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The Union Jack is the flag to fly

There is a to-do about which flag should be flown on the City Hall in Belfast.

A flag is a prime feature of the constitution of a country, so the constitutional to-do in Northern Ireland has, in fact, been going on since the state was created in 1921.

But constitutional realities have to be faced. With the Good Friday Agreement, the constitutional position of Northern Ireland has been agreed by Sinn Fein and this de facto recognition of the UK constitution is clear since Sinn Fein now sit in a UK assembly propping up a Union Jack unionist state.

The Union Flag is now the flag to be flown on the City Hall.

Some nationalists claim that the Union Flag and the Tricolour should be flown at Belfast. Hard constitutional realities about the Tricolour have to be faced.

With the removal of Articles 2 and 3 from the Republic of Ireland's constitution, the Tricolour has no constitutional foundation in the Six Counties.

The Six County statelet and the 26-County statelet are now foreign to each other and the Tricolour is as meaningless in the Six Counties as the Union Flag is in the 26 Counties.

Even so, the UK constitution is still disputed by nationalists. That makes the Northern Ireland state unstable and prone to conflict.

For as long as the current unstable constitutional set-up exists in Ireland, there will be violence.

MICHAEL GILLESPIE

Derry

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