Calls for Pembrokeshire County Council to 'take Welsh seriously'

I WANT TO LIVE IN WELSH: The message from campaigners in Haverfordwest on Saturday. (4495465)

I WANT TO LIVE IN WELSH: The message from campaigners in Haverfordwest on Saturday. (4495465)

First published in News

WELSH language campaigners have called on the county council to ‘start taking the language seriously’ and make it easier for people to access services in Welsh.

Members and supporters of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg met on Castle Square, Haverfordwest, on Saturday (March 8) to highlight their disappointment that the council’s ‘first language’ is English.

The rally followed a recent council job advertisement that implied Welsh was not essential in order to work in Pembrokeshire.

Addressing campaigners, Hefin Wyn said: "We call upon Pembrokeshire County Council to adopt a positive attitude towards the Welsh language so that ratepayers do not have to ask over and over again for various services through the medium of Welsh.”

He added: “We do not ask for concessions here and there but for clear unequivocal leadership.”

Local people also had the chance to share their experiences of dealing with the council in Welsh.

Among those speaking was Gaynor Watts-Lewis from Boncath, who said she had experienced problems when trying to access swimming lessons for her children in Welsh.

Campaigner Bill Davies added: “It’s about time that the officials we have in this county to show respect towards Welsh speakers and the language.

“It should be essential for people working in the council to be able to speak Welsh. It is no different to someone needing the right licence before getting a job as a bus driver, or a doctor getting the right training and qualifications for the job.”

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said the authority was “committed to working with the Welsh Language Commissioner and Welsh Government on proposals for new standards of conduct relating to the Welsh language”.

He added: “The council is currently participating in the investigation and consultation process and will, towards the end of this year, discover which of the proposed Welsh Language Standards will be made applicable.”

Comments (17)

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5:45pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Gogledd says...

I am Welsh and I speak Welsh. I think it should NOT be compulsory to speak Welsh when applying for a job in any of the services in Pembrokeshire. But, that is my opinion. Speaking the language or not speaking it does not make you more Welsh or less Welsh and I think there are enough problems facing people trying to get employment in their chosen profession without imposing another one on them. It would also be discrimination for language and race...not a good idea...but thats my own personal opinion.
I am Welsh and I speak Welsh. I think it should NOT be compulsory to speak Welsh when applying for a job in any of the services in Pembrokeshire. But, that is my opinion. Speaking the language or not speaking it does not make you more Welsh or less Welsh and I think there are enough problems facing people trying to get employment in their chosen profession without imposing another one on them. It would also be discrimination for language and race...not a good idea...but thats my own personal opinion. Gogledd
  • Score: 22

6:21pm Mon 10 Mar 14

neil p says...

Perhaps the ratepayers should be asked if this should be implemented, you know a vote sort of a thing just like a proper democracy.
Perhaps the ratepayers should be asked if this should be implemented, you know a vote sort of a thing just like a proper democracy. neil p
  • Score: 15

8:15pm Mon 10 Mar 14

hunstmansleap says...

Well if you live in Boncath then surely at just a couple of miles away, Cardigan is your nearest town and therefore it's Ceredigion council these people should be pestering. Why are you bothering us way down in Haverfordwest? These fanatics talk of respect, but I don't think there is anything respectful in demanding that council workers in Haverfordwest and Pembroke should have to speak Welsh... after all the language of this area has been English for over a thousand years!

Also amusing to see that chap wearing a 'Spillers records of Cardiff' hoodie. I'd wager a fair amount that particular member of the Welsh language society is what's known as a 'professional language activist', touring Wales looking for imagined slights against the Welsh language.... for sure he's never set foot in Harford before in his life
Well if you live in Boncath then surely at just a couple of miles away, Cardigan is your nearest town and therefore it's Ceredigion council these people should be pestering. Why are you bothering us way down in Haverfordwest? These fanatics talk of respect, but I don't think there is anything respectful in demanding that council workers in Haverfordwest and Pembroke should have to speak Welsh... after all the language of this area has been English for over a thousand years! Also amusing to see that chap wearing a 'Spillers records of Cardiff' hoodie. I'd wager a fair amount that particular member of the Welsh language society is what's known as a 'professional language activist', touring Wales looking for imagined slights against the Welsh language.... for sure he's never set foot in Harford before in his life hunstmansleap
  • Score: 11

