Council clarifies position on banning of Irish flags from St. Patrick’s Day parades in Tyrone and Derry
Derry City and Strabane District Council issued a statement on Friday morning.
Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) have clarified that a ban on Irish flags at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parades in Derry City and Strabane will not apply to spectators at the event.
News that a decision had been taken not to include the Irish flag in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Strabane this year was the source of some controversy when it emerged earlier this week.
In light of the coverage that the decision received, DCSDC issued a statement on Friday clarifying that the use of emblems and flags does not apply to spectators at the event but will apply to official parades in both Derry City and Strabane on St. Patrick's Day.
“A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that Council is delighted to support the extension of the St Patrick’s Day Carnival festivities in Strabane,” the statement read.
“In keeping with the paper approved by the Council’s Business and Culture committee the event will be a cross-community cultural celebration with a strong family-friendly focus.
“Therefore flags and emblems will not be included in the official parade which is planned for the enjoyment of everyone. Council is committed to promoting inclusion and integration within and between communities in all its activities, events and programmes.
“Council is working closely with all the groups involved to ensure the cross-community principles of the event are reflected in the parade.”
On Friday morning, Sinn Féin Councillor Karina Carlin confirmed that the party is to seek a reversal of the decision and that it would be formally put at a meeting of the Council on Monday.
“The national flag has always formed part of the celebrations in Strabane without any difficulty or controversy,” Carlin 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.”