Flag saga Northern Ireland

(200 Posts)
SucksFakeSanta Mon 10-Dec-12 22:35:32

I am ashamed to be from NI.

Thank goodness there has been no loss of life, but some people have had terrifying experiences.

My DC are now scared of 'the flag people' after the route to my DTSs birthday dinner was blocked by a mob earlier this evening.

Seriously fed up with it all. Cannot imagine what it must be like to be working in retail or tourism at the minute.

nancy75 Mon 10-Dec-12 22:37:09

sucks, would you mind explaining what is going on? I keep seeing bits on the news but don't really get what is happening and why?

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 22:39:15

me too santa (your name is ace! grin)

thankfully i am far enough away not to be affected but i am so angry for all the traders and shoppers and residents who are being put trhough this.

you poor DTs. have you had to rearrange?

SucksFakeSanta Mon 10-Dec-12 22:41:40

It is beyond reason.

Belfast City Council made the decision not to fly the Union Flag outside Belfast City Hall 365 days a year. Loyalists see this as an insult to their national identity and some have chosen to protest by blocking roads. And hijacking cars. And setting them alight. And targeting police with fireworks, missiles.

GalaxyDisaStar Mon 10-Dec-12 22:42:39

It is so sad. Have family in some affected areas.

Its pure insanity. Dont really know what they hope to achieve with the rioting.

Though, in all honesty, I would guess that the majority of rioters are just little idiots with nothing better to do.

Ashamed to be from here.

SucksFakeSanta Mon 10-Dec-12 22:45:17

Thanks Santa. (Love your name too grin)

We managed to take a 'non-traditional route', and had our family dinner. And had a detour on the way home too.

Scenes on the news are just deplorable.

Viviennemary Mon 10-Dec-12 22:46:51

But the thing is a decision has been made about the flag flying. So the rioters are using violence to try and get the decision overturned. And if the violence works then this is not a good thing for anybody.

nancy75 Mon 10-Dec-12 22:48:42

Thank you sucks. Is there a reason why they took the flag down?
How can anyone think a flag is important enough to terrorize people that are probably their own neighbors?
I know that there are occasional outbreaks of violence in NI, but I really thought this was all pretty much sorted out now ( I live in London and have to be honest it's not something that is really on my radar) I hope you all stay safe.

It wont work. The union flag cant go back up now for exactly that reason. They are being counterproductive.

Theres stories coming out now of police heavyhandedness and brutality. The whole thing is a shambles.

Loyalists feel that the politicians elected to represent them have sold out and their national identity is being threatened.

Belfast is a UK city. The union flag flies in edinburgh and cardiff so they feel it should fly here too.

Braindead, hate-spouting, small-minded, utterly foul scumbags. The lot of them.

Who, ironically, consider themselves good god-fearing christians hmm

Makes me embarassed to be from N.I.

HappyHugs Mon 10-Dec-12 23:11:57

Whatever anyone thinks of the decision it was made democratically following a vote in Council which was passed by a narrow majority. It's a compromise position to fly on 19 designated days only (queens birthday etc). This is the case in some parts of the uk while others fly it 365 days. The republican preference would be to not fly it at all but before this vote it flew 365 days, not that anyone probably ever notices!

SucksFakeSanta Mon 10-Dec-12 23:16:28

nancy this link gives information about the decision.

Members of the Alliance party have been attacked, including a young couple who were at home with their baby daughter when their house was paint-bombed.

My DH and I are from different religious backgrounds, and I had hoped to protect our DC from the divisions in our society here.

I have tried to explain to them what happened this evening without scaring them, but it's hard. It was scary.

MissCellania Mon 10-Dec-12 23:20:08

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SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 23:20:40

flags are a real big issue here TBH.

Traders have lost 3 million so far according to ITV news.

Absolute disgrace.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 10-Dec-12 23:32:27

It's obviously just fuckwits, isn't it.

I mean, everyone knows July is the rioting season.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 10-Dec-12 23:35:12

Seriously though, Sucksfake, paintbombing is a big leap forward from petrol bombing, no? Let's look on the positive side.

WayneDeer Mon 10-Dec-12 23:41:41

I think it was very badly handled by the unionist parties

They leafleted a large part of Belfast rubbishing the Alliance party and smearing the MP Naomi Long.
Naomi Long is an Alliance Party MP who won the First Minister Peter Robinson's seat in the aftermath of Peter Robinson and his fragrant wife Iris's ongoing disputes and media furore during the last elections.
The DUP UUP thought linking this vote (by the Alliance party counsellors in Belfast City council to reduce the flying of the union flag on the city hall) with an erosion of Britishness in partnership with SF/SDLP would mean Robinson would have a better chance to regaining the seat.

They (unionist parties) should really have prepared their constituencies for the vote as the result was better than earlier expected.
They aren't to blame of course but they could do a lot to explain things and soothe

I think what gets me is half the people out there rioting don't get their backsides down to the polling stations. Support the flag staying up or not, it was a democratic vote by the people we have elected to represent us.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 00:07:11

It's a total farce and mortifying. Just a bunch of barely educated hoodlums.

SucksFakeSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 00:25:46

Agree with what you've said Waynedeer.

And Boulevard, I'd agree, but unfortunately petrol bombs were used tonight. Hit an unmarked police car; the occupants were lucky to escape without serious injury, apparently.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 00:36:24

I am disgusted. My DN had to leave the Christmas market and my family have put off going into town because of these fuckwits. Our traders are losing millions, it's damaging to the long term economy, people are terrified and pissed off in equal measure AND unless it stops soon, someone will be badly hurt or worse.

Also I will not be able to go to my work do this weekend.
I am so angry and sad.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 00:50:06

Can't bear that a lot of the people involved are so young

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 00:57:52

It is frightening that many of the rioters are coming from what should have been the peace generation. People who are too young to remember the actual Troubles.

They are puppets, being wound up and used by politicians and paramilitaries. This is how our children become bitter.sad

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 01:09:10

My ever practical grandmother remarked,
" they all knew there would be trouble, all of them. couldn't this all have waited until after Christmas, it'll really stop people shopping and going out"

I was going to mount my high democratic horse and then thought..yeah probably

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 01:44:41

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I dont agree with the flag being taken down.

But I dont agree with little thugs rioting in the name of it either.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 02:33:31

I think lots of people feel the same way wannabe

weegiemum Tue 11-Dec-12 02:42:44

This sort of thing is why dh left NI when he was 18 (24 years ago) and why he has told me (Scottish born and bred, as are our dc) that he will never go back!

We only visit because his mum and his brother+ family live there. I've never had a visit in 20 years when something they normalise happens and I'm left thinking "WTF"

It's not yet a healthy community, no matter what people from there say!

There's a difference between people 'defending their national identity and heritage' peacefully and not what those scumbags out on the street are doing. Fwiw - it's my national identity and I would have preferred for the flag to stay up but I don't condone people going out and rioting in my apparent name. As for burning a tricolour, well that just reeks of hypocrisy.

Now the police are being attacked? Disgusting! These people are only trying to do their jobs. They have families too.

