The former Chair of an extreme nationalist Welsh independence party created by the supporter of a paramilitary organisation which had links to the IRA and who controlled the party’s website, has been faced with major problems running a charity allotment scheme and failed to file accounts two years running, The Eye can reveal.
Gwilym ab Ioan (known as Gwilym the Gardener) chaired Ein Gwlad EG (Our Land/Country) which has become known as Gwlad Gwlad GG (Country, Country), as it cleans up its image and adopts a “more consensual approach”.
But it was originally founded by a retired heating engineer, who supports the 1960s paramilitary group Free Wales Army (FWA). Royston Jones (who styles himself in documents as an ‘Investigative Journalist’), writes an acerbic right wing blog and published a picture of the leader of the FWA holding a gun. Those same documents make clear that Mr Jones was also in charge of the website of the old EG.
Earlier this year EG declared on its website: “We are symbolized by our logo – the Phoenix – a mythical bird that lives forever by rising out of the ashes of a dying fire. Our country’s fire is almost out, but like the Phoenix we shall bring our country back to life and rise to a free and prosperous future”.
The former Carmarthenshire County Councillor Sian Caiach explained her decision to join the fledgling party on the Nation.Cymru website, when she said she thought she could bring a level of political expertise currently missing from the party.
She wrote: “I was looking for something. I was looking for a new party and they ended up looking for me… I feel quite comfortable within the party and I really haven’t had any negative comments from anybody locally.
“My family are quite happy with everything and quite a few People First members have either joined or are quite sympathetic. It’s difficult when you are a new party and I think when we become more prominent, we are going around, doing lectures and presentations, and not only is that helping with our message and the feedback we are getting but also it will help people realise we are not bogeymen or strange Neo-fascists or whatever we are being accused of.”
It is also obvious from reading records that a former colleague of Ms Caiach’s, Mr ab Ioan, has interesting views and past as well.
The accounts for his Ymddiredolaeth Rhandiroedd Dyffryn Aeron (Aeron Vale Allotments Trust) founded in 2016 are now hundreds of days overdue. Papers reveal there is also ‘NO INFORMATION RECORDED’ on the trust’s activities, area of benefit, or when and where it operates. They also show the registrations of ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘how’, for the trust are ‘NOT CLASSIFIED’.
Stephen Morris was ‘General Party Spokesman’ and ‘Policy Researcher’ although as he lived in England he was barred from voting in Welsh elections, so is unable to vote for the party at these ballots. In a piece introducing what was then EG on the Nation.Cymru website, Dr Morris wrote: “Wales is a unique country. There is nowhere quite like it.” But Dr Morris works in Wrexham and lives across the English border in Shropshire.
The acerbic right wing blog written by Mr Jones is called Jac o’ the North, and proclaims it is: “Interpreting Wales from a Right of Centre Nationalist perspective”. He has published on his blog a picture of Cayo Evans, pointing a hand gun at the camera, and he revels in his long-standing support for the FWA. Mr Jones has also praised Evans as a “friend” and “comrade”.
The FWA came to prominence more than 50 years ago, and it has been reported that the Official IRA (OIRA) gave or sold, most of its weapons to the organisation as part of its turn away from political violence. Despite this, Dr Morris has described the founder of EG/GG as “venerable”.
The disturbing news about him comes hard on the heels of other worrying issues concerning EG/GG highlighted exclusively by The Eye.
Reporters say they have been unable to contact the party and campaigning before a possible UK General Election has been invisible. The EG/GG website was still active until recently and stated: “FOR NEWS, REVIEWS & OPINI0N ON THE POLITICAL FRONT IN CYMRU (WALES)”, but other engagement is minimal.
One journalist told us: “It is incredibly difficult to get hold of Ein Gwlad (as it then was) for a comment. Nobody seems to know who to contact”.
But this is not the first time EG/GG has been engulfed by problems. Following our revelations about Mr Jones’ connection with Evans and news on The Eye of his publication of him with a pistol, a hotel where he was to announce the formation of EG sent a message to him saying: “With regards to … concerns, we have now cancelled your meeting room with full refund of payment”.
He then advertised on his blog a new venue, with the words: “I am delighted to announce that a meeting has been arranged for November 18th (2018) in Aberystwyth to discuss the formation of a new political party to defend Wales’ interests”. Before this a ‘public’ meeting was held in Autumn 2017 and we disclosed how Mr Jones had initially pledged to create the new party by early last year, with an Annual General Meeting (AGM) penciled in for March 3 2018, but nothing happened.
EG was finally unveiled at Llanelli later last year, but another nationalist blog had ‘reported’ earlier that a first ‘conference’ was to be held before the end of 2018. Meanwhile Mr Jones’ support for the FWA and Evans, as well as previous statements have been questioned, and it seemed our Editor had become something of an irritant.
On November 19 Mr Jones had written on his blog: “The meeting yesterday went very, very well. I was delighted with the turnout and with the enthusiasm shown…perhaps the one disappointment – given the interest he’s shown in the new party – was that Phil Parry of The Eye wasn’t there. You could have had a scoop, Parry – ‘Shock! Horror! irritating little git thrown out of meeting”.