or prods generally, but the last would mean Green was Catholics generally and that can’t be right as the United Irishmen used a green flag and they were prods.

    So it’s not just religion – it’s political tradition – and that’s “unionism” and “republicanism”. So to be true to the flag a united and independent Ireland needs to be home to both traditions – and that’s a Republic in the Commonwealth.

  • Otto


  • BarneyT

    Otto: as in your avatar? I have added an image to mine which will appear soon I hope…my wee try.

    I think there is a consensus to move away from the current flag to something more acceptable (if we progress towards unification. The Green and White saltire looks grand and as you suggest the green is not representative of religion. But, will it meet all needs?

    It would be great if the only issue we had to sort was indeed a national flag.

  • Otto

    At least your quadrants touch Barney. They’re not divided by a peace wall.

    Looks a bit maritime though. Or a bit like a clown’s bow tie.

  • cynosure

    A friend from Pakistan told me that the white section of their mainly green flag is meant to symbolise the Christian minority of the country. Apparently it’s position near the hoist has given rise to jokey suggestions that the Christians are used to having the flag pole shoved up them. (It’s meant to be funny in Pashtun,)

  • BarneyT

    Tt does look more appropriate for the expect to see it flying on Stormont soon :-). I had to massage it to have to fit…so it doesnt look well unless you see it in landscape.

  • cynosure

    Though I consider myself as a nationalist, I’ll try to look at this question of flags from an objective viewpoint.
    The idea that the union flag is made up of constituent flags is a nice idea. Obviously England gets top position, which might be thought unfair but it is a nod to being inclusive. In design terms, it shouldn’t work. The colours are garish and the shapes confused and clashing. The best flags follow their maritime role and simple and easy to distinguish. The union flag is busy with too much going on. And yet it works very well. It’s eye catching and distinctive. A great flag.

    The tricolour has the same inclusive aspect, whether this was the original intent. And has the benefit of simplicity. The colours might not be the best though. From a design viewpoint I favour the UF.

    So what would a shared flag look like? It must be simple(think Japan or France but definetly not US flag). It must be inclusive but not a mess like the PSNI logo or south Africa’s.

    Anyway that’s my view

  • Rory Carr

    The Tricolour of the Irish Republic may well have many and varied perceptions but was intended to represent only one aspiration – the emancipation of the Irish nation.

    Barney T sure has things a wee bit skew-whiff with this question:

    ” Is the Republic not 100 years older than the Irish tricolour itself ? ”

    Er, no, Barney. Indeed there are some (myself included) who would argue that the republic for which the tricolour was envisioned has not yet been attained, the Fine Gael cosmetic manipulation of 1948 notwithstanding. (I doubt that changing my name to Francis of Assisi would fool many people either).

    This should not be taken to mean that I support armed struggle, at this time, to achieve that end as I am convinced that the present Republican Movement are steadily paving the road to that goal.

  • Drumlins Rock

    compromise flag?, a harp with a crown over on a dark green background to represent a United Ireland within the United Kingdom or commonwealth, why reinvent the wheel.

  • BarneyT

    Skew-whiff is indeed the right phrase!

    I was contesting the point that the republic (post 1948) was responsible for the “orange” element of the Irish flag and what is was deemed to represent.

    So my question should read ” Is the Irish Flag not 100 years older than the Irish republic itself (as currently defined) ? ”

  • BarneyT

    DR – that is not progressive. Effectively that would represent a step backwards towards crown dependency status. It makes little sense to factor in the English royality when clearly we need to attain a compromise using the people of this island alone.

    I used to believe that those in NI who wanted to retain their link to England via the UK union did so through loyality, however I now believe this is pulled out for convenience sake mostly, as a differentiating factor or to demonstrate perceived authority. We know unionists and unionism would not think twice about taking up arms against the English if the conditions were right.

    Equally England regards NI unionists as Irish (and nothing more) and as such would equally bestow a firm shafting in their direction.

    Its time to look inwards at this island rather than hanker for another.

