To encourage political progress on Irish language law, Sinn Fein could prove that they are serious about equality and respect by voting to put the Union flag back up permanently within Belfast City Hall.
It was Sinn Fein that tried to permanently remove it, therefore it is funny to think that somehow unionists would today be ready to deal on an Irish language act. An act that comes with such symbolism and permanency, putting Irish culture on a firm legal footing along with Irish on road signs — permanently.
Unionists could only dream of having their British culture secured in such a way in Northern Ireland. In contrast, Britishness and British symbols have been under attack since signing of the supposed Belfast Agreement in 1998.
Perhaps an audit should be carried out to list all the British symbols that have been ‘disappeared’ as part of the 1998 agreement, done to accommodate nationalist political sensibilities and outlook.
The agreement also created countless commissions, which on the whole have been less than favourable towards unionist culture and British symbols — usually offering guidance on their reduction and removal! It is time to move away from zero sum and instead secure some progress for the British identity in NI, perhaps it too could be legally protected in some way?
Paula Millar, Carrickfergus