Fianna Fáil in war of words over flying of rainbow flag in Cork

The deputy lord mayor of Cork wants a party colleague hauled before a Fianna Fáil disciplinary committee and sanctioned following his call for the removal of the LGBT rainbow flag from above City Hall.

Fianna Fáil’s Ken O’Flynn wrote to the party’s general secretary Sean Dorgan yesterday describing Cllr Terry Shannon’s comments as “offensive and hurtful”, and demanded that the party took action.

The rainbow flag was raised above the civic building on Monday to mark the start of the city’s fifth LGBT week.

Mr Shannon, a close political ally of party leader Micheál Martin, sparked controversy that night when he called for the flag be taken down ahead of next week’s same-sex marriage vote.

He cited fears that it could send out the “wrong message” before polling day.

“If there was no referendum, I wouldn’t have an issue. But I think on balance, it shouldn’t be flying for the duration of a referendum,” he said.

Fianna Fáil in war of words over flying of rainbow flag in Cork

Cllr Terry Shannon

Mr Martin distanced himself from Mr Shannon’s comments yesterday and insisted that the city councillor supported a yes vote.

“I don’t agree with what he said at the council chamber. He has his own views and I don’t agree with him on that. I don’t think it was necessary at all in my view,” said Mr Martin.

He also said Mr Shannon was unlikely to face sanction.

However, Mr O’Flynn said that Mr Shannon’s comments should not be tolerated in a “modern centralist party” and he urged the party to act.

“The statement has brought about a barrage of online commentary and negative attention along with attracting unconstructive criticism and attention for the party,” Mr O’Flynn said.

“I am requesting that Cllr Shannon is brought before a disciplinary committee appointed by the national executive and yourselves.

Cllr Shannon said he was surprised by Cllr O’Flynn’s move and by the furore his comments, first reported by the Irish Examiner on Tuesday, had caused.

“I’m surprised that he (Mr O’Flynn) hadn’t the courage of his convictions to phone me or ask me to explain my comments,” he said.

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