Posted: Thu 28th Mar 2024

Welsh Flag Raised at Monmouthshire Public Building After Retired Teacher’s Campaign /

A RETIRED teacher is claiming victory after the red dragon was raised at one of Monmouthshire’s most prominent public buildings and the Union Flag lowered. 
Peter Williams has been in dispute with the Shire Hall in Monmouth since June last year after spotting the red, white and blue and combined crosses of the Union Flag fluttering above it with the Welsh flag nowhere to be seen. 
But the former deputy head teacher was further enraged on March 1 this year when he realised the council-owned building, run as a museum, wasn’t even following what it had told him was its policy of flying Y Ddraig Goch on St David’s Day. 
“It is a disgrace no Welsh flag was flown on St David’s Day,” said Mr Williams who said the excuse given for the failure to fly the national flag with the red dragon against a green and white background on the patron saint’s day was due to a hail storm and a weak flag pole. 
During his dispute with the attraction, run by Monmouthshire County Council’s Mon Life leisure service, Mr Williams uncovered that it had been following guidance on flag flying issued by the UK Government that only applied to England. 
The Welsh flag has now been flying above the 300-year-old Shire Hal since Mr Williams made his latest complaint and contacted Monmouth Labour councillor Catherine Fookes and council leader Mary Ann Brocklesby. 
“They were very supportive and dismayed by the situation and the Welsh flag is now flying proudly on Monmouth Shire Hall,” said Mr Williams. 
He had first questioned the absence of the Welsh flag from the grade one listed building in June 2023 and was told the Union Flag must be flown above the Welsh banner and the “integrity of the flagpole ” meant that wasn’t possible. 
Staff at the Shire Hall then emailed Mr Willliams a copy of the protocol it was following, titled UK Government: Flying Flags; A plain English Guide.  
Mr Williams said he then pointed out the protocol states it applies to England and he said by September last year he had confirmation from the Welsh Government it has issued no diktat to local authorities on flag flying from their buildings. 
“I’ve had no response on who is responsible for implementing English guidelines here in Wales,” said Mr Williams who moved with his wife to Monmouthshire in November 2020 after teaching for more than 30 years in the West Midlands. 
“It is half way between our daughter in Worcestershire and son in Cardiff and a pleasant area to live in and we wanted to come back to Wales,” said Mr Williams who is originally from Aberdare. 
But he said he was concerned flying the Union flag was symptomatic of a lack of respect towards Welsh culture in the area. 
“We moved during Covid but as things got back to normal I started to realise the public building had the Union Jack and it should have the Welsh flag. I just picked up the vibe in Monmouth that there is anti-Welsh sentiment such as letters in the newspapers complaining about the Welsh language or bilingualism.” 
A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “After feedback and comments from the community about flying the Welsh flag, we are proudly doing so for the coming months at the Shire Hall. We will review options to consider flag mountings and future arrangements.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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