Rhun ap Iorwerth used his question to the First Minister this week to discuss ‘a European issue that all of us agree on’, namely congratulating the Wales football team on their success in reaching the European Championships and wishing them well in France.
Rhun also used his contribution to pay tribute to those from Anglesey who have been part of the team. Speaking in the Senedd yesterday, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:
“We turn to a European issue that all of us in this Chamber can agree on. I know that we all want to wish our national team well. It would be a very strange thing if I didn’t refer to the particular contribution by those from Anglesey to the national team, and I’m particularly pleased to wish Osian Roberts, a member of the coaching staff, well and Wayne Hennessey in goal. I will also mention the work behind the scenes by Trefor Lloyd Hughes over the past few years.
“Would the First Minister agree with me that we now need to use the success of this squad, and the success that hopefully will be achieved in France, as a springboard, and that we need to use the squad as a role model, not only to enhance Wales’s profile and to promote football as a sport, but also to promote physical activity, which is so important to public health?”
In his response, the First Minister agreed that the championship’s legacy should include the promotion of physical activity as well as economic benefits:
“There are two things here that are important: first of all, to ensure that young people participate in sport and see football as an activity to improve their health and, secondly, of course, to ensure that the profile of Wales is raised, not just in Europe, but across the world. We saw what happened in 1990 with the Republic of Ireland when they went to the world cup. It had a huge impact on their economy and in terms of tourism.”