Councillor brands Tory council’s Union Jack bunting on St David’s Day as an ‘insult’
A Plaid Cymru councillor has blasted the decision to have Union Jack bunting up in a Welsh town centre on St David’s Day.
Paul Penlington, who is a member of Denbighshire County Council, has taken aim at the move by the Tory Town Council after the High Street in Prestatyn was decorated with Union flags as well as Welsh flags.
Local residents have been kicking off about the decision, and Cllr Penlington has described it as an “insult” to Wales’ “history and culture”.
The Town Council initiative was commissioned as a dual celebration both for St David’s Day and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.
A Facebook post on the issue quickly erupted into a heated debate about Welsh identity, Wales’ history and cultural subjugation by England.
Cllr Penlington told Nation.Cymru: “We have the largest Welsh language school in the county and around 25% of our population are fluent Welsh speakers. Many families, including my own, have lived locally for hundreds of years.
“That was largely forgotten as the town put a very poor show on for St David’s day compared to the huge celebrations in neighbouring towns.
“Choosing to give equal status to Yr Ddraig Goch with the Union Jack on our national saints day was an insult to our history and culture, claiming it as a cost cutting exercise is a very poor excuse as PTC are planning to spend tens of thousands on Jubilee celebrations later this year.
“I appreciate some people see value in the impending Jubilee but spending public money on that, especially in the current climate, should have been done in consultation with the people of Prestatyn not a handful of Cllrs behind closed doors.”
The Town council has said it wanted to replace coloured bunting hung across the High Street that had grown old and tired as part of its plans for the Jubilee and because it wanted to celebrate St David’s Day as well, it placed an order for Welsh flags at the same time.
Councillors say they opted to erect the Welsh and Union bunting at the same time in order to save on the costs of twice hiring cherry-pickers.
Sharon Frobisher, Mayor of Prestatyn and Meliden defended the move, saying: “It was a cost-effective solution that makes the High Street more attractive and supports local businesses.”
However, not everyone agrees, with one resident commenting: “You don’t see the union flag flown on St Andrews or St Patrick’s Day”.
“Welsh people just wish to be Welsh and have that respected in their own country.”
Another resident said: “We don’t need to be reminded that we are a colony on our patron saint’s day.”
One person said: “St David’s Day is understandable. We should have the Welsh flag up all year round.
“But the jubilee? It’s not being officially celebrated until June.”
But David Williams said: “Whether we like it or not Cymru is part of the UK at present so the Union Jack will always be a flag that we’ll see.
“I do understand the cost issue of doing them all at once as well. What we do need to question though really is our future within the UK and whether we’re really represented within the ‘union’.
“I don’t think we are so perhaps we won’t have to see the Union Jacks flown forever if we go our own way one day.”
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