Friday 9 December 2016

Maurice Hayes: Pointless salute to division when there are bigger problems

Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00

SF's Eamonn Mac Con Midhe unfurls the tricolour at the Downpatrick parade. Pacemaker

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OH, the shame of it -- Downpatrick, the reputed burial place of St Patrick -- the only place, it seems, where the festival is marked by political controversy. All over the world, Patrick's legacy is celebrated as something that Irishmen and women of all traditions can embrace as a supra-nationalistic symbol of a shared identity, to which all can lay some claim, and which, however briefly, enables all to share a common sense of Irishness.

The London Eye is flanged in green, Table Mountain has a green cloth, and in Chicago the river runs green -- everywhere it seems it is enough to be Irish without too many questions about qualifications, whether genetic, historic or ideological.

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