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Don’t deface the Irish flag

| Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The American flag is known both at home and around the globe as the emblem of the free world. Since the time of the American Revolution, men and women have laid down their lives for this flag and for the principles and values it represents.

There is a code of etiquette that goes along with the American flag that outlines proper use and care of such an important symbol. The Flag Code includes the statement, “The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure or drawing of any kind.”

Last Friday, the Notre Dame Right to Life Club staged its version of the March for Life on campus. Later that evening, I saw a photo on Facebook of the Irish flag with the Right To Life Club’s symbol emblazoned across it. I was furious. My anger was not directed towards the cause or the march itself, but rather towards whoever thought it was appropriate to take the flag of the Irish people and deface it with a symbol.

As with the American flag, so too have men and women laid down their lives for the Irish flag and for the values and principles it represents. It is the symbol of my country, of my people and our push for independence. It is a symbol of the Irish struggle for freedom and, most importantly, it is a symbol of my people’s search for peace.

Although there is no specific Irish Flag Code, there are certain protocols associated with displaying the flag, including, “The National Flag should never be defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it.”

The Irish flag should not, under any circumstances, be used as an advertising board for any cause or organization.

If an American flag had been defaced in such a way would anyone be allowed to display it? If the Right to Life Club had chosen to put their symbol on the American flag or if there were American flags available for purchase emblazoned with the Notre Dame leprechaun, would it not be a national scandal?

The Irish flag is not — and never should be — viewed as a symbol of Notre Dame. It is the symbol of the Irish nation and ought to be treated as such.

Dearbhla Fay
Jan. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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