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Saturday, 18 August, 2001, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Plaid veteran quits in language row
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A veteran member of Plaid Cymru has said he quit the party as a result of its attitude towards the Welsh language.

Dr Meredydd Evans said the party had failed to show "unswerving commitment" to the language, which has been the subject of fierce debate in recent weeks.

Dr Evans is a founder member of Cymuned, which was set up amid the row over the future of Welsh-speaking communities.
Dr Meredydd Evans
Dr Meredydd Evans: Resigned over language issue

Several other prominent Welsh language supporters have raised the issue of support for the language in rural areas.

In a statement to BBC Wales, Dr Evans said that he could no longer continue as a party member.

"Plaid Cymru should be unswervingly committed to the Welsh Language as one of the official languages of an Independent Wales.

"That is not the case."

Dr Evans joined Plaid Cymru in the 1940s and he said he had thought "long and hard" about resigning and making the statement.

In 1999, Dr Evans and Dr Eirwen Gwynn were both fined 75 after pleading guilty to not having a television licence.

Dr Evans said he had withheld his licence payment in protest at the policies of the BBC and S4C to make English a fundamental part of Welsh-language services.
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The race body calls for a constructive debate

A former head of light entertainment at BBC Wales, Dr Evans is a founder member of Cymuned (Community).

Established in June, the group has urged the Welsh Assembly to instigate "crisis measures" to deal with in-migration into Welsh-speaking areas.

Cymuned has also sought support for local people in Welsh-speaking areas to be given priority in the housing market and help in creating local jobs.

Last week, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) welcomed an apology from the former head of the Welsh Language Board, John Elfed Jones.

'Dumping ground'

He had been referred to the body last week over remarks which compared in-migration to Wales with the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

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

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".

The row over the Welsh language was re-ignited in January when Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn said English migrants were a "drain on resources".

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