Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal, Michael McDowell, the former PD leader and Minister for Justice called for a Public Hoilday in the Republic for the 12th of July. He said that “said that if we were genuine republicans and if the orange panel in the flag meant anything, then we had to consider building an inclusive society.”
On the face of it, who could be anything but delighted to see someone of such high profile as McDowell make the call for something like this? You’ll have to forgive me for picking holes in it, but I think the most important part of his speech, from the southern perspective was this: “maybe the time has come for |them to acknowledge that north of the border one community has a big national festival, and maybe an Irish government minister could make the physical journey and the mental journey there,”
North of the border? You don#t need to go that far Mr. McDowell! This has always been the problem with the whole peace process for me. The continued brushing aside of that “one community” south of the border. The government here has gone to great lenghts to show the Northern Orange community how respectful and understanding they are of their identity. To show them that in the holy “united Ireland” that their identity would have such a grand place and they’d have nothing to fear. All good on the face of it. The proof of the pudding though is that they continual ignore the southern Minority. I do applaud Mary McAleese for taking the unpredicted step of visiting Brakey Orange hall and connecting with Southern Orangemen. It’s very easy to go across the border, put out your hands and say what will happen or what could happen. It’s another thing altogether to actually do something on the ground, with a minority already in your own country. A minority that’d been utterly sidelined and maligned since the foundation of the state. If the call had been for the 12th to accomodate the southern minority it would have carried so much more weight.
It’s time for this state to take a good long hard cold look at their flag, stop fawing after people in another country and instead start bringing it’s own minorities in from the cold.