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Cymdeithas education spokesman Ffred Ffransis
"If we want to see the Welsh language survive as a living language it must be part of the life of administration"
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Conservative AM David Davies
"It should not be the case that someone is ruled out from doing a job because they cannot speak Welsh"
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Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 16:50 GMT
Welsh society enters language job row

Carmarthenshire Council Carmarthenshire Council has sparked a debate over Welsh speakers

The Welsh Language Society, Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg, is urging members of a council to declare a vote of no confidence in their leader and chief executive over the appointment of a non-Welsh speaking director.

The controversy started after Carmarthenshire Council decided not to interview six Welsh-speaking applicants shortlisted for the director of education post.

Instead the council has offered the post on a short-term basis to a highly experienced candidate from outside Wales.

Michael Stoten, the former Director of Education for Kensington and Chelsea has confirmed to BBC Wales that he has been offered the job of interim education director for Carmarthen.


The council has said that if new Welsh speaking candidates are made known to the leader then consideration will be given.

But the appointment has outraged teaching unions and the Welsh Language Society.

And a pressure group is planning to protest when councillors meet to discuss the matter on Monday.

Ffred Ffransis, education spokesman for Cymdeithas said: "We have potentially two different sets of rights.

"The individual rights of people who apply for posts. But also, what I deem as community rights, the rights of Welsh speakers to be able to live in a Welsh speaking community and to be dealt with through the medium of Welsh.

Superficial bilingualism

"If we want to see the Welsh language survive as a living language it must be part of the life of administration and we must have Welsh speaking institutions as well.

"Cymdeithas is not into jobs for Welsh speaking people. Unless there is a proper objective reason for the use of Welsh language in the post then it shouldn't be a job stipulation.

"In Carmarthenshire and other areas we should be moving towards a situation in which we don't have a local council which is completely English in its medium of administration because people employed there will say 'I'm not going to bother learning Welsh'.

"It would be essentially an English language institution but wearing bilingual face for its connection with public.

"That's a very superficial form of bilingualism and not one which means Weelsh would survive as a living language."

David Davies David Davies - Welsh not the beall and end all
But Conservative AM for Monmouthshire and Tory spokesman on Local Government David Davies warned that Cymdeithas were doing the language a disservice - turning people against Wales and Welsh.

He said there was a danger of creating a backlash, as many could consider the policy racist.

"We all want to see Welsh survive and flourish," he said.

"It should not be the case that someone is ruled out from doing a job because they cannot speak Welsh.

"It is the councillors who set policy and ask the directors of services to implement the services they have decided on.

"As long as their is a commitment to the Welsh language I don't think it has to be the be all and end all because it is going to concern the people of Wales and the rest of the UK it sends out a very negative message."

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See also:
28 Jan 00 |  Wales
Language row post filled
21 Jan 00 |  Wales
Michael 'committed' to inclusive politics
17 Nov 99 |  Wales
Mixed Welsh reaction to Queen's Speech
20 Sep 99 |  Wales
It's good to page - except in Welsh
20 Aug 99 |  Wales
Assembly accused of hypocrisy over Welsh
21 Apr 99 |  News
Welsh language demands grow

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