The government must speak out at burning of national flag

It is that time of year again when many people leave their homes to avoid the 12th of July in the six counties. Year after year we are treated to images and videos of our national flag burning on top of poorly constructed bonfires.

As we all know it’s not just the flags that are set alight it is also images of anything deemed Irish. This year saw many images related to 1916 placed on top along with politicians in those particular areas.

The question I ask is how long will the Irish government remain silent? Surely throughout the world if a national flag was to be set alight numerous of times in the name of “culture” other governments would speak out in disgust?

Worst still this is happening on our own island. 2016 has been an interesting year of celebration with the country marking the Rising, events which took place up and down the country saw celebration along with remembrance. Not once did we see flags of another nation burnt on top of bonfires, and you can be sure if we did there would be worldwide outrage and rightly so.

So why in 2016 is this “culture” allowed to continue? Last night an image was uploaded onto social media of a bonfire with the flag of Ireland placed on top, it wasn’t that image that saddened me it was of the women surrounding the bonfire watching on with young children in buggies.

Many will dress it up as culture but hating another person due to their nationality isn’t culture. The definition of culture is “the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society”. Different cultures should be celebrated and enjoyed by others. How can we have an Ireland that is equal for all when events like these are allowed to continue unchallenged.

Many people on social media have called for the government to act. Labour Party Councillor Dermot Lacey commented on a tweet asking “who are the people who leave their homes to stand watching so they can be offended?” The responses he received shows just how misinformed he is. One response from Niamh Cusack said “Dermot are you for real? I’m from the Garvaghy Road, do you’ve any idea what my family and friends went through?.”

It’s rather upsetting to see such a thoughtless comment made from a Councillor. His emphasis on people being offended? I’m disgusted that he wouldn’t be offended as an Irishman or at least outraged that his own countries flag could be set alight?

The 12th will come and go as it always does each year but the question must be asked about the aftermath left in its wake. Will the Irish government again refuse to comment on the lack of respect shown to the people on this island and our national flag?

About Rachel Lynch

Rachel Lynch
Journalist with InTallaght.

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