Irish flag UNBANNED from St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland after huge public backlash
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Irish flag UNBANNED from St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland after huge public backlash

THE Irish tricolour will now be allowed to fly at Strabane's official St Patrick's Day parade after the flag was controversially banned from the event last week.

Derry City and Strabane District Council said in a statement on February 1 that all "flags and emblems" were barred from the celebrations to ensure a "cross-community" and "family-friendly" event.

The move provoked a huge public outcry on social media with councillors being accused of "censorship" and even "racism".

Talk of an unofficial 'breakaway' parade also emerged.

However, last night, the local authority appeared to reverse its decision and has now emphasised that there is no ban in place.

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A council spokesperson said it had "clarified at a special council meeting today that there is no ban on the flying of the national flag of Ireland at the St Patrick's Day parades in the council area".

Sinn Féin Councillor Karina Carlin said she “welcomed confirmation from Derry City & Strabane District Council there there is no ban on the national flag at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Strabane”.

She said: “Last week Council officials announced publicly that there was a ban on the flying of the national flag in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Strabane.

“I raised this at today’s meeting and was pleased to receive confirmation from the Council’s Chief Executive that there is in fact no ban in place.

“Sinn Féin now considers this issue resolved and I welcome the clarification and look forward to a successful and respectful St Patrick’s Day celebration in Strabane.”

Attention now moves to Derry city's parade, after the tricolour was also banned from March 17 celebrations there.

"There's no reason why flags shouldn't be flown in the Derry parade too," added Ms Carlin.

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"St Patrick's Day is a celebration of all things Irish and St Patrick."