Welsh language Commissioner believes role has been undermined

Meri Huws and Guto Harri on Y Byd yn ei Le. Picture by S4C

Welsh language Commissioner Meri Huws feels the uncertainty surrounding the future of the post over the last two years has undermined the role.

Ms Huws’s comments will be broadcast on current affairs programme Y Byd yn ei Le tonight, Tuesday, 12 February, on S4C, as she looks back at her achievements over the last seven years as Welsh language Commissioner.

She will leave her role in the coming weeks, with Aled Roberts, the former Liberal Democrat AM taking up the position as her successor.

In an exclusive interview with broadcast journalist Guto Harri, she says: “The Commissioner’s role puts a specific focus on the Welsh language and we need that focus on the language, it’s far too early to decide whether or not that model doesn’t work.”

When asked by Guto Harri whether she felt uncertainty about the future of the post had somewhat undermined the role, she said: “It certainly hasn’t helped from the viewpoint of my job. The last two years have been difficult because that question mark has been in the corner all the time and the question mark just wouldn’t go away.

Guto Harri and Meri Huws on Y Byd yn ei Le. Picture by S4C

“Perhaps they [the Welsh government] thought the role was too powerful; it’s the kind of response that language commissioners in other countries have received, governments feel from time to time that commissioners are expressing their opinions too readily.”

Ms Huws said she believed the Welsh language Commissioner has the necessary powers to ensure different public bodies in Wales adhere to the language regulations set by the Welsh Language Act.

In the interview, she also said that she feels confident about the future of the Welsh language, particularly in areas such as the south-east where the language hasseen a significant revival in the past 50 years.

She also said that she believed that reaching the million Welsh speakers target set by the Welsh government for 2050 is a realistic target.

For the full interview, watch Y Byd yn ei Le tonight, Tuesday, 12 February, 9:30pm, English subtitles available, S4C. An ITV Wales production for S4C.

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