Brexit & Ireland, an inside story of the Irish response

Tuesday, 03 September 2019
Need to understand how Ireland helped to shape the EU's response to Brexit? RTÉ's Europe correspondent Tony Connelly tells the dramatic story of the Irish response to this political and economic earthquake. Read More...

Stanhope Forbes, father of Cornwall's Newlyn School of painting

Friday, 16 August 2019
Dublin-born Stanhope Forbes spent time painting Brittany before founding the influential Newlyn School of painters in Cornwall in the late 19th century. Read More...

Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

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

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

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...

First Minister of Wales to quit in 2009

Rhodri Morgan has said that he intends to stand down as leader of the Welsh Assembly Government by his 70th birthday, on September 29, 2009.

Rhodri Morgan has said that he intends to stand down as leader of the Welsh Assembly Government by his 70th birthday, on September 29, 2009.

The Welsh First Minister announced his decision on February 9th 2008, on the occasion of his eighth anniversary as Wales’ First Minister.

Mr. Morgan said that “I don’t think it’s reasonable for people to stay in this kind of job for 10 years or more” and “I don’t want to be doing this job after I am 70.”

He admitted that his birthday is a target date but not a commitment to leave, and the timing would still be dependent on when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls the next general election: “I can’t ask my party to have the expense, the pain and the inevitable rivalries that would be set up in a leadership campaign either just before or immediately after a general election”, he said.

The First Minister also announced that after stepping down he would still continue to work as a Welsh Assembly Member until the next Welsh election in May 2011.

Mr. Morgan looked back on his tenure as Wales' First Minister and highlighted the growing confidence of Wales as a “can do” nation. He said “I think my best achievement is that, despite difficult economic conditions, unemployment has come down and is now expected to be below the UK average”. He believed that Wales has proved it can handle its own affairs in an “open and democratic way”, and that those who opposed devolution in the 1997 Referendum have been proved wrong.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is currently governing Wales with the Welsh Labour Party, reacted to the First Minister's announcement declaring that Rhodri Morgan “has made an important contribution, particularly in creating a solid foundation for this coalition Government.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ leader, Mike German, said that “Rhodri Morgan has provided powerful leadership of his party over the last eight years. He will be a difficult act to follow.”

Welsh Conservative Party leader, Nick Bourne, did not agree with the other Welsh Assembly leaders. “I don’t think Rhodri Morgan is well equipped to deal with the problems we face in 21st century Wales. His policies have been disastrous for Wales”, he said.

Who will replace Rhodri Morgan as First Minister of Wales?

The Labour leadership race to replace Rhodri Morgan as First Minister of Wales has began with only one year to go until Mr. Morgan stands down.

The next leader of the Welsh Labour Party faces a challenging future, with polls showing a general loss of support for the party, which has been affected by several scandals in the UK and Wales including the campaign funding scandal of former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

The Welsh Labour Party has no clear successor lined up to replace Rhodri Morgan, but senior cabinet members Environment Minister Jane Davidson and Health Minister Edwina Hart have already ruled themselves out of the leadership race.

Political analysts speculate that Chief Legal Adviser to the Assembly Government and former Agriculture Minister, Mr. Carwyn Jones, may be the most likely successor to Rhodri Morgan as First Minister of Wales. Finance Minister Mr. Andrew Davies and former Deputy Social Justice Minister Mr. Huw Lewis are also believed to be candidates to replace the First Minister.

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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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