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'We need a conversation about symbolism' - Sinn Fein doesn't rule out Union Jack flying over Leinster House

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Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Leinster House

Leinster House

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Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

SINN Féin hasn't ruled out the possibility that the Union Jack could be flown along with the Irish tricolour over Leinster House as part of a deal on a United Ireland.

The party's deputy leader in the Dáil, Pearse Doherty said he couldn't envisage a day when that would happen but said discussions are needed on how Unionists could be accommodated in a new Ireland. 

He said: “We need a conversation about symbolism, for the million people who identify as British and who believe deeply in their identity. 

"It is important that those symbols are part of this new Ireland.

He also told RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta: "This is not just a question for Sinn Féin, but other parties in the South should come together to discuss this what kind of united Ireland there will be.”

Sinn Féin is pushing for a referendum on Irish Unity.

A draft document entitled, Irish Unity – An Activist’s Guide, was circulated to members at the party's think-in meeting in Cavan.

It offers advice to members on how to campaign for a United Ireland.

It included a series of questions and answers under a heading “how to have a conversation about Irish unity”.

The document says that keeping the same the flag and anthem are “issues that will have to be debated”. 

It adds that “emblems and symbols are important; however, we need to be open to new ideas that cater for the two main traditions on the island and we shouldn’t allow these issues to hold back Irish unity.”

In her speech to the party's think-in meeting in Cavan leader Mary Lou McDonald said, "the North is changing" and the "perpetual Unionist majority is gone".

She said, "It's no longer the case of if there is going to be a unity referendum but when that referendum will take place". 

She said: “we need to ensure that it is conducted in an informed and respectful way and we must set out to win it”.

Online Editors