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Sunday 21 September 2014

Outrage at Nazi flag that flew in garden

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Published 17/03/2012 | 05:00

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A swastika is seen in the back garden of a house near Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, during the week
A swastika is seen in the back garden of a house near Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, during the week

A FLAG bearing the swastika symbol has been removed from the garden of a house after locals expressed disgust that the Nazi emblem was on display in their community.

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The red and white flag had been erected in the back garden of a family home near Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.

Bagenalstown gardai said they were "unaware" of any complaints about the flag. However, a spokesman said they would be visiting the site to investigate the matter further.

While no official complaint has been made, residents living near the home in the townsland of Seskinryan said they were "very concerned" to see the Nazi symbol "flaunted" in their community.

The flag was erected in the back garden of a private family residence just outside of Bagenalstown. However, it was clearly visible from the public road until it was removed yesterday.

It had been hanging close to a child's playhouse and an American flag bearing the stars and stripes had also been placed in the same garden of the two-storey house. Yesterday, the US flag remained, but there was no sign of the swastika flag in the vicinity.

There is no specific law banning the use of the swastika in Ireland. However, gardai have the power to pursue the matter if they feel it is necessary under the Prohibition to Inciting Hatred Act 1989, or it can be deemed a public order issue.

The Irish Independent called to the home where a family resides to inquire about the use of the swastika flag but nobody answered the door.

Bagenalstown councillor Denis Foley, who is also a member of the town's joint policing forum, said the matter was brought to his attention by passers-by.

"I intend raising it with gardai and bringing it to the attention of Alan Shatter as a Fine Gael colleague and a member of the Jewish community," he said.

"I was shocked to see that a swastika flag would be flying anywhere in the world, let alone in a small townsland in Co Carlow, it's disgusting," he added.

Violence

The European Network Against Racism said flying a swastika was "not racist violence per se", however, a spokesperson said it was a "disturbing sign of the increasing acceptance of far- right ideologies".

"While seemingly minor, often such minor actions have the potential of escalating into more serious actions. We therefore need to remain vigilant to all expressions which could incite racial violence and actively counter the destructive impact of far-right discourse at all levels of society."

Irish Independent

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