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Campaigners urge Ceredigion Council to adopt Welsh as main language of internal administration

13 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Ceredigion County Council offices. Photo by Ian Capper is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Language campaigners have urged Ceredigion Council to move towards using Welsh as the main language of its internal administration.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Ceredigion has also written to Efa Gruffudd Jones, the Welsh Language Commissioner, calling on her to encourage the Ceredigion Council to introduce the move.

Gwynedd Council has been using Welsh as the main language of internal administration since 1996, while Carmarthenshire Council made the change in 2014 and Anglesey Council switched to Welsh in 2017.

Ceredigion Council is a member of the ARFOR scheme, a joint venture by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey Councils which seeks to use entrepreneurship and economic development to support the heartlands of the Welsh language but is the only council which does not use Welsh as the main language of internal administration.

In March 2011 the leader of Ceredigion Council at the time, Ellen ap Gwynn, committed to support the principle of making Welsh the official language of internal administration.

But Cymdeithas yr Iaith observes there has been no movement since then.

Incentive

The campaign group argues that if Ceredigion Council were to formally adopt the principle of using Welsh as the main language of internal administration “not only would this enable the Welsh speakers who already work for the Council to make more use of the language in their work every day, but that would also act as an incentive for others to improve their Welsh skills”.

The Council is one of the county’s main employers, so it is seen as having a key role in creating opportunities to use the language every day and contribute to the growth in the number of Welsh speakers in the county.

The council’s Welsh Language Standards Annual Reports between 2018 and 2022 revealed the percentage of staff who speak and understand Welsh fluently (ALTE level 5) has remained at around 33%; the percentage who can write Welsh fluently has remained at 25%; and the percentage who can read Welsh fluently is static at 29%.

The percentage who can speak and understand Welsh between levels 3 and 5 has varied between 62% and 63%.

Census

According to the latest Census, the percentage of Welsh speakers in Ceredigion fell from 47.3% in 2011 to 45.3% in 2021.

There were around 3,300 fewer Welsh-speaking Ceredigion residents (over the age of three years) in 2021 compared with 2011.

Sian Howys from Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “We realise that the Council will not be able to switch to administering mainly through Welsh overnight, but that is no reason not to aim to that.

“If we set a definite goal towards working mainly in Welsh, we could start by moving towards making Welsh the main administrative language in the near future.

“The recent results of the Census require firm and decisive policy changes to reverse the current decline of the language in the county.

“Changing the main language of Ceredigion Council’s internal administration to Welsh is one of the changes that is essential as we realize that goal.”


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Frank
Frank
10 months ago

Clywch clywch.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
10 months ago

Do all these Cymdeithas people work at Ceredigion and if not how do the staff there feel about outsiders campaigning to radically change their working lives? Fewer than half the residents of Ceredigion can speak Welsh but that does not tell us what percentage actually do use Welsh as a first language in dealing with bureaucracy. It also does not tell us whether that less than half of the population have the necessary skills and/or qualifications to do the work at the council. It is an admirable idea but has enough negative aspects to make it a very expensive exercise… Read more »

Gruff Williams
Gruff Williams
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

“Fewer than half the residents of Ceredigion can speak Welsh”, As only 54% of Ceredigion residents are from Wales, that is hardly bloody surprising.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Why would it be a ‘very expensive exercise’? I don’t understand. The administration language would switch gradually, and more jobs would be advertised as ‘Bilingual Welsh and English Essential’.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Nobody expects it to happen overnight, but it’s self-evidently a worthwhile exercise that settlers will gradually adjust to, especially that proportion of them who are well-disposed towards the Welsh language; their children will have a degree of competence in Welsh, anyway, since they are taught it in school, and certainly when these become adults they will have grown up with Welsh as the language of the council workplace.

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 months ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

Most white settlers derive their behaviours from the AngloBrit supremacist model – key words “why should I bother?”. Their agenda is based on assimilation and eventual eradication of any distinctive identity characteristics. There is a minority of good people arriving in our country the rest of them are just importing their culture and don’t have any respect for anything else.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
10 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Then they’ll have two choices if Ceredigion adopt this policy: learn Welsh, or don’t make enquiries to the council.

Gruff Williams
Gruff Williams
10 months ago

I remember living in Aberystwyth in the 80s at a time when two thirds of the county spoke Welsh and being astonished at how few council employees were from Wales. It almost seemed council policy to employ English people who spoke no Welsh and had no intention of doing so.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
10 months ago

Long overdue. Carmarthenshire County Council should do the same too.

Geraint
Geraint
10 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Carmarthenshire made the change in 2014 according to the article.

Lazar Ionescu
Lazar Ionescu
10 months ago

Dw i’n cytuno. I agree.

Brechdan Wncomunco
10 months ago

Great idea everything should be in Welsh only.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
10 months ago

Bilingualism is an achievable goal, and one that most Welsh people would probably be content with.

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