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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Row follows AM language groups attack
Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Chair of the Welsh Assembly Culture Committee
Mr Thomas has been hearing evidence from language groups
A member of the Welsh Assembly has come under fire over his controversial comments about Welsh language groups.

Assembly's Culture Committee Chairman Rhodri Glyn Thomas has claimed that a number of language promotional groups are more interested in justifying their existence than helping Welsh speaking communities.

The culture committee and its language review has no real interest in getting to grips with the deep seated problems facing the Welsh language and Welsh communities

Dafydd Morgan Lewis, Welsh language activists
He also accused the "Welsh speaking establishment" of not addressing the needs of Welsh speakers.

But his comments have been branded as unfair by language activists Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Dafydd Morgan Lewis from the group said: "We cannot agree at all with the comments made by Rhodri Glyn Thomas.

Language review

"The Culture Committee and its Language Review has no real interest in getting to grips with the deep seated problems facing the Welsh language and Welsh communities.

Mr Thomas said he drew his conclusions after hearing evidence from leading organisations as part of a review of the language.

"A lot of these organisations are coming along and telling us what a wonderful job they are doing and asking for more money," he said.

"The truth of the matter is that the Welsh language wouldn't be in the situation it is now if they were doing such a wonderful job.

Welsh Assembly building
Assembly is told to find 60m
But Mr Lewis said: "It would be better if Rhodri Glyn Thomas and his committee turned their attention the Ministers and Chairs of Committees in the Welsh Assembly who have failed dismally to do anything constructive for the Welsh language and the future of our communities."

Earlier this month pressure group members told the assembly it must find 60m if it wanted to save Welsh as a community language.

The umbrella group for community language ventures in Wales, Mentrau Iaith Cymru, said that was the level of expenditure necessary to secure the future of Welsh in the community and in schools.

Dr Cefin Campbell, chairman of Mentrau Iaith Cymru, said politicians needed to respond with practical measures to the fears which have been expressed recently about the language's survival.

His statement came after several weeks during which there has been a bitter public row over the pressures which the language faces in its territorial heartlands in north and west Wales.

See also:

10 Aug 01 | Wales
Language protests at Eisteddfod
15 Aug 01 | Wales
Call for money to save language
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