Gerry Adams says Irish flag and anthem should be ‘on the table’ during unity negotiations

Tricolour and Amhran na bhFiann up for change

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"
The Irish tricolour

Gerry Adams believes the tricolour and Irish national anthem should be “on the table” in any future negotiation about constitutional change.

The former Sinn Féin leader’s remarks echo those of his successor Mary Lou McDonald, who was initially resistant to the idea of the national flag and Amhrán na bhFiann being part of potential discussions around Irish unity.

Mr Adams makes his remarks in a TG4 programme that will be broadcast on Wednesday.

The programme – Iniúchadh TG4 - Éire Aontaithe? (TG4 Investigates -United Ireland?) is presented by journalist Kevin Magee, who examines if calls for a referendum on Irish unity within the next decade are premature and whether one million unionists could be integrated into a united Ireland.

Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. PICTURE: LIAM MCBURNEY/PA

The hour-long documentary looks at the circumstances under which a border poll would be called under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Adams, speaking in Irish, tells the programme: “I am happy with the flag as it is, but if people want to talk about it and put it on the table. Anyone can put any subject on the table and we will discuss it.”

Former SDLP Stormont minister Bríd Rodgers said the Irish tricolour as the national flag of Ireland should be reviewed in the context of a united Ireland as it has negative connotations for unionists.

Speaking in Irish, Donegal-born Mrs Rodgers said: “Unionists are opposed to the Irish flag, because it was used by and associated with the IRA during the Troubles.

“So, if it is a symbol of everything they hate, this probably needs to be looked at.”

Asked about a potential replacement to the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann in any future united Ireland, Mr Adams said it too should be a topic for negotiation.

“If people want another national anthem, then it’s on the table. People can’t say that we are planning for the future and then say we can’t talk about it. That is not the way in which we are able to put the process together.”

In 2019, May Lou McDonald ruled out changes to the Irish flag to reflect the unionist tradition but three years later appeared more amenable to the idea, saying “everything” would be up for discussion ahead of a potential united Ireland.

:: Iniúchadh TG4 - Éire Aontaithe will be broadcast by TG4 on Wednesday May 29 at 9.30 pm.