Newton Emerson: Unionists detect huge waves of anti-British sentiment in RIC fallout

Attempts to respect a shared history, while well intentioned, can be aggressive

Men of the Royal Irish Constabulary under inspection in Derry city in 1913. The RIC existed across the whole of pre-partition Ireland, which makes it part of what some call ‘shared history’. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty

Men of the Royal Irish Constabulary under inspection in Derry city in 1913. The RIC existed across the whole of pre-partition Ireland, which makes it part of what some call ‘shared history’. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty

On a trip to Galway 17 years ago with friends from Portadown we were puzzled by small banners hanging from lampposts in the city centre, bearing an unfamiliar emblem comprising the flags of England, Scotland and Wales.

Being from Portadown, we thought we knew every such emblem that might adorn a lamppost. Closer inspection revealed it was to welcome the Great Britain Special Olympics Team, which the city was hosting that summer. Although the team uses the UK’s Union flag, it seemed Galway could not bear to display it.

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