Rhun ap Iorwerth looking forward to getting stuck into new portfolio role

Having today been announced as Plaid Cymru’s new Shadow Secretary for Economy and Finance, Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has expressed his excitement about the new challenges that lay in front of him.

Serving as the party’s Shadow Secretary for Health and Social Care for the last two years, playing a key role in Plaid Cymru’s success securing a Medical School in north Wales, Mr ap Iorwerth has been handed the Economy and Finance portfolios in party leader Adam Price’s shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Following the announcement of the party’s new shadow cabinet portfolios this afternoon, the Ynys Môn AM expressed his excitement and outlined the priorities he has set as the party’s new Shadow Spokesperson for Economy and Finance.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into some pretty big tasks. On finance, it is about leading Plaid Cymru’s charge on using new taxation powers in the best way possible, and holding government to account on the way it spends money now.

“In terms of the economy, it is about making Wales a more prosperous nation and sharing that prosperity to every part of the country. It is about building a transport system that works for all of Wales and brings Wales together – I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the job.

“This is a strong team that I’m proud to be a part of. Labour has had its chance, governing Wales since 1999 – it’s time for a change. This is a team that can govern Wales, and govern well, from 2021.”

Anglesey AM to push for new Llangefni railway bridge support

Anglesey Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has insisted he will be fully supporting Isle of Anglesey County Council and Network Rail following the removal of the old railway bridge in Llangefni last weekend.

Following the bridge’s removal on Sunday after a lorry crashed into it, Mr ap Iorwerth has said he will be raising the matter of support for a new bridge in the Assembly next week, with the hope of bringing the matter to light in First Minister’s Questions if successful in the ballot.

Prominent in the campaign for reopening the disused railway line between Gaerwen and Amlwch and linking it back up to Network Rail’s mainline, Mr ap Iorwerth insists that whilst reopening the mainline is a long-term possibility that would benefit the island’s economy, the goal in the short-term must be to install a new bridge that leaves all future avenues for use open.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“Following the very careless accident last weekend that led to the removal of the old railway bridge in Llangefni, I will be supporting Isle of Anglesey County Council and Network Rail in exploring the possibilities of installing a new bridge here that leaves every possible avenue open for its future use.

“Any new bridge has to be suitable for carrying trains, especially if there is any possibility of the line from Gaerwen to Amlwch reopening in the future, as having running trains on the line would be fantastic for the economy of Anglesey, but that is a matter for another day.

“I will be raising the matter of support for a new bridge in the Assembly next week, and I will be doing everything I can to help see a new bridge installed, and perhaps explore other possibilities regarding the road leading into Llangefni in the process.”

Welsh Government Electric Vehicle plans need a jolt says Anglesey AM

The Labour Welsh Government needs to significantly up its game regarding the development of a network of rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging points, according to prominent EV campaigner Rhun ap Iorwerth, Assembly Member for Ynys Môn, after Plaid Cymru recently secured £2m in funding to develop a rapid charging network.

The Plaid Cymru AM has led the party’s campaign for better adoption of EV technology, proposing legislation in the Assembly that would make charging points a part of future planning guidelines and regularly raising questions with Welsh Government.

Mr ap Iorwerth recently borrowed an EV to conduct his weekly Assembly business in a bid to demonstrate the challenges of owning an EV using the current infrastructure.

In a statement by Mr Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, in the Assembly last week, the Labour AM provided an update on the progress of the EV charging network development, noting that he “aimed” for Transport for Wales “to go out to procurement” to develop the network next spring.

Mr ap Iorwerth has called on Welsh Government to up its game and move forward in its plans with more urgency, and had this to say following the Cabinet Secretary’s statement:

“Plaid Cymru is proud to have secured £2 million of funding towards the development of a national EV charging network as part of the two-year budget deal with Welsh Government, but Welsh Government really needs to up its game in developing the network as progress has been very slow, with very little enthusiasm being shown for the excitement and potential of such a development.

