Flag of the Government of Northern Ireland (1924–1973)
The Ulster Banner, also known as the "Red Hand Flag" or the "Ulster Flag" (not to be confused with the provincial Flag of Ulster), was the flag that was granted a royal warrant for use to the Government of Northern Ireland in 1924. In common with other British flags, any civic status of the flag was not defined in law.
The Government of Northern Ireland was granted arms (the Coat of arms of Northern Ireland) by Royal Warrant and had the right to display these arms on a flag or banner. This right was exercised for the Coronation in 1953 when the banner was flown for the first time over Parliament Buildings in honour of the Queen's visit. Also during the Queen's visit, on July 1, 1953, the Minister for Home Affairs announced that, while the Union flag was the only standard officially recognised, those who wished to have a distinctive Ulster symbol might use the banner. When the Parliament of Northern Ireland was dissolved by the British government under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, the flag ceased to be used by a body with a royal warrant but remains the only flag to date which represents Northern Ireland (98% of Catholics regard the flag as a symbol of unionist domination and hatred of Ireland ) at international level in sport.
Since the Northern Ireland government and parliament were abolished in 1972, use of the Ulster Banner among loyalists has increased.