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Health body Assistant Director leaves post following Welsh language ‘apartheid’ comments

28 Feb 2021 4 minute read
Tŷ Dysgu Nantgarw where HEIW is headquartered

The assistant director of an organisation that trains the healthcare workforce in Wales, who compared the treatment of non-Welsh speakers to “apartheid”, has left his post.

James Moore, who is responsible for Organisational Design and Development at Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), which sits within NHS Wales, made the comparison on Facebook in response to a story about plans to introduce more Welsh medium education in local school.

Following internal discussions about the remarks the HEIW has said he was working on a “secondment contract” and that he has now been returned to his “substantive employment”. He had been working with the organisation for 18 months.

The HEIW said: “James Moore was working in HEIW on a secondment contract. Following conclusion of our internal discussions he has returned to his substantive employment with Welsh Ambulance Services Trust (WAST).”

The comments were criticized by Aled Roberts, the Welsh Language Commissioner, and Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Language Minister. They were also blasted by Plaid Cymru MS Bethan Sayed, who called for Moore to resign.

Moore, who is from Sheffield, but lives in Llansteffan, , and had been on secondment with the organisation for 18 months, suggested that it was time for non-Welsh speakers to “stand up to the oppressors”.

He compared Welsh speakers to white people in South Africa during the time the country was under a system of institutionalised racial segregation, which ended in the 1990s.

Moore also asked if non-Welsh speakers “should use different buses” or “different drinking fountains”.

Nation.Cymru contacted James Moore for comment but have not yet received a reply.

Carmarthenshire Council was preparing for a consultation exercise over proposals to introduce changes to Model Church in Wales School in Carmarthen and Ysgol y Felin in Llanelli, which would have seen them move towards intruducing more Welsh medium education from September 2022.

The council later scrapped the consultation with the Model Church in Wales School following a backlash from staff at the school, along with trade and teaching unions.

‘Nationalist zealotry’ 

Moore said: “The English language is the single most important export from the UK and gives us all a huge advantage in the world. Anything that undermines this in the cause of meeting nationalist zealotry harms us all.

“Just imagine if you changed the word English to ‘black’ or (historically in South Africa) ‘coloured’… perhaps non-Welsh speakers should use different buses? Maybe different drinking fountains?

“As was the case in South Africa where the whites were a small minority, is it time for the 80% non-Welsh speakers to stand up to the oppressors to stop the ongoing apartheid?!”

James Moore Welsh language comments

He added: “Bilingualism is great in many parts of the world; however, narrow mindedness, insularity and petty nationalism (which seems to be entirely linked to the Welsh language) opens your mind only to yourself…leaving Wales trailing even further behind in an increasingly global world.”

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) sits alongside Health Boards and Trusts to be the only Special Health Authority within NHS Wales. HEIW has a role in the education, training, development, and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales.

When it was asked about the comments by Nation.Cymru, a spokesperson for the HEIW said: “We are taking the comments made about the Welsh Language very seriously. We are fully committed to ensuring that we support and grow the Welsh Language in our NHS workforce and are actively embedding it in how we work as an organisation.

“We understand how important this is for our staff, our learners and patients. We do not support or condone the comments made by the individual in question. We take such matters seriously.“

More to follow…

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