I took this photograph in Ballina at the weekend. Note the flagpoles inside the ground at Ballina Cathedral. The place of honour on the highest flagpole is the National Flag. Alongside it on the lower flagpoles are the Flag of the Vatican and Mayo County colours (green and red).
What all Republicans believe. What most Irish Catholics believe. The Primacy of the Republic to make laws for the People of Ireland.
Take a look at the monument to French General Humbert in Ballina. Erected in 1898 to commemorate the 1798 Rebellion, it not only references a local priest killed during that Rebellion, the monument notes the contribution of “priests and people” in financing the monument.
And yet there is an irony. Like many, I believe that the 1798 Rebellion was actually three different Rebellions. Mayo and Sligo was almost a throwback to the 17th century.
The priests and peasants who marched with General Humbert would not have been aware of Humberts campaign against Catholics in the Vendee.
I find these images significant in the week that Church and State in Ireland SEEMED to be at loggerheads over the Abortion legislation.
The point surely is that it is possible to be a devout Catholic and still believe in the Primacy of the Republic of Ireland. A countless number of Catholics (and indeed people of all and no religion) fought and died for that principle.