Belfast Telegraph

Flying of Confederate flags in Belfast branded 'pathetic'

By Gareth Cross

There have been calls for the removal of Confederate flags in Belfast after a number were spotted in the city.

Flags were spotted outside a private residence in east Belfast and at a bar in Sandy Row.

The flag was used by General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War.

It is shrouded in controversy due to its associations with racism, slavery and white supremacy.

SDLP councillor Donal Lyons said that the flags must be removed immediately.

"It is pathetic that the confederate flag is being flown in Belfast and those behind it should have the decency to remove it immediately," he said.

"Since its creation it had been the flag of those who fought to deny people their basic humanity. That is what it stands for and that’s the message it sends out. There’s no context that can separate the confederate flag from that pro-slavery, white supremacist history.

Councillor Lyons said that efforts had been made to have the flag taken down.

"I’m aware that people in the local community had made efforts to get this flag down and the bar has been contacted. The fact that they’ve kept the flag up would indicate that they simply don’t care. Sunlight is the best disinfectant so hopefully the extra attention will see them take this more seriously," he said

"The bar would be better off celebrating Mary Ann McCracken who lived just down the road in the Donegall Pass; as well as her work on behalf of Belfast’s orphans and poor, Mary Ann was a leading member of the anti-slavery movement in Belfast. She lived to see that flag defeated at the end of the American civil war and no doubt would be disgusted to see it flying again in her home city."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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