Language campaigners call on Iceland to show ‘real commitment to Welsh’ after Keith Hann sacking

Cymdeithas yr Iaith protesting outside a new Iceland store in Rhyl in 2018

Language campaigners have called on Iceland to show “real commitment to the language” after sacking it Director of Corporate Affairs over anti-Welsh comments.

Keith Hann had called the Welsh language “gibberish” and said it was “like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat”.

A spokesperson for Iceland apologised for the “offence caused” by Hann’s remarks, reiterated that they do not “reflect” its values and said the dismissal will take “immediate effect”.

But Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which has been campaigning for bilingual signage at Iceland stores, said the supermarket could go a step further and make changes to show its commitment to the Welsh language.

David Williams of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “Keith Hann’s comments are insulting and unfortunate, but sacking someone doesn’t make up for the fact that Iceland’s Welsh provision for customers is currently very poor.

“What about making a real commitment to the language – how about providing services fully in Welsh in the near future?”

‘Simple’

In 2018 a group of campaigners disrupted the official opening of a new Iceland store in Rhyl over a lack of Welsh language provision.

Fifteen members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith protested outside and inside the shop, complaining to managers about the lack of Welsh language signage.

At the time Iceland responded by saying: “We do not currently provide signage in any language other than English in any of our stores in any part of the UK or Ireland.

“Changing this policy would add complexity and cost to our operations, and as such would be contrary to two of our foremost objectives: making everything we do as simple as possible, and delivering the best possible value to our customers.

“Feedback from our colleagues and customers in Wales indicates that the great majority are content with our current arrangements.”

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