10:01pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Tttoommy says...

neil p wrote:
Perhaps the ratepayers should be asked if this should be implemented, you know a vote sort of a thing just like a proper democracy.
selfish, short sighted ppl might vote against the idea of supporting the speaking Welsh in Wales - It might mean an extra 5p a year on your tax ;-(
[quote][p][bold]neil p[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the ratepayers should be asked if this should be implemented, you know a vote sort of a thing just like a proper democracy.[/p][/quote]selfish, short sighted ppl might vote against the idea of supporting the speaking Welsh in Wales - It might mean an extra 5p a year on your tax ;-( Tttoommy
  • Score: -6

10:30pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Flashbang says...

Is Gaynor Watts-Lewis trying to keep her children mono-lingual? It's a very short sighted thing to do especially in this day and age. It looks to be a petty argument that her children can't learn to swim in Welsh. Would she
rather they drowned than use English? Grow up woman and recognise the fact that Pembrokeshire is mainly English speaking as is most of Wales. I'm very proud to be Pembrokeshire Welsh although I never had the opportunity to learn Welsh. Just be happy to be bi-lingual without needing to have a Taliban attitude to us non speakers.
Is Gaynor Watts-Lewis trying to keep her children mono-lingual? It's a very short sighted thing to do especially in this day and age. It looks to be a petty argument that her children can't learn to swim in Welsh. Would she rather they drowned than use English? Grow up woman and recognise the fact that Pembrokeshire is mainly English speaking as is most of Wales. I'm very proud to be Pembrokeshire Welsh although I never had the opportunity to learn Welsh. Just be happy to be bi-lingual without needing to have a Taliban attitude to us non speakers. Flashbang
  • Score: 20

2:13pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Andrew Lye says...

They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council.
When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh.
The answer was no.
End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England.
I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.
They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council. When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh. The answer was no. End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England. I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed. Andrew Lye
  • Score: 2

2:11am Wed 12 Mar 14

Flashbang says...

Andrew Lye wrote:
They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council.
When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh.
The answer was no.
End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England.
I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.
Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales?
[quote][p][bold]Andrew Lye[/bold] wrote: They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council. When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh. The answer was no. End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England. I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.[/p][/quote]Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales? Flashbang
  • Score: 6

6:44am Wed 12 Mar 14

malcolm calver says...

Our schools are failing miserably with most of the children in Wales unable to get good grades in English and Maths and a minority worry about the Welsh language policies of Pembrokeshire County Council.
Children attend school from four to eighteen and when they leave many do not have the skills to enter the workplace.
The latest from the Welsh Assembly is to downgrade the apprenticeship qualification, just like they have downgraded degree qualification..
The next thing they will be calling for is separation from England
Our schools are failing miserably with most of the children in Wales unable to get good grades in English and Maths and a minority worry about the Welsh language policies of Pembrokeshire County Council. Children attend school from four to eighteen and when they leave many do not have the skills to enter the workplace. The latest from the Welsh Assembly is to downgrade the apprenticeship qualification, just like they have downgraded degree qualification.. The next thing they will be calling for is separation from England malcolm calver
  • Score: 5

5:48pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Tttoommy says...

Flashbang wrote:
Andrew Lye wrote:
They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council.
When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh.
The answer was no.
End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England.
I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.
Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales?
As a welsh speaking Welshman who moved away to England to get a decent job when I was 21 and If I'd stayed here would never in a million years have considered voting for Plaid Cymru or for the Senedd I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh?
Surely If you're in Wales you should support the Welsh language after all If you're in England you should be able to speak english.
The calls of "racism" in this story? as ruddy stupid as the uber PC brigade shout racism when ppl call "coffee without milk" Black coffee
[quote][p][bold]Flashbang[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew Lye[/bold] wrote: They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council. When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh. The answer was no. End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England. I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.[/p][/quote]Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales?[/p][/quote]As a welsh speaking Welshman who moved away to England to get a decent job when I was 21 and If I'd stayed here would never in a million years have considered voting for Plaid Cymru or for the Senedd I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh? Surely If you're in Wales you should support the Welsh language after all If you're in England you should be able to speak english. The calls of "racism" in this story? as ruddy stupid as the uber PC brigade shout racism when ppl call "coffee without milk" Black coffee Tttoommy
  • Score: -2

1:16am Thu 13 Mar 14

Flashbang says...

