Flying the Flag of Contempt City Council attacks Melbourne’s pride in its Irish Community

Flying the flag of discontent. Irish Times told to take down its flag as concern is raised about Councillor Brain Shanahan possible conflict of interest .

The Age April 6, 2006

The pub which has proudly flown the Irish flag for years has been ordered to lower its republican standard, not by agents of perfidious Albion, as a rebel ballad might have it, but by Melbourne City Council’s planning department.

In a letter to The Irish Times’ managing director, Derek Mulvihill, the council ordered that the tricolour be removed or the pub would face a $1000-plus fine.

Under the provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme only the Australian flag is permitted to be displayed without a planning permit,” the letter said.

Will the City Council require the American Embassy to remove the flag outside their consulate?

Australia has a proud tradition and its culture and and heritage predominately comes from its Irish and Scottish communities (For the record I am from Dutch, Irish and Scottish background but this should not color my belief that we should embrace our multicultural community )

The Irish Times is an Irish pub after all and surely they should be able to proudly display the Irish flag without harassment or fine from the City Council.

Has the City Council been over selective in its imposition on the Irish Times. Could Brain Shannahan have a direct conflict of interest in this matter? And what of other establishments that fly corporate and other country flags.

Mr Mulvihill said: “We were amazed to be told after five years of flying our Irish flag without incident that we had to remove it and that it needed a permit.

“It seems remarkable that, in a city that has just celebrated its multiculturalism with the Commonwealth Games, flying the flag of the small island that has contributed so much to Australia’s rich heritage is unlawful.”

What was more disappointing, he said, was the council’s advice that even if the pub were to apply for planning permission for the flag, “the application would not be entertained”.

“It came as a surprise to us to learn that it is OK to fly the Australian flag but not the Eureka flag, the Aboriginal flag or any other flag,” he said.

The council acted after a complaint. Brian is this fair?