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Unionists hit out over proposal for a neutral flag at Stormont

By Noel McAdam

Published 30/07/2015

Northern Ireland flag submissions - by Belfast Telegraph readers. Taking the idea that no matter what new flag is proposed it will cause fury with at least one set of mouth breathers on either side how about this radical design that will infuriate bigots on both sides equally? Perhaps they can finally be united through flag hatred? Submitted by Mick McMenemie
Northern Ireland flag submissions - by Belfast Telegraph readers. Taking the idea that no matter what new flag is proposed it will cause fury with at least one set of mouth breathers on either side how about this radical design that will infuriate bigots on both sides equally? Perhaps they can finally be united through flag hatred? Submitted by Mick McMenemie
Northern Ireland flag submissions - by Belfast Telegraph readers. Here's my effort - from Ken Wilson
Northern Ireland flag submissions - by Belfast Telegraph readers Flag represents Northern Ireland on the Island of Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. Would be a great flag ;) New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Harry Fitzsimons
Henry Hill- 'My idea is based on the Cross of St Patrick, a flag often used in all-Ireland contexts but also associated with Ireland's place in the Union'
Northern Ireland flag submissions - by Belfast Telegraph readers
'Probably the only flag that both sides could possibly come to love. Perhaps the colour scheme is a bit biased.' - Conor O'Neill
Northern Ireland flag submission from Derek Heaney, Ballymartin, Co Down
Northern Ireland flag submission
Northern Ireland flag submission from Niamh-Ann Brown
Northern Ireland flag submission from Shane McCaul
'We all love green and white in this country. We have a Northern Irish heritage that is distinct from Britain and the rest of Ireland; that's the ring in the centre.' - Dean Douglas
'This is based mainly on the cross of St Patrick, which can be respected by all communities.' - Susanne Daniels
'From left to right, it's the history of NI, starting with common roots, protestant over catholic authority, meeting in the middle (of the triangle) and ending with a blue sky of possibilities in the future.' - Greg Fretz
Northern Ireland flag submission from Barry, featuring a T-Rex, Mr Peanut, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Darth Vader's Tie fighter and Sammy Hagar of Van Halen fame
'Something for everyone' from Bernie
'Two Red Hands of Ulster together framing the future.' - Tom Cosgrove
Northern Ireland flag submission from Patrick Mc Caffery, Belfast
Northern Ireland flag submission
Northern Ireland flag submission from Lew Milligan
Northern Ireland flag submission from Ewout Lamé
"The Ready Saltire. No apologies for the cheese-(and onion)-y pun." - Dave Regan
Northern Ireland flag submission
Northern Ireland flag submission from Chris Connolly, Washington D.C
Northern Ireland flag submission from Wayne
Northern Ireland flag submission from Hilary Reid
Northern Ireland flag submission from Chris Connolly, Washington D.C
"The symbols from top clock wise are: Red Hand of Ulster, Irish Harp, crown, and shamrock" - Preston
"A white and golden cross of Saint Brigit's placed over a blue field of Saint Patrick." - Rodney Tyson Jr
"A white and blue cross of Saint Bridget placed over a field of Irish green." - Rodney Tyson Jr
"A potential and literal representation of Northern Ireland's identity, a British Ensign twinned with Ulster provincial colours." - Rodney Tyson Jr
Northern Ireland flag submission the 'new dawn'
"This places a Scottish St Andrew’s Saltire on an Irish Green field. It is also the flag adopted by the 2018 Northern Ireland Funlympics" - Steve Porter
"Just about sums up this place" - Mark Lynch
By Stephen Donnelly, Armagh
From Ryan Tiernan, Belfast.
By Robert Morrow
"So both sides could get on in Northern Ireland" - Gary Armour
"No controversial symbols or colours yet includes a symbol that is acceptable to all sides, the Celtic Cross, bearing old colours of St Patrick's Blue, St Andrew if you like, and the blue-green rush of St Bridget's cross." - Michael Yore
Northern Ireland flag submission from Bill O'Donnell, Missouri, USA
"St Patrick's saltire (as used on the Union Jack) with an Ulster red hand. Simple, but effective, and it stands out" - Charles Morgan
Northern Ireland flag submission from Gary Armour
Northern Ireland flag submission from Bill O'Donnell, Missouri, USA
Northern Ireland flag submission from Steven Dick
Henry Hill- 'My idea is based on the Cross of St Patrick, a flag often used in all-Ireland contexts but also associated with Ireland's place in the Union'
James Martin - 'I am a citizen of Earth and feel it should be appealing to everyone as nobody can argue with being from Earth. Unless aliens invade in an Independence Day fashion'
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Daniel Herwich
Suggestion from Ryan McGowan
My name is Richard Weir and attached is my submission for a new NI flag
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Declan Murphy
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Gerard Catney
Submitted by James Byrne: 'The idea here is the traditional colours of democracy forming the tricolor (much like the French flag). The hand of Ulster is present, but instead of presenting the palm in an obstructive gesture, it's cradling a green olive branch (in the same shade of green as the ROI tricolor), framed beneath the country's national flow, the Flax. The entire flag is framed in white, a colour of peace.'
I am German-Ulster Scots-American and love vexillology. here's my submission for a new Northern Ireland flag. - Ken Scherer
My design is inspired by that of the Scandinavian countries, however, I thought it more appropriate to feature a stylised Celtic cross in the design. The colours are very simple - a blueish green to represent Ireland, with red and blue lines symbolising Britain and echoing the style of the Union Flag. The fields of white represent peace and forgiveness. - Samuel Cardwell
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Grahame Gallagher
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Kevin Latimer
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Brendan Harkin
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by Thomas Brownlee
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by John Gorman
Dark green is for the mix of orange and green of the republic of Ireland and the pink/purple colour is for the mix of the union jack the rest is the red hand of ulster. - Submitted by Emma Sheeran
Submitted by Ian James Parsley - "There is a tendency when designing potential new "Northern Ireland flags" to make them complicated. In fact, if any new flag is to be widely accepted, it has to be simple yet distinctive. The attached combines the two colours of St Patrick (the more modern emerald and traditional azure) on a diagonal cross (as per the flag of the Order of St Patrick and also of St Andrew). "Some dislike the direct placement of blue on green, but I argue it is light enough to work and that it is precisely this placement which gives the flag its distinctiveness. It would immediately stand out from any others - I would imagine it would even come to be known as simply "the emerald-azure".
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
New Northern Ireland flag proposal - submitted by James Lynch
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag
Some of our reader submissions for a new Northern Ireland flag

