Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Proper respect

I was heartened to read of this story on Monday in the Irish Independent about a remembrance service which took place in Derry where the Union Flag flew beside the Irish Tricolour for the first time at such an event in Ireland's north.

People from across Ireland stood at the cenotaph in Derry to remember men from both sides of the border who died fighting for British forces.

Glen Barr, who works to promote reconciliation through remembrance, said it was an important day.

"We're saying it's great if we can do it in Belgium, now we have to start doing it in Ireland and that's exactly what we're starting to do," he added.

Retired Garda PJ O'Halloran from the Inishowen Partnership in Co Donegal told the Irish Independent he found the ceremony deeply moving.

"A lot of work has gone into this over the last few years," he said.

"I honestly didn't ever think I would see the day when the tricolour and the union flag would be carried alongside each other at an event such as this, but I am delighted to be a part of it," he added, noting that it was a sign that people were working to overcome their problems through dialogue rather than with guns.

The eloquent words of Mr Barr and Mr O'Halloran will hopefully send out a message to those people in the North, particularly Belfast city council, who seem to think that such events cannot or should not be done!

Instead, these sad people choose to look on the Irish tricolour as a hate symbol rather than what it really is - a symbol of pride and hope, respected and supported by millions of people across the island.

Thanks to Belfast city council, bigotry gained a victory as both communities will now be denied the chance to show pride in their respective identities on St. Patrick's Day. However, thanks to the sensible folks involved in the remembrance celebration in Derry, a victory was gained for those who believe in respecting all races, colours and creeds. A victory was gained for all those who believe in equality and tolerance.

In short, a victory was gained for those who believe in people!


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