Loyalist flag protesters to target Oireachtas tricolour in Dublin
Published 31/12/2012 | 10:12
More than 150 loyalists are to descend on Dublin to demand that the Irish government remove the Tricolour.
Angry protesters say they are offended by the flag and want it removed from the Houses of the Oireachtas, at the city’s Leinster House.
The cross-border protest follows weeks of anger, riots and protests right across Northern Ireland since the removal of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall on December 3.
On Saturday less than 100 protesters demonstrated outside Belfast City Hall amid a heavy police presence.
It passed without incident and there was no disruption to traffic.
The Dublin campaign is set to take place in early January and could be held under the banner of the new ‘People’s Forum’, a group being set up by grass-root loyalists.
The forum is to rival the government’s Unionist Forum, announced by First Minister Peter Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt last week. Victim’s campaigner William Frazer says those attending will also be voicing their opposition to the Taoiseach’s “interference” in the province.
“We are going to hold a small, peaceful protest in Dublin and it’s not solely about the flags issue.
“It’s also about the Irish government’s interference with inquiries here,” he said.
In November Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he will tell the UK government and European leaders there is a need for a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
“Enda Kenny needs to keep his nose out of our affairs,” added Mr Frazer.
“We understand that people may be upset that we are coming down to ask that their country’s flag be removed, but perhaps they will understand what it has been like for us.”
Similar street protests have been taking place across Northern Ireland for almost a month.
They began on 3 December, when Belfast City Council voted to fly the flag on designated days rather than all year round.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP wanted to remove the flag completely but backed a compromise motion, proposed by the Alliance party.
The motion was passed by 29 votes to 21.