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Folk singer from area where 60% of houses are holiday homes releases protest song

29 Oct 2021 3 minute read
Catrin O’Neill

A folk singer from a community where over 60% of the houses are second homes or holiday homes has released a protest song.

Catrin O’Neill, who lives in Aberdyfi, says affordable housing is incredibly rare, which means local people have to move from the area in order to buy a house.

She says it’s the same story in many other areas of Wales, especially in rural areas where many of the people feel like strangers in their own community because of the housing crisis.

This is the inspiration for her Welsh language song Tyddyn y Gwin which was written by fellow housing campaigner Robat Idris.

Catrin said: “I used to feel hopeless about what was happening in my beautiful village… but I refuse to sit and cry any longer. Instead I am going to use my craft and my energy to create meaningful change.”

During the lockdown Catrin came into contact with Steve and Clara Wilson and along with some other people from the same mindset, they went on to establish The Housing Justice Charter, a petition that has had over 5,000 signatures so far.

‘What’s happening in rural Wales’ 

“The song’s lyrics are an attempt in the form of a parable” according to campaigner Robat Idris, who wrote the words to the song, “to give a taste of what’s happening to us in rural Wales over the last decades.

“We’re seeing our communities dissolve, our children leave and our houses falling through our hands – a process that’s sped up in the last year or two, making us more worried than ever about the future of our language and our communities.

“There’s no analysis here, no offering answers, only taking the imaginary name Tyddyn y Gwin to represent a wider decay – elderly parents with their memories and their children in different places around the world. Ultimately, there’s nothing to prove that the Welsh ever lived there.

“Generations of protecting a place and area and language came to an end in a blink of an eye when Tyddyn y Gwin was sold.”

Catrin added: “It’s been quite an interesting journey over the last year. From feeling so isolated and hopeless, to meeting inspirational and passionate people and creating the Charter, and then out of that seeing this song coming to life, a song that’s been inspired by the love we share over our communities and language.”

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Ed Jones
Ed Jones
2 years ago

Heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking. Ethnic cleansing is alive and well in north Wales. Feel so helpless. I live amidst a community being transformed by greed and it is both maddening and cruel. Help us, someone, before it’s too late.

Gareth David Edwards
Gareth David Edwards
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

Ed, we need to help ourselves. Time to get off our asses and raise bloody hell before our nation evaporates before our eyes.

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