A woman from Ceredigion says she is going to continue to refuse to pay a court penalty she received as part of a campaign to gain broadcasting powers for Wales, despite bailiffs calling at her house just a few weeks ago.
68-year old Eiris Llywelyn, from Ffostrasol in Ceredigion, was found guilty in April this year for refusing to to pay for her TV licence as part of the campaign for broadcasting powers for Wales. She was the third campaigner to go to court as part of the campaign and was ordered to pay a £220 court penalty. She is the first person to refuse to pay court penalties and so risk a prison sentence.
Speaking from her home in Ffostrasol, Eiris Llywelyn said:
“I intend to continue to refuse to pay and i’m willing to face the consequences. The bailiffs have called and intend to take property the next time, but I’m not going to let them into the house. I’m willing to take the protest to the end in order to draw attention to a matter that’s of vital importance to our nation. 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 self-government in Wales, and it must be tackled."
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 ninety 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.
Heledd Gwyndaf from campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith added:
“We're very grateful to Eiris for her brave stand. It’s a fight for the future of our language, our communities and for our democracy. Democracy is impossible without powers over the media moving from Westminster to Cardiff 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."
“We’re pleased to see more and more support from the Welsh Government and other for the campaign. 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.”
According to a YouGov opinion poll published last year, 65% of people in Wales favour devolving powers over broadcasting to the Senedd in Cardiff.