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[Archived] A divisive issue....


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I haven't started a topic here before but I would be interested in hearing what people over on the mainland think about this issue. Recently Belfast City Council voted to stop the union jack flying over City Hall every day and instead to have it fly on designated days (public holidays etc).

This has caused a serious crisis over here with protests, riots and arson. I am wondering whether this is getting much coverage over the water? Do councils in England fly the union jack every day? Or do you even care about this issue?

For what it's worth I think the reaction has been crazy - there is no point in hurting people over a piece of cloth. It is an embarrassment to my city and my country that this has happened. That said I don't come from the community that is protesting!

For anyone that is interested here are some news links about the story and subsequent events:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/loyalists-attack-police-in-flag-row-16246877.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20589957

Cheers!

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I haven't started a topic here before but I would be interested in hearing what people over on the mainland think about this issue. Recently Belfast City Council voted to stop the union jack flying over City Hall every day and instead to have it fly on designated days (public holidays etc).

This has caused a serious crisis over here with protests, riots and arson. I am wondering whether this is getting much coverage over the water? Do councils in England fly the union jack every day? Or do you even care about this issue?

For what it's worth I think the reaction has been crazy - there is no point in hurting people over a piece of cloth. It is an embarrassment to my city and my country that this has happened. That said I don't come from the community that is protesting!

For anyone that is interested here are some news links about the story and subsequent events:

http://www.belfastte...w-16246877.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk...reland-20589957

Cheers!

I think you're blowing it somewhat out of proportion. A crowd of scumbags caused some disturbances at City Hall and (shock horror) in Short Strand but a 'crisis' it is not. Even Jeffrey Donaldson has said that most people have other things to worry about.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a non-issue for a number of reasons. The flag doesn't fly over Stormont (where the actual government sits) so why should its presence over City Hall be such a big deal? In addition, unless I'm mistaken, it isn't present on every public building in Britain. One would imagine that being more like the rest of the UK would be right up the unionists' street.

This is democracy in action. People opposing the flag being flown have the majority in the city council. In places like Newtownards or Ballymena, Coleraine or Lisburn they don't and thus the flag remains. If the unionists win a majority in the next council elections then they can put it back up. I've no doubt it would be their first order of business. For all their talk of defiance and "No Surrender" it takes very little to upset the loyalist apple cart.

To whine that nationalists have "taken advantage of their majority" is plainly ludicrous and speaks to the tone-deaf nature of unionist politics. They are comfortably in the majority in Northern Ireland as a whole and, most importantly in government, yet any move to bring about equality in what is a deeply divided society (and city) is treated by them as a "whitewashing" of their "Britishness" (whatever that means).

Personally I couldn't care less if the flag flies over City Hall. It always has done, and I've no doubt it will do again. It makes no difference to me. My national identity is a bit more robust than that of those attacking cops and security guards on Monday night.

I expect to see the Union flag at the Cenotaph (in the grounds of City Hall) and would be in favour of that.

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Those turds that are always pictured rioting in northern Ireland are just the same kind of brainless easily led morons that where rioting in London(and other cities) last year, There just idiots being manipulated by a relatively small handful of real evil(for want of a better word) puppet-masters(criminals, so-called politicians, community leaders,ect..).

For as long as there's riots and violence caused over seemingly trivial things nothing will ever really change in Northern Ireland, Which is a shame because aside from the idiots involved in these things Its a great place full of great people(just like the republic of Ireland)

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Rovermatt - It seemed like a crisis this morning when I wrote that post! Depression set in over the inevitability of the return to violent protest in this city I guess. I agree with you that it is a non-issue to me but sadly some people here take this very seriously. Regardless of what Jeffrey Donaldson has to say for himself this has the potential to blow up (no pun intended...). As I type this roads are being blocked across Belfast and more protests are springing up around the province.

