Violence after Belfast flag vote
Sir, – I refer to your Editorial (“Belfast takes a step back”, December 5th). The central points for nationalists and republicans seem to be in your question, “was there no better way to reach the same end” and the inference that the actions of nationalist/republican politicians were provocative.
I have served in nationalist/republican politics, first in a unionist-dominated council and then in the Belfast Assembly. I have to assert that no, there is not any other realistic way on the flags issue – votes simply have to be taken and we all thought that in the “democratic dispensation” of the Belfast Agreement it was over to voting rather than violence.
At least one council allows the illegal flying of a Union flag; a unionist majority permits this and nobody classes it as provocation.
Can I ask, would it be provocative to open an even broader and informed debate on Irish unity? Will we have to diplomatically set that aside so that we don’t provoke unionists/ loyalists? That would be yet another bit of shorthand for the status-quo and I state the blindingly obvious; that suits unionist politicians down to the ground.
There has to be the room and maturity for democratic debate even on the difficult issues, otherwise the democracy becomes so bruised it fails. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I wonder whether the members of Belfast City Council are aware that regardless of their political persuasion Northern Ireland is still a part of the United Kingdom and as such the Union flag is encouraged to be flown over government buildings between sunrise and sunset.
As we are living in an era of increased co-operation and reciprocation between our friends in the North and the Republic, is it likely that in the future the Irish flag will be flown from Irish government buildings on selected days only? If this is to be the case, which days should the Irish flag be flown, the birthday of Michael Flatley or Bono perhaps? Or should we celebrate the magnificence of such world famous exports as Zig and Zag, and Daniel O’Donnell? The possibilities are endless.
Obviously the day on which Ireland announced the death of the Celtic tiger by being forced into a bailout from the ECB and the IMF the Tricolour should be flown at half mast.
Do the members of Belfast City Council who are opposed to the flying of the Union flag on a daily basis know that the flag of St Patrick is an integral part of the aforementioned – unlike the flag of Saint David, patron saint of Wales? – Yours, etc,