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