Respect flag as a unifying symbol

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THE Union flag should not be used to divide people or to assert the identity of one part of the community in Northern Ireland.

It symbolises three great kingdoms, Ireland, Scotland and England, which came together to form a United Kingdom in 1801.

The UK is still a place made up of many communities and cultures.

We have a proud tradition of tolerance and a shared economy. One in eight British citizens in the latest census was born outside the UK and there are large well-integrated immigrant communities from Asia, Europe and Africa.

By all means, let’s debate the merits of a new flag for Northern Ireland. Let’s look at advancing a shared future and creating a ‘flags protocol’ which ensures that flags do not become divisive.

Designated days should be implemented across all councils in Northern Ireland, to reflect our place in the UK and there is a strong argument that more days should be added to the list in order to celebrate important historical events.

However, the flag should always be treated appropriately and with respect.

Pro-Union people should respect its tradition as a unifying symbol, rather than something which drives us apart.

Johnny Andrews

NI Conservatives, Comber