Irish flag also banned from Derry's St Patrick's Day parade as Sinn Féin demand rethink

Irish flag also banned from Derry's St Patrick's Day parade as Sinn Féin demand rethink

THE controversial ban on the Irish tricolour at the official St Patrick’s Day parade in Strabane, Co. Tyrone will also apply to Derry city's parade, it has been confirmed.

As reported by The Irish Post yesterday, Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) barred Irish flags from Strabane's March 17 celebrations to "promote inclusion and integration within and between communities in all its activities, events and programmes".

In a statement, they added: “Flags and emblems will not be included in the official parade which is planned for the enjoyment of everyone."

According to BBC News, the decision was taken to promote a "cross-community, family-focused celebration" and was approved by the council’s Business and Culture committee.

Derry's council has now confirmed that the ban on "flags and emblems" applies to its own official parade as well as Strabane's.

A spokesperson said: “While no action is planned to prevent the use of flags or emblems, their display could have an adverse impact on Council’s ability to deliver the event effectively in the future."

Sinn Féin have demanded that the tricolour is allowed to fly at the respective parades and will put forward such a proposal at a council meeting on Monday.

Councillor Karina Carlin said her party will work to reverse the controversial decision.

“The national flag has always formed part of the celebrations in Strabane without any difficulty or controversy," the Sinn Féin politician said.

“We see no reason why that cannot continue and why the national flag cannot be carried as part of the official event to celebrate the national patron saint.

“Council officers made the decision that no flags should be included in the absence of a formal policy on flags and emblems which is not yet in place in this relatively new Council.

“However, as the history of this parade has shown, it is perfectly possible to run a genuinely inclusive and cross-community event where flags are carried in a respectful manner.

“Therefore, Sinn Féin’s proposal will seek the inclusion of the national flag in the official parade while also redressing the need for a Council policy on this issue going forward.”