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Tricolour causes rift at St Patrick's Day parade

Carrying of flags banned at parade for past 25 years, but local Sinn Fein councillor brought one with him yesterday.
Mar 18th 2011, 8:22 AM 2,072 0

THE UNFURLING OF a tricolour caused a row at the Downpatrick St Patrick’s Day parade, The Irish News reports today.

The newspaper states that a Sinn Fein councillor followed through on his promise to carry a tricolour at the town’s parade despite the fact that carrying flags has been banned at the Co Down event for 25 years.

Sinn Fein Cllr Eamonn Mac Con Midhe had said last week he no longer supported Down District Council’s policy of flying a red and white St Patrick’s Day flag and he would wave the tricolour at the front of the parade. His comments sparked a row which in turn led to the withdrawal of participants from the parade.

At the parade yesterday, DUP assembly member Jim Wells said his party could not walk alongside the flag which he said “is clearly here to antagonise people”. He was joined by DUP councillor William Dick in leaving the parade shortly afterwards.

According to The Irish News, “many along the route cheered as [Cllr Mac Con Midhe] passed” but he was “also heckled by several people, with one man calling him an ‘idiot’”

Cllr Mac Con Midhe told The Irish News that: “Down District Council has given money and backing to other events such as pipe bands and ones where God Save the Queen is sung and we have said nothing. The Irish nationalist people have to be allowed to be represented.”

Read more in Suzanne McGonagle’s article in today’s The Irish News.

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Aoife Barry


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