We’ve just passed A Welsh Language Measure – David Williamson (of Belfast I believe) writes in the Western Mail:
Leading activists yesterday welcomed a last-minute move by the Assembly Government to secure the status of Welsh as an official language in Wales as AMs voted on flagship legislation.
The Assembly yesterday passed the long-awaited Welsh Language Measure which will lead to new bilingual duties on publicly- funded organisations and key utility providers.
Early yesterday afternoon it emerged that the Assembly Government had added a clause strengthening the official status of the language. Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins had prepared amendments of her own to bolster the legislation but was satisfied by the changes and did not put her proposals forward.
She said: “This strong statement of official status for the language will boost the Welsh nation in the future, and this is something we celebrate and celebrate it we will.”
“The Welsh language is a source of great pride for the people of Wales, whether they speak it or not, and I am delighted that the National Assembly has approved this Measure. I am very proud to have steered legislation through the Assembly which confirms the official status of the Welsh language; which creates a strong advocate for Welsh speakers and will improve the quality and quantity of services available through the medium of Welsh. Today is a truly historic day for the language.
From the same Government site – this is what the Measure does:
•confirms the official status of the Welsh language.
•creates a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh.
•creates a Welsh Language Commissioner with strong enforcement powers to protect the rights of Welsh speakers to access services through the medium of Welsh.
•establishes a Welsh Language Tribunal.
•gives individuals and bodies the right to appeal decisions made in relation to the provision of services through the medium of Welsh.
•creates a Welsh Language Partnership Council to advise Government on its strategy in relation to the Welsh language.
•allows for an official investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner of instances where there is an attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh speakers to use the language with one another.
I’m not a lawyer but as Welsh is now an official language here and by the act has equal status with English then de jure English becomes an official language in Wales – unlike anywhere else in the UK…..(I think…)