Economy Secretary “was told of Iron Ring connotations"

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Welsh Government were briefed on the crass implications of Flint Castle iron ring symbol but pursued plans regardless

Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Adam Price has uncovered evidence that the Cabinet Secretary knew about insensitive implications of the Iron Ring sculpture at Flint Castle before the announcement was made.

In a letter to Plaid Cymru AM Dai Lloyd in September, the Cabinet Secretary had said that the decision to pause and review plans to build an iron ring sculpture at Flint Castle was taken after he “listened to and recognised the strength of feeling” around the plans.

However, a Freedom of Information request has uncovered that the Cabinet Secretary was warned by civil servants before the plans were announced about the fact that the plans symbolise a “celebration” of the oppression of the people of Wales.

Civil servants wrote that:

“The term ‘ring of iron’ was coined in the 19th century to describe the chain of castles built by Edward I after the first and the second Welsh wars of independence in the 13th century. These castles were used to cement Edward’s successful campaigns and put an end to Welsh ambitions for independence from England once and for all. Flint was one of these castles. So in effect some people may see the ‘ring of iron’ as some sort of reinforcement or celebration of this.”

In the Ministerial Advice note, it states:

“[The iron ring sculpture] marks Flint Castle as the first of Wales’ historic Iron Ring Castles built by King Edward I to supress Welsh uprisings, a project that was the most ambitious and concentrated building project in medieval Europe.”

Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Adam Price said:

“The Welsh Government’s plans to build a sculpture to celebrate the oppression of Wales was crass and insensitive.

“The Welsh Government were aware that this would be seen as a celebration of our oppression, and the Cabinet Secretary was told about these historic resonances.

“Short of being “epic”, this plan was embarrassing for the government and insulting to Wales. The Cabinet Secretary is yet to apologise for his ineptitude – I hope that he will do so now.”

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