ON the day Kate Middleton announces her pregnancy, hundreds of Northern Irish monarchists come out waving Union flags. But they weren’t happy. They were angry. Kate has opted to get pregnancy treatment in London not Belfast. The future King or Queen will not be Irish. But that wasn’t it. This was about flags.
The flag waving was punctuated with violence. In response to the Alliance Party’s proposal, Belfast councillors voted by 29-21 to change their policy on flying the Union flag over Belfast City Hall. The flag will only flutter on 18 days of the year (the BBC has 15 days). The flag has flown from the building every day since the place opened in 1906. The custom must change. A crowd descended on the building. They attempted to storm the building. Some later attacked St Matthew’s Catholic Church in a nationalist area of east Belfast. A tricolour was burnt. Representatives of Her Majesty’s police force were injured.
Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s First Minister and leader of the loyalist DUP, reacted:
“There is no excuse or justification for attacks on police officers, council staff and property…The decision to pursue the removal of the flag from City Hall and other council ...