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Triumphalism over flags re-opens old wounds

Jonathan O’Brien’s letter (Dec 10) states well how “For over 100 years, 365 days a year, the Union flag is flown over Belfast City Hall ... the cultural national alliances of nationalism have not been recognised”.

Edmund Burke denounced similar demonstrations of Britishness in Ireland when he wrote in the 1790s: “One would not think that decorum, to say nothing of policy, would prevent them to call up, by magic charms, the grounds, reasons and principles of those terrible confiscatory and exterminatory periods when they established their rule.”

He had little sympathy for these triumphalist versions of Britishness—parades, banners, etc — which reopened wounds and trampled on the rights of other cultures, ie Irish Catholics.

As long as the Union flag flies over Belfast City Hall it marks a wound that will not clot.

Robert F Lyons





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