Welsh language campaigners Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg send sarcastic 'congratulations' card sent to Newport Council for their failure to have a bilingual website
12:11am Monday 23rd December 2013 in Gwent news
LANGUAGE campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg have sent a tongue-in-cheek 'congratulations' card to Newport Council for being the only local authority in Wales without a Welsh language website.
The council were investigated earlier in the year after the group accused the authority of misleading people over its work on creating a bilingual website.
Newport Council claimed it was working on adding content in Welsh to its site, which led to complaints from the group, who believed no such work was being undertaken.
According to the Council's language plan, approved in 2009, the Council promised to "Ensure a Welsh dimension in the content of both the Council’s main vehicles of mass communication, publicity, the website and its newspaper".
But as of yet, the website remains the only one in Wales that doesn’t have a Welsh language version.
The group sent the card to Will Godfrey, the Chief Executive of the council, and it states "Very Many Congratulations! The Council is well ahead as the local authority most opposed to the Welsh language in Wales.
“And with so much competition, that's quite an achievement. You're the only local authority in Wales that doesn't have a Welsh language website. So, the Welsh Not is still alive in Newport."
Alun Thomas, a member of the Newport branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg said: "If the council wasn't ridiculous before, it certainly is by now. There's an increasing demand for Council services in Welsh, but residents of the city are being ignored.
“It's a disgrace that they are the only council in Wales without a Welsh language website. Not only because they’re breaking their statutory Welsh language plan, but they don't even realise they’re breaking it.”
A page on the council’s website says that the authority is “working towards adding more Welsh language content to the site”.
However, despite many promises, this won’t be ready until 2014, when the costs of a bilingual site are clearer.
A Newport council spokeswoman said the authority was mindful of the need to develop Welsh language services for the web and commitments had been made to the commissioner.
“Providing information and services in Welsh also has a cost associated with it which presents a significant financial challenge as further cuts to the budget must be made.
"The council’s priority has to be the protection of frontline services, but recognises its statutory responsibilities to the Welsh language and those residents who use it.”
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