Northern Ireland

Protestants remain opposed to tricolour in united Ireland

Thomas Meagher, who designed the tricolour which first flew in 1848, said "the white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between orange and green"
Protestants have a negative view of the tricolour latest research shows

Protestant voters in the north have a negative view of the tricolour being retained as the flag of any future united Ireland, new research shows.

Research carried out by Irish Times/ARINS, (Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South), confirms that unionists also has a negative view of the Irish national flag.

The flag which, which is intended to symbolise peace between Ireland’s green and orange factions, is expected to form part of the debate around what reunification will look like at some point in the future.

The research project is the second collaboration between the Irish Times and ARINS, which is a joint project of the Royal Irish Academy and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

All respondents were shown the same image of the tricolour, with half given the description: “Since the formation of the Irish State, the national flag has been the republican tricolour. It was famously flown during the 1916 Easter Rising and in the Irish War of Independence against British rule.”

The other 50 percent of respondents, were given a different description: “The flag was designed to represent the two main political traditions on the island. The white in the centre represents lasting peace between ‘orange’ and ‘green’.”

Respondents were asked to answer on a 1 -7 scale, with 1 meaning keep and 7 is replace.

The responses showed that Protestants in the north have strong views on the flag.

In relation to the first description of the flag the score was 6.1, while the shared tradition description was 5.8.

The view of respondents to the Shamrock, a symbol often accepted by both sections of the community, was also sought and the outlook of Protestants found to be relatively moderate.