Northernexile Tue 11-Dec-12 07:56:08

Not sure I'm getting your point there bureni.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 09:05:36

I think s/he's saying it's OK to riot in defnce of your 'national identity and heritage'.

Personally, I find my heritage is about more than what colour of cloth is on top of a building. But hey, what sort of pickle would Northern Ireland be in if everyone thought crazy things like that? hmm

No I think she is referring to the fact that Martin Mcguinness is Deputy First Minister even though he was in the IRA and has been in prison.

Sinn Fein pushed for it to go through now. Right before xmas. The effect its having on traders would always have been bad, but perhaps not as bad if they could have postponed until early 2013.

Also, everyone is quick to criticise loyalists when there are two sides. And lets not forget who it was bombing England and attacking British Forces.

Dissident Republicans have killed soldiers and PSNI officers in recent years. All that was in defence of their national identity. I think her point is that there are two sides.

DizzyCow63 Tue 11-Dec-12 09:33:20

MissCellania your comment is totally out of order. You cannot catogerise the entire unionist community by the acts of a few thugs, just like you cannot catogerise the entire nationalist community by, for example, those who murdered David Black just a few weeks ago.

I personally disagree with the decision to remove the flag but am disgusted by the violence that has ensued- the worst has been literally yards from my home. What the idiots perpetrating this seem not to realise is that politicians cannot be seen to give in to violence and they are simply vastly reducing the chances of any change in this decision.

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 09:44:00

A lot of N Ireland's problems are and have been due to high levels of unemployment. If you have fuck all hope of a job, ever, you get involved with things that make you feel important. Add the potent issue of Northern Irish politics and you get idiots fighting over a flag for example. I don't just mean the thugs outside the city hall.
I come from N Ireland originally and the council in my hometown have been fighting over this issue for years when they should be trying to work for the people of the town bringing jobs and opportunities for young people.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 09:49:55

Issuing death threats against politicians, trying to murder police officers, destroying property and economy and disrupting people's lives does nothing to protect national identity and heritage.

It costs us in taxes and jobs and will result in a new generation who will start their lives with criminal records and bitter minds.sad

pickledsiblings Tue 11-Dec-12 09:59:34

So, what recourse do the loyalists have over this decision?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 10:15:00

What poozlepants and Dione said.

Negotiations to get the amount of days its flown increased.

Not sure that will appease the rioters though.

I am tired of living here. Trying to go xmas shopping today. Nightmare not knowing where will kick off next.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 10:21:59

The people of NI have the same recourse as the rest of the UK: challenge by legal means and if that fails, do it via the democratic process of election. Elect representatives to overturn the decision.

DizzyCow63 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:30:45

Wannabe if you are on twitter, there is a list of planned protests for every day this week- check @chrislindsay_, he's a journalist who tweeted it last night.

Thanks Dizzy! DP looking it up now!

East Belfast kicked off so bad because they elected Naomi Long (Alliance) into Peter Robinsons (DUP) seat. Thats why the death threats are against her.

So electing failed in their eyes.

Not that its ok in anyway. But just explaining it for anyone not from here!

irishyouamerrychristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 10:46:45

I'm burying my father on Thursday. Our route to the cemetery will take us through two of the areas where there has been trouble. If there are any rioters out then I can tell you I will have fuck all sympathy for them and their violence over a piece of fucking cloth. This is what living in a democracy means. If they don't like it they can fuck off (oh, the irony - a phrase used many times when I lived here to the republicans). And this is from someone whose father would have been on the disgusted side of the reaction to the decision by the city hall.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:58:15

It's just a bunch of not very bright people reacting the only way they know how. It's really sad and depressing.

DizzyCow63 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:00:45

I'm not sure if this will work from my phone, but for anyone in NI not on Twitter, this is a list of planned protests for this week- here

DizzyCow63 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:02:13

Irish sorry for your loss x

Have been watching this on the news. Stay safe x

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 11:09:37

so sorry irish.

i hope the day goes without any trouble for you and your family.

"It's just a bunch of not very bright people reacting the only way they know how. It's really sad and depressing. "

and damaging to so many others beyond just themselves. all of NI suffers long term because of this stupidity.

Rachel130690 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:22:13

I'm from Northern Ireland, thankfully not Belfast. But last night there was a riot and 'protest' in my town. Basically it was the scum of the place out to cause trouble as its their 'right'. The whole thing is a joke. What good comes from wrecking everything and throwing things at people.

Politicians knew then when the flag came down this was going to happen. Of course certain people will disagree with it coming down but I think it's crazy what these idiots are doing to their towns. Peaceful protest is one thing I agree everyone should stand up for their rights but is this really the right way to go about it, causing mayham and destruction all over the place.

I wish people would go about it the right way but I doubt that will ever happen as a lot of people's minds have been warped but older generations.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:29:36

'Politicians knew then when the flag came down this was going to happen.'

Then why did they vote for the flag to come down?

pickledsiblings Tue 11-Dec-12 11:34:23

Why are they even voting on this?!

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:36:45

Exactly. And now a poster says
'Negotiations to get the amount of days its flown increased.'

Couldn't they have foreseen all this, don't they know what the population think, don't they listen to people?

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:38:15

Aren't there more important things for them to vote on in their positions of power?

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 11:42:41

The Uk is heading for a triple dip recession. Ireland is basically economically fucked and there are massive cuts to be implemented by local and national government and these idiots are holding votes over a flag which was always going to cause trouble. They aren't doing the people of Belfast or Northern Ireland any favours at all. I really despair for Northern Ireland you think things have moved on and then you see this sort of crap. Unfortunately until the politics in Northern Ireland can move away from being based on issues of national identity and more on the actual governance of a country you are going to see this sort of thing perpetually. That's why I won't move back.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:45:23

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Why don't they fix things that need fixing like the economy and energy costs etc.? Why vote on something like this?

Rachel130690 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:47:09

In my opinion they done it in an attempt to make a united Ireland. As they are stripping Belfast of its British identity. They have also said they are going to rename the royal Victoria hospital as they don't want the 'royal' in its name or any link to Britain or the royal family. They are also opening a new park named after one of the hungar strikers.

I think they need to focus on trying to make the place better not making sure the divide is there all the time, by doing all things mentioned above they are just making the divide bigger. Which is a shame.

Everyone in Northern Ireland knew that if the flag was to be taken down it would cause this as certain people will never back down. It just makes those people want a bigger divide, which means this country as a whole will never wise up and begin to work together.

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 11:47:54

The problem comes when your politicians basically aren't the brightest and the most able but the most ideologically dogmatic. Doesn't make for the most sane decisions.

Rachel130690 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:49:26

I don't no why they voted on this. It's a shame they voted at this time of the year as they are ruining everything for people and shops. Every year my Oh and I go to Belfast for the continental market and Christmas shopping but I refuse to go and get caught up in this mess.

MissCellania Tue 11-Dec-12 11:50:33

Taking down a flag or removing the royal names isn't going to make a united Ireland. hmm Nothing is, if only because NI is a money pit that the Republic could never afford to take on.
Flying the flag is merely an exercise in nosethumbing by those who already have what they wanted.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:51:08

'I think they need to focus on trying to make the place better not making sure the divide is there all the time'

'Everyone in Northern Ireland knew that if the flag was to be taken down it would cause this as certain people will never back down'


If you can't do good, then do nothing. Don't poke a hornet's nest when there is no need.

