herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Locals' bid to fly flag to honour Rising hero is shot down by council

George Reynolds House resident Tony Byrne with a tricolour
George Reynolds House resident Tony Byrne with a tricolour

Residents of a Dublin flats complex named after a 1916 volunteer have been told they cannot fly a tricolour in his honour as they may breach guidelines about flying the national flag.

Neighbours in the George Reynolds House flats in Irishtown applied to Dublin City Council (DCC), which own their homes, to have a flagpole erected for the 2016 commemorations.

Local man Tony Byrne has pledged to take responsibility for ensuring the flag is raised and lowered at the appropriate times, as laid out in guidelines drawn up by the Department of the Taoiseach.

Rebel

However, DCC said the residents could not erect a pole where compliance with the rules, which were agreed by the commemorations committee, could not be guaranteed.

George Reynolds was a section commander of C Company, 3rd Battalion, of the Dublin Brigade.

On Easter Monday, he was given command of Clanwilliam House, which was the last rebel post to fall during the Battle of Mount Street.

He was one of three volunteers who died during the fighting there.

Mr Byrne, who has lived in George Reynolds House for 22 years, said he had no problem sticking to the rules.

"This year is supposed to be about the people who died in 1916," he said. "I love flying the Irish flag. The President has to pass here every time he has an event in the Aviva, so it would be lovely to have a flag raised on a flagpole for that too.

"I'm willing to get up at 8am every morning and raise the flag, and take it down. If I'm not here, one of my neighbours or my son will do it."

Local councillor Paddy McCartan said he was keen to see the idea rolled out as part of a pilot scheme.

"The problem was that if this was done in one DCC complex then others would want it as well," he said.

"I think it could be used as a pilot project, which could be reviewed in a year. I think it's a great idea in terms of civic pride.

"There was a suggestion that we could get a plaque, but the residents want a flag and it will give a good sense of pride for them.

"I think we'll get agreement for a pilot project. I'm going to pursue that, as my motion supporting the residents was agreed at the area committee. They are determined that it will come to fruition."

Responding to Mr McCartan's motion, the council said: "Given the requirements set down by the Department of the Taoiseach, we do not recommend the flying of the flag on council property except in circumstances where compliance with the guidelines can be guaranteed.

"Apart from the reservations expressed about flagpoles, any erection of a permanent structure in this area prevents many activities taking place, including the main Christmas tree erection, and blocks other themed community events that use that area throughout the year."

The guidelines are not statutory requirements, so their observance is a matter for each person.

Hoisted

In Article 7 of the Constitution, the guidelines say the tricolour is normally only displayed in the open from sunrise to sunset and that when being hoisted or lowered it should not touch the ground.

Mr McCartan said the committee members, including Mr Byrne, were more than capable of following the guidelines, and the respect they will show towards the flag will be a marker for the younger generation living in the area.

"If the guidelines weren't adhered to I'd be the first to say it isn't working and I'd only put my weight behind it if I was convinced the relative guidelines would be adhered to," he said.

"This is the way the flag should be properly displayed and it's a very good example for young people and children to see the respect for the tricolour."

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