I just need to Flag something up…

I’ve never been to Northern Ireland. I’ve been to the Republic of Ireland, but apparently they’re not the same (accordingly to Gerry Adams anyway, although I’m not sure why he’s got a bee in his bonnet all of a sudden?).

I’m not entirely sure, but I think Northern Ireland is the part of Ireland where everyone walks around with flat caps and whippets and they insist on having gravy with their pints of Guinness. Unfortunately, for many years there has been bloodshed between people with differing views in Northern Ireland, often between Catholics and Protestants – or if you like ‘Christians’…

The most recent flare up is because Belfast City Council voted to only fly the Union Jack on certain days – and given that those days weren’t ‘days with a y in them’ certain people have taken issue with it and decided to start throwing petrol bombs at shops windows.

This has led to calls to ‘build relationships’ – but unfortunately, Northern Ireland’s main building material is bricks and these have all been thrown at policeman (most of whom are quite intimidated… many of them are said to be bricking it…).

Obviously, it’s not the first time a flag has caused controversy, but normally flag-related stories in the news do involve flags being set alight (I’m sure there must be some enormous shops in the Middle East which only sell 3 products: American flags, paraffin and matches). The slight difference in the current case in Northern Ireland is that the flag is a sacred object to the rioters – so they’ve resolved to set fire to everything else other than the flag.

Clearly this is a big issue in Northern Ireland, the last major controversy they had there was when the golfer Rory McIlroy became embroiled in a row with a gardener over the cost of some paving stones that had been laid in his garden – but as I say, Flags are a big issue in Northern Ireland…

The cost of policing these protests is estimated to have reached a whopping £7million – which is almost enough to trigger Demba Ba’s old release clause, is probably the equivalent value to one of Lionel Messi’s toenails and is exactly 7,000,000 more pounds than Starbucks normally pay in corporation tax per year.

Accordingly, the protests have been condemned as they’re bad for business (unless your business is repairing windows or towing away burned out cars). That said, Ireland (the Republic in particular) is a place renowned for its innovation within the economy; a few years ago, the entire city of Cork was listed for offering on the stock market – and things went pretty well… it floated…

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