Tributes pour in for Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts who passed away
Tributes have poured in for the Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts, who has passed away.
Figures from across the political spectrum in Wales have responded to the news that former Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member, from Rhosllannerchrugog, near Wrexham, died yesterday, (February 13) following an illness.
In his role as Commissioner he fought for the rights of Welsh speakers and to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds Stated: “I am devastated to hear of the passing of Aled. Aled was a committed liberal and was known for his extraordinary hard work as both an Assembly Member for North Wales and as a senior councillor on Wrexham Borough Council. This news is a deep blow to the Welsh Liberal Democrat family and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
“Throughout his time as an Assembly Member Aled continued to put standing up for his communities at the very heart of everything he did. Just one example was his tireless and successful campaign for Llay to have solar panels installed on all homes within the estate.
“In his role as Shadow Minister for Children, Education and the Welsh language, he fought tooth and nail for investment in our young people, not least for the Welsh Government to maintain the Pupil Deprivation Grant. He is also well remembered for only ever making his contributions in the Siambr in Welsh.
“As a councillor, Aled was a role model community servant and represented the Ponciau Ward from 1991-2012 and served as Mayor of Wrexham in 2003-04. He was elected Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council in March 2005.
“Outside of politics, Aled also had a distinguished career as local solicitor and in 1985 he was part of a campaign to protect a local Miners’ institute from closure. He also was the Chair of Governors for many years at Ysgol Gymraeg I D Hooson and a Governor at Ysgol Maes y Mynydd, Rhosllanerchrugog. He was also a committed Christian.
“Aled will be most remembered for his dedication to the Welsh language. A tireless advocate of the protection and promotion of Welsh, he excelled in his role as the Welsh Language Commissioner and sought to promote the language in all aspects of life, including in his role as an Assembly Member.
“Aled’s passing will leave a deep hole in Welsh political life and in our Party, he was someone who knew everyone and left a positive impression on all those he knew. We will miss him greatly.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Aled Roberts today.
“He brought a breadth of experience to the role of Welsh Language Commissioner and focused on making Welsh a living language that’s part of our everyday experience. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
The Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones said: “It’s such sad news to hear of Aled Roberts’ death. This is a cruel loss for his family but also a bitter blow for Welsh public life. He was a man of principle and full of passion for his language and country. Aled was well-liked and held in high esteem across the political world. My condolences to his family.”
Côr Meibion Aberystwyth said: “Newyddion trist iawn,” adding Côr Meibion Aberystwyth “members will be sad to hear this news. Apart from being a passionate advocate of the language, Aled Roberts was a committed choir member and loved his singing.”
Former Welsh Government minister Leighton Andrews said: “This is very sad. Aled made a great contribution to local government, the Assembly, and to the Welsh Language, always rational and thoughtful.”
Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner, Gwenith Price, said: “Aled was a warm character with an extraordinary talent to bring people together.
“His love for his community, and his passion for the growth of the Welsh language in north-east Wales, drove him to want to see change which would benefit the whole nation.
“People were at the centre of everything he did. He had a firm vision for increasing rights for Welsh speakers, and for ensuring justice where he saw unfairness. He wished to see a Wales where every citizen had the opportunity to speak and use the language. His enthusiasm was unmatched, and he continued to work throughout his illness. It was a privilege to work with him.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of his death, and we know that everyone who has worked with him will feel the same.
“Our thoughts today are with his family; with his wife, Llinos, and their sons, Ifan and Osian, his mother and sister. Our deepest condolences to them in their loss.”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for the Welsh Language, Heledd Fychan MS, said: “Aled was hugely respected across the political parties as a former Leader of Wrexham Borough Council, a former Assembly Member and then as Welsh Language Commissioner.
“He was passionate about the Language, and the use of it in our everyday lives, and he will be greatly missed.
“On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I would like to send our deepest sympathy to his family and friends today, and thank you for his contribution to the nation.”
The Institute of Welsh Affairs said: “We are saddened to hear about the death of Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends for this terrible loss.”
Dr Ioan Matthews, Chief Executive of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol said: “We were deeply saddened to hear the news of Aled’s passing. His contribution to public life in Wales was mulitfaceted over a number of years. Aled was extremely supportive of the Coleg during his time as a member of the Senedd, including supporting the suggestion to extend the Coleg’s responsibilities to the further education and apprenticeships sectors. It was a pleasure to work with him more recently in his role as Welsh Language Commissioner. We would like to extend our fullest condolences to Llinos and the family.”
Aled graduated with a law degree at the University of Aberystwyth in 1983, and he later went on to practice as a solicitor.
His career in politics began when he was first elected to Wrexham County Borough Council in 1991 for the Rhos and Ponciau Ward. In 2003 he became Mayor of Wrexham and the following year was voted in as Leader of the council.
In the 2011 election for the then National Assembly for Wales, he was elected as a Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for North Wales, going on to become the party’s spokesperson for Children and Young People and for the Welsh language. In the 2016 Assembly election his North Wales regional seat was captured by UKIP.
Following the election he conducted an independent review of Local Authorities’ Welsh Education Strategic Plans for the Welsh Government.
In February 2019, he was chaired the Board that was responsible for implementing the recommendations outlined in his review.
In April 2019 he was appointed by the Welsh Government to the role of Welsh Language Commissioner, succeeding Meri Huws in the post.
Aled was also very active within his local community, and has been a member of the Stiwt Arts Community Centre committee since it was established in the 1980s.
He was a member of the Flintshire Disability Forum and spent time offering his help to the Wrexham Warehouse Project for homeless young people. He also sang with two choirs in the area.
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