Monday, March 20, 2006


Unionists whinge about Irish tricolours

Copeland seems to hate everything Irish... I see unionist politicians have been whining and complaining about the St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast claiming that they were "intimidatory". How were they intimidatory you ask? Why, because Irish tricolours were in attendance of course!

UUP MLA Michael Copeland (pictured left), who you might remember badmouthed the invitation to take part in celebrations for the Easter Rising, said the event had proven "unwelcoming" to unionists. Copeland moaned:

"Commemorations of St Patrick in Northern Ireland should reflect the fact that his legacy belongs to all the people of Northern Ireland, both protestant and catholic."

"Unfortunately St Patrick's day celebrations in Belfast have one again proved to be for one side of the community only."

"Many of my constituents who ventured to the celebrations did not stay long. They felt uncomfortable and unwelcome. The sheer number of tricolours and the strong nationalist look and feel to the parade rule out any sense of a cross-community event."

Point of note - St Patrick is the patron saint of IRELAND, not Northern Ireland, and as such belongs to the island as a whole. As for this nonsense about it being for one side of the community only, the Irish tricolour - now pay attention Mr Copeland - symbolises peace between Catholics (represented by the green) and Protestants (represented by the orange). There is nothing intimidatory about it. On the contrary, it's a CROSS-COMMUNITY FLAG! If you choose to ignore that Mr Copeland, that's YOUR problem.

Next up for a pop was Diane Dodds of the DUP. She branded the celebrations "another disappointment":

"There were not that many people at the concert but there were plenty of republican flags and it seems that for republicans it is simply an excuse to wave Irish tricolours in the city centre."

How do you know they were 'republicans', Diane? I noticed on RTE television many children in Dublin waving tricolours on St Patrick's Day. Perhaps the presenters should have asked them for their thoughts on the peace process? They must have been republicans too. Diane whined on:

"It would be good to have a cross-community event in the city, one where unionists and nationalists can feel safe, but it is clear that republicans cannot cope with that."

If you seek to have a cross-community flag like the Irish tricolour banned then you clearly do not desire a cross-community event! What do you think the orange on the tricolour stands for? And how the hell are unionists not safe with tricolours in attendance?

Careful, it's an Irish tricolour!

The attitude displayed the unionist politicians is appalling. I am outraged at how they are treating my national flag. I would never seek to deny unionists the chance to wave a union jack at a St Patrick's Day celebration (though I don't know why they would want to) so I don't see why the Irish flag is being bashed in this way.

SDLP deputy Lord Mayor Pat Convery offered an encouraging message of hope saying he thought yesterday's parade had been a "small step forward" for a divided city:

"We hope that the diversity of our city will be able to be included in this parade and concert.

"We hope we will be able to generate a lot of interest in this new event every year."

Hear, hear, Mr Convery! Belfast's diversity ought to be celebrated, not belittled. Culture should be praised, not proscribed.

These unionists have a long way to go. They need to open their hearts and their minds because right now, they remain utterly, utterly closed.


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