Union flag day in Dail for Commons Speaker
Things are bad in Ireland, as we all know, but it appeared for a slight moment on Friday that we had surrendered independence back to the British.
Mid-afternoon in the main lobby of Leinster House, the heart of Irish democracy, under the portraits of Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith and just feet from a copy of the 1916 Proclamation stood Britain's Union flag as the Tricolour was being removed.
A picture obtained by the Sunday Independent clearly shows the foreign flag, which remains an offensive symbol to some Irish citizens, inside the main reception of Leinster House.
Despite the warm relations between Dublin and London, and the continued efforts to secure a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, several TDs were taken aback with the sight of the flag.
But it turned out to be a false alarm – the Union flag was one of many out on display to commemorate the visit of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons.
At the start of the Dail's business, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett paid tribute to Mr Bercow, who was greeted by ministers and other TDs.
"Before proceeding with business, on my own behalf and that of the Members of Dail Eireann, I offer a cead mile failte, a sincere welcome, to the Right Honourable Mr John Bercow, MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.
"I express the hope he is finding his visit here most enjoyable. He is most welcome to Leinster House," Mr Barrett said.
The Union flag – which consists of the red cross of the English patron saint, St George; the Cross of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland; and the Saltire of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland – was adopted in 1801 following the passing of the Act of Union.
Wales, however, is not specifically represented in the Union flag by its patron saint, David, as at the time Wales was deemed to be part of the Kingdom of England.