Pub staff threatened after tricolour flown in rugby promotion
WETHERSPOONS pub chain has said it intends to put up an Irish rugby flag in a Co Antrim bar, after threats to staff led to a tricolour being taken down.
The display at the bar in Lisburn, to promote the Six Nations Championship, has drawn criticism after Ireland was omitted, despite the flags of all other five nations being on show.
Wetherspoons said it had removed a tricolour from the display after both the pub and staff were threatened.
The flag of the Irish Rugby Football Union has been the official flag of Irish rugby for years, although the tricolour does fly at home games in Dublin.
In a sign of the sensitivities surrounding the Irish rugby side, the flag of the province of Ulster was also on display alongside the tricolour above the pitch at the recent World Cup.
One social media user said: "To have none at all shows that it's easier to give in to the knuckle draggers and neanderthals."
Another added: "Sadly they would probably be 'invited' to take it down by the men with woolly faces."
A spokesman for Wetherspoons said that "no offence was intended whatsoever" from the omission.
He said: "Our pubs in Northern Ireland have put the flags up in advance of the Six Nations Rugby for many years.
"The pub was targeted for putting the flag up and there were threats to both the pub and staff who work there, which is unacceptable."
The spokesman added: "The pub is now awaiting the Ireland rugby flag which it intends to put up."
The Six Nations begins next weekend, with Ireland, captained by Ulster star Rory Best, kicking off their campaign against Wales.