[lg policy] Wales: Calls for Botanic Garden to lose funding over language row

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 15:17:46 UTC 2015

  Calls for Botanic Garden to lose funding over language row

By Carmarthen Journal
 |  Posted: April 15, 2015
  [image: The National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne]

The National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne

WELSH language campaigners are calling for the Welsh Government and
Carmarthenshire Council to withhold funding for the county's National
Botanic Garden of Wales after a row over English-only signs.

The Llanarthne tourist attraction has been at the heart of a social media
storm over the past week after complaints that an English-only sign
advertising an Easter event at the garden was placed near the A48.

The garden initially defended the sign, saying it was designed to attract
non-Welsh speaking tourists.

Now, Welsh language campaigners Cymdeithas yr Iaith has written to the
First Minister Carwyn Jones and Carmarthenshire Council leader Kevin Madge,
calling for the garden's funding to be halted until it "shows due respect
to the Welsh language".

The letter reads: "The garden's attitude towards the Welsh language is very
far from what is expected in the 21st Century. Not only that, but when
people have complained about the lack of basic services
and respect towards the Welsh language, response from the garden's officers
have been unacceptable and bordering on rude. We understand that you
provide significant funding to the garden every year. We call on you to
hold the funding back until the garden shows due respect to the Welsh

Concerns have also been raised about the high number of mono-lingual pages
on the garden's website

St Clears resident Iola Wyn, who first raised the issue of the sign, said
the garden could not call itself "national" until it adhered to its own
language policy.

Mrs Wyn added that the garden was letting down the 78,000 Welsh speakers
living in Carmarthenshire.

She told the Journal: "When people comment, using words like "disgraceful",
"unbelievable" and "I can't believe this" — these are people from

"They are just people living in the area — they aren't Welsh language

Dr Rosie Plummer, the National Botanic Garden's director has, however,
reiterated the garden's commitment to the Welsh language. She said: "The
garden, as an iconic organisation and environmental flagship for Wales, is
very committed to its wide support
for the culture, language, and heritage of Wales and makes substantial
allocation of resources and effort to this.

"It is therefore enormously disappointing to be subject to such vigorous
approaches that largely seem to overlook the very wide range of ways in
which the garden actively contributes to bringing the unique importance of
Wales to everyone who visits."

She added: "We are very sorry indeed that the matter of a single, targeted
banner has been felt, in any way, to diminish our commitment or our
representation of the importance and essence of the Welsh language.

"This is certainly not the view or interpretation we would seek to convey
and clearly we will explore how best we can, in future, successfully
capture the attention of those from outside Wales who transit through
Carmarthen on its arterial roads, without being aware, or ever stopping to
benefit from the many assets it offers."

Mrs Wyn said the garden's response is meaningless unless they show a
greater commitment to the language.

Manon Elin, from Cymdeithas yr Iaith added: "Why should people fund the
National Botanic Garden of Wales when it is so disrespectful towards the
Welsh language?"

Read more:
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