The Fermanagh District Council have admitted to Photoshopping the English flag, St George’s flag, out of an image of Enniskillen Castle featured in a public brochure, being distributed during the G8 Summit.
Sinn Féin Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Phil Flanagan is now calling for the flag to be officially removed. The Unionists have another view telling the Newsletter that the Council was becoming “a cold house for unionists”.
The informational leaflet was distributed to local people ahead of the G8 Summit taking place at the Lough Erne Resort, near Enniskillen. The gathering of world leaders, including Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, will see a ramp up in security in the area and disruptions to those living in the surrounding county.
Upon seeing the pamphlet, with the St George’s flag airbrushed out, Tom Elliott, an Ulster Unionist Party MLA, wrote to the Council. He said this flag has been associated with the Enniskillen Castle since the 17th century.
England’s flag has flown above the building since attacks on Enniskillen by James II, in 1688 and 1689 when two volunteer regiments were formed to support King William of Orange and defend Enniskillen.
Elliott said “The rewriting of history is one thing, but here we appear to see part of our history being airbrushed from existence. Both are unacceptable...there are many in the wider unionist community – myself included – who will view this as further evidence that Fermanagh District Council is fast becoming a cold house for unionists.”
In a statement Fermanagh Council said “In relation to any decision around the inclusion of flags, the design team was mindful of the fact that the flags of the eight countries participating in the G8 summit plus the flags of the European Commission, the European Council and the Republic of Ireland would all need to be portrayed.
“Consequently, it was decided that no flags would be included within the leaflet and the document is consistent in that regard.”
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan, responded to Elliott’s criticism saying “The flying of a St George's flag 365 days a year remains a constant sore and source of anger for many people throughout Enniskillen and Fermanagh, particularly given that the right to fly the English flag is said to have been conferred on the Inniskilling regiments for their efforts in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
"Such antagonistic practices have no place in modern Ireland.
"Enniskillen Castle has a rich and diverse history and it is certainly not the sole preserve of the unionist community or the British establishment.”
Flanagan also disputed Elliotts comments on the history of the castle saying “Enniskillen Castle was actually built by the Maguires and used to aid in the centuries of resistance against British occupation in Ulster.
"It is therefore greatly disappointing that for so long, that aspect of the castle's history has been neglected, undersold and virtually wiped from public record.”
Flanagan added that he had “written to Fermanagh District Council asking them to support the removal of this flag.
"It is only by bringing this antiquated and divisive practice to an end that the Enniskillen Castle complex can indeed become a genuine shared space, which tells an accurate story of the turbulent history of Fermanagh and no longer leans towards the militaristic and imperialist past of British occupation in Ireland."