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Commonwealth Games gold medalist Paddy Barnes say it’s time NI “had a proper flag and a proper national anthem.” Photo by: YouTube

Belfast “Danny Boy” boxer calls for new anthem and flag for Northern Ireland

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Commonwealth Games gold medalist Paddy Barnes say it’s time NI “had a proper flag and a proper national anthem.” Photo by: YouTube

Paddy Barnes, the gold medalist boxer who caused a Twitter storm over “Danny Boy” being played at the Commonwealth Games, has called for a new flag and national song to be devised for Northern Ireland.

He said it’s time Northern Ireland “had a proper flag and a proper national anthem.”

Barnes, from north Belfast, publicly distanced himself from the Commonwealth Games' actions when the ballad, greatly associated with the Irish community, “Danny Boy” was played as his country’s national anthem after his big win.

Barnes stood on the podium saying “That’s not my anthem.”

He wrote on Twitter:

His Twitter remarks started an online row to which he responded:

He later explained that these comments had been in response to another boxer’s question who had asked why his national anthem had not been played.

He told the Belfast Telegraph, “Let’s be honest, not only is it not my anthem but it is nobody’s anthem because Northern Ireland hasn’t got a national anthem. I think it’s time we had a proper flag and a proper national anthem.”

Barnes ordinarily boxes for Ireland in major international competitions and would normally hear the Irish national anthem being played when he wins medals.

In 2013 United States Envoy Richard Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan chaired all party talks in Northern Ireland on the issue of flags, parades and the legacy of 'the Troubles.' One of his proposals was a new flag for Northern Ireland. This was rejected.

He had asked the parties, “What might a process to design and validate a new Northern Ireland flag look like? What role might such a flag play in civic life?”

Do you think Northern Ireland should have its own flag and anthem? Comment below.

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