The decision to fly the Union Jack over Monmouth’s Shire Hall building has been met with outrage from nationalists for not flying the Welsh flag during the Ryder Cup golf tournament, which is hosted nearby. The building, which normally flies the Welsh dragon, will instead be flying the Union Jack, in a move which has drawn furor from residents and re-ignited arguments over whether Monmouth is “really Welsh”.
Stephen Clarke, a local historian and archaeologist is one of the chief critics of the decision, and has been dismayed to see the Welsh Red Dragon flag missing from the offices for a few months.
Mr Clarke said that the amount of attention the area was receiving for hosting the Ryder cup meant sentiment was running particularly high. He said:
“There are all sorts of silly legends about Monmouthshire being separate to Wales but they are all myth really. Monmouth is the first town over the border – on the A40 and the gateway to Wales – we should be flying our flag.”
Monmouthshire County Council’s chief officer for regeneration and culture, Kellie Beirne, has resisted calls to rethink the decision over which flag to fly, quoting the reason that they did not want to re-engage the debate about the so-called ‘Welshness’ of Monmouth. She said:
“The Shire Hall in Monmouth is a historically important building and the town itself plays a significant part in both Welsh and English history. It doesn’t need a national flag to demonstrate that.”