The Director of Corporate Affairs at one of Wales’ largest companies has deleted a tweet suggesting that the “inhabitants of the UK’s Celtic fringe loathe all visitors”.
He also previously made a number of comments about the Welsh language on a personal blog, describing it as “gibberish” and “like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.
Keith Hann is the Director of Corporate Affairs at Iceland, which is headquartered in Deeside within Wales.
In a reply to a tweet by Julia Hartley-Brewer about lockdown restrictions, he tweeted: “Your periodic reminder that the inhabitants of the UK’s Celtic fringe loathe all visitors in or out of lockdown”.
In other tweets in October 2020 he suggested that lockdown would be a “bonus” if it stopped him “travelling from home in Cheshire to my office in Wales every day” and that the Welsh wear “woad” rather than clothes.
In June 2019 he also said that “I’d like to say that I have never left England, but regular attendance at an office about 800 yards inside Wales sadly precludes this.
“Still, I take pride in never visiting Scotland despite having a home within sight of the border.”
Nation.Cymru contacted Iceland for comment. Keith Hann responded personally to say: “Iceland is proud to be one of the largest companies based in Wales, and a major investor and employer in the country.
“All of the tweets and press articles you have cited were written by me in a personal capacity and are not endorsed by Iceland Foods or reflective of the company’s views.
“I would have hoped it was also obvious that all of these were written with humorous intent.”
He has also made comments about Wales on his personal blog, Nation.Cymru can reveal, including about the Welsh language.
In a blogpost written on 17 September 2014 he said that in Wales “the supermarket signage” was “incomprehensible” and kids educated in a “dead language that sounds uncannily like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.
In another blog post he regrets the fact that his house is not far from the Welsh border: “I regret to say that we are also only about two miles from Wales, thanks to the border lurching east from the natural boundary of the River Dee, and taking a bite out of England that can only have been designed for the convenience of manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles.”
He also added that if he moved over the border that his son “would be having part of his education conducted in gibberish”.
Iceland has previously come under fire from Welsh language campaigners after it refused to install bilingual signage at stories.
In July 2018 protestors from Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg disrupted the official opening of a new store in Rhyl over Iceland’s English-only signage policy.