Whether this gesture is intended as a reality check to the parties unable to reach agreement or a withdrawal from the process for the foreseeable future seems almost irrelevant.
What is most striking about the impasse is the inflexibility of all parties involved. It seems that the prize, a stable and ever more normalised society, is a prize worth making concessions to secure.
Maybe distance makes us see things through a different prism, maybe history has hardened those involved, but the development of a better, safer society seems a far more noble objective than curtailing the use of flags, even ones offensive to sections of the community.
It is easier said that done, but occasionally the future demands a complete break from the past. This may be one such occasion, one that requires courage and leadership.