  • socaire

    Barney T, after several hundred posts why are you still chantering on about green, white and gold? Is that not some sort of bastardised Papal flag? No new flag as the six counties is British and will countenance no native symbolism in any public flags. Yo!

  • Drumlins Rock

    Looking inwards – that is not very progressive advice Barney!

    I do so love nationalists telling us what we are really thinking, thanks for that, you have opened my eyes.

    As for the flag, the Harp & Crown were symbols of Ireland for Centuries, why invent something new.

  • socaire

    We’re talking about a sovereign, independent Ireland.

  • Drumlins Rock

    checked there, nope didn’t see that in the original article Soccy, as the discussions have drifted into fantasy designs and fantasy united irelands, sure fantasy unity with the UK is just as viable, and as national flags are recognised there so should an Irish one be.

  • socaire

    I’m referring to the undesirability of the English crown in an Irish flag. The Orange element is no problem.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ Neil
    (sorry for the delay, was at work…)

    “As history shows what one can ‘stomach’ is not really relevant. The Union flag was foisted on the majority in Ireland with no regard to what they could stomach. I suspect in the event of a UI vote in a border poll the people of the south won’t necessarily feel too keen to jettison their flag and anthem to accommodate 10% of the people on the island (who don’t actually want to be a part of the nation in any case).

    I could be wrong but I have a feeling it’ll be one of those ‘ignore it and it’ll go away’ kind of issues. Like the flag protests of today.

    First of all, do you support this steamrolling over the minority?

    I thought that we were all supposed to be at the stage where we have concluded that angering minorities was a bad thing? Or is it fine if we can find a get out of jail free card from our troubled past?

    If a UI is the be all and end all for many people on the island then surely ditching the tri-colour is not too big a price?

    Some of the minority wouldn’t mind being part of the nation if the tri-colour could be substituted.

    Telling them that they’ll just have to lump it (if that’s indeed what you’re suggesting) is only going to further obstruct the UI ambition.

    I personally don’t go for the approach of justifying modern goals at the expense of ‘the other side’ by fishing through history’s wrongs and bad ideas.

  • The Union flag was foisted on the majority in Ireland with no regard to what they could stomach.

    How true. How very true. [Original source for that welcome.]

    Yet, how many peasants, plebs, serfs, underlings, minions, menials, general dogsbodies and no-accounts, across all ‘nations’, were ever invited to choose the flags under which they were obliged — by propaganda, acculturation, economic or other necessity — to march? Indeed, how many were ever asked to which ‘nation’ they wished to belong — if any?

    [Goes off and re-reads Arms and the Man for the sake of sanity.]

  • Neil

    Hi Am Ghobsmacht,

    for me personally it would absolutely be a price worth paying. I just think that there’s a massive disconnect between how we see our demands of Britain/Ireland and how they see them. We’ll be as easily ignored by our (theoretical) future political masters in Dublin as we currently are by the ones in London. We (Nationalists) have been demanding a change of flag here for many moons and Westminster doesn’t seem too worried.

    I have a strong feeling that the 26 county Irish would not look at unification as a reason to dump their allegiance to the flag and anthem (which as you know is damn near impossible to ask of anyone). Northern Nationalism could say it makes sense to have a new flag and anthem, I just don’t think it would fly south of the theoretically ‘gone’ border.

    Unionism would need to accept that like Nationalists in NI today, they wouldn’t have the democratic power to have the flag of the jurisdiction changed to cater to their sensitivities.

    The flag of NI today is a Union Jack, so I ask – do you feel it’s OK to steamroller a minority of nearly 50% of people today into hoisting the flag of your choice (which Nationalists hold no allegiance to or love for)? It clearly is as that’s the current situation. Yet you think that a smaller minority of 10% of the population should have the power to demand a new flag.

    In summary I feel that the Dail would hear our demands and tell us in no uncertain terms: you are joining us, on our terms, in our country. The flag we’ve taught our children to cherish for nearly 100 years is legitimate, we’ve done no wrong, and we won’t be changing. If you vote to join something, you’re not voting to join only if it changes.

