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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Race body probes language row
John Elfed Jones
Two leading figures in the bitter debate over the future of Welsh-speaking communities have been reported to the Commission for Racial Equality.

A former chairman of the Welsh Language Board - John Elfed Jones - has now apologised for the inflammatory language he used last week in the debate over protecting Welsh language and culture.


If I caused hurt it was absolutely unintentional and I apologise for that hurt, I don't however apologise for having raised the issue

John Elfed Jones
His comments were followed by controversial remarks made by Gwilym ab Ioan who resigned from Plaid Cymru's executive last week.

Both men are accused of inciting racial hatred following remarks they made on the impact of in-migration.

Mr ab Ioan resigned from the party's executive after he posted remarks on an internet news group which claimed that Wales was becoming 'a dumping ground for oddballs and misfits'

He has retained his position as Plaid's vice-chair in Ceredigion and Brecknockshire but will face a motion of no confidence at the next meeting of the regional branches.

Commission for Racial Equality logo
The Racial Commission has received the complaints

His comments were condemned by Plaid's chair Elin Jones who described them as 'totally unacceptable'.

Meanwhile, Mr Jones had commented in the Welsh language magazine Barn that "outsiders" coming into Wales were the equivalent of "human foot-and-mouth disease".

He also blamed English migrants for changing the social make-up of traditional Welsh-speaking areas.

But Mr Jones has said that he regrets the comments and claims that his remarks were misunderstood.


I hope that it will spur others of us to make sure that our Welsh schools are completely welcoming to all those non-Welsh speakers in Wales of Welsh, English or other descents

Heini Grufudd from Parents for Welsh Education

Mr Jones said: "I was comparing the effects of inward migration of non-Welsh speakers into traditionally Welsh speaking areas as having the same effect as the foot-and-mouth disease.

"It is the effect that I am comparing in as much that both will change the nature and culture of rural Wales and the Welsh language forever."

"If I caused hurt it was absolutely unintentional and I apologise for that hurt, I don't however apologise for having raised the issue because the issue needs to be addressed."

Meanwhile, parents who send their children to Welsh medium schools, but who do not speak Welsh themselves, have also come under fire.

Education

A senior figure at this year's National Eisteddfod called on Welsh medium schools to beware of the dangers of an "open door" policy towards non-Welsh speakers.

In his president's address at the eisteddfod in Denbigh the chairman of the Eisteddfod Executive Committee, Eifion Lloyd Jones, called for a fundamental change in the means of financing Welsh-medium education.

But his comments have been dismissed by parents groups as far too elitist.

Heini Gruffudd from Parents for Welsh Education said: "I hope that parents will take the speech as an elitist one and that it will be quickly forgotten.

"I hope that it will spur others of us to make sure that our Welsh schools are completely welcoming to all those non-Welsh speakers in Wales of Welsh, English or other descents."

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 ON THIS STORY
Rhodri Williams, Welsh Language Board
"We don't want to pour water on learners' efforts"
BBC Wales's Caroline Evans reports
"Once again the eisteddfod has focused the attention on the language"
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