Thousands of people thronged the streets of Newry today to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Young and old turned out to watch the band’s and floats in the event which had a carnival atmosphere.
In the run-up to this event, it was widely reported that all Irish flags were banned by Newry, Mourne and Down Council. Saoradh pledged to defy this ban and described it as an attempted suppression of the Irish national identity and heritage.
Kilkeel Republican flute band, Banna Fliuit Naoimh Phadraig led the contingent.The band was led by a colour party which proudly flew our national flag along with the flags of the Four Provinces of Ireland.
Members of the Saoradh An Iúir Craobh lined up behind the band also carrying our national flag.
Speaking after the parade Saoradh’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said “Today we proudly marched in defiance behind our national flag in the St Patrick’s day parade. We made it clear over the past few weeks that we would be defying this ban and that’s exactly what we have done today.
“The Crown Forces were forced to helplessly look on as we marched through our streets in the centre of Newry.
“The crowds that lined streets applauded and cheered as we passed. While many young people left the footpaths to join us with tricolours in hand.
“This Irish flag ban was a clear attempt to suppress any expression of Irish culture and heritage in the St Patrick’s Day Parade. Today we ensured that did not happen.”
Stephen finished by saying “This certainly isn’t the end of this issue. This ridiculous ban needs to be reversed by the council and people should be free to express their Irish national identity.”
Meanwhile, the state provocatively raised the butcher’s apron over Newry Court House a symbol of British imperialism, in the centre of Newry. At the same time Newry council tried (unsuccessfully) to stop Irish citizens from flying the tricolour at today’s parade.