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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Mayor's festival no-show criticised
The eisteddfod field
Organisers had invited Coun Goodway to attend
A row has broken out between the Lord Mayor of Cardiff's office and the organisers of the Urdd Eisteddfod in the capital over the civic leader's absence from the event.

It emerged on Friday that Coun Russell Goodway will not be attending the prestigious week-long cultural event, which is taking place at Cooper's Field, next to Cardiff Castle.
Coun Russell Goodway
Coun Russell Goodway: Non attendance

The Urdd has attracted 100,000 visitors, but the Lord Mayor has not visited the Maes or attended any of the competitions.

His absence from the largest summer youth event in Europe has been seen by organisers as a snub.

But a Cardiff council spokesman responded by saying there were only "24 hours in a day" and added that Coun Goodway has been "very busy". Marion Drake, the deputy mayor, has attended the Eisteddfod field this week.

The authority explained Coun Goodway had spent two days in London on council business and would be busy on Saturday attending the funeral of a fellow councillor.
Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle, scene of the Urdd Eisteddfod 2002

He is also due on Saturday - the final day of the Urdd - to be present at an event at UWIC college, of which he is the president.

The spokesman added the council had made a heavy commitment to the Urdd Eisteddfod, which was reflected by the 320,000 grant given to the event.

"He received an invitation to attend the event on Monday," said Huw Llywelyn Davies, Chairman of the Urdd Executive Committee.

"So it was a disappointment when he didn't turn up.

"As the Eisteddfod is being held in Cardiff, there isn't any other duty which is more important than being present at this festival."
Crowds at the Urdd National Eisteddfod
Last year's Urdd eisteddfod was cancelled

Last year's Urdd Eisteddfod had to be abandoned because of the foot-and-mouth crisis - the biggest in a series of financial setbacks it had suffered in a matter of months.

More than 15,000 children and young people have been competing in a wide range of competitions, and a variety of evening events have been organised to entertain visitors.

One special visitor to this year's eisteddfod is European Commissioner for education and culture, Viviane Reding.

Children's Commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke made his first visit to an eisteddfod, and his team will have a stand on the maes.

See also:

28 Apr 01 | Wales
20 Mar 01 | Wales
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