Wednesday 26 October 2016

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald criticises groups who use Irish flag as 'symbol of violence'

Published 23/08/2015 | 14:46

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald

JUSTICE Minister France Fitzgerald has criticised groups who use the country’s flag as a “symbol of violence” in her oration at the Michael Collins commemoration in Béal na Bláth, Cork.

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The minister also used her speech to insist Fine Gael will always “challenge propaganda that suggests violent protest is virtuous and effective”.

“For Collins, disagreement was to be cherished, but interference with the people, their safety and their property was unacceptable and was to be clamped down upon. That position is precious to Fine Gael.  Disagreement is democratic.  Terrorising those with whom you disagree is not,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“It is neither. We must challenge the misuse of our flag, as if it belonged to a group who use it as a symbol of violence. The flag that billows in the great painting of Michael Collins at Griffith's funeral was always meant to be a symbol of tolerance, of inclusiveness, of unity and of peace,” she added.

Ms Fitzgerald also said the advancement of Irish women would have happened much sooner if Collins had not been assassinated.

Ms Fitzgerald highlighted Collin’s “network of trusted, courageous, smart and savvy intelligence officers who happened to be women” in her oration at the commemoration of the 1916 leader.

The minister said it was fair to speculate that Collins would hot have stood over the “retreat” from “key roles in shaping the new State” if he had survived beyond 1922.

“Without him it took longer than it should have, but the women of Ireland are now shaping Ireland and with every successive election, thanks to Government action, we will see more and more women stepping up to the plate,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

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