‘Imperial arrogance’ for further English-only parking fine, says Cymdeithas yr Iaith
The English owners of a car park in west Wales are displaying the same ‘Imperial arrogance’ in again issuing and pursuing an English-only fine, Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has said.
Earlier this year Toni Schiavone refused to pay a parking fine he received in a car park in Llangrannog as the fine and all correspondence were only in English, despite him requesting it in Welsh several times.
Llangrannog is famed as the home of Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s residential centre in Ceredigion (Gwersyll yr Urdd Llangrannog).
His case, which was due to be heard before a court in Aberystwyth, was thrown out as there was no representative from One Parking Solutions, which has its headquarters in Worthing in England, was present.
After that hearing, he said he hoped he had set a new precedent.
The company responsible for that car park is now pursuing Arwyn Groe, through a debt company, for the same reason.
“It is clear that neither the owner of the car park nor the company running it have any respect for or interest in the Welsh language,” Tamsin Davies, vice-chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said.
“One campaigner has been to court after refusing to pay an English-only fine, and the company has decided not to listen.
“Private companies are not under an obligation to provide any Welsh language provision so they don’t. Supermarkets and banks have told us many times in the past that they will not provide any services in Welsh until they are obliged to do so by law.
“So the answer is obvious – the current Language Measure needs to be extended to include private companies. And it is about time to do that. It has now been over ten years since the Welsh Language Measure was created.”
Arwyn Groe’s fine has been passed to a debt claim company and the company is now threatening to call at his family home.
He has been part of campaigns for Welsh language education in Powys and a long-time member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.
“In this particular case, it is clear that the company in question has not learned from Tony Schiavone’s stand, and continues to show a lack of respect for the people of Wales even though they should know better by now,” said Arwyn.
“They can’t hide behind a veil of ignorance about the situation anymore. As far as I’m concerned, giving in to their demands and threats would show a lack of respect for Tony’s earlier stand, and send a message to the company that we are happy to comply with and accept their imperial arrogance. I’m not ready to do that.”
‘What has changed?’
As Cymdeithas yr Iaith celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Tamsin Davies has asked what has changed since the organisation was founded.
“We can celebrate the many successes that have come through campaigning over the decades of course, but cases like this reminds us of the struggle of the Beasleys, who refused to pay their English only council tax bill and faced bailiffs, and reminds us that we still have to fight for things that should have been won long ago. So the battle for the Welsh language is far from over.”
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