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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Senedd praises Eisteddfod for promoting 'welcoming Wales'

* Sir Tom Jones will appear at the Eisteddfod next July.

The Senedd has heard that Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is the perfect example of promoting Wales as a welcoming country. 

Speaking in the chamber last week, Clwyd South MS Ken Skates – a vice president of the world-renowned event – asked Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt for a progress report on the Welsh Government’s plans to make Wales a ‘nation of sanctuary’. 

Labour Ministers produced the blueprint for how Wales will support refugees and asylum seekers over the next few years. 

Ms Hutt said the Welsh Government’s 2023 report – ‘which demonstrates continued good progress’ – will be published soon. 

Mr Skates said: “I very much look forward to that report. Most of us wish to promote Wales as a nation of sanctuary to people around the world, and there are few better ways of doing this than through events such as the International Eisteddfod that takes place annually in Llangollen. 

“This year there was a significant presence by Ukrainian refugees who have been given invaluable help by this Welsh Labour Government and by local residents. 

“Minister, would you agree that Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, along with other outward-looking international events, are ideal for promoting Wales as a welcoming nation?” 

The Minister responded: “Thank you for that important question, and also sharing with us again the importance of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. 

“We fundamentally believe that the support from Welsh people for homes sponsorship, volunteering, donations to refugee crisis appeals – they’re just showing that becoming a nation of sanctuary is what people are keen to do. But it's important to promote that internationally. 

“Major events are an excellent way of doing that, so Welsh Government is pleased to be supporting the International Eisteddfod. But can I just also say, for the record, that the Welsh Government will be represented at the global refugee forum in Geneva, alongside the UK delegation, communicating our Nation of Sanctuary vision and pledging that we'll continue along the path, encouraging other nations to work towards a shared goal.” 

Earlier this month Mr Skates announced one of the biggest coups in the International Eisteddfod’s history when Sir Tom Jones was unveiled as the headline act for next year’s event. 

The Welsh icon will top the billing at the 2024 showpiece, which also includes Katherine Jenkins, Manic Street Preachers, Gregory Porter, Madness, Kaiser Chiefs and Paloma Faith. 

Mr Skates said: “I was immensely proud to officially announce that Sir Tom Jones will be headlining next year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. 

“I’m a proud vice president of the Eisteddfod, so I was thrilled to represent Clwyd South at the press conference when Katherine Jenkins and Gregory Porter were also announced to add even more stardust to an extremely exciting line-up for the 2024 event. 

“Huge credit must go to the board for pulling together so many big names. The event injects millions of pounds into the local economy every year, and after a difficult few years next summer’s showpiece is set to be one of the best Eisteddfods yet.” 

Board member Dave Hennigan said: “We are absolutely delighted and we’d like to thank Ken for his extraordinary and valued support, not just now but during times of financial difficulty too. 

“We’re really pleased that, after many years of trying, Sir Tom Jones will be coming to Llangollen as part of our exciting programme.”

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