Y Farteg: First minister calls for sensitivity over Welsh place names
THE first minister has waded into the row over the proposal to call a Valleys village Y Farteg calling for sensitivity over how Welsh spellings might be interpreted.
Carwyn Jones told the Senedd that the Varteg had already been identified as where it wouldn’t be sensible to use the correct Welsh spelling “for obvious reasons”.
He made the comments on Tuesday after Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle told First Ministers Question Time that the proposal by the Welsh Language Commissioner for the translation was putting a wedge between Welsh and non-Welsh speakers.
Ms Neagle asked Mr Jones to “listen to the people of Varteg who overwhelmingly don’t want this change” and asked if he would look at whether the budget of the commissioner could be better spent promoting the language “rather than hen-pecking hard pressed communities”.
“It’s desperately sad that when so much hard work and investment has gone into promoting the language in places like Torfaen, this clumsy intervention has served to once-again drive a wedge between Welsh speaking and non-Welsh speaking communities,” she said.
Mr Jones replied that “we have to be practical about these things and pragmatic".
“Some years ago the late Dr Phil Williams picked out Varteg as precisely an example of where it wouldn’t be sensible to use the correct Welsh spelling for obvious reasons,” he said.
“The reality is as a bilingual nation we have to be sensitive to the mis-interpretations that can be put on certain spellings and I think a practical approach will be welcomed by all constituents.”
Torfaen Council will soon be running a consultation which will ask whether people want Varteg to be known in Welsh as Y Farteg.
A previous three week consultation was held in January but a local councillor had considered Farteg inappropriate and it wasn’t adopted at the time.
But the Welsh Lanuage Commissioner instead proposed the alternative name Y Farteg.
Paul Murphy, Torfaen’s MP, has asked why people in Varteg were being told how to spell their own place name.
He had said: “I’m supportive of sensible steps to help the Welsh Language, but this is not the way to achieve that – it will only fuel resentment.”
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