The Cork County Board has said it “outright condemns” the flying of the Confederate flag in support of the county’s GAA teams, writes Conall Ó Fátharta and Denis Hurley.
The use of the flag by some Cork fans has been the subject of criticism in the past but was again in the headlines this week after it was visible on Hill 16 during Cork’s defeat to Waterford in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final.
The use of the flag caused outrage on social media as it came just 24 hours after violence by white supremacists at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US left one woman dead and a number of people injured.
The flag dates from the American Civil War and was used by the pro-slavery Confederate states. It has since been used by elements of the far right in the US.
At last night’s monthly Cork County Board meeting at the Nemo Rangers complex, Cork chairman Ger Lane made clear his opposition to the waving of the flag.
“The flying of the confederate flag in Croke Park on Sunday is something which must be addressed,” he said.
“Now, it must also be taken in the context of there being 72,022 people there and only a few flags. That said, people bringing flags into the ground, maybe some do it in ignorance, maybe some do it not in ignorance. The Cork County Board would advise anybody with any knowledge of people with these flags not to bring them in, education is needed.
“The board and the executive condemn outright the use of the confederate flag and ask people to refrain to bring it to any ground in the future.
“The only flag is the red and the white one with the Cork emblem on it.”
However, Independent councillor Michael Finn said the flying of the flag had to be “taken in context”.
“Yes, maybe people’s sensitivities and sensibilities are aroused at the moment because of what is going on in the States but I honestly think that the flag being flown by Cork supporters is not a political statement,” he told RTÉ.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.