I wholeheartedly agree with your other point - this is the result of a democratic vote and the attacks on the Alliance offices are nothing more than an attack on democracy. It makes me so angry that these idiots think they can change things through violent means - we are supposed to have moved away from that. In the end they are only causing problems for their own cause as everyone loses respect for them. I think the flag flying over the cenotaph would be an excellent compromise and I can't see anyone opposing it. Hopefully that will defuse the situation.

Hardly1980 - thanks for your response. I really started this thread to see what English people thought of the trouble. It seems perverse that a community here that prides itself on links to the British government would embarrass themselves like this. That is an interesting parallel you draw with the riots you guys had. A lot has changed here in the last 20 years but sadly some people are reluctant to leave the past behind. I love this country but when episodes like this occur I just feel like leaving.

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Indeed, things have gone south today. I just saw footage of the usual untermensch out on the Antrim Road whinging about simply wanting their "flag back".

A democratically elected body has taken the flag down from ONE building. These people need to get over themselves.

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Indeed, things have gone south today. I just saw footage of the usual untermensch out on the Antrim Road whinging about simply wanting their "flag back".

A democratically elected body has taken the flag down from ONE building. These people need to get over themselves.

I don't think they will ever get over themselves, the only hope is in the next generation. For years people have been able to control the situation through intimidation. It is hard to leave this sense of power behind - when things don't go their way both sides resort to violence. It amazes me how the default reaction to a setback is full-on aggression.

There's no way that the flag can go back up now, these idiots should catch a grip and hopefully the morning will bring some sort of compromise.

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I think a lot of people in the north of Ireland riot for riotings sake. It is fairly petulant injuring people because a flag is no longer being flown - it is unlikely to change the situation and makes the rioters look stupid.

The country has moved on massively and I'm fairly sure the majority of people living there would not like to go back the old days. I know my family in Ireland prefer it now.

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The Irish problem will eventually resolve itself when Catholics outnumber Protestants in the north and the pressure for a united Catholic Ireland will become irresistible. The Catholic plot to take over the world by making all the rules while the Protestant makes all the concessions in mixed marriages means that day will be not long in coming.

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The Irish problem will eventually resolve itself when Catholics outnumber Protestants in the north and the pressure for a united Catholic Ireland will become irresistible. The Catholic plot to take over the world by making all the rules while the Protestant makes all the concessions in mixed marriages means that day will be not long in coming.

I am not sure whether to take this post seriously - are you on the wind-up? According to a Census report out this afternoon protestants outnumber catholics by less than 5%. The population describing themselves as protestant has fallen by nearly 5% while the Catholic population has risen by less than 1% since the last census in 2001. So in a decade this nonsense about being "outbred" has been shown to be false. The growth of secularism means that religion is thankfully becoming less important to most ordinary people.

Also, the last time there was a referendum on whether there should be a united Ireland not only did the North vote against it but also the Republic of Ireland voted no. There may well be a united Ireland some time in the future but it will (hopefully) be based upon economic reasons and according to the cold economic facts we would be stupid to join the republic and they would be stupid to take us on.

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I am not sure whether to take this post seriously - are you on the wind-up? According to a Census report out this afternoon protestants outnumber catholics by less than 5%. The population describing themselves as protestant has fallen by nearly 5% while the Catholic population has risen by less than 1% since the last census in 2001. So in a decade this nonsense about being "outbred" has been shown to be false. The growth of secularism means that religion is thankfully becoming less important to most ordinary people.

Also, the last time there was a referendum on whether there should be a united Ireland not only did the North vote against it but also the Republic of Ireland voted no. There may well be a united Ireland some time in the future but it will (hopefully) be based upon economic reasons and according to the cold economic facts we would be stupid to join the republic and they would be stupid to take us on.

Your assertion that the number of Protestants is declining and the number of Catholics is increasing yet the "nonsense about being outbred is false" .... does not make sense.

That Census report out today "shows a decline in the number of Protestants to around 53% of the population with Catholics now comprising nearly 44%".