“In the spring it was announced that, whereas in Scotland there is one for every 7,000 people, in Wales there is only one publicly-funded charge point for every 100,000 people. That is appalling, and this is a situation that needs to change very quickly.

“Wales is being left behind again by this Labour government. Investing this £2m quickly and efficiently would be a positive first step – it’s time for Welsh Government to take this matter seriously.”

Rhun stands shoulder to shoulder with the NHS on Cancer

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has shown his support for NHS workers in Wales who diagnose, treat and care for people affected by cancer at a Cancer Research UK event in Cardiff Bay.

The event marked the 70th birthday of the NHS and the contribution made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals across cancer. Cancer Research UK used the event to call for everyone to stand with the NHS and highlight the importance of staff to diagnose and treat cancer.

Every year, over 19,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales and as the population grows and ages, that number is only set to rise.

Speaking after the event, Rhun said: “It was good to welcome Trevor Hughes-Morris – who, along with his wife Carol, has raised thousands of pounds for Breast Cancer charities – to this Cancer Research UK event.

“After the past 70 years of fantastic work from the NHS, it is important to thank the men and women involved in cancer care.

“Many of us have been affected by cancer in some way, and 1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed in our lifetimes.

“We all want a world-class service where people are given every opportunity to survive this devastating disease, for it to be diagnosed early and for patients to receive the best treatment possible.

“That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.”

Andy Glyde, public affairs manager for Wales at Cancer Research UK, said: “We are grateful to Rhun ap Iorwerth AM showing his support at our event. The NHS has been central to improvements in cancer survival over the years.

“By 2034, our ambition is for 3 in 4 people to survive their cancer, but advances in technology and treatment mean nothing if we don’t have the NHS staff to deliver them.

“That’s why the support of AM’s like Rhun is so vitally important to help make Wales’ cancer services the best in the world.”

For more information visit cruk.org/shouldertoshoulder or join the conversation on twitter #ShouldertoShoulder and #YsgwyddWrthYsgwydd.

Rhun ap Iorwerth supports Inquiry into hospital care for people living with dementia in Wales

Last week the National Assembly’s Cross Party Group (CPG) on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru launched their Inquiry into hospital care for people living with dementia in Wales. In support, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM for Ynys Môn who is a member of the CPG on Dementia and is backing the call for evidence from people in Ynys Môn.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care report showed that at least 25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, and on average, people with dementia in hospital stay more than twice as long as other patients aged over 65.

The Inquiry follows on from the launch of Welsh Government’s Dementia Action Plan earlier this year, which pledged to take action to improve hospital care for people living with dementia, and calls for evidence directly from people affected by dementia in Wales, as well as professionals working in the health and social care sector.

The Inquiry will cover:
• Knowledge and understanding of medical staff
• Admission to hospital
• Discharge from hospital
• Quality of care

Evidence will be used to form as assessment of the effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s recommendations contained within the Plan and whether it is working in practice.

The Cross Party Group, unites its membership, which has representations from political parties across the Assembly, in its focus on gaining understanding of the experiences of people affected by dementia and aims to work collaboratively to make improvements to the care they receive.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, said:

“When a person living with dementia is admitted to hospital they are often at their most vulnerable.

“In my role as an Assembly Member I have heard too many stories of people with dementia becoming distressed and receiving poor care whilst in hospital. This Inquiry aims to shine a light on the challenges across Wales, and to make recommendations to the Welsh Government for improvements.”

“If you are living with dementia, or caring for someone with dementia, and have experienced hospital care, then we want to hear from you.”

