Tuesday, September 13, 2016


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Doing the right thing by the national flag is no small thing, though there is clearly less respect around now than there used to be.

There are no legal restraints on the use of the flag, but the Taoiseach's Department has set out a series of guidelines which it strongly recommends be followed if the flag is to get its due.

The illustration above from the guidelines shows how to drape the flag over a coffin. However, without the help of the text it is not at all clear. The green is to go over the head of the coffin (and presumably the corpse) and the orange at the other end.

The specific colours of the flag are set out in detail. It is green (pms 347), white and orange (pms 151). None of this gold stuff, though there is a lot of that around too.

The flag should normally be taken down at sunset. When I worked in a government department on the top floor, a soldier would come through at sunset to take down the flag. Right order.

If it is to be flown beyond sunset it should be specifically illuminated, preferably by a spotlight, as set out in the guideline above.

Sad then to see Sinn Féin fly the flag without illumination some three quarters of an hour after sunset. I understand that there is a spotlight option here but they just haven't bothered to turn it on. Didn't stop them turning on the main lights for the ad for the show though.

Clearly the flag should not be left up when it is worn to flithers.

The photo above was taken in Limerick a few years ago and it's not like the pub was out of business. You'd also wonder if that had ever been orange.

This one was definitely orange but half of that end of it has flithered away. And where do you think this might be? Well, it's opposite the GPO on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre. Pretty insulting that and in the 1916 centenary year to boot.

But the message here is loud and clear. This is flying over Clerys where company manipulations in the middle of the night left the staff on the street and the new owners' pockets overflowing. There could be no better symbol of runaway capitalism cocking a snook at the nation than the national flag in flithers over this iconic building and just across the street from the GPO.

If you have any interest in further reading on how to respect the flag, it's all in here.

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