  • antamadan

    Neil, I can’t imagine southern politicians hving a problem changing to a new flag and anthem -no matter how painful a decision (what the 1916 rebels fought-under etc) in the event of a UI. Look at the punt going for the euro despite any emotional ties to those featured on the face of the punt. I think there would be great pragmatism or -bend over backwards to please unionists-ism in the event of a UI. A crown or union flag in the corner would be a problem, but if a flag could not be agreed with unionists , an agreed neutral flag with no symbols; just green and whatever the orange side want would probably fly down south.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Here is one to throw into the mix, would it be possible to agree an all-ireland flag, to represent the common identity that exists across the whole spectrum of political views, but not form a national flag, or subsume or undermine either existing flag, such as the EU or Commonwealth flag does at present. A flag that could be carried on the 12th of July or Easter parades without either feeling compromised. as well as the obvious rugby matches etc.

  • Drumlins Rock @ 3:04 pm:

    Something like the Four Provinces flag, badge, decal, coffee mug, tie, whatever?

  • DC

    or maybe just a white flag?

  • Otto

    DR. Good question

    New Zealand seems to be on the way to a new flag as they’ve lost patience having theirs confused with the Australian flag. The favourite seems to be something based on the fern leaf the all Blacks use. So it’s interesting that the distinctive sporting flag may be getting a makeover to become the national flag.

    Canada went for the Maple leaf in ’65 and you couldn’t ask for anything more Canadian.

    Now if only we had a bit of vegetation that represented Ireland. Maybe even something associated with our patron saint 😉

  • Drumlins Rock


  • Drumlins Rock

    btw, my favourite “new flag” after ditching the colonial one is Newfoundland and Labrador, very original but its roots are obvious still.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Otto, looked up both NZ & Aus, it seems both campaigns to change flags are rather dormant atm. with apthy at best amongst supporters of change.

  • cynosure

    how about a white cross and an orange circle on a green field. representing the Celtic cross, Christianity, Celtic history, protestantism and peace.

    I’m also put in mind of the scandinavian coutries, their flags for a family of flags or set, which highlights their shared culture, tradition and history. maybe ireland’s flag should reflect other flags from these isles

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ cynosure
    “I’m also put in mind of the scandinavian coutries, their flags for a family of flags or set, which highlights their shared culture, tradition and history. maybe ireland’s flag should reflect other flags from these isles”

    You got my vote…


    @ Neil

    Nice answer man, hats off.
    Only have a slight problem with the last sentence, I WOULD vote for that thing if it changes, otherwise my seemingly dormant intransigent inner Orangeman comes out to play.

    I don’t want him to and I can compromise like an outnumbered Italian General but I’m not asking for a lot.

    Granted, I may be the only ‘u’nionist in NI to consider such a move and indeed due to the unwillingness of the ‘U’nionist community to accept common sense proposals in the past I can see why many people would think that there is no point, but, I’m proposing something that would have a potentially more peaceful Ireland.

    Weirdo that I am…

    *Insert choice of selective criticism here*

    PS Damn, I didn’t answer your question: “do you feel it’s OK to steamroller a minority of nearly 50% of people today into hoisting the flag of your choice (which Nationalists hold no allegiance to or love for)?”

    Nope. Not at all. I’d like a Norn Iron flag. Maybe there’s no such thing that we’d all love, rather one that we wouldn’t all hate (to be shamefully biased, I favour either my avatar or Otto’s. Surprise…)

  • Otto

    I hear you AG!

    The not so subliminal advertising might be working 🙂

  • Alan N/Ards

    Am Ghobsmacht
    Well put. There will have to be compromises made if we are to live at peace on this island. I have no desire to embrace the tricolour. I don’t expect non unionist’s to embrace the union flag. I would love to see a flag and an anthem that all people in NI could feel comfortable with. If a UI is ever to come about then I expect true republicans will be realistic. I don’t expect the Irish nationalist’s like SF and FF will give much ground on this but who knows. Hopefully the days of de valera and Sean McBride are over. If that is the case who knows what might happen.