Row over St Patrick’s Day parade tricolour ‘ban’

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

SAORADH and the council are at odds over the question of whether the Irish tricolour is permitted to be flown at the Newry St Patrick's Day parade.

According to local Saoradh representative Stephen Murney, the flying of the  Irish national flag at the annual parade has been banned now for a number of years. He expressed his outrage at this continuing situation, and said that a ban had also now been imposed on the Four Provinces flag being flown at the parade.

"I was contacted by a representative of the Banna Fliuit Naoimh Phadraig," said Mr Murney.

"They informed me that they had phoned the council to enquire if the flute band could carry the tricolour in this year's parade in Newry.

"Not only were they told that they are banned from carrying our National Flag, but they were also told that the flag of the Four Provinces would also be banned.

"Banna Fliuit Naoimh Phadraig have quite rightly told the council that unless the ban is lifted they won't be taking part.

"This is outrageous and is clearly an attempt to suppress and erode any display of Irish culture and heritage in the Saint Patrick's day parade.

"Saint Patrick's day is a worldwide recognition of Irish culture. It's a disgrace that our nation's flags are being banned. It has to be asked who will enforce such a ban? Will the British forces be tasked to enforce it?

"It's time these discriminatory rules against anything Irish were resisted."

The Democrat contacted Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in relation to what Mr Murney had to say, and a council spokesperson said: "All entrants and participants, in agreeing to take part in the Council's St Patrick's Day cross community carnival parades in Newry and Downpatrick, have committed to comply with the council's rules and conditions of entry.

"The rules and conditions of entry, which have been used by both legacy councils, Down District and Newry and Mourne District, and now Newry, Mourne and Down District Council do not name specific flags, emblems, music, behaviour etc which are banned.

"The Council aims to encourage self regulation where participants begin to reflect upon the impact of their actions on others taking part, and work towards developing an inclusive and welcoming environment.

"While Council has not been prescriptive in naming specific flags, emblems, music, behaviour etc, content, context, intent and potential impact upon other participants and spectators are primary factors which must be given serious consideration by all entrants and participants.

"Participants must therefore be mindful that the Council reserves, in its absolute discretion, the right to reject at any stage an entrant on such grounds as the Council shall see fit to consider without any obligation to disclose such grounds.

"In the event of refusal of an entry for the parade such entry shall be deemed to have withdrawn."


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