Tttoommy wrote " I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh?"
If you'd bothered to read my post properly you'd have seen I'm not anti Welsh, just anti-discrimination and against Taliban style, Uber PC diktats about how people must think and behave in Wales.
Tttoommy wrote " I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh?" If you'd bothered to read my post properly you'd have seen I'm not anti Welsh, just anti-discrimination and against Taliban style, Uber PC diktats about how people must think and behave in Wales. Flashbang
  • Score: 2

12:04pm Thu 13 Mar 14

seaveiw says...

Flashbang wrote:
Andrew Lye wrote:
They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council.
When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh.
The answer was no.
End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England.
I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.
Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales?
The problem I have is the waste of money printing all official documents in Welsh and English what a wastes of resources both money and trees,it should be policy to be able to request a copy in which langugue is preferable.Some of the problem recruiting doctors and other health proffessionals is the Welsh langugue concept,ask the banks how many people press the button for Welsh when using Bank machines and help lines.The Welsh economy will always be in the doldrums whilst the minority bigots exist, come on lets fight togethether to make Wales a great if not totally independent country, and encourage our young people to stay,here
[quote][p][bold]Flashbang[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew Lye[/bold] wrote: They do take Welsh seriously at Pembrokeshire County Council. When I phoned them to enquire if they had any jobs after I was made redundant at ITV Digital, I was asked if I spoke Welsh. The answer was no. End of conversation. I could not get over the first hurdle, despite my years of experience of local government as a councillor in England. I did learn a lesson from that rebuff. Go self employed.[/p][/quote]Reverse racism at it's finest. What next, remove the letter X from all the keyboards in Wales?[/p][/quote]The problem I have is the waste of money printing all official documents in Welsh and English what a wastes of resources both money and trees,it should be policy to be able to request a copy in which langugue is preferable.Some of the problem recruiting doctors and other health proffessionals is the Welsh langugue concept,ask the banks how many people press the button for Welsh when using Bank machines and help lines.The Welsh economy will always be in the doldrums whilst the minority bigots exist, come on lets fight togethether to make Wales a great if not totally independent country, and encourage our young people to stay,here seaveiw
  • Score: 3

6:00pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Tttoommy says...

Flashbang wrote:
Tttoommy wrote " I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh?"
If you'd bothered to read my post properly you'd have seen I'm not anti Welsh, just anti-discrimination and against Taliban style, Uber PC diktats about how people must think and behave in Wales.
Taliban style? any english speaking person killed or tortured?
Dictating thought? Love an example of that
PS Not anti-welsh? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck .....;-)
[quote][p][bold]Flashbang[/bold] wrote: Tttoommy wrote " I'm still surprised by how much anti-welsh sentiment there is by non-welsh speaking welshmen - why is that? Is it some sort of chip on their shoulder or a feeling of being less than proper welsh?" If you'd bothered to read my post properly you'd have seen I'm not anti Welsh, just anti-discrimination and against Taliban style, Uber PC diktats about how people must think and behave in Wales.[/p][/quote]Taliban style? any english speaking person killed or tortured? Dictating thought? Love an example of that PS Not anti-welsh? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck .....;-) Tttoommy
  • Score: -4

10:51am Sat 15 Mar 14

neil p says...

Tttoommy:

I work in England fairly frequently and am lucky enough to work abroad also. Looking from the outside toward Wales, I see a nation going down the plug hole economically wise.
There are no private large scale highly paid jobs being created, the education system is second or third rate and a massive amount of jobs are public sector.
To balance the books we would probably need to trim 20% of public sector jobs, the economics just don't add up.
When the hell are people going to wake up.

