Irish flag banned from St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland
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Irish flag banned from St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland

THE Irish tricolour will not be allowed to be flown at the official St Patrick’s Day parade in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, organisers have confirmed.

Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) said they made the decision to ensure the event is a “cross community, family-focused” celebration.

It is the first time the local council has organised the parade since it was founded in 2015.

The council confirmed that "flags and emblems" will not feature at all this year.

Around £30,000 of funding will go into the spectacle – which will follow a shorter route than in previous years.

A DCSDC spokeswoman said the council was delighted to “support the extension of the St Patrick's Day Carnival festivities in Strabane”.

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She added: “Flags and emblems will not be included in the official parade which is planned for the enjoyment of everyone.

"The council is committed to promoting inclusion and integration within and between communities in all its activities, events and programmes."

Independent councillor Paul Gallagher told the BBC that this year’s plans were a departure from previous community-led celebrations in Strabane, when flags were "very much welcome."

Mr Gallagher said the changes were a result of a mistaken "interpretation of legislation” by councillors

He added: "As a councillor, I will be bringing it into the chamber, that we change the interpretation that council is using.”