In a focus group organised by Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, who provide the secretariat support to the CPG, people living with and caring for people with dementia shared some of their experiences:

“It must have been absolutely traumatic for my dad – no understanding, no knowledge, no support. He couldn’t communicate” – Ceri Higgins, carer of a person living with dementia – Pontypridd

“Most of the nurses, especially in the general ward, just don’t have a clue. They’re just not getting the education on how to deal with people with dementia” – France Savarimuthu …. person living with dementia, Newport

“I took the staff nurse aside and explained he has dementia and that it’s in his notes. She hadn’t looked at the notes. She said ‘he doesn’t look like the average dementia patient to me’.” – Helen Savarimuthu, carer of a person living with dementia, Newport

“I’ve got to have a hip done whenever they say. I’m frightened to death of going in” – Lilly Harris, person living with dementia, Bridgend

The charity along with the CPG on Dementia opened the Inquiry today with a survey and would particularly like to hear from:

• People affected by dementia
• Third sector organisations including those representing carers
• Healthcare professionals and professional bodies
• Healthcare and service providers

Sue Phelps, Country Director of Alzheimer’s Society Cymru said; “There are 45,000 people with dementia in Wales.

“We want to hear from people all over Wales so that we can understand the scale of the challenge, and work with the Welsh Government in their implementation of the Action Plan to make sure hospital care for people living with dementia is shining example of excellence.”

To take part in the Inquiry please write to us at walescpg@alzheimers.org.uk or post to Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, 16 Columbus Walk, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 4BY.

You can also answer the questions through our online survey available at alzheimers.org.uk.

If you would prefer to submit your evidence in a different way, for example over the phone, please call Sophie Douglas on 029 2047 5580.

Third crossing decision a huge victory for Plaid Cymru, says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Plaid Cymru’s Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has expressed his delight following the announcement of the chosen route for the third Menai crossing by Welsh Government this week.

The Plaid Cymru AM has led the campaign for a third bridge across the Menai Strait since taking office as Ynys Môn’s AM and today welcomed the news that the purple option had been chosen in public consultation, with work on the new bridge possibly starting in three years.

Following the announcement, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“The duelling of the Britannia Bridge is something that I’ve called for consistently since I was elected – and my predecessor Ieuan Wyn Jones before me – and this is another huge victory for Plaid Cymru, as we continue to push for investment in crucial infrastructure for the benefit of all of Wales.

“This new bridge will not just respond to delays at rush hour, even though they’re very frustrating for travellers, rather this is a step towards building resilience for the connections between the mainland and Anglesey and will deliver benefits in terms of trade and for emergency services too.

“There have been many serious incidents over the last few years alone, where the Britannia bridge has had to close due to wind or accidents, leaving the nearly-200-year-old Menai bridge the only link open to the mainland – taking the pressure off, not adding to the pressure on our existing connections is what we should be doing in the future.”

The Anglesey AM added that Welsh Government now needs to push National Grid to incorporate their North Wales Connection plans into the new bridge development, as opposed to pursuing their original plans of building a £300m tunnel under the Strait to house any cables.

“This welcome announcement will allow traffic to continue to flow, give certainty to emergency services, increase trade, and now we must continue to impress on National Grid the need to incorporate the new North Wales Connection into the new bridge development, instead of progressing their very costly tunnelling option.

“Only last month, Welsh Government told me that they are in constructive discussions with Grid, and it is imperative now that pressure is kept on them to ensure a feasibility study is conducted as soon as possible on utilising the new bridge to carry cables.”

World Mental Health Day 2018

On World Mental Health Day, there is no better time to start talking about mental health, whether you know someone who suffers from mental health problems, or you suffer yourself. Remember that today is a good day to talk, and remember to look after yourself.

There is no bad time to talk about mental health, but today is a particularly good day to make sure you remember the importance of mental health, and the need to strengthen services for those who do suffer with their mental health.

You can hear more from me on World Mental Health Day by watching the video below:

Grid and PINS should respect democratic views of Wales when it comes to pylons, says AM

Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth this week asked the First Minister to make sure that those looking at National Grid’s plans for new pylons across Anglesey were aware of the Assembly vote in favour of undergrounding cables.

During this week’s FMQs, the Anglesey AM called on Welsh Government to push as much as possible to ensure that the UK Planning Inspectorate respects the democratic views of the Assembly in favour of undergrounding.

He also said it would be a scandal if money Grid have suggested would go towards a tunnel to carry cables wasn’t spent on a new bridge instead, with the rest being invested in undergrounding.

