Sunday 15 December 2019

Common sense prevails amid circus over flag

SO, common sense prevailed. It's not often that it does, especially when it comes to the vexed question of the North.

Loyalist Willie Frazer has scrapped his plans to hold a protest outside Leinster House to highlight the bitter Union flag dispute at Belfast City Hall.

Mr Frazer contacted the gardai yesterday to tell them that the gathering – which was never officially 'on' – was now officially 'off'.

Those with memories of the Love Ulster march, on Dublin's O'Connell Street in 2006, will sigh in relief.

There was very little love on display that day and the violence and chaos that ensued did nothing for island relations.

A man with a keen eye for publicity, Mr Frazer demanded this week that the Tricolour be lowered on Leinster House, as a symbolic gesture.

He wouldn't have known that the flag only flies on Kildare Street when the Houses of the Oireachtas sit.

If Mr Frazer managed to get our elected representatives to turn up for work at weekends he would indeed have pulled off a remarkable coup. As it was, he and his supporters would have looked faintly ridiculous.

But then the whole circus surrounding the flag hasn't shown up anyone in a good light and it seems we have a way to go on this island yet.

While huge progress has been made in the 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement, the row over what flutters above Belfast City Hall proves some sores are tender yet.

Irish Independent

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