ADAMS: Changes to Irish flag and national anthem ‘could be on table’ in united Ireland talks

ADAMS: Changes to Irish flag and national anthem ‘could be on table’ in united Ireland talks

MAKING changes to some of Ireland’s most iconic political symbols could be discussed in order to reach an agreement on a united Ireland, says former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

The future of the Irish tricolour and the national anthem could both be discussed in order to create a united nation which represents its people as a whole, Mr Adams has said.

“I am happy with the flag (Irish flag) as it is, but if people want to talk about it and put it on the table, anyone can put any subject on the table and we will discuss it,” he said.

The politician, who led the republican party from 1983 to 2018, makes the claim on a documentary due to be broadcast on TG4 tomorrow night which tackles the possibility of a united Ireland.

Gerry Adams claims all topics will be up for discussion in terms of agreeing on a united Ireland

Presented by investigative journalist Kevin Magee, the programme asks if calling a referendum on Irish unity within the next decade would be too soon, and how a million unionists could be integrated into a united Ireland.

Also speaking in the hour-long documentary, former SDLP Stormont Minister Bríd Rodgers said the Irish tricolour, as the national flag of Ireland, should be reviewed in the context of a united Ireland as it has negative connotations for unionists.

“Unionists are opposed to the Irish flag, because it was used by and associated with the IRA during the troubles,” she says.

"So, if it is a symbol of everything they hate, this probably needs to be looked at."

Asked what to do with the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann in any future united Ireland, Mr Adams said it too should be a topic for negotiation.

“If people want another national anthem, then it’s on the table," he said.

“People can't say that we are planning for the future and then say we can’t talk about it.  That is not the way in which we are able to put the process together. "

Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív also takes part in the programme.

He believes there is a way to address issues such as the national flag and anthem.

“Most Irish nationalists hold the flag and the national anthem very close to their hearts,” he said.

“But how do we handle that - is there a third way, a fourth way, a fifth way to address it?

“I believe that there is, and that is the flexibility required for such discussions. This kind of issue (a united Ireland) is best left to discussion.”

However, Gary Hastings, the Belfast-born former Church of Ireland rector at Holy Trinity church in Killiney, Co. Dublin, believes holding a referendum within the next 10 years would be too soon.

‘‘The split that was between the two sides to the north, it became very, very wide,” he says.

“Well, that hasn't been remedied since. Maybe it's better than that time, but the bad things that both sides did, those people are still alive and still badly hurt.

“When those people are gone, when it's just history, you might be able to move on. But it will take time.”

Iniúchadh TG4 - Éire Aontaithe? (TG4 Investigates - United Ireland?) will be broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday, May 29 at 9.30pm.