Proposals for a neutral civic flag at Stormont have sparked unionist fury.

A consultants' report suggests the new flag could be flown at Parliament Buildings on days the Assembly is sitting.

But it also made clear the political parties would have to agree on any replacement flag or "some other visual display".

The report stated: "There is a chill factor for those from a nationalist or republican community which makes the building less welcoming on days when the Union flag is flying... it was reported that visitors (to Stormont) had regularly commented likewise."

The report for the Assembly Commission, which runs Parliament Buildings, said the potential for the flying of a neutral, civic flag had attracted some support, "especially among staff" working in the Assembly.

It said the Commission "might consider flying a neutral, civic flag (the nature of which would need to be agreed among the political parties) to mark days when the Assembly is sitting".

While supporting the status quo of the Union flag being displayed on designated days, the equality assessment report also argued: "It is evident that there are strong feelings in both communities about the flying of the Union flag and that any decision on the flying of the Union flag therefore has the potential to damage good relations."

It was commissioned by the Assembly Commission, which recently decided to extend the number of designated days on which the Union flag is displayed from 15 to 18 per year.

But the report also suggested that on designated days a new neutral flag could fly on a second flagpole alongside the Union flag.

Consultants Policy Arc also referred to the most recent Life and Times survey last year, which showed that 48% of Protestants and 59% of Catholics felt that the Union flag should be flown from public buildings on designated days only.

DUP’s Paula Bradley wants to see Union flags flying over Stormont
DUP’s Paula Bradley wants to see Union flags flying over Stormont

And it said legal opinion provided to Belfast City Council when it switched from all-year-round displays of the Union flag to designated days said "this policy...would be regarded as striking the right balance between acknowledging Northern Ireland's constitutional position and not giving offence to those who oppose it".

But unionists reacted with fury.

Paula Bradley, the DUP's representative on the Commission, said the proposal for a supposed neutral flag had been around for several months but her party wanted to see the Union flag flown at Parliament Buildings every day, adding: "Northern Ireland has a flag. It's called the Union flag. I would rather people accepted this reality and stopped placing so much focus on flags.

"To fly the Union flag every day would put us in the mainstream across the United Kingdom. Westminster flies the Union flag every day. The Welsh Assembly flies the Union flag every day alongside the Welsh flag and the EU flag. Indeed, even the Scottish Parliament with the Scottish nationalists' influence flies the Union flag alongside the saltire and EU flag every day."

And TUV councillor Andrew Girvin argued: "Given all the controversy there has been over flags and symbols in Northern Ireland, the very last thing we need is another flag introduced into the mix.

"To suggest that Stormont is somehow full of Unionist symbols which cause huge offence to nationalist visitors is, frankly, nonsense.

"Stormont is unique among the regional assemblies and national Parliament of the UK in not flying flags on a daily basis. Not only that, but huge parts of the Unionist history of Stormont have either been removed or are ignored."

Sinn Fein also rejected the proposal of a neutral flag, saying: "(We) support the flying of the Irish tricolour alongside the Union flag at Parliament Buildings in the interests of equality, parity of esteem and recognition and respect of both main traditions."

Belfast Telegraph

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