WALES’ heritage and culture ‘must be protected’ from the Brexit catastrophe, the leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price has said on a visit to Cardigan.

The newly-elected Plaid Cymru leader visited Cardigan Castle with Ceredigion AM Elin Jones ahead of the second day of the party’s annual autumn conference which was held at Theatr Mwldan in the town.

Mr Price said: “Here in very heart of Ceredigion the first ever Eisteddfod was held at Cardigan Castle by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth in 1176.

“Today, the castle stands as a proud reminder of Wales’ rich and long history and heritage and cultural contribution to Europe and the wider world.

“But this is all now at risk as it becomes increasingly clear that leaving the EU without a deal or with a weak deal would be a catastrophe that could cause great harm to Wales’ people and their livelihoods, industry and culture.

“We must look to protect our Welsh culture and heritage projects from becoming collateral damage in this long running civil war in the Tory party over Europe.

“Creativity and innovation is critical to the success of any economy in the 21st century and that is why a Plaid Cymru government under my leadership will place heritage, language and culture together with national museums and cultural institutions at the heart of all our policies as we create a bold new Wales beyond Brexit.”

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones added: “Wales is a land of rich cultural legacy. We want to promote Wales as a top quality, sustainable tourism destination on this very basis.

“Following a £12m restoration project commissioned by Cadwgan Trust, Cardigan Castle, like many cultural projects in Ceredigion, saw £4.3m in grant from the European Regional Development Fund. Brexit will see the loss of support for cultural and heritage projects such as these.

“Plaid Cymru will do everything within our power to ensure that, in the wake of Brexit, our heritage and culture is not only protected but is given space to thrive.”

A week on from his election as party leader, Mr Price also visited Crwst bakery in Cardigan alongside Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, where he said that investing in young people will be central to the party’s economic policy.

He said that the lack of economic opportunities for young people in Wales' rural communities was creating a “brain-drain” in Wales - a crisis that will only become worse after Brexit unless action is taken.

“Opened in September 2016 by local young couple Osian and Catrin, local enterprises such as Crwst are a shining example of what we could see if we actively invested in our young people and communities,” said Mr Price

“There has been an historic under-investment in Wales’s infrastructure and the current Welsh Government is failing to create opportunities for young people to choose to live and work in their communities.

“Coupled with the relative absence of Welsh-owned firms and institutions and of years of under-investment and the age gap, what we’re seeing is a brain-drain on Wales’s long-term prospects with many rural communities across Wales experiencing significant outward migration of young people to other parts of Wales, the UK and beyond.

“As part of our 2030 programme the next Plaid Cymru Government is committed to turning round the economic fortunes of our country. We believe that the talent, skills and knowledge of our young people will be central to this strategy.

“As such we commit to prioritise investment in our young people as a main plank of our new economic policy.