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Scottish Labour councillors to block motion to fly Irish flag for Easter Rising centenary

The tricolour looks unlikely to fly over Scottish council buildings. Picture: Getty Images
The tricolour looks unlikely to fly over Scottish council buildings. Picture: Getty Images

PLANS to fly the Irish Tricolour over a number of civic buildings in Scotland look likely to be scuppered by the Labour party in North Lanarkshire.

Last week, The Irish Post reported that a narrow majority of the constituency’s councillors had voted in favour of a request to fly the Irish flag to mark the Easter Rising centenary at a committee meeting.

But the Labour party ruling group met last night and agreed to oppose the proposal when it goes to a full council meeting in March.

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Because flying a flag other than the Scottish Saltire or the Union Jack goes against current practice of the Scottish Government, the motion was only partially passed in last week’s council meeting of North Lanarkshire Council.

Glasgow-based Irish republican group Cairde na hÉireann put forward the motion to have the Tricolour flown over Motherwell Civic Centre, as well as public buildings in Coatbridge and Cumbernauld, on April 24 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rising.

The council’s Corporate Services Committee met on February 11 and carried the motion on a narrow majority.

The next step is for the plan to be debated at the local authority’s next full meeting in early March.

But Labour is the majority party in North Lanarkshire Council, meaning the vote is likely to be overthrown.

The Labour councillors met privately last night and discussed the issue, with outgoing North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe saying his party would vote with the Government on the issue.

“In the past we have not deviated from Scottish and UK Government policy on the flying of flags that are not the Saltire or the Union Jack, and we are not going to this time,” he told Scottish national broadcaster STV.

Current protocol surrounding the flying of flags is governed by Scottish Government guidelines.

Though flying flags other than the Scottish and British ones is against protocol, exceptions have been made to the rule.

The flag of Palestine was flown over the City Chambers in Glasgow in 2014 in support of those effected by the Gaza conflict; while the flag of Norway is flown in a number of public spaces on the country’s national day.

The Irish Post contacted North Lanarkshire Council but no one was available for comment.

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James Mulhall
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James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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One comment on “Scottish Labour councillors to block motion to fly Irish flag for Easter Rising centenary”

  1. Stephen Colbert

    A Chara,

    As a native of Portlaoise living in Motherwell I was surprised to see the proposal to fly the Tricolour over Motherwell Town Hall to commemorate 1916.

    I couldn’t see any reason to fly it. There isn’t any connection between Motherwell and Dublin either historically or current. Several of my neighbours asked me what happened in Easter 1916? While it matters to us it isn’t seen as important to most people here in North Lanarkshire.

    Unfortunately, it has prompted protest from sections of the community who equate the Tricolour with militant republicanism. These protests have given voice to sectarianism and anti-Irish racism. This is something I contend with regularly in my workplace and to see it given an unnecessary platform is regrettable.

    Most reasonable people don’t understand why North Lanarkshire Council should commemorate 1916 and are opposed to the flying of the flag. They now find themselves on the same side as bigotry.

    Is mise
    Stephen Colbert

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