The Discover Northern Ireland website has announced plans to make national Flag Day an annual fixture in the country’s social calendar following the runaway success of this year’s event.
Spokesman for NITB Claire McDonnell said; ‘What started out as a one day event marked by the lowering of the Union flag over Belfast City Hall has turned into weeks of celebrations, what with all those parades of flag waving revelers followed by fireworks and bonfires. It really has brought all sections of the community together. Even the police joined in towards the end there. It was just like the old days.’
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers commented ‘Northern Ireland has a huge number of events and festivals taking place throughout the year to suit all interests. From the Orange Order march to the Apprentice Boys and Easter marches there really is something for everyone. I’m sure that with the new Flag Day next year tourists will just pour into Province, we’ve already had enquiries from as far afield as Tottenham.’
Despite the brave face being put on by the Tourist Board, the local business community has not been so impressed, complaining of disruption, absenteeism and loss of profits.
In an attempt to reach some sort of compromise Northern Ireland’s business development agency has proposed that next year Flag Day be marked by the lowering of the flag but only to half mast, in memory of the death of inward investment.