Belfast Telegraph

U-turn over tricolours at St Patrick’s Day parade in Strabane

By Victoria Leonard

A Council appears to have made a U-turn on last week's decision to ban the Irish tricolour and other emblems from Strabane's official St Patrick's Day parade.

It follows last week's announcement by Derry City and Strabane District Council that all flags and emblems were banned from the official parade in order to make the celebrations "cross-community" and "family-friendly".

In a statement released last week, a council spokesperson said it was "delighted to support the extension of the St Patrick's Day carnival festivities in Strabane".

It added: "In keeping with the paper approved by the council's Business and Culture committee, the event will be a cross-community cultural celebration with a strong family-friendly focus.

"Therefore flags and emblems will not be included in the official parade which is planned for the enjoyment of everyone.

"Council is committed to promoting inclusion and integration within and between communities in all its activities, events and programmes."

However, last night, the local authority appeared to reverse its decision.

A council spokesperson said it had "clarified at a special council meeting today that there is no ban on the flying of the national flag of Ireland at the St Patrick's Day parades in the council area".

DUP councillor Allan Bresland said he interpreted the ruling to mean that "people who are part of the official parade are not to carry emblems or flags", but that the council would have "no control over people along the route".

Sinn Fein councillor Karina Carlin said she had raised the issue of the ban at the meeting yesterday, and was "pleased to receive confirmation from the council's chief executive that there is in fact no ban in place".

She added: "Sinn Fein now considers this issue resolved and I welcome the clarification and look forward to a successful and respectful St Patrick's Day celebration in Strabane."

Belfast Telegraph

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