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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Ab Ioan fights party de-selection
Gwilym ab Ioan
Gwilym ab Ioan said remarks were out of context
The Plaid Cymru member who described Wales "as a dumping ground for oddballs and misfits" has said he will fight any move to de-select him as party chair in Ceredigion.

Gwilym ab Ioan was forced to resign from the party's National Executive after the row over the Welsh language and in-migration erupted at the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh last week.
John Elfed Jones
John Elfed Jones: Apology

In his first interview since being forced to stand down, he said he had enjoyed widespread support.

Mr ab Ioan told BBC Wales that the "oddballs and misfits" comment had been taken out of context but he stood by the basic thrust of comments.

He has been reported to the Commission for Racial Equality for inciting racial hatred with his remarks.

While refusing to retract the comments which were posted on an internet news group, he denied that he was racist and pointed out his wife is English.

Plaid Cymru has repeated its view that Mr ab Ioan's original comments were unacceptable.

The party moved quickly during Eisteddfod week to force Gwilym ab Ioan off its national executive.
Eifion Lloyd Jones
Eifion Lloyd Jones: Open door warning to Welsh schools

Party bosses want him stripped of the Ceredigion chairmanship, but Mr ab Ioan said he would resist any such move.

Welsh Assembly Business Manager and Labour Party AM Andrew Davies claimed Gwilym ab Ioan's comments presented "a real challenge to Plaid's leadership".

"This nationalist extremist view that everything English is bad must be challenged," he said.

"If Ceredigion nationalists back Gwilym ab Ioan then Plaid Cymru's leadership must take action."

Mr ab Ioan was reported - together with former Welsh Language Board chairman John Elfed Jones - 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.

Mr Jones wrote an article in Welsh language magazine Barn purporting that the Welsh Assembly had failed to deal with in-migration into Welsh-speaking communities, which he likened to "human foot-and-mouth".

An English radio broadcaster said the comments "incited hatred".

Mr Jones apologised for the remarks, which the CRE accepted.

Mr ab Ioan's comments were condemned at the time by Plaid Cymru chairman Elin Jones as "totally unacceptable".

Last week, National Eisteddfod executive committee chairman Eifion Lloyd Jones warned Welsh medium schools to be more selective about pupils.

In January, the in-migration row was ignited by comments from Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn, who said English people were a "drain on resources".

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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