Bring people together, don't create a divide.

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 11:51:50

I think what gets me is half the people out there rioting don't get their backsides down to the polling stations

This. The level of political apathy in working class protestant areas is astounding. I don't like the idea of the flag coming down, it feels like another concession, another step along the road to a United Ireland. But what I did, some months ago, was vote so that my voice was heard. Now the democratically elected council have voted to remove the flag and I have to support that.

The peace process has disenfranchised a lot of people on both sides, men especially. Once they were respected as "defenders" of their communities who had a lot of respect and power. Now they're taxiing or out of work, no-one gives a shit any more. These protests give them a taste of the "old days". This is also true for the big men that killed Black last month. They disgust me and anyone who has a bit of wit.

My boyfriend is a serviceman stationed here and we are both very scared.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 11:55:09

i my opinion, the police could be a bit more heavy handed and brutal - after all if you weren't out rioting in the first place you wouldn't get hurt!

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 11:57:23

'The level of political apathy in working class protestant areas is astounding.'

Political apathy is caused by people losing faith. Send teh politicians in amongst teh people, speak to them in village halls, persuade them that they are working for teh people and changing things for the better. How is spending time voting to not fly flags going to convince people not to be apathetic.

Apathy is a failure of the political class to connect with the people, it is not the fault of the people. All people want a better life; they become apathetic when they no longer believe it is possible.

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:03:08

You're right- that's exactly what Sinn Fein did twenty years ago.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 12:05:46

yeah Drmummsy because that's what would be solve this, more resentment between the people rioting and the police! haven't we had enough police deaths? do we really need to wake up tomorrow and hear that another policman's/woman's had his/her house petrol bombed or his/her car attacked on his/her way home from work?

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:14:04

Basil McCrea is the only decent ulster unionist..he has wise things to say and the unionist politicians should heed him if they don't want to lose more votes to the Alliance Party.

McCrea has pointed out Lisburn, a unionist council, have had the Union flag flown on restricted days per year with no problem for years. A flag flying on designated days only, as it does almost everywhere else in the United Kingdom, would mark the City Hall and Northern Ireland as more British rather than the weird flag obsessed anomaly that it currently is. Nothing need be proved.

This obsession with flags only proves and demonstrates the paranoia of the loyalist communities. The presence of a flag flying over the city hall will not stop Northern Ireland becoming a UI when it is the wish of a majority of the electorate.

The existence of NI as British was finally agreed by RofI in the Good Friday Agreement. A flag or lack thereof will not indicate a change in that policy for goodness sake.

The unionist politicians must reach out to more of the community and deal with real issues. The way they have behaved over this matter is disgusting to most of the population.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 12:19:50

'A flag flying on designated days only, as it does almost everywhere else in the United Kingdom'

But everybody knows that Northern Ireland is not just like everywhere else in the United Kingdom.

'The presence of a flag flying over the city hall will not stop Northern Ireland becoming a UI when it is the wish of a majority of the electorate.'

So why vote on changing it when they knew it would cause such trouble?

Who proposed the vote?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 12:20:13

weird flag obsessed anomaly grin

How about if they kept the flag down, and painted the pillars of the City Hall cupola red, white and blue instead? Would that work?

Of all the stupid, petty things that both sides in NI have got their knickers in a twist about in the past, this has to be one of the stupidest. Surely?

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:25:34

The proposal to vote on the removal of the flag was made by an SDLP counsellor.
This vote over the permanent flying of the Union Flag at the City Hall has been going on and on for years.
The council have had an equality commission report written on it and a consultation paper and meetings held with the public, all as a matter of public record.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 12:26:35

'Of all the stupid, petty things that both sides in NI have got their knickers in a twist about in the past, this has to be one of the stupidest. Surely?'

Of course not. Flags are about symbolism and identity. It is illegal to burn teh US flag in the States because of what it symbolises. When Palistanis protest about the US, they ioften burn US flags in the street. If the Irsh flag is burnt, it enrages many Irish citizens.

Flags are not meaningless, they are symbolic and they are symbols of pride and identity.

The people who voted on not flying the flag knew that and they thought it was something important enough for them to vote on. They understood the symbolism, they knew the likely effect, and someone proposed the vote.

apachepony Tue 11-Dec-12 12:27:38

Removing the flag is not going to make a united ireland. Antagonising the catholic population might do so, particularly as Catholics move closer to a majority. A sizeable no of Catholics want to stay in the uk, and believe me, happy Catholics in a mutually respectful Northern Ireland is what scares hard core republicans the most, as it makes a united Ireland more unlikely. So if you want to make a united Ireland more likely, carry on rioting, insisting on flying a flag every day and make it clear there's no compromise to be made. Alternatively you could try the route of compromise and voting alliance. Dissident republicans will be loving this instability, the last thing they want is for ni to appear to be a normal country

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 12:28:22

'This vote over the permanent flying of the Union Flag at the City Hall has been going on and on for years.'

So they spend time voting on this year in, year out do they?

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 12:32:26

Of course he shinners knew the outcome, since the union flag was removed from the city hall tens of thousands have been erected all over the country as the union flag is after all the only flag it is legal to fly since the Northern Ireland flag was banned from being flown in the 1970s.

Narked Tue 11-Dec-12 12:34:42

Can the rest of the UK have a vote and kick out N Ireland? People rioting over a flag?!? It's alien to me.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:37:49

I think the first time the removal of the flag was suggested was as far back as 2003 Claig
The balance of the council has moved from strongly unionist to more balanced with Alliance holding the sway atm

I think that this is a decent compromise and people are failing to see that the Alliance party got this compromise. (Not a surprise given the smear campaign by the DUP UUP)
At the original vote the decision was that the Union flag would not be flown at all.
The Alliance Party did not back that suggestion at the full council vote but persuaded the entire council to agree to the union flag being flown on designated days so that everyone would feel they had something from the vote

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 12:38:13

'It's alien to me.'

It's alien to you because you don't libe there and haven't made the effort to put yourself in their shoes. People on both sides have suffered hugely and there is no easy answer to it.

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 12:38:26

No, just like people who live in N.I cannot vote to kick out England considering the English riots in recent years were far worse than anything ever seen in N.I

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:38:29

Exactly apache, which is why the DUP and UUP need to get off their backsides and think of some policies which won't alienate anyone who isn't a white, middle-aged Presbyterian male. There's a whole sector of NI society who are happy with the status quo and happen to be Catholic- with the NHS, free and fantastic choice of schooling, massive investment in public sector employment (of which the majority of workers are RC) etc. So why, why, why do we have to keep going round in circles rather than giving these people a voice?

We need a decent, liberal (for Northern Ireland) party to compete with the DUP. Are you listening, Mike Nesbitt?!

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:38:55


agree with what you say

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 12:41:44

Wayne, I don't know enough about it because I don't live there. But I do know that when politicians want something doen they often start with a more extreme proposal and then water it down to make it palatable to the public.

Just because a compromise was reached, does not always mean that the right decision was reached.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:43:32

Recently that is what Robinson has been trying to do. To repackage and sell the DUP as a party for middle ground liberal catholic voters...unfortunately I think the name as much as anything else will be a bridge to far for many liberal voters protestant or catholic
(In the same way as many liberal voters could never bring themselves to vote for a truly nationalist party.)
Alliance could be the answer

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 12:46:49

Alliance will only do what their Sinn Fein masters tell them to do, they are not a real party but pawns.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:53:21

Claig I agree

However this issue really has been going on for ever.
It has been addressed in a very slow and orderly manner with every box ticked.
It seemed only a matter of time before the nationalist and unionist votes were roughly equal on Belfast City Council.
The Alliance Party have always stated their views on flag flying and basically they always want everyone to feel comfortable.

There are questions to be asked about whether SF/SDLP have tabled and are doing this disingenuously but actually maybe now it's just the right decision.
Perhaps part of it simply was a powerplay on their part but if some more people feel represented by the current status of the flag flown than the previous it's a good thing?
I don't think rioting in this way, over a democratic vote that has been rumbling for years, is doing anyone in NI any favours

It certainly won't help financially

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 12:55:30

Perhaps the solution would be to return to the Northern Ireland flag or create a new N.I flag that all parties and sides can agree upon flying in any and all parts of the country.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 13:08:42

There were suggested options...
status quo
no flag
new flag altogether
designated days
RofI Tricolour alongside the Union Flag

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:27:05

if you weren't out illegally rioting, destroying property instead of peacefully protesting SantaIAmSoFuckingRock then there'd be no need for heavy handed brutality - no hmmming and haa-ing about deploying water cannon etc and letting thugs rule the streets.

I live in a Loyalist housing estate and quite frankly, it's just what they need - as my ma used to say, 'well if they weren't there in the first place, then they wouldn't have got hurt'.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:27:26

not you personally, but the collective 'you' - if 'one' wasn't out rioting

whitesocksblackshoes Tue 11-Dec-12 13:28:11

claig - it is alien to me and I live in Belfast.

It is completely insane.

If Lisburn, (where most elected councillors are DUP) can agree to fly the Union flag on designated days there should be no problem at all implementing the same at the city hall.

The only people who have spoken any sense over the issue have unsurprisingly been women. Anna Lo, Hilary Clinton and Naomi Long.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 13:33:25

'claig - it is alien to me and I live in Belfast.'

whitesocks, did you not foresee that this might happen? Other posters from NI have said that the politicians knew that it risked inflaming the situation.

Did no politicians warn that the vote might result in this violence?

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:34:13

btw i was referring to this quote upthread

Theres stories coming out now of police heavyhandedness and brutality

having watched them riot, the psni pretty much sit back and let it happen, they could do with exercising more force, making arrests and publishing the pictures of those rioting like the London Met did. Name and Shame.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 13:35:21

drmummsy you are completely missing my point.

the people rioting do not see it like that. if they get battered by a police officer, do you honestly think they hold their hands up and say "alright, fair dos i deserved it"? no they get angry about it and their friends get angry about it, and angry people who are already stupid enough to be rioting do stupid things to those they believe are to blame for whatever situation they are in. you end up with revenge attacks on police officers who are just trying to do their jobs.

anyway, battering people does not stop riots. history tells us this.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 13:37:39

There was someone from NI on Radio 4's The World At One who said that loyalist communities have suffered a moral breakdown because many loyalist men in the past were locked up in jail and that this destroyed families,
I find that hard to believe. What percentage of loyalist men were held in prison? Are they saying that the majority of loyalist men in these communities were held in prison? I find that hard to believe.

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 13:38:49

The PSNI are video recording everything and will make arrests at a later date, it is a very effective form of policing and much safer than using the old snatch tactics which they are no longer allowed to use.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:41:14

I'm not missing your point, I read and understood it - I am disagreeing with it, that is entirely different.

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 13:41:39

Claig, people from both sides have been locked up in prison in the past, you need to remember that a person does not need to be charged with a crime to be locked up in N.I though it rarely happens nowadays but internment in the 1970s was very common.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 13:41:52

also, if the police aren't getting stuck in trying to break it all up, there is less for the rioters to push against. hopefully they will lose interest quicker that way and go back to whatever legal and effective political action they were doing previously hmm

whitesocksblackshoes Tue 11-Dec-12 13:42:41

It is alien to me, and I have lived here all my life, to get worked up about flags and where they are flown. Personally I woudn't have any flags flown anywhere in NI.

These issues do need to be addressed. If the politicians have been discussing this since 2003 at some point that decision has to be made.

There is never a right time and they should not be beggared by those brave men with their faces covered in masks.

Caerlaverock Tue 11-Dec-12 13:43:02

Knuckle dragging inbred imbeciles.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:46:23

there is less for the rioters to push against

nope, they'd fight with their fingernails, mindless burn cars anyway. whenever the psni take a run at them, they run away scared, because really they're not big, brave or clever - they're just young lads, out for the craic of a good aul cider fueled riot

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 13:47:07

' internment in the 1970s was very common.'

but what percentage of men form loyalist communities? And what about republican communities and their families, are they saying that less republican men were locked up?

There was no rioting before teh vote made by politicians and now there are people on our news telling us that there is a moral breakdown in loyalist communities due to men having been locked up years ago.

I don't believe that that is the cause of teh rioting.

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 13:49:14

No idea of percentages but thousands were locked up which made matters a lot worse at the time as well as being illegal. The rioting has nothing to do with prisoners at all, its all about flags and always has been.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:49:42

claig - i know where you're coming from. Often the cause of rioting is non-political, it's frequently recreational and anyone who tries to make these thugs out to be politically protesting is incredibly naive.

whitesocksblackshoes Tue 11-Dec-12 13:50:31

totally agree there drmummmsy

JingleBellaTheGymnast Tue 11-Dec-12 13:52:40

Why was the option for ROI flag and Union Flag flying together rejected? Anyone know?

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 13:54:21


I don't think members of working class loyalist or even unionist communities are suffering from a moral breakdown but they are certainly experiencing a shift from the norm.
There is a strong feeling that working class loyalists do not have a political voice and that is concerning.
The unionist parties have relied on voting based upon religion which has been effectively the status quo for decades in NI. They have pushed forward with ideas that aren't supported in loyalist areas and rather than trying to explain or modify their ideas to represent their voters they have ploughed onward relying on the loyalists having no other voting option.
At the same time young working class protestant boys are leaving school with fewer qualifications than their working class catholic counterparts...in time you can see that this might not lead to a good overall picture.

No voice and no prospects....looks incendiary for future times

It would be easy for the DUP UUP to make an effort. It doesn't feel as though those are the votes that they wish to court however.

Northernexile Tue 11-Dec-12 13:59:27

JingleBella, I actually think that option would have been perceived as even more riot worthy by the loyalist knuckle-draggers out there unfortunately.

