BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Race body dismisses incitement claim
John Elfed Jones
The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has welcomed an apology from one of the leading figures in the bitter debate over the future of Welsh speaking communities.

The former head of the Welsh Language Board, John Elfed Jones, was referred to the body last week over remarks which compared in-migration to Wales with the foot-and-mouth epidemic.


We feel that it is now important that there be a more constructive debate in promoting the Welsh language and Welsh culture, which is valued by all our citizens in Wales

Head of CRE Wales Dr Mashuq Ally

Mr Jones had been accused of inciting racial hatred - a claim which has been dismissed by the CRE.

Head of CRE Wales Dr Mashuq Ally said: "The Commission for Racial Equality in Wales welcomes the apology, which demonstrates that there was no intent to incite racial hatred or hurt the feelings of non-Welsh citizens of Wales by John Elfed Jones.

"It was an unfortunate use of language. We feel that it is now important that there be a more constructive debate in promoting the Welsh language and Welsh culture, which is valued by all our citizens in Wales."

Commission for Racial Equality logo
The race body calls for a constructive debate

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.

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.


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

Former head of the Welsh Language Board John Elfed Jones

"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."

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

Mr ab Ioan posted remarks on an internet news group which claimed that Wales was becoming 'a dumping ground for oddballs and misfits'

Racism

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.

Meanwhile the co-author of the book the Rough Guide to Wales has accused many 'English in-migrants' who move into rural Wales of being "out-and-out racists".

Mike Parker, writing in this month's "Planet" claims that the common defining feature of in-migrants in leaving English cities was "to get away from multi-cultural society, from black and Asian people in particular".

He adds that they see rural Wales "with its largely white population, as a safe haven".

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories