Call for dedicated Welsh Language Minister after mini-reshuffle hands Morgan health responsibilities

Eluned Morgan. Picture by the Senedd. (CC BY 2.0)

A Welsh language campaign group have called on the First Minister to establish a specific Welsh language minister after Eluned Morgan was given responsibilities for health.

Mark Drakeford announced a mini-reshuffle on Thursday, appointing Eluned Morgan to the post of Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and the Welsh Language.

She was previously Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.

Dyfodol i’r Iaith called on the First Minister to establish a specific Welsh Language Minister, saying that it had seldom been a priority for any minister in charge of it.

Heini Gruffudd, Chair of Dyfodol i’r Iaith, said, “We have for many years seen the Welsh language as an area of responsibility of a Minister who is under great pressure from other directions.

“Carwyn Jones as First Minister had, in fairness,  shouldered the burden of the Welsh language, but it was impossible for him to give priority to the language.  Then came Brexit and now Covid-19 and related health issues.  It is not possible for all matters associated with the Welsh language to have a fair hearing in such a situation.

“We were promised by the Government that the Welsh language department would become an influential body within the Government.  There has been silence since then.”

 

‘Attention’

Heini Gruffudd said that the coronavirus pandemic presented unique challenges for Welsh language communities that needed to be tackled.

“Covid-19 has caused a crisis for Welsh-speaking communities, and for the cultural life of the Welsh language,” he said.

“Dyfodol i’r Iaith has consistently called for a National Authority to co-ordinate language planning in Wales across all areas of government responsibilities. We want the Language Authority to be independent of the whims of government.

“The marginal attention given to Welsh in the Government’s arrangements proves the need for an arm’s length Linguistic Planning Authority. It is essential that it can liaise with a Minister who will be able to give all his or her attention to the Welsh language.

“We need a National Language Authority that will have resources and power to co-ordinate and stimulate the regeneration of the language. And we need a Welsh Language Minister who will be able to give this his or her whole attention.”

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