I find the constant reference to the Irish tricolour as a 'foreign' flag ludicrous. Ireland was after all one country until 1921, and the tricolour is formed by the supposed colours of both sides of the Irish question, whereas the Union Jack is after all a compendium of flags from another island, and the so-called Irish element, a red saltire, was added only in 1801.
What does it matter what the roots of a flag are? It may well be designed to show how Orange and Green can get on together but we all know that is not how it is viewed. Show the average unionist a tricolour and at best they respect it as the flag of the Republic. A lot more will have more negative connotations given how the "other" side have wrapped themself in it at every opportunity. Similarly, I could say that the Union Flag has a key element of Irishness in it and the only time Ireland has ever been a single political entity was when it was in the UK and this flag flew over it.
On Wikipedia it says the St Patrick's saltire was a British design to represent Ireland on the union flag, although it is used by the Church of Ireland to symbolise the whole island.
The tricolour is the flag of the Republic of Ireland, it has never been used in any all-island context. It's one of the few things I find funny about hardline Republicans, that they are happy to wave a partionist flag.
All very interesting, but isn't it depressing to be arguing over symbols again like we've been doing for years? The 'new' politics in Northern Ireland has changed our focus - we now, by-and-large talk about more important things, e.g. utilities, education, economy, health. I think it is disappointing that the leader of one of the main parties dragged us back to squabbling over flags and history.
McClarty was voted in as an independent. The very least he can do is honour what his voters wanted. If they wanted a UUP MLA then they would have voted for Leslie.