[Sinn Fein]

8th April 2002

Flying of flag at half mast is inappropriate

Sinn Fein councillor Seán MacManus has called on the government to withdraw a directive stating that the Irish flag is to be flown at half mast above government buildings tomorrow as a mark of respect to the British Queen Mother.

Councillor MacManus said:

``It is incredible that the government are calling for the Irish flag to be flown at half mast tomorrow as a mark of respect on the death of a member of the British royal family.

``British people, including those who share this island with us, are entitled to mourn the death of a member of the British Royal family whom they respected. But the decision to fly the Irish flag at half mast is inappropriate. It will also cause pain to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of British forces, who the British royal family represent daily.

``This is also a case of double standards when you consider that the Irish government refused to fly the flag at half mast over state departments on the occasion of the death of Kieran Doherty TD who died on hunger strike in 1981.

``I am calling on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to withdraw this directive. He and President McAleese have both extended their sympathies to the British Royal family on their recent bereavment. That is sufficient.''

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