Ripon council apologise over no-show flag to mark Tunisia attack

Ripon Town Hall. 100729AR1pic4.
Ripon Town Hall. 100729AR1pic4.

A Ripon councillor has admitted he was ‘embarrassed’ that the city did not fly their flag at half mast to commemorate the recent Tunisia attacks.

The UK observed an official day of mourning of Friday, July 3, after a terror attack in Tunisia killed 38 people, 30 of whom were British.

As a mark of respect for those who died in Tunisia, the Prime Minister asked all government departments, military bases and embassies to lower their Union Flag to half-mast.

Many council building across the country also lowered their flags to half-mast to show their respect but residents expressed disappointment that Ripon had not followed suit.

At the Ripon City Council meeting on Monday, July 27, Coun Stuart Martin (Cons)expressed his desire to ensure the council did not make the mistake again in the future.

He said: “I was embarrassed that we were out of step with the majority of the country with 38 people murdered in Tunisia and we should have been flying the flag.

“We were out of step with the rest of the city and I don’t want that to happen ever again. Whenever there are occasions where a flag should be flown we should have a flag on this building representing Ripon.”

While Coun Martin’s views were widely applauded, some councillors believed it was the responsibility of Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) to initiate flying the flag.

However, HBC have said it was up to Ripon City Council to exercise their own discretion on when to request putting the flag up.

A statement from HBC said: “HBC receives a standard list from Central Government regarding dates on which the flag should be flown on our buildings – of which Ripon Town Hall is one.

“This list includes dates such as the Queen’s birthday. We also fly the flag or put it at half-mast on a building if asked to do so.

“Ripon City Council are able to exercise their own discretion on occasions outside of the standard list and do so every year when they ask us to put the flag up on Yorkshire Day. However, on this particular occasion we did not receive any request from the City Council.”

Despite the confusion over the responsibility for flying flag, Coun Martin said he would ensure the mistake would not happen again.

Coun Martin said: “I’m elected to represent Ripon on Harrogate Borough Council, irrespective of which council it is. They are the people we represent, they are the people we should be apologising to.

“I am happy to stand up and apologise to the people in this room for not ensuring that Ripon Town Hall had a flag flying and as far as I’m concerned it will not happen again.”