proposed new northern ireland flag by Ewout Bernardus Lamé

Time for a flag for Northern Ireland? We’ve been without for forty years.


There have been news reports in recent days of a flag being removed from display in an British Army canteen in Camp Bastion in Aghanistan. Many people here in Northern Ireland appear to be getting their knickers in a twist over this.

The problem?

The Flag in question is the flag of the former Government of Northern Ireland, as depicted below.

Flag of Government of Northern Ireland 1953-1972
Flag of Government of Northern Ireland 1953-1972

Since the prorogation of the Parliament and that Government in 1972 there has been no official flag for this part of the United Kingdom, other than the Union Flag.

The Union Flag of the UK

The Rt Hon. Jeffrey Donaldson MP has written a letter to HM Secretary of State for Defence on the subject—which has also been posted to the Lagan Valley MP’s Facebook wall—but makes the usual errors about the status of the so-called Northern Ireland Flag. What doesn’t help is that in media reports it was described as an ‘Ulster Flag’.

A solution?

This year it is forty years since the Parliament of Northern Ireland was prorogued. Perhaps in this Diamond Jubilee year, we could petition Her Majesty The Queen and her officers of arms to devise a new flag for this part of Her Majesty’s United Kingdom? A flag that can be used and respected by all in this part of Ireland.

There have been many suggestions over the years for proposed new designs. Even on Facebook there is a group for this subject. One of the designs in it is really rather pleasant. Different and striking, but one which could be recognised by everyone. It was designed by Ewout Bernardus Lamé.

proposed new northern ireland flag by Ewout Bernardus Lamé
Proposed flag designed by Ewout Bernardus Lamé.

The design is explained as:

Another, more outside-the-box design for a new flag for Northern Ireland drifted into my head. The design symbolises the Giant’s Causeway, an area of hexagonal basalt columns on the coast of Northern Ireland. It’s a unique natural wonder. I added six flax flowers to symbolise the six historical counties that make up Northern Ireland.—from New Flag for Northern Ireland.

What do you think? Would this design work? It would be completely different.


15 thoughts on “Time for a flag for Northern Ireland? We’ve been without for forty years.

  1. The “Ulster banner” is perceived as being very Unionist – being a flag of England defaced by the star, red hand and crown doesn’t help.

    Perhaps an adaptation of the Ulster flag, retaining the yellow field, and substituting a white star (without crown) for the shield would be more acceptable.

    1. why would u remove the shield when its a clear symbol of n ireland? the crown has its rightful place as, as much ppl might try to forget n ireland is still part of the uk and lyal to the royal family

      1. There is no shield in the flag of the former Government of Northern Ireland. As for the crown, no other part of Her Majesty’s United Kingdom has a crown in its flag. It appears to be simply there to rub people’s noses in it. At least that is how it appears to many.
        I totally agree that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Whether everyone in it is loyal to HM The Queen is another question. Many of us are.

      2. The Flag of Ulster doesn’t have a crown on it. It’s a yellow flag with a red cross on it, defaced by a white shield with a red hand, and derived from the arms of the Burke and O’Neill families.

        The arms granted to the Government of Northern Ireland and used as the basis of its flag substituted the yellow flag and red cross of the Burke arms with an English flag, changed the shield to a six-pointed star (as there were no longer nine counties) and added the crown, which as Michael has already pointed out, is unique to any UK national flag.

        Perhaps if the crown had been omitted and the yellow field of the Burke arms had either been retained or been substituted with the red saltire of the arms of the order of St Patrick, the Ulster Banner would still be in official use, instead of being withdrawn in 1972. Either possibility would have reflected the heraldry of Ireland, and the red saltire would have shown the Irish link to the Union Flag far more clearly, without rubbing the noses of those who do not wish to be part of the union in it in a way that nationalists in Scotland and Wales do not have to suffer.

      3. i see u can copy and paste of wikipedia..congrats! yea but the nationalists in wales and scotland dont constantly demand things that have anything at all british be removed from their countries and cry wolf when something doesnt go their way, the phrase ” their (the brits) are denying are cultural heritage) comes to mind” “its sectarian (at anything identified with britain” change the tune and realise your part of the uk whether u like it or not

      4. My suggestions are as British as the Scottish flag, as a matter of fact.

        We live in a context where for decades, nationalists were victimised and discriminated against in a “Protestant government for a Protestant people,” which may have been “protestant” but didn’t resemble Christian.

        We gave them something to complain about – something which you cannot honestly say happened in Scotland or Wales.

  2. Why change the flag at all, without making this forum a them and us contest, the flag has been good enough in the past so what has changed. Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom, there are 6 counties (the star) and we are loyal to the Queen (the crown). Granted the Welsh flag or Saltire dont have a crown, but then they never have so like the Northern Ireland flag, no need to change it. The name of the Police Force was changed to acccommodate, yet if your from the Loyalist side of the fence, its difficult to obtain a job however if you are from the nationalist side, you stand a far better chance, but still the nationalists do not join, for numerous reasons Im sure ….

  3. Quite like the design for a new NornIrl flag – the flag has not “been good enough for us in the past”. It was perceived (by all and sundry) as Unionist. I assume the Linen Hall Library has a fine collection of Unionist election posters and flyers, all featuring the ‘Ulster’ flag and the Union flag. They treated both as being ‘Glengall Street’ copy writes. (It was a it demeaning – the Tories Over Here seem to have learned the flag isn’t their property to wave about at will).

  4. I think the Giant’s Causeway Flax Flower flag is a refreshing change and hopefully will be adopted as the flag of Northern Ireland. Almost all the other flags are divisive or hark back to ostensibly praiseworthy but highly debatable historical events. Was the Christianisation of the Fili worthwhile? What is so great about a severed hand being thrown ashore? Will our political parameters always rest between the extremes of the Vatican’s Albania and shutting the gates of Derry against the world? Our farm was at Creeveroe, Cu Chulainn’s training ground, my grandfather founded an Orange Lodge, my ancestor was the last soldier killed on the Protestant side at the Siege of Derry. My father fought in both world wars and I served in an elite British regiment but unsuccessfully called for joint Irish and British patrols for NI in 1969. I have British and Irish passports and have tried to learn the Irish language. And frankly I am sick of it all. Maybe the Giant’s Causeway won’t last as long as sectarian division in Northern Ireland but I’m using that flag from now on.

  5. I personally blog too and I am crafting something similar to
    this particular blog post, “Time for a flag for Northern Ireland?

    Weve been without for forty years. | Gyronny Herald”.
    Would you mind in the event I personallyimplement a
    lot of of your own concepts? Many thanks -Dorris

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