Protest over flags


Sir, – Each of us has the responsibility in taking a stand on what is now going on in Northern Ireland. We can not just leave this to others.

Civil society needs to be organised and able to stand up in a non-violent and organised manner to represent its views. This is true whether the issue is sectarianism in Northern Ireland, deprivation, environmental matters, a peaceful future or, as at present, flags and emblems.

We have to remember that democracy is not just about the health of party politics but about a much wider canvas of civil society engagement with issues and the relationship between different parts of society.

Part of the business of INNATE, a nonviolence network in Ireland that has just marked 25 years of existence, is to help people work, engage and campaign non-violently and effectively. We are happy to try to work with anyone on this whether we personally agree with their views or not – and in the Northern Ireland context this would include loyalists, republicans and peace activists. – Yours, etc,


Co-ordinator, An Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education,

Ravendene Park, Belfast.

Sir, – Regarding Walter Meehan’s suggestion (January 16th) to fly the Union flag 180 days a year, I believe we should be more equitable and base the number of days on the latest census.

So the Union flag would fly for 146 days, the Tricolour would get 91 days, 77 days for an agreed Northern Irish flag, say St Patrick’s Saltire, and then for 51 days everyone else gets a chance: Polish, Chinese and other minorities. Now they can throw stones over which days. – Yours, etc,


Woodlawn Park Grove,


Dublin 24.