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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Protest over festival euro plans
International Eisteddfod
Eisteddfod organisers have backed the euro scheme
Plans to make the euro valid currency during one of Wales's most popular cultural events has sparked war of words between a group of north Wales shopkeepers and a local politician.

Martyn Jones, MP for Clwyd South, has organised a euro zone in Llangollen to coincide with the town's International Eisteddfod held in July.


He never consulted with anybody and I think it's disgusting, he did it off his own bat

Former mayor Stuart Davies

Under the proposals people will be able to spend euros in shops, pubs and restaurants but some local businesses have accused Mr Jones of failing to inform them of his plans.

Llangollen County Councillor, Paddy Tobin, said: "The idea shocked a lot of people because it should have gone to town council.

"I'm not against it but I think people should have been consulted."

A demonstration was organised for people to voice their disapproval of the scheme.

Stuart Davies, former mayor of the tourist town, led the protest from Castle Street at 1500 BST on Monday.

Llangollen
Many shopkeepers have opposed the scheme

He says they are against allowing the use of the euro in Llangollen and they will be carrying anti-euro posters and handing out anti-euro stickers.

He added: "Martyn Jones never consulted with anybody and I think it's disgusting, he did it off his own bat."

However, the actions have been condemned by Mr Jones.

"This is a politically motivated protest by a group of local anti-European Tories.

Mr Davies has denied the claim: "That is beside the point, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod should not be used for political purposes."


The protest is short sighted, ill-conceived and downright childish

Martyn Jones, MP

Mr Jones continued: "The scheme has the backing of Denbighshire County Council, the chamber of trade, the tourism association, the Eisteddfod organisers and the high street banks in the town.

"The town is renowned for the welcome it gives international visitors every year. What kind of message is this protest sending out to those visitors from Europe?

"The protest is short sighted, ill-conceived and downright childish. Sadly the protestors are being led by a couple of people who are putting politics above the interest of the town."

Established in 1947, the musical Eisteddfod is one of the highlights of the Welsh cultural calendar and attracts more than 6,500 competitors from 47 countries each year.


More news from north east Wales
See also:

13 May 02 | Wales
13 May 02 | UK Politics
09 May 02 | Wales
08 May 02 | UK Politics
07 May 02 | Business
11 Apr 02 | England
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