What is it about St Patrick that nationalists and republicans do not like?
The Union flag incorporates the cross of St Patrick, the patron saint of the whole island of Ireland. It is accompanied by the flag of St Andrew and St George and, together, there could not be a more appropriate and inclusive representation of the Christian heritage of these islands.
The flag should be treated with dignity and respect throughout the community.
By comparison the Irish tricolour is more divisive. It was created during the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848 and it supplanted the green flag with its gold harp during the troubles which led to partition.
The Green and Orange represent an island divided on sectarian lines with a white band between representing an aspiration for peace between the two distinct and separate communities.
It is clear therefore that the Union flag, as its name suggests, is a flag of inclusion and unity whilst the tricolour is a flag that represents division and partition.
The possible solution to the “flag problem” is for all the new councils to be compelled to fly the Union flag on the statutory days.
At the moment it seems that councils wishing to fly the Union flag are subjected to all kinds of “equality” tests and endless consultation, whilst those which do not fly the Union flag at all are not subject to any kind of such test or inquiry.
That is a discriminatory anomaly which the Equality Commission needs
Cllr Ronnie Crawford
Lisburn City Council