Carmarthenshire Council criticised for not flying Union Jack above County Hall
A former Carmarthenshire councillor said he felt aggrieved at the absence of the Union Jack flag at the council’s headquarters, and was critical of its flag-flying policy.
Robin Griffiths, 76, said he recalls the Union Jack flying above County Hall, Carmarthen, and reckoned it should occupy an empty flagpole there.
It was raised following the death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8, where it fluttered alongside the Welsh, Carmarthenshire and Ukrainian flags.
“I thought this is too good to be true,” said Mr Griffiths, of Llangunnor.
But his satisfaction was short-lived as the Union flag was taken down again.
Mr Griffiths said he phoned the council to ask why, and was told civic buildings in Llanelli and Ammanford only had three flagpoles – flying the Welsh, Carmarthenshire and Ukrainian flags – and it would be inconsistent if County Hall differed.
He said: “I said, ‘What a load of rubbish’. People come over the bridge and see three flags flying, which is great, but the other flagpole is empty.”
Mr Griffiths said the Union Jack was a symbol for those who had died in war-time service.
“It made me so cross,” he said. “This has upset a lot of people.”
He has received an email from the council, which confirmed that the County Hall flags generally mirrored the town hall ones in Llanelli and Ammanford.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the council only flew flags of any description on designated days in order not to devalue their significance, although the council leader has some discretion.
On March 9, the then leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said at a full council meeting that the authority stood in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian flag was to fly alongside the Welsh and county flags as a sign of that unity. These three flags have been raised since, with the Union one hoisted on designated days.
The email to Mr Griffiths said: “As a mark of respect following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, the leader asked for the Union flag to be flown on the fourth flag pole for an extended amount of time between the end of the period of mourning and the birthday of HM King Charles III on November 14, following which the consistency in terms of the flags in Llanelli and Ammanford would return.”
It added that the council’s flag and building illumination protocol will be reviewed following the death of the Queen.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the council if it wanted to respond further to Mr Griffiths’s concerns but it said it had replied directly to him.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.