Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

'All Wales Convention' set up to prepare 2011 Welsh Parliament Referendum

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced the appointment of Sir Emyr Jones Parry to chair the All Wales Convention which will pave the way for a referendum on primary law-making powers for the Assembly.

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced the appointment of Sir Emyr Jones Parry to chair the All Wales Convention which will pave the way for a referendum on primary law-making powers for the Assembly.

Carmarthenshire-born diplomat Sir Emyr, a former Ambassador of the UK to the United Nations, will lead a task force to engage civic society in Wales and secure a Yes vote in a referendum to be held by 2011.

The All Wales Convention was set up following the coalition deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru in June 2007, which enounces that "in order for Wales to prosper further and to deliver that change, the Assembly needs to develop further legislative powers."

Currently, the National Assembly for Wales has limited powers to make legislation in Wales and is subject to the veto of the UK Secretary of State or the UK Parliament. The referendum planned for 2011 would give Wales a legislative parliament with primary lawmaking powers.

The One Wales Programme for Government agreed by Labour and Plaid Cymru states that "both parties agree in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum."

"Both parties will be commissioned to set the terms of reference and membership of the Convention based on wide representation from civic society. Both parties will then take account of the success of the bedding down of the use of the new legislative powers already available and, by monitoring the state of public opinion, will need to assess the levels of support for full law-making powers necessary to trigger the referendum."

According to an opinion poll undertaken in September 2007 by the Institute of Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University, support for a legislative parliament similar to the one in Scotland had doubled from 20% in 1997 to 43% in 2007, and anti-devolution vote had declined sharply from 40% in 1997 to just 17% in 2007. Another survey published in 2006 by the Electoral Commission showed that 54% of the public believed devolution had improved the way Wales is governed.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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