As an English speaker born and bred in Pembrokeshire , I would gladly see the Welsh language survival depend on a non funded outcome.

Your "don't you feel welsh" statement is no more than an infantile attitude towards the bigger picture.

I would gladly see the language disappear if the investment in it could be channelled into jobs and meant my children could have a prosperous and secure future here in Wales.
Tttoommy: I work in England fairly frequently and am lucky enough to work abroad also. Looking from the outside toward Wales, I see a nation going down the plug hole economically wise. There are no private large scale highly paid jobs being created, the education system is second or third rate and a massive amount of jobs are public sector. To balance the books we would probably need to trim 20% of public sector jobs, the economics just don't add up. When the hell are people going to wake up. As an English speaker born and bred in Pembrokeshire , I would gladly see the Welsh language survival depend on a non funded outcome. Your "don't you feel welsh" statement is no more than an infantile attitude towards the bigger picture. I would gladly see the language disappear if the investment in it could be channelled into jobs and meant my children could have a prosperous and secure future here in Wales. neil p
  • Score: 5

1:00pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Hefin Wyn says...

The amount of negativity any advocacy of support for any enhancement of Welsh language use seems to generate never ceases to amaze me. I thought such views belonged to the last century and, in Sir Benfro particularly, to the pre-Cyngor Sir Dyfed era. To call Welsh language activists 'bigots, racists, fanatics' and, heaven forbid, 'Taliban minded' misses the point and shows a distinct inability to get to grips with the issue.
Welsh is a language for the whole of the county, as much a possession of the communities along the southern coastline as it is for the now infamous enclave of Welsh first language speakers located somewhere in the Preseli hills, as described in a recent job advert. Such insensitivity and delusion has triggered the ire and furore of many.
No, I would not expect the whole workforce of Cyngor Sir Penfro to be bilingual. That would be impracticable. But one expects total empathy for the language and several key positions to be filled by bilingual personnel, particularly in the realm of education, in order to perform their duties efficiently and effectively.
It was during the 22 year reign of Cyngor Sir Dyfed that large strides were made in the name of language emancipation; the language was introduced as a subject in all schools, Welsh medium units were established as well as Welsh medium schools in Harfat and Crymych. Since the demise of Cyngor Sir Dyfed it seems further such developments have been stymied.
I would defy anyone who saw last week's production of 'Dal yn Sownd' – a Welsh language version of 'Hairspray' – at Ysgol y Preseli to question the value of Welsh medium education at their peril. Its success should see a clamour of support for establishing a second bilingual secondary school in the south of the county forthwith. Such a school would surely have been long ago established under the auspices of Cyngor Sir Dyfed. The language, of course, can be not just a game changer but a source of generating employment in itself. Sir Benfro am byth!
There were two sides to Shir Bemro
One for the Sais and one for the Cymro
But now well rid of Babel's melltith
We're all united blith draphlith.
The amount of negativity any advocacy of support for any enhancement of Welsh language use seems to generate never ceases to amaze me. I thought such views belonged to the last century and, in Sir Benfro particularly, to the pre-Cyngor Sir Dyfed era. To call Welsh language activists 'bigots, racists, fanatics' and, heaven forbid, 'Taliban minded' misses the point and shows a distinct inability to get to grips with the issue. Welsh is a language for the whole of the county, as much a possession of the communities along the southern coastline as it is for the now infamous enclave of Welsh first language speakers located somewhere in the Preseli hills, as described in a recent job advert. Such insensitivity and delusion has triggered the ire and furore of many. No, I would not expect the whole workforce of Cyngor Sir Penfro to be bilingual. That would be impracticable. But one expects total empathy for the language and several key positions to be filled by bilingual personnel, particularly in the realm of education, in order to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. It was during the 22 year reign of Cyngor Sir Dyfed that large strides were made in the name of language emancipation; the language was introduced as a subject in all schools, Welsh medium units were established as well as Welsh medium schools in Harfat and Crymych. Since the demise of Cyngor Sir Dyfed it seems further such developments have been stymied. I would defy anyone who saw last week's production of 'Dal yn Sownd' – a Welsh language version of 'Hairspray' – at Ysgol y Preseli to question the value of Welsh medium education at their peril. Its success should see a clamour of support for establishing a second bilingual secondary school in the south of the county forthwith. Such a school would surely have been long ago established under the auspices of Cyngor Sir Dyfed. The language, of course, can be not just a game changer but a source of generating employment in itself. Sir Benfro am byth! There were two sides to Shir Bemro One for the Sais and one for the Cymro But now well rid of Babel's melltith We're all united blith draphlith. Hefin Wyn
  • Score: 3

