The Penarth branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Cymraeg [The Welsh Language Society] has referred Penarth Town Council to the Ombudsman for Wales over its alleged non-compliance with legislation on the Welsh Language.
The Society has written to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, pointing out, that under the law, public authorities in Wales must treat the Welsh Language no less favourably than the English language.
The Welsh Language Society – which has campaigned to defend the language for over half-a-century – claims that none of Penarth Town Council’s staff speaks Welsh and also (wrongly) asserts that council’s revamped website is in “English only ” .
[PDN Note: The Society may not have spotted the “translate” button (see left) on the bottom of the screen which enables much of the content of Penarth Council’s new web-site to be accessed in Welsh.]
The Society complains that meetings of the council are all in English only . It also asserts – more contentiously – that the public is “not welcome” to express their views in Welsh at such meetings.
The letter says that thousands of people in and around Penarth are Welsh-speaking and are paying the salaries and expenses of councillors and council staff who “refuse to recognise” what is the official language of Wales.
The Society says some bilingual members of the public feel more comfortable expressing themselves in Welsh – particularly when “dealing with jurisdiction” – and are being disadvantaged by not being able to do so.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith tells the Ombusdman – whose role is to investigate “maladministration” – that Penarth Council is “discriminating” against its members and against the “thousands” of people in and around the town who speak Welsh.