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 14:02:55

I think the joint flag idea was the least favoured option

The Alliance Party wanted something that everyone would feel they were represented by. In feedback it was felt that flying the RofI flag on a council building would inflame the situation further and alienate and make more people uncomfortable.
It was also a decision made based on the views of the employees of Belfast City Council.

axure Tue 11-Dec-12 14:07:36

In my English hometown the flag of St George is flown at the town hall. I would be happy to see St Patrick's flag on civic buildings here in NI on 365 days.
I would be totally opposed to tri-colours being flown in this part of the UK.
Agree that the rioters are just dead-legs who see the issue as a green light to cause mayhem, they don't give a toss about the cost to local business and the bad image it portrays across the world. Who would want to come here?

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 14:48:20

There was someone on Radio 4 News World at One saying that they believe that loyalist groups are behind stirring this up.

That seems to make sense. The vote by the politicians or councillors or whatever they were is political and I think it is highly likely that these riots are politically driven in response rather than just thugs rioting. I don't think it is like our thugs on the mainland who loot to get TVs and DVDs.

Flags are political and negotiations to fly it on more days etc are political moves.

I don't think that a Northern Ireland flag solution would have worked becauase this is about a perceived threat to Britishness (and its British flag).

If the loyalist groups and political figures told the thugs to stop, then I believe that it would be probably be over pretty quickly.

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 14:52:24

I can tell you first hand that violence is orchestrated by leading criminals loyalists who are in bed with elected unionists - as far as I can see loyalists have a very strong political voice & control over the psni. can you imagine the reaction from psni if this was republicans?

WayneDeer Tue 11-Dec-12 15:19:52

these were posted all over loyalist communities by the DUP and UUP

Not their best work

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 15:33:11

I'm not an expert on English grammar, but shouldn't that be "A shared future for whom?"

Pedants' corner would be able to decide.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 15:33:57

no drmummsy you missed my point. you suggested police officers needed to be more brutal with the rioters. i asked if we really wanted to cause more resentment between police and rioters and end up with more police officer's being hurt. you said the rioters wouldn't get hurt if they weren't rioting in teh first place confused you either missed my point completely or just ignored it in order to repeat your desire to a bit of police brutality.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 15:34:44

to see a bit of police brutality.

SucksFakeSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 15:50:57

I agree that police being heavy handed is not the answer. It would only fan the flames and increase violent behaviour. I only saw one female police officer at the scene of the protest I ran into last night, and can imagine it would have been extremely intimidating and frightening for her. I have every admiration for the PSNI officers trying to do their jobs in such difficult circumstances.

I've been thinking of A Christmas Carol over the last few days:
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

drmummmsy Tue 11-Dec-12 15:53:34

nope definitely recognised and got your point, but disagreed with it.

yes police need to be more heavy handed with those who are rioting. if retaliation attacks on psni officers are blamed on heavy handed police tactics on those who shouldn't have been there in the first instance then it effectively absolves rioting criminals of all responsibility for any of it!

i could of course say that you're missing my point, but i realise that you have read and understood it, but choose to disagree.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 15:56:42

so you think it's ok if police are attacked as long as the right people get the blame? is that what you are saying? you think it's ok to go ahead with a course of action, knowing that it will increase the risk of harm to innocent people?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 16:06:57

Claig, you asked "did no politicians warn that the vote might end in violence?". Unfortunately, the politicians bear quite a bit of responsibility for this violence.

*Here's what happened*:
Belfast City Council's Policy and Resource Committee voted 11 to 9 toremove the Union flag from Belfast City Hall in order to make it a more neutral space.
Beforehand, there had to be a full council vote.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP supported the removal.
Ulster Unionists and the DUP opposed the removal.
(So far, so predictable).
The Alliance Party held the balance of power. They disagreed to the total removal. They proposed a compromise position whereby the flag would be flown over City Hall on designated days (like most government buildings in the UK).
The compromise was accepted by Sinn Fein and SDLP.

THEN (and this is where it gets a bit fucked up),
Both of the main Unionist Parties distributed up to 40,000 leaflets, mostly in working class areas, notifying them of the upcoming council vote and blaming the Alliance party for the removal of the flag.

Since then, the homes of Alliance party members have been attacked, their offices have been set on fire and death threats have been issued to their leaders. Violent demonstrations have appeared on our streets.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 16:17:32

Thanks, Dione.

What are the loyalist political parties saying about it on the media now?

TinyPawz Tue 11-Dec-12 17:02:30

The reason for the vote was that a portion of the Belfast community did not like to see that flag over City Hall.

The elected politicians who started the ball rolling in this were doing what their constituents wanted. The Alliance party stepped in and brokered a compromise which was voted on and passed.

Living in a democracy means that often times someone wins.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 17:13:06

Both main Unionist parties are now wholly condemning the violence with the leader of the Ulster Unionists calling for an end to the demonstrations altogether. The leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (a smaller party with paramilitary links) has called for those using violence to be expelled from loyalist organizations.

The Alliance Party has refused to take part in talks about flying the flag over Stormont. You can't blame them. They were the voice of reason in this and found themselves the target of the mob.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have called for a cessation of violence.

Hopefully the calls for an end to the violence will be heeded, but I fear it will take some time. Our Unionist politicians, seeing that they would lose the vote, roused a rabble and immediately lost control of it.

I am embarrassed, disgusted and ashamed of our elected representatives right now.angry sad

TinyPawz Tue 11-Dec-12 17:24:47

*else wins

Why on earth are they planning to protest in Margate, Kent, on Saturday?? We certainly don't want them!!!

I left NI twelve years ago and am utterly relieved that I did. As my grandfather used to say..."one can't eat a flag".

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 17:56:31

It really depresses me when I hear people go, "oh this is why I left, best thing I ever did". They're generally the ones that might have contributed to our society by not behaving like bigoted morons. Instead they leave and take their degrees, liberal views and ability to make informed choices with them.

pickledsiblings Tue 11-Dec-12 18:14:58

'a portion of the Belfast community did not like to see that flag over City Hall'

What flag should fly over the City Hall?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 18:21:20

I am flattered by your description, TheCraicDealer, but I don't think a few more liberals looking on disapprovingly from Lisburn or Finaghy is really going to swing the balance back to sanity...!

At least, that's what I'm telling my conscience.

Plus, I quite like getting involved in politics and stuff, and in England I can do that without getting a petrol bomb through the door, or even a brick through the window. Mostly. Hopefully.

Cachaca Tue 11-Dec-12 18:21:56

TheCraicDealer - I agree, and on that principle I moved back to N.I. 10 years ago to bring up my family here. But I have to say that if things moved backwards, I'd be out of here. I could stay on my own account, but, having grown up during the worst of the Troubles, I simply won't allow my children to be exposed to it.

You're right, of course - if we left, we'd be taking our liberal politics with us, as well as our children who have been brought up to despise bigotry, and dh's business, in an area of skill shortage, with his experience that he passes on to students and young workers. I'm sure there are lots of other families who are keeping a close eye on things. But I really hope it won't come to that, and so far it hasn't.

ChablisLover Tue 11-Dec-12 18:35:02

Can I ask if the democratically elected Naomi long and other liberals who were elected in the last election should they the people not accept that this is the democracy they voted for?