Speaking in the chamber, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“The DCO application has been submitted, but the grid, since the beginning of this process, haven’t given an inch in response to the pressure from me, the Member of Parliament, the council or, more importantly, the unanimity of the people of Anglesey that we need to underground these cables.

“And let’s recall that this Chamber favoured undergrounding rather than pylons and voted for that. You said in January that you’d remind the grid of that. So, what was their response? But, more importantly, will you give a commitment to push as much as possible as Welsh Government to ensure that the UK Planning Inspectorate realises that the democratic views of this Parliament have been expressed, and that they must respect that?

“And, with a further suggestion that a tunnel that could put cables under the Menai could cost £300 million, isn’t it clear that it would be a scandal if the money, or part of that money, weren’t spent on a new bridge to carry cables and vehicles, with the rest being invested in undergrounding?”

The First Minister replied that they have told the grid that it’s extremely important to consider a third bridge over the Menai Strait in order to ensure that the cables can go on that bridge and also that grid knows the views of the Assembly and the views of local people. However, Rhun ap Iorwerth said that we need a clear statement to this effect.

Rhun wears it pink for charity fundraiser

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM for Anglesey added a splash of pink to his usual attire to support Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser, which will take place on Friday 19 October to raise money for vital breast cancer research.

Rhun was joined by over 30 other members of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff this week, all encouraging people across the UK to take part on wear it pink day and raise money for Breast Cancer Now.

Rhun is calling for his constituents in Anglesey to join him, as well as thousands of others across the UK, to sign up and take part in wear it pink which takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to date has raised over £31million towards Breast Cancer Now’s important work.

Anyone can take part in wear it pink, whether at work, school or in your community. All you need to do is wear something pink, or hold a pink themed event, and donate to Breast Cancer Now. With every penny raised, fundraisers across the UK will be helping the charity achieve its aim that, if we all act now, by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM continues his support by joining over 20 AMs across the country as a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador, advocating breast cancer issues and support for the charity’s research both in Anglesey and nationally.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, said:
“Breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer in the UK. Each year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease. That’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging everyone in Anglesey to take part in wear it pink day on Friday 19 October.

“Wear it pink is great way to come together with friends and family to have fun whilst raising money for Breast Cancer Now’s vital research. As you can see from my photograph, all it takes is an additional splash of pink to your normal outfit!

“As a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador I am proud to raise awareness of the impact of the disease locally, and to support and advocate for Breast Cancer Now’s research. Breast cancer affects so many people in Anglesey, so I hope that everybody will get involved this October and support this very important cause.”

Joining the politicians in Cardiff was Welsh rock star, Jules Peters, along with her husband Mike. Jules, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2016, hopes that people across Wales and the rest of the UK will join her to take part in the fundraising event,

Jules Peters, of Welsh rock band The Alarm, said:

‘“Having been through breast cancer myself, I’m thrilled to be supporting wear it pink this year, with my husband Mike – it is a great fundraising event which brings together families, friends and work colleagues, to help fund research into this terrible disease, whilst having fun.

“I am incredibly passionate about raising awareness of the disease, and sharing my experiences to help other women, who are having to face a diagnosis like I did. That’s why I’m asking people across Wales to join me by dressing up in pink on 19 October. We must put a stop to this dreadful disease, and the only way to do so is by continuing to fund vital research.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“We are really grateful for the enthusiasm and support shown by the AMs in Cardiff. Everyone looked fabulous in their pink accessories and showed just how easy it is to add a touch of pink to your everyday outfit. We hope that by wearing pink, Rhun will encourage his constituents in Anglesey to get involved and fundraise in their homes, schools or workplaces, and help us to continue to fund world-class research into this devastating disease.

“Wear it pink is a fantastic opportunity for communities across the UK to come together, have fun and show their support to this very important cause. By simply wearing something pink and donating what you can, you are helping raise much-needed funds to stop breast cancer taking the lives of those we love. Together we can take one step forward to help reach our goal that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.”

To take part in wear it pink this October, please visit wearitpink.org/2018AM for further details, fundraising ideas and how to register for your free fundraising pack.