Calls to replace the Irish National flag & National Anthem
A quarter of TDs and Senators in the Republic would be unwilling to lose the tricolour and national anthem as part of efforts to achieve a united Ireland, a new survey has shown.
The poll by The Irish Sun newspaper also found that over 35% were open to changing the national symbols.
One TD surveyed suggested a tune like Danny Boy as a possible replacement for Amhran na bhFiann — the Irish national anthem.
Roughly six in every 10 members of the Oireachtas polled ruled out rejoining the Commonwealth to help secure reunification.
Each of the 63 public representatives who responded to the newspaper said they want to see a united Ireland, with 44% of legislators suggesting a border poll date between 2023 and 2030.
Fourteen of Sinn Fein’s parliamentary party members said they were open to a border poll within four or five years with the remaining four not specifying a date.
People Before Profit said a border poll was the people’s “democratic right” and that they wanted to see one take place “in the short term”.
Retaining the tricolour and/or anthem was only a red line issue for roughly a quarter of respondents.
Five Sinn Fein representatives completely ruled out giving up the tricolour, and/or anthem, if that was to become part of any negotiations.
Two Fianna Fail, three independents and the six Social Democrat TDs also said no to those changes.
Some 19 representatives said they would prefer to keep them but are open to debate, while 23 were open to change and five did not say yes or no.
Meanwhile, half of the Fianna Fail members polled said they wanted to see a vote take place in the next 10 years — while half ruled out any consideration to rejoining the Commonwealth.
All but one of Fine Gael’s 11 respondents suggested a timeline for a border poll after more preparatory work.
The inclusive nature and representative meaning of the three colours of the Irish flag was the main argument put forward for retaining the tricolour.
Sinn Fein TD for Donegal 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.”
But some Oireachtas members said the flag may be required to be changed in a united Ireland.
Fianna Fail Senator Niall Blaney said he would not “predetermine what the demands of the unionist parties may be” but was of the belief that there needed to be a “give and take” approach to obtain the bigger goal.
More than half of those TDs and Senators surveyed flatly rejected the possibility of rejoining the Commonwealth to aid Irish reunification.
Aontu leader Peader Toibin did not oppose changing Irish symbols or joining the Commonwealth but stressed “the bread and butter issues” — such as an all-Ireland Health Service, police service, rail, ICT service, etc — “would be the determining factors for many families who were formerly unionist”.