Or may I suggest that there is so much voter apathy with the traditional unionist parties (and no one really touches the tuv) that there vote went down allowing the alliance party gains?

So, should the unionist population not got themselves to blame as they cannot take 5 minutes to cast a vote.

My opinion is that if Lisburn can do it on designated days why can't belfast?

Also, the sdlp and sf knew it would cause issues. Conal McDevitt nicely stepped this question on good morning ulster this morning.

Also, as someone said up thread- these hoods out rioting are not normal decent unionists. They are unemployed idiots who have nothing better to do but were brought up in that mindset. That's why we need to educate out children that we can all live together. Also, if they weren't there they wouldn't get hurt and it causes disruption not only to their own community but the province on a whole.

Btw, it is freezing outside, they must be determined! A shower of rain or snow would maybe see an end to it.

I'm also sick I trying to explain to my ds why there were people in the road on Friday when dh and him were dropping me off at Xmas do? I hoped I could bring him up without these issues arising.

Just re read this and it's truly a sit on the fence observation but I can really see both sides of the arguements but that these illegal protests and riots are not the way forward. The unionist leadership on both main parties are truly lacking leadership at this moment. And it appears sdlp and sf aren't saying much either.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 19:21:44

The dup will have had their own agenda in the distribution of those leaflets. Peter Robinson will have known that this would have got him back his seat as Naomi Long will have lost the trust of her electorate. I personally think the alliance party are the only ones out of the lot of them with any credibility. I also so don't agree that there is political apathy amongst the working classes- it is them that have elected a DUP and SF majority! No one educated would actually vote DUP! grin

^ 'as far as I can see loyalists have a very strong political voice & control over the psni. can you imagine the reaction from psni if this was republicans?' ^

Not true. You'll find the psni don't care what side is attacking them, they do their job, and kids raised by police officers are taught scum are scum and terrorists are terrorists no matter which 'side' of the coin they fall on. It doesn't matter if it's republican or loyalist hand that lobbed that petrol bomb at them.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 19:51:52

Agree with ballroom, I don't think the psni would react any differently, the RUC may have, but I think they have moved on.

mathanxiety Tue 11-Dec-12 20:05:42

'Negotiations to get the amount of days its flown increased.'
Couldn't they have foreseen all this, don't they know what the population think, don't they listen to people?'

They are listening to the people, Claig, and that is why the flag decision has been made. A majority (composed of members from both sides of the sectarian divide) voted for this arrangement wrt the flag after due and diligent consideration of opinions from both sides and solicitation of opinion from constituents.

This is all to do with East Belfast politics and intimidation of voters for future elections. The election of Naomi Long was a huge shock for the diehard Unionists. The moderates dared make their voice heard and had a viable candidate for the first time willing to stand up and be counted. This is both payback and a warning to those moderate voters.

ChablisLover Tue 11-Dec-12 20:09:33

Scarlettsmummy - don't think that east belfast is being lined up for a peter Robinson return but instead Gavin Robinson the current belfast mayor. I think Peter is done after this term as first minister. Am actually surprised he held on after the iris affair and subsequent issues.

There must have been some voter apathy for the alliance to win the seat as east belfast is such a dup stronghold.

I think though that the majority did vote for the dup and sf - I'm still trying to figure that one out! But as someone online said we share power in Northern Ireland and we agreed to this in 1997 in the Good Friday agreement and again reiterated by the St. Andrews agreement.

Chris Lindsay's twitter feed is very informative if you need to know where the trouble is. Or any other local bbc journalist. Even barra best retweets their output.

Apparently there was a meeting before the vote where the public could see what the motion was all about. Apparently 3 people turned up so there really is great depth of feeling there then!

If the loyalist groups and political figures told the thugs to stop, then I believe that it would be probably be over pretty quickly.

Loyalist group leaders are telling them to stop.

Someone commented on the riots in London, and about the looting etc. The rioters in NI riot for riots sake. They are bored and its something to do. Low unemployment and few opportunities is leading to young men who have no reason to stay out of trouble.

Politicians (in my area anyway) canvass in areas where they know they are welcome. They go round the doors and ask "are your parents in?"

They are missing out on the next generation. Young people are not interested in party policies. IF they vote they vote for whoever their parents vote for. A lot dont bother because they cant see how it will change.

I couldnt tell you what any of the parties policies are on unemployment, creating jobs etc. Its just not touched on. Its still stuck in the past here.

Politicians arent reaching out to communities. They arent asking what we want. They have their own agenda.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 20:22:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 20:28:31

For how many years has the British flag flown all year round over that council building?

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 20:30:44

'Loyalist group leaders are telling them to stop.'

If they mean what they say, then I think it will end quickly.

Cachaca Tue 11-Dec-12 20:35:24

wannabe - I'm the same on the general policies of parties. Don't have a clue, except for knowing that the Unionist parties generally vote with the Tories, and get concessions on the occasions on which they have a casting vote.

Anyone who doesn't vote along tribal lines is effectively disenfranchised, because that's the only way that the majority is interested in voting.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 20:46:54

Claig, Math is right. The majority of people in Belfast want the flag to fly on designated days. It provides a more neutral political space and brings us into line with the majority of the rest of the UK and most of NI. The move to fly only on designated days should be seen as part of the normalization of NI politics.

Of course there was always going to be a bit of fuss, but the current debacle is a result of rabble rousing. Had that not happened, I doubt many would have even noticed.

Only if the thugs listen claig.

Theres a planned protest in my town early next week. We are dreading it.

On Stephen Nolan a few months ago there was a discussion about Universal Credit. Alex Maskey was the only one talking sense.

If I followed the inhereted voting patterns, Alex Maskey would be my last choice. But it seems, that on the subject of anything not related to NI politics, unionists are in bed with the tories.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 21:02:34

SF do often say sensible things, hence why they are getting so much of the nationalist vote. The unionists are just in a total mess.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:07:03

Dione, I agree that the majority probably don't want teh flag to fly all the time, but here the majority want tougher sentencing, but they don't give it to us. The majority are against austerity, but we they don't give us what we want.

Is it worth it over the flag issue which presumably has flown for many years, when doing it causes a greater divide than letting it fly?

Does anyone else think that if David Ervine and Gusty Spence were still around, that this wouldn't be happening?

Stokes Tue 11-Dec-12 21:17:48

I'm from Dublin, living in Beflast and I've always stuck up for Belfast, and said how I'd never seen any trouble, the vast majority of people are sensible etc. I love Belfast and plan to make it my long term home.

Last night the car I was in was attacked, I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm lucky to be alive, that a brick missed my head by inches. Not a mention of this on the news, which leads me to assume there have been plenty of other similar attacks.

This is all over a flag. I can understand people wanting the union flag to fly every day. I can understand people wanting it to never fly over City Hall at all. I can understand political movement or peaceful protest to support either of those views. What I don't understand is rioting, violence and attacks in the name of this cause. The people out there aren't rioting over some political hardship, they are scum rioting because they have an excuse to do so.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 21:20:59

"Is it worth it over the flag issue which presumably has flown for many years, when doing it causes a greater divide than letting it fly?"

