Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts dies, aged 59

Aled Roberts became Welsh Language Commissioner in 2019. Credit: The Welsh Language Commissioner's office

Tributes have been paid to Welsh Language Commissioner and former Assembly Member Aled Roberts who has died at the age of 59.

The Welsh Language Commissioner's office paid tribute to him as a "warm character with an extraordinary talent to bring people together."

Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner, Gwenith Price, added: "His love for his community, and his passion for the growth of the Welsh language in north-east Wales, drove him to want to see change which would benefit the whole nation.

"People were at the centre of everything he did. He had a firm vision for increasing rights for Welsh speakers, and for ensuring justice where he saw unfairness. He wished to see a Wales where every citizen had the opportunity to speak and use the language.

"His enthusiasm was unmatched, and he continued to work throughout his illness. It was a privilege to work with him.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of his death, and we know that everyone who has worked with him will feel the same.

"Our thoughts today are with his family; with his wife, Llinos, and their sons, Ifan and Osian, his mother and sister. Our deepest condolences to them in their loss."

He started in his post at Welsh Language Commissioner on 1 April 2019.  Credit: Welsh Liberal Democrats

Aled Roberts was a Wrexham county councillor from 1991 to 2012, and was elected as leader of the council in 2005.

He led the council until he became a Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for the North Wales region in 2011.

After serving a term in the Senedd, he conducted an independent review of Local Authorities’ Welsh in Education Strategic Plans for the Welsh Government and chaired the board that was responsible for implementing the recommendations outlined in his review.

He started in his post as Welsh Language Commissioner on 1 April 2019. 

'A bitter blow for Welsh public life'

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has also paid her respects to her former colleague.

She said: "I am devastated to hear of the passing of Aled. Aled was a committed liberal and was known for his extraordinary hard work as both an Assembly Member for North Wales and as a senior councillor on Wrexham Borough Council. This news is a deep blow to the Welsh Liberal Democrat family and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

“Aled will be most remembered for his dedication to the Welsh language. A tireless advocate of the protection and promotion of Welsh, he excelled in his role as the Welsh Language Commissioner and sought to promote the language in all aspects of life, including in his role as an Assembly Member.

“Aled’s passing will leave a deep hole in Welsh political life and in our Party, he was someone who knew everyone and left a positive impression on all those he knew. We will miss him greatly.”

Senedd Llywydd, Elin Jones, also paid tribute to the former Assembly Member and described his loss as a "bitter blow for Welsh public life".

She said: “It’s such sad news to hear of Aled Roberts’ death. This is a cruel loss for his family but also a bitter blow for Welsh public life.

"He was a man of principle and full of passion for his language and country. Aled was well-liked and held in high esteem across the political world. My condolences to his family.”