Cornish minority bid gets a big boost
A BID to have the Cornish recognised as an ethnic minority has been given a boost after receiving backing from Cornwall Council.
Council chief executive Kevin Lavery wrote a letter to the Government urging them to include the Cornish in the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM).
In his letter Mr Lavery wrote: "Cornwall Council firmly believes that the UK Government should recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the terms of the Framework Convention."
He adds: "Cornwall Council believes that the Government's current restricted interpretation is discriminatory against the Cornish and contradicts the support it gives to Cornish culture and identity through its own departments."
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The letter was sent in response to an invitation by the Government for comments on the draft third UK compliance report of the FCPNM.
Rhisart Tal-e-bot, general secretary of the Celtic League, which released copies of the letter to the media, said: "This would be good for the Cornish. It means legal recognition and status.
"I am Cornish and I am proud of it. It should be recognised in law."
Bernard Moffatt, director information for the Celtic League, added: "It is something we have been anxious for the UK Government to recognise that the Cornish should be given status as national minority.
"It is an interesting development that now seems to be an establishment view. That it is becoming a mainstream view is something that we find very hopeful."
Professor Philip Payton, director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the Tremough campus at Penryn, said: "For some years there has been a determined effort for the Cornish to be recognised, but it didn't have the sanction of the then Cornwall County Council so it didn't have weight with the Government or Europe.
"Cornwall Council recognises that something needs to be done."
Earlier this year the council agreed to look into having dual language street signs in Cornwall to help promote the Cornish language. It is also looking to have all publications issued by the council to be translated into Cornish.