Who gets to fly the flag?


Through the pages of your newspaper I would like to pose a question about the protocol for the flying of flags in graveyards: specifically, who makes the decision to allow a Tricolour to be flown in a graveyard?

Every Sunday afternoon I drive from Derry city to visit the graves of my extended family at Burt and Newtown, Co. Donegal.

On my arrival in Burt, I was quite surprised to see a Tricolour flying on a large flagpole in the graveyard. On inspection, it was situated over an individual grave.

I should state that, personally, I have no issue whatsoever with the Tricolour. Good men fought and died so that the Tricolour could be flown in Irish skies. I also would stand by the rights of others to honour their loved ones.

However, I have always had an issue with selectiveness. I happen to know that Burt graveyard in Donegal is the final resting place of many patriotic men and women to whom the Tricolour was also a sacred flag - many of them lived through the days of the Black and Tans and the War of Independence, as well as the more modern Troubles. More still served in the Irish Army.

If a Tricolour is to be flown in places like Burt it should either be at the gate - not over an individual grave - or not at all.

The same could be said for every graveyard in Donegal.

With the centenary of Easter 1916 only a couple of years away, are we to have flags only flying over Provo graves or do we collectively honour all those dead who have played a role in ensuring the very existence of the Tricolour, no matter what their political allegiance or era?

The alternative, to take Burt as an example, is dozens of Tricolours flying throughout the graveyard.

Ahead of the 1916 commemoration, collective decisions should be made about the flying of the Tricolour in graveyards as both the graveyard and the Tricolour belongs to everyone.

I will finish by noting that I was always taught that the Tricolour should only be flown between sunrise and sundown, something that those who fly the flag to assert of their brand of Irishness should make themselves aware of.


Grave Concern

(Name and address supplied)