What are the rules around using the national flag. Is it true that you can’t write on it?
The National Flag of Ireland is often referred to as the tricolour and consists of three colours – green, white and orange. It was adopted as the flag of the Irish Free State in 1922. It was formally confirmed as the National Flag in the 1937 Constitution:
“The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange.”
Article 7: Bunreacht na hÉireann.
As part of the 1916 commemorations, the national flag was presented to every primary and post-primary school in the State. Along with the flag, schools received a copy of the 1916 Proclamation as Gaeilge and in English, and a booklet detailing the guidelines for respecting the flag.
These guidelines are issued by the Department of the Taoiseach and give extensive information about when the flag can be flown and how it should be used. For example, no other flag or pennant should be flown above it when it is being flown in Ireland. Care must also be taken not to let the flag touch the ground or become entangled with trees.
The flag should never be defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it, for example, at sporting events and it should not be draped on cars, trains, boats or other modes of transport. It should not be carried flat, except when used to drape a coffin. The rules also say the national flag should be replaced if it has become worn or frayed, as it is no longer fit for display in a respectful manner. The same principles apply if the flag is reproduced in printed or electronic format.
However, these guidelines are not statutory guidelines. In other words, there are no laws setting out the rules around use of the flag. This means that there are no penalties for anyone who does not follow the guidelines.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000