A COUNCIL was yesterday accused of failing to fly the Saltire on its municipal buildings on St Andrew’s Day.

Inverclyde Council did fly the Saltire from its main municipal flagpole in Greenock – but, unlike in previous years, the flag was missing from its former municipal buildings in Gourock, where a Union Flag had flown on Remembrance Sunday.

Local authorities in Scotland follow the flag-flying policy of the Scottish Government which states that the Saltire should be flown from flagpoles and Government buildings with flagpoles on St Andrew’s Day.

November 30 is one of the official flag days to which the policy applies. Prior to 2002, only Union Flags flew from Government buildings on St Andrew’s Day but the then Labour-LibDem coalition brought in the Saltire.

The National was contacted by a reader who said the absence of the Saltire on St Andrew’s Day was an “insult to Scotland” but The National can reveal that no offence was intended and the flag’s absence was due to the fact that the council could not get hold of a cherry picker to raise the Saltire in Gourock.

One disgruntled local took to Twitter to raise the issue: “Very, very angry this morning. I thought it was law that all council buildings flew the St Andrew’s flag on St Andrew’s day. So why then haven’t you rung up @GourockCC and chewed them out for not flying it. And for that matter, any other council building, as well as schools that don’t.”

The council Twitter feed operator replied: “We ARE flying the Saltire. It is on our headquarters building in Greenock. Our partners @InverclydeL are also flying the Saltire at the Port Glasgow town hall.

“Limited access has restricted our ability to fly it at the former municipal buildings in Gourock.”

The local, known as Isabeau, replied: “Thank you. Happy St Andrew’s Day.”

The building is leased by the Council to its arms-length development company Riverside Inverclyde who referred us to the council which raises and lowers any flags put on their flagpole.

A spokesman for Inverclyde pointed out that as Riverside Inverclyde is now the occupant of the former Gourock municipal offices, the building is no longer covered by the policy.

The spokesman added that the cherry picker necessary to raise flags in Gourock was not available for St Andrew’s Day but had been available for Remembrance Sunday.

SNP group leader Councillor Chris McEleny said he would not be complaining as that would take up council time, but he did feel that the council should have organised that the flag could be raised.

He said assurances had been given that a cherry picker would be made available to avert such a situation in Gourock again.

McEleny told The National: “We have much greater problems to tackle in Inverclyde than the question of which flag flies where, such as child poverty and unemployment, but the fact is that people expect to see the national flag of Scotland flying from our buildings on St Andrew’s Day.

“While Riverside Inverclyde is an arms-length company, it is still attached to the council and is housed in the former Gourock municipal offices, so just as local people saw the Union Flag flying from those buildings on Remembrance Sunday, so they expected to see the Saltire flying on St Andrew’s Day and this should have been anticipated and a cherry picker ordered to enable the flag to be flown.

“I will presume that the assurances that have been given for next year will be adhered to.”