In a recent parliamentary inquiry, Captain Craig of East Down questioned the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland about the controversial exclusion of the British Flag from the decoration of the Munster-Connaught Exhibition premises. The opening ceremony of the exhibition, presided over by Lord Aberdeen, saw the notable absence of the British Flag, a decision made through a special resolution.
Captain Craig sought clarification on whether the Lord Lieutenant was informed of this resolution and the absence of the British Flag before officiating the opening ceremony. Additionally, he inquired if the presence of his Excellency at the exhibition, given these circumstances, had the approval of His Majesty’s Ministers.
Mr Joyce from Limerick interjected, questioning the relevance of the British Flag to an Irish exhibition, eliciting laughter from the assembly. In response, Mr Bryce stated that he lacked information on the matter, emphasizing that issues concerning the personal actions of the Lord Lieutenant, particularly during ceremonial events, fell outside his purview.
Undeterred, Captain Craig pressed the inquiry, expressing concern over whether the Lord Lieutenant was aware of the perceived insult to the British Flag. He further queried whether the government, if aware of the situation, condoned it and if they were satisfied with the actions taken by the Lord Lieutenant.
Mr Bryce maintained his lack of knowledge on the subject, prompting a suggestion from an honorable member to investigate the matter. In the midst of the exchange, Mr Joyce, representing Limerick, asserted the city’s autonomy in choosing which flags to fly.
Captain Craig sought clarification on the nature of the Lord Lieutenant’s visit, questioning whether it was purely personal or if there was an official dimension. The Speaker intervened, reminding the assembly that Mr Bryce had previously stated his lack of knowledge on the matter, garnering cheers from the government benches.
Despite assertions that the Lord Lieutenant’s visit was personal, Captain Craig continued to question the existence of precedents within the broader British Empire for such unofficial visits by officials.
In the unfolding parliamentary debate, the absence of the British Flag at the Munster-Connaught Exhibition has become a focal point, raising questions about the propriety of such decisions and the implications for diplomatic and ceremonial protocol. The exchange also touched upon the broader issue of regional autonomy, with Limerick asserting its right to display flags as it deems fit.
As the parliamentary inquiry progresses, it remains to be seen whether further information will come to light regarding the circumstances surrounding the exclusion of the British Flag from the exhibition and the implications for the Lord Lieutenant’s involvement in the opening ceremony.
Morning Post – Thursday 01 November 1906