9:23pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Cymru bach says...

We have seen in the last week the very welcome news that S4C is moving its headquarters to Carmarthen. That could be the beginning of a Media Village in West Wales.
There was the 'Welsh Not' campaign a couple of hundred years ago where young Welsh children were forced to wear a wooden block around their neck for uttering a word of Welsh in the English only environment in the school.

Comments above about the costs of bilingual correspondence etc should be grateful they don't live in Birmingham where letters home from school have to be sent in 19 different languages so I'm told.

We should embrace the heritage and history of Wales

Remember, - to be worn Welsh is to be born rich. Not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but with poetry in your soul and music in your blood!

Please embrace the Welsh language, I can assure you you will be glad you did.
We have seen in the last week the very welcome news that S4C is moving its headquarters to Carmarthen. That could be the beginning of a Media Village in West Wales. There was the 'Welsh Not' campaign a couple of hundred years ago where young Welsh children were forced to wear a wooden block around their neck for uttering a word of Welsh in the English only environment in the school. Comments above about the costs of bilingual correspondence etc should be grateful they don't live in Birmingham where letters home from school have to be sent in 19 different languages so I'm told. We should embrace the heritage and history of Wales Remember, - to be worn Welsh is to be born rich. Not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but with poetry in your soul and music in your blood! Please embrace the Welsh language, I can assure you you will be glad you did. Cymru bach
  • Score: 3

12:31am Mon 17 Mar 14

PembrokeshireMan says...

What is Wales without the welsh language?

England.
What is Wales without the welsh language? England. PembrokeshireMan
  • Score: 0

8:39am Mon 17 Mar 14

Hen Gi says...

I am genuinely surprised and saddened to read the negative comments posted on this page following the recent peaceful gathering in Haverfordwest of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, calling on our county council to show greater respect for the Welsh language.

To those alleging that the provision of Welsh-language services is 'expensive', I suggest that any complaint about money being wasted would be far more relevant to the appalling costs of Afghanistan, membership of the European superstate, funding the overseas aid budget (including India's space programme) and, of course, the suggested £180 billion price-tag of the replacement for Trident.

On the other hand, to all the open-minded men and women of Pembrokeshire I would say – Join us .. set out, as I have done, on the amazing journey of learning this vibrant and expressive tongue and broaden your minds still further by being able to access the history, music and literature, both ancient and contemporary, that reside within our language.

The days of the Welsh Not persecution are over, so join us .. sign up to a Welsh class and discover what you have been missing. You will not be disappointed.
I am genuinely surprised and saddened to read the negative comments posted on this page following the recent peaceful gathering in Haverfordwest of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, calling on our county council to show greater respect for the Welsh language. To those alleging that the provision of Welsh-language services is 'expensive', I suggest that any complaint about money being wasted would be far more relevant to the appalling costs of Afghanistan, membership of the European superstate, funding the overseas aid budget (including India's space programme) and, of course, the suggested £180 billion price-tag of the replacement for Trident. On the other hand, to all the open-minded men and women of Pembrokeshire I would say – Join us .. set out, as I have done, on the amazing journey of learning this vibrant and expressive tongue and broaden your minds still further by being able to access the history, music and literature, both ancient and contemporary, that reside within our language. The days of the Welsh Not persecution are over, so join us .. sign up to a Welsh class and discover what you have been missing. You will not be disappointed. Hen Gi
  • Score: 1

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