Even in NI, it is possible to be pissed off about something without rioting about it, you know. It's possible- indeed probable - that a lot of NI folks feel a building with a Union flag on the top is somewhere they're not welcome. If said building is the seat of their elected representatives, then that's a problem, innit.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:22:16

Stokes, glad you are OK. Hope it ends very quickly.
I am sure that these thugs are frightened of older loyalist thugs and if they put the word out to end it, then these thugs would end it in a second.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 21:22:37

So, you have to base your actions on what is right/democratic/whatever; you can't make decisions based on what will cause fewest riots. Otherwise the fuckwits win.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 21:25:49

X-post with Stokes - glad you're OK.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:27:16

Boulevard, what is the status of Northern Ireland at the moment? Is it British?
How long has that flag flown there for? Does changing it upset the loyalists who think that British ties are being weakened?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 11-Dec-12 21:28:29

Is it worth it Claig?
Probably not. It definitely could have been timed better.

However, should we ignore democratic process because a very tiny minority have decided to go on a rioting spree?

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:31:25

'So, you have to base your actions on what is right/democratic/whatever; you can't make decisions based on what will cause fewest riots. Otherwise the fuckwits win.'

Yes, I agree with that in theory. But when you look at Northern Ireland and see killers on both sides involved in politics, pragmatism took precedence over law. Northern Ireland is not like Kensington & Chelsea and pragmatism does sometimes override principle.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 11-Dec-12 21:32:36

The flag hasn't been changed, it's just being flown on fewer days per year.

Does this upset loyalists - undoubtedly, but they're not the only people who live in NI.

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 21:35:20

Like Wales Northern Ireland is not represented in the union flag so its a lot of fuss over nothing.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:35:38

'However, should we ignore democratic process because a very tiny minority have decided to go on a rioting spree?'

Wasn't ot tiny minorities of pramilitaries on both sides that overrode the democratic will of teh majority of the people, and compromises and releases had to be made in order that they would agree to a peace deal? Sensitivities on both sides have to be understood and respected in order not to increase the divide. It will be a slow process in Northern Ireland before theoretical principles can truly prevail.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 21:37:43

bureni that is a good point. In which case for how many years has the Union Jack flown over that council?

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 21:41:29

For as long as I can remember, the Northern Ireland flag was banned in the 1970s as were all other flags except the union flag, perhaps that is why the unionists are so up in arms after loosing their last flag. N.I needs a new flag agreed upon by all parties and one that can be flown in all parts of the country. Perhaps the politicans and police should also take a stronger line in the removal of all the illegal flags in the country.

ChablisLover Tue 11-Dec-12 21:46:48

Charleybarley- I agree. I didn't necessarily agree with him but David Ervine spoke a lot of sense and when i spoke to others he spoke sense to both sides of the community.

Since 1906 I read the other day claig

ChablisLover Tue 11-Dec-12 21:49:41

Bureni - on good morning ulster on Monday I think, a wee woman in Derry from the waterside said she didn't see all the fuss. She said the roi flag was designed green for Ireland, orange for the north and white for peace between them. Now, I don't think adopting the tricolour will work for some people in ni but yes, sometimes too much importance is placed on it but a new flag would be as controversial if not more so than this

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 21:50:50

i agree bureni

the union flag holds a different symbolic meaning in NI than it does in the rest of the UK. for many it will always be used to antagonise and for others it will always be a source of hostility, whether meant to be or not. the same with the tricolour.

a new flag for northern ireland would be a symbol of (hopefully) a new path. a line drawn under the past and one that couldn't be used to anger or offend anyone. i also think NI needs a brand new influx of politicians who dont pander to once powerful criminals gangs. and no criminals amongst them!

bureni Tue 11-Dec-12 21:59:04

Chabislover, the Irish tricolour was designed to represent peace between catholics(green) and protestants (orange), it has nothing to do with peace between the south and the north.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 22:06:24

'Since 1906 I read the other day claig'

Wiw, well then that is a big change, and you have to wonder why change it now when it will create more division.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 22:07:41

wow, not wiw

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 22:08:51

done just before Hilary Clinton visited as well and before Christmas. Strange timing.

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 22:11:48

Yep, much the same as India flag, but replace Prod/RC with Muslim and Hindu.

Anyway, doesn't matter what it was designed to represent, fact is it's the flag of another country entirely. I'll fully support the flying of the tricolour in NI the day I can vote someone representing North Belfast into the Oireactas or Dáil (please forgive spelling, Alevel politics was a long time ago).

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 23:00:15

The thing is though that a large number of people in NI do not see themselves as British, but Irish. I am Protestant, but have absolutely no problem with the Irish flag being flown in Belfast as I recognise the fact that many of my friends see them selves as Irish so why shouldn't their flag fly alongside the union jack? SF and the SDLP have a large number of MLAs. Are we really still that backward that we can't embrace different opinions?

ChablisLover Tue 11-Dec-12 23:04:38

Bureni - I think that was the sentiments I was trying to put across. It wasn't necessarily politically accurate.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 23:09:56

scarlettsmummy2, I am not sure that people will ever fly flags of other countries from town halls. I might be wrong and maybe they do already. But if NI became part of a united Ireland, would Sinn Fein accept a British flag flying over a town hall. I doubt it. I think they would want an Irish flag to fly there and I fully understand that.

One day we may all be flying EU flags instead of national flags, but I think there will be resistance to that, because people are proud of their diversity and their allegiance to their country and traditions.

TheCraicDealer Tue 11-Dec-12 23:25:55

Nationality is something that is very hard to explain, much like trying to explain why your favourite colour is yellow- "it just is". It's completely up to the individual how they wish to define themselves and if they're more comfortable with seeing a tricolour than a Union Jack then fair fucks. That's their right and it was enshrined in the introduction of TGFA.

However, the Republic is a different country. We pay our taxes, in pounds, to the exchequer. We are represented in parliament (both national and local) by politicians who have a mandate from the British government to make decisions on our behalf. It's disingenuous to have both flags flying over government buildings because although the Republic have a part to play in the peace process, NI is still governed and bankrolled by the UK.

I realise that might seem pedantic to some, but if you think there's trouble now just imagine what would be happening if there was a possibility of the tricolour flying over the City Hall. Not only would Loyalists be turning out, but also Republicans in defence of their flag. Chaos.

JingleBellaTheGymnast Wed 12-Dec-12 15:47:03

A gathering is happening on Sunday if anyone is interested:

City Hall peaceful gathering

mathanxiety Thu 13-Dec-12 07:28:00

It doesn't 'create more division' Claig. Giving in to the rioters would create more divisions because it would encourage hardliners on both sides to dig in with hope of the most extreme gesture resulting in getting their own way.

The decision about the flag acknowledges that there is division already about the flag and always has been, and it acknowledges the validity of the feelings of those who would rather not see that flag flying 365 days a year.

Those who have chosen to riot about it are doing so in order to intimidate their own community into abandoning Alliance next time round. The paint bombing is highly significant. It is a very explicit warning and not all about the flag issue per se at all.

mathanxiety Thu 13-Dec-12 07:32:15

If I followed the inhereted voting patterns, Alex Maskey would be my last choice. But it seems, that on the subject of anything not related to NI politics, unionists are in bed with the tories.

