Sinn Féin Oireachtas members say tricolour's status as the national flag could be 'up for discussion'
TWO SINN Féin members of the Oireachtas have suggested that the tricolour's status as the national flag could be "up for discussion" as part of efforts to secure a united Ireland.
One of the party's TDs and a senator both conceded that the tricolour – the green and orange of which is meant to reflect Ireland's Catholic and Protestant traditions – could form part of future negotiations around ending partition.
The Sinn Féin representatives' remarks were in response to a survey of Oireachtas members on how current symbols could potentially be altered to make a unified Ireland more accommodating to unionists.
Of the 63 cross-party representatives that responded – the equivalent of around 29 per cent of the 160 TDs and 60 senators – just a quarter would be unwilling to lose the tricolour and national anthem as part of efforts to achieve a united Ireland.
More than 35 per cent are open to changing the national symbols, with one TD pitching a tune such as Danny Boy as a possible replacement for Amhrán na bhFiann.
Of those surveyed by the Irish Sun, roughly six in every ten members of the Oireachtas ruled out rejoining the Commonwealth to help secure reunification.
There was unanimous support among respondents for a united Ireland, with 44 per cent suggesting a border poll date between 2023 and 2030.
Sinn Féin politicians were the most active respondents, with 14 of its parliamentary party members open to a border poll within four or five years and the remaining four not specifying a date.
Retaining the tricolour and/or anthem was only a red line issue for roughly a quarter of respondents but five Sinn Féin representatives completely ruled out giving up the tricolour, and/or anthem, if they were to become part of any negotiations.
Sinn Féin TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn said: “The Irish tricolour is a proud flag that represents peace between the Green and Orange traditions on this island and I will argue the case for it to remain. However, all of this will be up for discussion as part of the process of reunification.”
Echoing her party colleague, Senator Lynn Boylan added: “I think it symbolises the two communities and therefore my preference would be for them to remain?.?.?.?I think everything has to be open for discussion.”
Two Fianna Fáil, three independents and the six Social Democrat TDs also said no to those changes.
Some 19 representatives would prefer to keep the flag and anthem but are open to debate, 23 were open to change while five did not say yes or no.
No Green Party member responded to the survey.