It goes on to say "the gap recorded between the respective communities is the narrowest since Northern Ireland came into being in the early 1920s" ...... "the Catholic community now makes up the majority of Belfast's population, with many Protestants having moved away to live in other parts of Co Down and Co Antrim .... "since 1961, when the Protestant figure was 63%, it has fallen in every census while the Catholic population has increased from 35%"

The leader of the SDLP Mark Durkan said “No-one can say with certainty that this will lead to the united Ireland that the SDLP seeks. But we can be certain that there will be a United Ireland if a majority votes for one and the South agrees,” he said.

Numbers are likely to count in the end, or perhaps the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency is having a wind-up too.

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Your assertion that the number of Protestants is declining and the number of Catholics is increasing yet the "nonsense about being outbred is false" .... does not make sense.

That Census report out today "shows a decline in the number of Protestants to around 53% of the population with Catholics now comprising nearly 44%".

It goes on to say "the gap recorded between the respective communities is the narrowest since Northern Ireland came into being in the early 1920s" ...... "the Catholic community now makes up the majority of Belfast's population, with many Protestants having moved away to live in other parts of Co Down and Co Antrim .... "since 1961, when the Protestant figure was 63%, it has fallen in every census while the Catholic population has increased from 35%"

The leader of the SDLP Mark Durkan said “No-one can say with certainty that this will lead to the united Ireland that the SDLP seeks. But we can be certain that there will be a United Ireland if a majority votes for one and the South agrees,” he said.

Numbers are likely to count in the end, or perhaps the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency is having a wind-up too.

First off I heard the figures this morning on the radio and hadn't checked the actual numbers firsthand so apologies for my mistake in the reckoning of the percentage difference.

However in ten years the protestant population went down by a small amount and the catholic population went up by a miniscule amount - I'd say that doesn't make my statement rock solid but it certainly doesn't harm it and it does nothing for your argument at all. Like I said religion is less important these days, people are more likely to vote according to their hopes for the future rather than along religious/societal lines. Eire has a Catholic population of 84% but they still voted against a united Ireland. Whether Catholics outnumber protestants or not a united Ireland is not likely in the near future and will never happen unless it makes economic sense.

Since 1961 a lot has happened - Northern Ireland has gone from peace to violence and back to peace again. Perhaps there are more declared Catholics in a census because the economic situation has improved in Northern Ireland and immigration is occurring from South to North? The fact is that the rate is slowing as we approach a 50/50 divide (or as close to 50/50 as possible with a few percentage points for atheists and other religious denominations). I am no statistician but I imagine that is where it is likely to end. Why does the Catholic population not outnumber Protestant on the UK mainland? Surely Catholics are trying to outbreed the Protestants there as well? Or maybe the Muslims are at it over there - whichever ethnic group is fit for use to justify paranoid statements. It is borderline sectarian and bigoted to claim that Catholics are attempting to "outbreed" their opponents, apart from being completely ludicrous.

Also Mark Durkan is not the boss of Northern Ireland - he is a politician that is used to putting his own slant on matters. Whether he thinks there will be a united Ireland or not is his opinion, an opinion that is likely to be heavily biased in the first place.

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I remember siting through a 4 hour argument between the Kilroot Power Station CEO and staff over his request to take down the Union Jack outside the power station. After lengthy discussion he was to " take it down yourself.......if you dare!".

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There is no prospect of a unified Ireland. Unionists and people who lean unionist are in the majority. The South cannot afford it now nor will they want to afford it in the future. The majority of people in the South have little interest in a united Ireland and even less of an interest in the North. Years of experience have taught me that a great many people in the 26 counties are completely ignorant of the situation in Northern Ireland and those that aren't ignorant have some very funny ideas about life up here.