Unionists have always been tories. Back in 1912 the tories used to be called the Conservative And Unionist Party.

My point was that people vote unionist because of what "side" they are on. But they dont realise the actual policies of the party. And I am sure a fair few are horrified at the tories right now, but will still vote unionist anyway.

mathanxiety Thu 13-Dec-12 18:33:04

Yes the tribal voting pattern means there is a lot of tunnel vision wrt ideology. That is why voting Alliance is seen as such a poke in the eye by hardliners.

Mansion House Dublin showing tricolour, EU flag and possibly Dublin flag or standard of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, or possibly Leinster flag. The Mansion House is the Lord Mayor's residence. Photo in wikipedia entry shows no tricolour.

Dublin City Hall showing EU flag plus tricolour and that green flag again.

AFAIK, there has never been any resistance to the flying of the EU flag.

The Union Jack flew over government and municipal and county government buildings in Ireland during the Queen's visit. There have been calls to fly more Union Jacks in order to keep Ireland an attractive place for British tourists. The relative lack of Union Jacks in Dublin is possibly due to a long held assumption that visitors from Britain are mostly Irish people returning to visit and not British people with no links to Ireland going on holiday or for wild weekends, etc.

claig Thu 13-Dec-12 19:07:07

I really meant resistance to flying only the EU flag and not flying a national flag. That doesn't happen yet, but who knows it might one day.

I didn't realise that the Union flag flew when the Queen visited. Were there no objections from Irish nationalists?

ChablisLover Thu 13-Dec-12 22:06:17

Any one hear of this rumour of bringing the province to a stand still on the 17th with protests?

DP says they are trying to organise that Chablis.

Doubt there will be enough people really. People have lives to lead.

ChablisLover Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:02

I think there might be enough. Somehow I doubt that people will be getting on with their lives.

I think these people don't have anything better to do than disrupt traders and normal working people trying to get home from work.

It took some colleagues over 2 hours to get home on Tuesday night. Surely that's just turning people against your cause. Even those who would inherently agree with the protestors view.

Theres not enough people for the whole province surely? Everyday the numbers are falling.

ChablisLover Fri 14-Dec-12 06:35:12

But for a large protest numbers may swell.

I am hopeful like you that the numbers are falling and they are now largely peaceful if somewhat disruptive

Reminds me now of the drumcree protests the year they blocked roads to cause disruption.

blondie80 Fri 14-Dec-12 12:18:47


This is what you are actually voting for when you vote sinn fein

ethnic cleansing - pope to rule the world?

Northernexile Fri 14-Dec-12 13:41:02

Don't really think that's the case blondie. You're going slightly OTT there. Your source material is dubious to say the least.

KenDoddsDadsDog Fri 14-Dec-12 21:33:59

Oh dear blondie

AmIthatTinselly Fri 14-Dec-12 21:48:00

hmm Blondie, pope to rule the world? Ethnic cleansing? Really?

Honestly, it's people believing crap like this that leads to such nonsense, over a fucking flag.

mathanxiety Sat 15-Dec-12 00:50:45

Dear me, Blondie. Do people still believe all that Home Rule means Rome Rule crap?

There are lots of perfectly good reasons not to vote for Sinn Fein without going completely off the deep end with dire warnings about the Pope hmm.

fedupworking Sat 15-Dec-12 20:03:55

(Have to be honest and say I have not read all the postings of this issue) I live in Northern Ireland and have to say I do NOT agree with riots of any kind, BUT I do believe that the flag of the union should be flown on ever main building just like it is flown in the main land.
How would English people like it if the flag of another country was to be flown in their town halls and public buildings?
Yes it is not right that people should be harassed on a daily basis with riot’s and thugs (for want of a better word) but we don’t all live in a normal society , Just look at the riots that took place in Manchester and the rest of England before jumping on the band wagon branding us all with the one stick, and Northern Ireland is part of the U.K.after all and hopefully will remain part of it for a very long time .

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 19-Dec-12 17:00:18

*Operation Standstill*hmm is planned for 6pm on Friday evening, but I think some are planning to start at 4pm. It's supposed to be the biggest protest so far. Traffic will be chaos folks so plan accordingly.sad

cocolepew Wed 19-Dec-12 17:03:59

Shit, its my works do on friday. We'll be travelling into Belfast around 5.30-6.00.

Oh ffs. I need to do xmas shopping.

FGS. Is there any lists of which roads are to be blocked?

cocolepew Wed 19-Dec-12 17:13:18

You can usually find them on utv website or the newsletter one. But I've only come across them on the day, not in advance. There is usually a list somewhere on facebook.

cocolepew Wed 19-Dec-12 17:17:36

Keep the union flag flying over belfast city hall fb page has some listed.

Thanks. Its going to be a nightmare.

mathanxiety Thu 20-Dec-12 04:28:29

'How would English people like it if the flag of another country was to be flown in their town halls and public buildings?'

How do people who consider them selves Irish feel when a flag that dates from 1801, when the Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland was passed, flies over their neck of the woods? The flag's name was originally Union flag and is really only called the Union Jack when it flies on board a ship. Union is not everybody's cup of tea. 1801 was not a happy year in Irish history.

Just sayin...

Cachaca Thu 20-Dec-12 09:27:29

"How would English people like it if the flag of another country was to be flown in their town halls and public buildings?"

fedup, you are being disingenuous. That, for thousands of Irish people, is the entire point. I am Northern Irish, British by birth/passport, and can see that quite clearly.

fedupworking Thu 20-Dec-12 09:49:56

I am also just saying, Northern Ireland is still part of the UNION, that is why the Union flag fly's on public buildings and should not be removed until we are no longer part of the Union

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 20-Dec-12 10:00:48

No , you said "the flag of another country". The union is not a country.

Stokes Thu 20-Dec-12 11:54:21

No one is talking about flying anything other than the Union Flag over City Hall - just not flying it every day. In line with the vast majority of civic buildings in the UK including, I believe, Westminster.

For some, the Union Flag is a symbol of their cultural identity which huge meaning. For just as many, it means You Are Not Welcome Here and has been used in intimidation. And vice versa for the tricolour.

The history and cultural make up in Northern Ireland means compromise from both sides will have to be the order of the day for some time to come if we're going to keep peace. Not flying the flag everyday is a compromise.

Although how anyone can care about anything beyond stopping the riots & violence at the minute is frankly beyond me.

mathanxiety Sun 23-Dec-12 02:04:56

Compromise is such a huge part of accepting that NI now lives in the present and for the future it is such a pity to see Robinson and his cronies irresponsibly riling up the rock throwing crowd to make a gesture against it. There has been far too much reference to the past (800 years of oppression, Battle of the Boyne, Glorious Twelfth, Covenant, Ulster Says No, etc ad nauseum) in the public life of NI -- and where has it got anyone? Very frustrating to see the past invoked again, including the recent past when stone throwing and intimidation resulted in almost 40 years of disaster and blighted lives no matter how you look at it.

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