Trouble at home

The Union flag flew above Belfast City Hall every day of the year until 3rd December 2012 when politicians democratically voted to fly it on 18 designated days. The Confederation of British Industry said the ensuing riots have cost local businesses £10-£15 million in lost revenue.

Union flag
The Union flag, representing Northern Ireland

Irish flag
The Irish tricolour, representing the Republic of Ireland

Some political commentators have suggested that one way to diffuse the situation might be the creation of a new flag for Northern Ireland. The country hasn’t had its own flag since the Ulster banner was used by the old Northern Ireland Government between 1953 and 1972.

Ulster banner
The Ulster banner

There’s the older St. Patrick’s Saltire, said to pre-date the tricolour by 150 years. It’s been flown at the Edinburgh Tattoo to designate Northern Ireland, seen as less contentious than the Ulster banner.

St Patrick's Saltire
St. Patrick’s Saltire

So here’s my idea (below). Hardly innovative, but I don’t think it needs to be.

Northern Ireland flag
Northern Ireland flag

Northern Ireland’s footballers play in green and white. So does Ireland’s rugby team (with players from both sides of the border). No need to use blue and red.

Northern Ireland flag

Update:
Turns out there’s an NI Flag Facebook Group that’s been going for a while.

As you were.

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15 comments

  1. johnjohn

    I like it very much, but wonder will the genpop of loyalists approve. Elements taken from the British flag and culture are there, but of course the colour is stronger than the forms. Considering the Republic’s flag concept was peace between the greenmen and orangemen, I think a similar concept would apply here. Kudos for sparking the idea, David.

  2. Of course, the union jack would have to change!

  3. Cheers john, I spied this Union flag in tricolour, but I can imagine the looks.

  4. Colour is definitely stronger than form, as John states, but this is an interesting balance. Certainly get’s my vote.

    screwthefleg#

  5. Maybe I’m oversimplifying the problem, but why not just fly all the flags in a row like they do at the UN? Then all parties are represented equally.

  6. It’s about time. The FB page looks interesting, and if they ask me, I definitely won’t go for light blue.

  7. I would say a very elegant solution!

  8. The Scots may have something to say about that… but given that we nicked kilts and bagpipes from the Irish and made them our own, plus we’re all Celtic anyway, perhaps we can still get along! Plus I’m half Scots half Irish, so who am I to complain?!

  9. There are places in Glasgow where all traces of the colour green are eradicated (traffic lights included) by the protestant residents living there (simply because of its catholic connotation). The same thing probably goes on in N Ireland. It’s a pretty sensitive design task. I reckon I’d ask the advice of the guys throwing molotovs at police, and hopefully avoid annoying them with an inferior new flag.

  10. That flag is actually already flown by Celtic FC supporters, and I don’t think it works for NI. It would probably be a better design for the Republic (especially given that “orange” culture almost exclusively exists within NI and is a bit irredentist to include orange within their flag and as bit sectarian IMo to talk of “green and orange” (or indeed what may actually have been gold depending upon how it is spun)).

    Also quite wrong to say that the “country hasn’t had it’s own flag since 1972″ — that is misinformation by Republican propagandists on Wikipedia. Since when was a regional flag only purely valid due a regional assembly? (and let’s face it — our current undemocratic Assembly can’t agree on more important issues, so why do you think they’ll agree on anything as trivial as this I don’t know). By that logic then England also doesn’t have a flag eith, and neigher did Scotland in the 70s, 80s etc. Take one look at any NI football match, Commonwealth games, or any other event when NI competes internationally as a team and it is rather obvious that we have a flag. I’m not against a fresh design, but the present reality shouldn’t be distorted in this manner.

    I believe any new design is a meaningless non-runner unless it is based on some sort of hybrid between the St. Patrick’s Cross with red had in centre. You can’t just eradicate hundreds of years of heritage/heraldry like that.

  11. johnjohn

    Paul, I would agree with keeping St Patricks cross and the red hand. David, going back to the point of form vs colour, a new flag would surely have to be predominantly red/white . The green doesn’t represent the North does it? Worth a peek — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_flags_of_Ireland

  12. To me the red hand says, “Stop, don’t come in.” Perhaps we could change it to green, rotate it 90 degrees counterclockwise, then let it offer a welcoming gesture as it ripples back and forth in the wind.

  13. Steve Malle

    Sorry guys too much wishy washy libralism.
    No surrender to the people who would steal our country by stealth.
    I was born under a Union Flag.

  14. Jack Fennessy

    By 2030 there will be a united Ireland. The Tricolor will be the national flag for all of Ireland.

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