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‘No ban’ on Irish flag at Strabane St Patrick’s Day parade

Thursday, 8 February 2018

‘No ban’ on Irish flag at Strabane St Patrick’s Day parade thumbnailSinn Féin councillor, Karina Carlin, has welcomed clarification from Derry City and Strabane District Council that there is ‘no ban’ on the flying of the Irish Tricolour at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Strabane.

THERE is 'no ban' on the Irish Tricolour being carried in the St Patrick's Day parade in Strabane, councillors have been told.

The issue, which has been subject to much debate in recent days, was raised at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) on Monday afternoon.

A row had erupted after a council statement said that "flags and emblems will not be included in the official parade" in relation to the Strabane March 17 event in order to make it a "cross-community cultural celebration with a strong family friendly focus."

The annual event is being delivered by the council for the first time this year having previously been delivered for 12 years by a voluntary committee.

Council has committed £30,000 of funding to the parade which will follow a shorter route than in previous years.

At Monday's meeting, Strabane independent councillor, Paul Gallagher, asked for standing orders to be suspended to address the issue which he said risked "putting community relations back 30 years", however the request was refused and the matter later taken up under the 'Any Other Business' (AOB) section near the conclusion of the meeting.

Raising the matter under AOB, Sinn Féin's Karina Carlin said the idea of the Irish flag being banned from the festivities had provoked widespread outrage locally.

In answer to a subsequent request for clarity on the matter, chief executive, John Kelpie, told the meeting there is 'no ban' on flags being carried.

It has subsequently been confirmed that the local authority does not have a flags and emblems policy at present.

Despite the clarity, there were terse exchanges in the council chamber when Mayor Maoliosa McHugh, who was chairing the meeting, brought the discussion to a close despite several other councillors indicating that they wished to speak on the matter.

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