Language campaigners welcome appointment of new Welsh language commissioner

Aled Roberts. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

Language campaigners have welcomed the appointment of Aled Roberts as the new Welsh Language Commissioner, saying it is vital that the role continues.

The First Minister Carwyn Jones announced today that the former Liberal Democrat Assembly Member and Wrexham County Council leader had been appointed to the role.

He will follow his predecessor Meri Huws into the role on 1 April next year for a seven-year term.

Aled Roberts said that it was an exciting opportunity and that he looked forward to building on Meri Huws’ work.

“I’ve always been very supportive of the language,” he said.

“Working with local authorities on their Welsh language education plans recently and helping the Welsh Government realise heir ambitions for the future of the Welsh language was a privilege and a great experience.

“It’s a great challenge and I’m determined to accomplish it – and to do that, I will need to work effectively with partners around Wales and beyond.”

‘Fearless’

Responding to the news, Osian Rhys, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that they congratulated Aled Roberts on his appointment to the “vital” role.

” The Commissioner model has shown its value internationally as a way of protecting other languages, and is succeeding in Wales in various sectors, including the Childrens’ and Older People’s Commissioners,” he said.

“The Government’s plans in their White Paper to abolish the role make no sense, and have been rejected in a public consultation.

“There’s no sense in turning the clock back to an old, failed model that didn’t defend people’s language rights.

“The first thing the new Commissioner needs to do is work with the Government to ensure that the powers in the current Measure are used to the full.

“The Standards system, under the stewardship of the Commissioner, has started to make a real difference on the ground.

“The Commissioner needs to ensure that he and the Government use all the powers they have to implement the current law fully, including extending the Standards to train, bus, water, phone, broadband and energy companies.

“The existence of the Commissioner as a single champion for Welsh means it’s clear who we need to turn to in order to defend our language rights.

“Aled Roberts needs to be a fearless advocate for the language, who will protect its independence from the Government.”

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