March 2016

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Your Defence Forces Newsletter THE NATIONAL FLAG The National Flag (An Bhratach Náisiúnta) or tri-colour (green, white and orange) symbolises the inclusion and hoped-for union of the people from the different traditions on this island. Though it can be traced to the mid-19th century, following the 1916 Eas- ter Rising, it captured the national imagination as the banner of the new revolutionary Ireland, the tri-colour came to be acclaimed throughout the country as the National Flag. It continued to be used by the Free State from 1922, when in 1937, it was given recognition in Constitution. Today, the Taoiseach's Department has general responsibility for the National Flag and the protocols for its use. The National Flag is rectangular in shape, the width being twice its depth. The three colours green, white and orange are of equal size, and vertically disposed. No flag or pennant should be flown above the National Flag. On ceremonial occasions when the National Flag is being hoisted, or lowered, or when it is passing by in a parade, all present (military) should face it, stand to attention and salute. Persons in uniform who normally salute with the hand should give the hand salute. Persons in civilian attire should salute by stand- ing to attention. The salute to the Flag when it is being borne past in a parade is rendered when the Flag is six paces away and the salute is held until the Flag has passed by. When the National Anthem is played in the presence of the National Flag, all present should face the National Flag, stand to attention and salute it, remaining at the salute until the last note of the Anthem. If the flag is used as a decoration, it should always be treated with due respect. It may be used as a discreet lapel button or rosette or as a centerpiece for a table. Where multiple National Flags are flown on festive occasions these should be of uniform dimensions. When the National Flag has become worn or frayed it is no longer fit for display, and should not be used in any manner implying disrespect. CARRIAGE AND DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL FLAG When the National Flag is carried with another flag, or flags, it should be carried in a place of honour (on the marching right-or on the left of an observer towards whom the flags are approaching). While being carried the National Flag should not be dipped by way of salute or compliment except to the dead during memorial ceremo- nies. The flag should not be draped over a platform or defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it, for example at sport- ing events. The National Flag should not be draped on cars, trains, boats or other modes of transport and it should not be carried flat, but should be always carried aloft and free, except when used to drape a coffin, on such an occasion, the green must be at the head of the coffin. When the National Flag is displayed in either a horizontal or vertical position the green should be on the right (an observer's left) in the horizontal position and in the vertical position green must be the uppermost colour. In raising or lowering, the National Flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. When being hoisted to half-mast, the Flag should first be brought to the peak of the flagstaff and then lowered to the half-mast position. It should again be brought to the peak of the staff before it is finally lowered. A flag is at half-mast in any position below the top of the staff but never below the middle point of the staff. As a general guide, the half-mast position may be taken as that where the top of the flag is the depth of the flag.

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