| 12.7°C Belfast

Irish police called as council meeting erupts in fury over 'death of nation' flag

Gardia had to be called to a meeting of Roscommon County Council after a furious row erupted over the disastrous state of the Irish economy.

As the row boiled over, one councillor stormed from the chamber and erected a black flag alongside the tricolour to symbolise "the death of the nation".

At the start of the monthly meeting at the courthouse and council offices in Roscommon town, Mayor of Co Roscommon Cllr Luke Ming Flanagan proposed the national flag be flown at half mast.

The flag flies alone over the building and Cllr Flanagan suggested it be lowered to half mast as it would "signify that the country is falling apart".

Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Mulligan seconded the proposal and then suggested that a black flag be flown alongside the tricolour. Cllr Mulligan urged that this would be more appropriate because of what he termed "the death of a nation by that crowd of rotten, filthy, corrupt crowd of Fianna Failers.

"They are worse than the blinking Mafia. We need new policies to get us out of this mess.

"The black flag is appropriate. This is a black day for our country. They have sold us out."

Cllr Mulligan stormed out of the chamber as Fianna Fail Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice attempted to table a counter-proposal, urging that the national flag not be touched. A war of words then erupted between Cllr Fitzmaurice and Mayor Flanagan.

Fine Gael Cllr John Keogh said the proposal in respect of the tricolour was "an absolute disgrace", while the suggestion that a black flag be flown "desecrates the symbol of our nationhood".

By now Cllr Mulligan had erected a black flag alongside the tricolour. When he returned to the chamber the row became even more heated with insults traded across the floor.

Order was restored when four gardai, led by local Supt Paul Glynn, entered the chamber after apparently being alerted by a Fianna Fail member of the council.

Cllr Fitzmaurice made his way out of the building to where the black flag was flying and cut the drawstring, thereby lowering the flag.

Belfast Telegraph