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Should the Irish flag be allowed to be flown on St Patrick's Day in England.
In Blackpool where I live there a lot of Irish bars with names like 'Shenanigans' and other Irish inspired names like 'Ma Kelly's' and I was coming home on the bus yesterday I saw a couple of Irish flags flying from this bar.
I thought to myself even though the Republic of Ireland and the UK as a whole are at peace and in Northern Ireland there is power sharing now in the Stormont Assembly. Is it right given the troubles that took place in Northern Ireland between the British Army and the IRA and the many British soldiers who died there that we should allow the flying of the Irish Republican flag?
For example this may seem an extreme example but would we fly the Nazi flag for some German Day or the Old Soviet flag because of Russian Day and the Argentine flag or now the Islamic State flag because of some Muslim Day. I realize we are at peace with Germany today and most Germans would spit on the Nazi flag and I realize there is no Soviet flag any more and many Russians perhaps would not want to go back to Communist days and although tensions remain over the Falklands a loose peace exists between Argentina and the UK and no doubt many Muslims don't want to be grouped alongside Islamic State. But the point I'm making is we lost lives in fighting the Germans so why would we fly the Nazi flag and also perhaps clandestinely British agents died at the hands of the Russians and why we would fly that flag also 255 Brits died fighting the Argentines so we would fly that flag and lastly Brits have been killed at the hands of Islamic State so why we would fly their flag?
So the point I'm making is even though we are peace with Ireland now and former IRA men sit in the Stormont Assembly today in Northern Ireland like Deputy leader Martin McGuiness along side their Loyalist counterparts are we dishonouring the memories of all Brits that served and died fighting the IRA in allowing Irish people living here to celebrate St Patrick's Day?
This point I'm making is a controversial one I realize that but I feel it is a valid question? I know that many Irish people have died at the hands of the British too and the Irish were fighting for freedom as they saw it to end British occupation. The potato famine killed many Irish people forcing many of them to flee abroad and there was the Easter rising in Dublin in 1916 which ended in the loss of many Irish and British people but the Irish gained their freedom eventually. In World War 1 and II the Germans and Irish helped each other as they were facing a common enemy the British so I guess it is only logical that both would aid one another (I also know many Irish people did serve in British forces in both wars). Then were the troubles when the IRA bombed Loyalist areas (Loyalist Irish people who are mainly Protestant descended from English and Scottish settlers owing their allegiance to the UK hence Loyalist in Northern Ireland who had their own terror groups UDA and UFF who struck back at the Catholic Irish in the Republic and else where) and also the IRA bombed the British main land like the Birmingham pub bombings and also the Warrington bombing and the Canary Wharf bombing and Sunday Bloody Sunday when British soldiers supposedly shot Irish civilians demonstrating although British soldiers say they returned fire when shot upon as maybe the IRA men were using the demonstrating Irish civilians as human shields a common practice amongst terrorists.
I am wondering for example when it is St George's Day the national day of England are English people allowed to have marches and fly their flag like we allow the Irish here?
This rant is not an anti - Irish rant by no means as I have acknowledged that the British were in some part to blame for the creation of the IRA and that many Irish served in the British forces but the point remains in flying the Irish flag I can't help feeling uncomfortable as an Englishman for the reasons I have explained.
Also amongst Irish Republicans the spectre of Irish terrorism has not gone away as IRA splinter groups who never signed up to the peace accord are still active as has been shown on the news recently. Many of them make money in Mafia style gangs and no doubt in Northern Ireland itself the Loyalist groups those who do not agree with the peace accord and power sharing with their IRA counter parts are bubbling under the surface too. The UK still has a military presence there although thanks to the peace accord it is low key and I pray it never has to go back on the streets as it did when the troubles as they are known were in full blown war.