In spite of this, unionist politicians - who paradoxically, and smugly, claim that Northern Ireland is an immovable part of their precious UK - wring their hands when a single aspect of their once dominant position is modified. They cry conspiracy and wail about an erosion of their identity (which, if the last week's actions are to be taken as an indicator, is tightly linked to flags and inequality). In reality they are seeking to stir-up and exploit (for the purpose of discrediting the Alliance Party and thus regaining the Belfast East seat at Westminster) a small, fragmented, ignorant and poorly educated underclass who have lost the pillars of industry they once took for granted and have been abandoned by their political leaders. These people cling to their peculiar notion of 'Britishness' - though I see little British in disrespecting law, order and the democratic process - like a desperate, needy and far-flung suckling dependency. Northern Ireland, on a day-to-day basis, is nowhere near as divided as it would have you believe (nor as violent - the disorder is highly localised). I have plenty of friends and neighbours who come from the Protestant/unionist community. I'm sure few of them feel threatened by last week's inconsequential council action. Nor must they feel anything but disdain and revulsion for the pond life cluttering up the streets of east Belfast and elsewhere.

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Why does the Catholic population not outnumber Protestant on the UK mainland? Surely Catholics are trying to outbreed the Protestants there as well?

It's more subtle here with Catholics insisting they make all the rules in mixed Catholic-Protestant marriages, ie the offspring are Catholics and usually go to Catholic schools.

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It's more subtle here with Catholics insisting they make all the rules in mixed Catholic-Protestant marriages, ie the offspring are Catholics and usually go to Catholic schools.

Does that not speak also to the diminishing influence of Protestantism within Britain? It strikes me as being similar to the waning of Catholicism in the Irish family (though children will always be baptised and go through a First Communion and a Confirmation). Given its status as a relative minority religion in Britain, those actively identifying as Catholic are likely to be regular attendees at Mass. Thus any Catholic in a mixed marriage is probably going to be the decision-maker in the areas you refer to if their partner is, in all probability, a lapsed Anglican.

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It's more subtle here with Catholics insisting they make all the rules in mixed Catholic-Protestant marriages, ie the offspring are Catholics and usually go to Catholic schools.

Hopefully, these kids will grow up and realize that religion is a pile of crap, religion should have no part in modern society.

The problem with unionist in northern Ireland is that many years ago they had a position of power, having everything go there way (almost like a spoiled child), now when things don't go there way it hard for them to take.. so they kick up a fuss..

AS a side note -: I had the "pleasure" of listening to a old man from the northwest turn every conversation in to a "There taking over the [insert here]" subject..it was frighting how that type of mind works

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Indeed, things have gone south today. I just saw footage of the usual untermensch out on the Antrim Road whinging about simply wanting their "flag back".

A democratically elected body has taken the flag down from ONE building. These people need to get over themselves.

No doubt they'll be viewing it as a thin end of a very large wedge Matt. Would they be right in your opinion?

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The Irish problem will eventually resolve itself when Catholics outnumber Protestants in the north and the pressure for a united Catholic Ireland will become irresistible. The Catholic plot to take over the world by making all the rules while the Protestant makes all the concessions in mixed marriages means that day will be not long in coming.

Not in my house matey. That stuffs for the weak minded. :tu:

btw any current and future problems will not be Catholic v Protestant. Thats just a convenient distraction, they will be muslim v the rest.

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No doubt they'll be viewing it as a thin end of a very large wedge Matt. Would they be right in your opinion?

I am interested as to what you meant by this statement as well. It is easy to make sweeping generalisations that add nothing to debate but more difficult to make a point and defend it.

Why does the Catholic population not outnumber Protestant on the UK mainland? Surely Catholics are trying to outbreed the Protestants there as well? Or maybe the Muslims are at it over there - whichever ethnic group is fit for use to justify paranoid statements.

Not in my house matey. That stuffs for the weak minded. :tu:

btw any current and future problems will not be Catholic v Protestant. Thats just a convenient distraction, they will be muslim v the rest.

Ha ha ha! Nice to see that bitterness, paranoia and hatred are alive across the water as well.

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