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Dafydd Iwan tells Welsh language rally ‘there is no room for despair’

14 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Dafydd Iwan address the rally in Carmarthen image by Cymdeithas yr Iaith

Dafydd Iwan addressed Welsh language campaigners at a rally today to say that there is ‘no room for despair’, despite the fall in the percentage of Welsh speakers, and that ‘hope lies in the fight’.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the Welsh language campaign group, reinforced his message and said it is not despair that is needed but that it is time for action.

Campaigners  assembled outside County Hall in Carmarthen this afternoon for the rally which was attended by the leader of Carmarthenshire Council Darren Price and addressed by Cabinet member with responsibility for Education and the Welsh language, Cllr. Glynog Davies.

They then marched through the town, led by pipers and the Mari Lwyd, to the Welsh Government offices in Picton Terrace where Cymdeithas’ demands for a national framework to promote the language were presented.

The calls for action come after figures in the 2021 census revealed that the number of Welsh speakers in Wales has fallen for the second decade in a row

In 2021, an estimated 538,000 usual residents in Wales aged three years and over (17.8%) reported being able to speak Welsh, which is a decrease since 2011 (562,000,19.0%).

It means that there are 24,000 fewer Welsh speakers in Wales than there were 10 years ago.

The figure comes after the number of Welsh speakers decreased from 582,000 (20.8%) in 2001 to 562,000 (19%) in 2011.


After the results were published last month Cymdeithas said that the decline was not inevitable and that the Welsh Government needed to act to reverse it, by setting goals such as a Welsh language education act, establishing a Property Act and maintaining the language and livelihoods of rural and agricultural communities.

Dafydd Iwan told the rally “We must heed the warning of the census statistics, but we should never despair. There are clear signs that the campaigning over the last 60 years has created a revolution in Wales, and it is important that we celebrate that.

“The battle to win the minds and hearts of the Welsh, especially the young, continues, and in the battle lies hope. It will never end.”

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Cymdeithas yr Iaith spokeswoman Sioned Elin said: “If we don’t succeed in turning the tide now, it is unlikely that there will be any natural Welsh speaking communities left in Carmarthenshire by the next Census.

“But it is certainly not a time to despair, it is a time to act.

“We will make seven demands on the Welsh Government as the basis for an Emergency Plan of active steps to revive our Welsh language and communities.”

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Ursula Waldinger
Ursula Waldinger
1 year ago

There is a trend all over Europe that the regional languages got a set back by french and english . I recently was in a funeral and the breton community said that the breton language monassed to be extinct by french speake rsgave the bretagne a dernier smile

1 year ago

THERE IS A LANGUAGE EMERGENCY! How can Dafydd Iwan want to celebrate the achievements of the last 60 years when the number of Welsh speakers has dropped since 2001. And this has happened AFTER devolution. The Senedd and its members are dragging their feet and doing as little as possible to reach the target of a million speakers by 2050. Shame on the leaders of all political parties in Wales who have just watched the slow death of the language since the Blue Books and do nothing or attack it. As Saunders Lewis said the Welsh have betrayed the Welsh… Read more »

1 year ago
Reply to  Iago

Senedd is among the language’s worst enemies. It deals in palliative care using gestures and sham concern while allowing the trends driven by Anglo globalism to prosper. Price is a bigger Judas than the man himself.

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