Symbols and allegiance


Sir, – I, like many, immediately baulked at Fine Gael members applauding the suggestion that Ireland should join the Commonwealth.

Symbols have always been important in Irish history, and the notion of Ireland joining what is fundamentally an imperialist hangover that recognises Queen Elizabeth at its head understandably seems impossible for the majority of Irish people.

However, logic does not always play a role in these types of decisions. For example, the Tricolour could be deemed untenable as the flag of a united Ireland as it has been considered the flag of the republic since it was flown by Thomas Francis Meagher in 1848. But the basic symbolism involves green for the republican tradition, orange for the unionist tradition and white representing everlasting peace between the two. The Irish rugby and hockey teams, both all-island entities, do not use this flag and share Ireland’s Call as their primary anthem for those very reasons.

Yet the harp as a whole-island national symbol could be passed through without a second mention.

Passion, tribalism and illogical refusals will all be part of this process, should it come to pass, as demographics seem to be indicating.

Difficult conversations need to be had, and knee-jerk reactions cannot cloud genuine progress. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.