News

Language campaigners urge Ceredigion Council to follow Gwynedd and switch to Welsh

25 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
Ceredigion County Council building, Aberystwyth. Picture by Ian Capper (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Cymdeithas yr Iaith have written to the leader of Ceredigion Council calling on her to set a date for the Council to work mostly in Welsh.

On 25 March, 2011 – exactly 10 years ago today – Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn signed a pledge that noted that:

“I, leader of the Plaid Cymru group in Ceredigion, commit to supporting the principle of making Welsh the official language of internal administration in Ceredigion Council. I will organise a meeting of the Plaid group across the council as soon as possible to establish this principle as group policy.”

In September 2020, a deputation from Cymdeithas yr Iaith met with the Council Leader in order to urge her again to move the council towards working in Welsh, but the language group has not heard of any further steps by the Council to do so since then, they said.

Ellen ap Gwynn’s pledge

The letter from Cymdeithas yr Iaith says: “For decades, Cyngor Gwynedd and the National Library have worked only through Welsh, and this has strengthened the language skills of hundreds of thousands of people over the years.

“Many people speak Welsh because the policies have allowed learners to become truly confident speakers, who are immersed in the Welsh language in their work each day. Therefore, each day the use of Welsh is lower than it would have been if you had kept your promise.

“Since you signed the pledge to ensure that the council follows the same policy as them it stands to reason that you recognise the importance of institutions which work through the medium of Welsh but we’re sorry to report that, since your pledge in 2011, little progress has been made on this important agenda.

“Therefore we ask you to set a date for when the council will work mainly through Welsh and to create a schedule and action points in order to achieve this. Moving to working through Welsh is not an overnight process, of course, but setting an achievable date and schedule would show that your pledge was not empty words.

“It would also set a clear target to aim for, ensuring that the Welsh language is a priority for the council’s work.”

‘Promise’

In the 2011 Census it was reported that 34,964 (47.3%) of the residents of Ceredigion who are over 3 yrs old are able to speak Welsh.

This was less than the number and percentage reported in the 2001 Census, namely 37,918 (52%) – a decline of 2,954 persons and a percentage point of 4.7.

This change occurred during a period when the corresponding population of Ceredigion increased from 72,884 in 2001 to 73,847 in 2011 – an increase of 1.3%.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Ceredigion regional Chair, Jeff Smith, said that spaces where Welsh is the main language of communication is one of the key actions for increasing the use of the language.

“Workplaces where Welsh is the only or main working language are a part of this and the council, as one of the largest employers in the county, has a special responsibility to lead the way in this.

“But unfortunately, it appears that the council is not taking this responsibility seriously, even 10 years after the pledge. As a result, we have written to Cllr. Ellen ap Gwynn to remind her of her promise and encourage her to ensure that the council puts a plan in place in order to deliver her promise.”

Our Supporters