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SF councillor needs to learn flag's history

For many years Down District Council has used the Cross of St Patrick as the principal flag at the St Patrick's Day parade in Downpatrick. However, this year Sinn Fein councillor Eamonn Mac Con Midhe objected to its use and walked in the parade with an Irish tricolour.

According to your report (March 18) he claimed that the Cross of St Patrick had "a military background". Other reports state that he objected to it because it has "associations with the Protestant Ascendancy".

However, he omitted to say that the flag has also been used by the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland, Irish Freemasons, the Church of Ireland and the former Irish state-owned shipping line Irish Shipping Ltd. It also appears on the arms of Queen's University and the badge of the PSNI.

In fact the flag has a history stretching back 400 years. A map of the 1645 siege of Duncannon Fort in County Wexford shows the Catholic Confederates marching behind a red saltire.

Mr Mac Con Midhe has damaged relationships in Downpatrick in what was clearly an election stunt by a councillor who had no interest in good relations.

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