Home » Flag and lighting up policy to avoid ‘creating tensions’ to be presented to full council
Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire Politics West Wales

Flag and lighting up policy to avoid ‘creating tensions’ to be presented to full council

AN OFFICIAL policy for flying flags at, and lighting up Pembrokeshire’s County Hall in order to avoid “the potential to cause controversy and create tensions between community groups,” is to be presented to full council.

At the April meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Policy & Pre-Decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee, members agreed – with one vote against – to recommend official guidance for the flying of flags and lighting up of County Hall is backed by full council at its May 9 meeting.

The call for official guidance had been made following a March request by Cllr Huw Murphy for the Haverfordwest home of Pembrokeshire County Council to fly the Falklands flag on June 14, to mark the islands’ “return of democratic rule following an illegal military occupation by Argentina” 40 years beforehand, in 1982.

At that meeting, members agreed to refer the matter to the committee, along with official guidance on lighting-up, through a cross-party group.

Leader Cllr David Simpson said: “Like all symbols, flags and the lighting up of buildings are open to wide-ranging interpretations and therefore also have the potential to cause controversy, and create tensions between community groups whose opinions may differ, a situation which we ourselves have experienced here previously.

“County Hall should be a neutral venue and I therefore suggest we secure cross-party support for any cause requesting the flying of a flag or lighting up of the building.”

Members of the April committee heard a long list recommendations and conditions for both flags and the ‘lighting up,’ one of the recommendations for refusal was “for any party political purposes either, locally, regionally, nationally or internationally”.

It also said any requests “considered to be of a political or potentially controversial nature,” will require the consideration and approval of the leader of the council in consultation with the chief executive, in accordance with the code of recommended practice on Local Authority publicity in Wales.

The final decision will be made by full council at its May meeting.

County Hall has previously been ‘lit up’ for a wide variety of reasons including Holocaust Memorial Day, Universal Children’s Day, International Women’s Day, in tribute to NHS workers, and to mark domestic abuse awareness month.

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It has also been lit up for LGBT+ History Month and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.