Seems that St Patrick is to be expunged from the Union Flag…
Now any observer of flags in Northern Ireland will tell you that there are many variations in the flags that are seen around the Province. But this one, first seen by me on a Facebook page, is a new one even for me.
It is placed on a page somewhat dedicated to so-called Loyalism that appears to have sprung up following the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag from City Hall on the designated Flag-flying Days. Most of these pages want to see the Union Flag replaced, that is hoisted once more on City Hall, not replaced by a new design such as the one above.
It now appears that anything Irish is not wanted in the Union Flag – so St Patrick’s Cross has been removed, and the Six-Pointed Star and Red Right Hand of Northern Ireland, ensigned by a Royal Crown placed in the centre. Whilst I agree that it does seem an anomaly that when most of the Kingdom of Ireland left the United Kingdom, St Patrick’s cross remained wholly in the Union Flag, I am not convinced that this Flag will bring any more loyalty to the UK as left.
Coat of Arms of Belfast City Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My thoughts and prayers are with all Alliance Party representative and their staff at this difficult time following the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag on designated days.
Reports are coming in this evening that a constituency office for Stewart Dickson MLA, the Alliance representative for East Antrim has been set on fire. According to the BBC the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are at the scene.
As with the protest yesterday that forced Naomi Long MP‘s office to close early, all that these actions will do will be to stop local people from getting the assistance that they so often need with benefit queries, housing, social care needs, passport applications, and other local issues that they so often need help with. The thugs and criminals that have done this must be caught by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and brought to justice.
If any public representative has urged people to come out on to the street and protest, I suggest that he thinks again about the wisdom of this. The matter of the Union Flag has been dealt with by the body responsible in one local government district – Belfast City Council. It is outrageous for so many so-called Loyalists to be protesting in areas of Northern Ireland which are specifically affected by the decision.
I call on anyone with any information to pass it to the PSNI as soon as possible, that the real scum who have done this are brought before the courts.
By now we should be well down the road for reorganisation of the local district councils in Northern Ireland from the 26 current district councils to the 11 council model. Sadly for some, though better for actual local democracy and relation of councillor to constituent, this has not happened.
According to the BBC, Northern Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Edwin Poots, of the DUP, said that he
remained committed to reforming local government
Committed to reforming local government he may be, but not committed to bringing forward the legislation necessary to enable this to be done. For Mr Poots has failed to bring the Final Report of the Local Government Boundary Commission to the NI Assembly for final approval. Last November, we were still waiting, and we are still waiting today.
And today the Minister has decided to pull the plug on the funding for the Transition Committees. Whilst I have no problem in doing this, there is no point in them existing if we are not going to move to the eleven council model, we need to remember that it is not the Executive’s fault – nor the Assembly’s: it is the Minister’s fault himself. He is responsible for steering the requisite legislation through the NI Assembly. He has not even allowed the Final Recommendations of Dick Mackenzie to be approved – though this would appear to have something more to do with the actual boundaries between Belfast City Council area and the Lisburn City and Castlereagh merged council area.