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Welsh broadcasting campaigner faces prison over campaign

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A 68-YEAR OLD from Ceredigion faces prison in an effort to devolve powers over broadcasting to Wales after saying she will not pay a court penalty of £220 last Wednesday (Apr 3).

68-year old Eiris Llywelyn, from Ffostrasol in Ceredigion, is the third person to face court over her refusal to pay for her TV licence as part of the campaign for broadcasting powers for Wales.

She is the first person to refuse to pay court penalties and so risk a prison sentence. Campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith says securing broadcasting powers for Wales is essential to sustain the country’s young devolution settlement. According to opinion polling, fewer than half of the Welsh public know that responsibility over health is devolved to the Senedd in Cardiff. Over eighty people are currently refusing to pay for their licence fees in an effort to transfer control over TV, radio and online communication from Westminster to Wales.
Speaking from the court in Aberystwyth, Eiris Llywelyn commented: “This campaign is as important as the fight to establish S4C back in the seventies and eighties. It’s a fight for the future of our language, our communities and for our democracy. Democracy is impossible without powers over the media – and a media which reflects our values and our culture – so that we see the world through a Welsh window. Devolving the broadcasting system is as important as the political system itself.
“The current system is run from Westminster. Every day, we’re treated as part of England by all the British broadcasters, and it is British propaganda which is broadcast to us in Wales. Westminster holds the reins. That’s what’s responsible for our current broadcasting backwater in Wales.

It’s why we only have one television channel – and even its financial and editorial independence hangs in the balance – one radio station and a few hours on a second one. The commercial companies have free reign to do whatever they wish with local radio and get rid of the few Welsh language hours which used to be broadcast.
“The lack of other platforms is terrible and Wales is far behind in the digital revolution. The language won’t live unless it’s used on every type of media and is the natural language of the digital media in Wales. The lack of Welsh language content on the web is a matter of concern; if the language is not visible and does not adapt to the digital age it has no future.”

Aled Powell from campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith added: “Eiris has taken a very brave stand for our young democracy in Wales; we’re very grateful to her. Decisions about broadcasting in Wales should be made by the people of Wales. We’ve had enough of MPs in London cutting the Welsh media, and presiding over a system which gives so little attention to Wales and doesn’t reflect our lives. We’re pushing for the devolution of communication and broadcasting powers for the sake of Wales’ democracy, as well as our language. The lack of Welsh content in the media is a threat to devolution, and it must be tackled.”

Campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has published its own proposals for a devolved system of broadcasting. They claim that tens of millions of pounds extra would be available to invest in Welsh content on TV, radio and online through devolution with control over the licence fee and a new tax on big new media businesses like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook. According to a YouGov opinion poll published last year, 65% of people in Wales favour devolving powers over broadcasting to the Senedd in Cardiff.

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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