Rhun ap Iorwerth’s Column for the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 01 02 17

It is a privilege as an AM to be able to put matters of importance to constituents on the National Assembly’s agenda. Last week, I followed up my tabled debate on National Grid pylon plans for Anglesey with a question to the First Minister asking him to highlight to Grid that the Assembly had asked them to pursue alternative connection plans instead of pylons. He agreed.

Another debate I co-tabled called on UK Government to launch an inquiry into how contaminated blood products infected hundreds of people in Wales with Hepatitis C or HIV. It’s a scandal, and the debate last Wednesday brought many of us together across party boundaries to recount the experiences of those who’ve suffered ill-health and stigma over many years. It’s time government gave them justice.

This week, I’m speaking in a debate calling for the strengthening of social care provision in Wales. A failure to invest in care, including the loss of many community hospital beds, is putting undue pressure on general hospitals like Ysbyty Gwynedd, and means too many people are unable to get the care they need in their communities. We must get the NHS and social care to work together.

I’ll also be seeking opportunities in coming weeks to secure a debate on the loss of financial institutions from our high streets – most recently HSBC in Holyhead and the Yorkshire Building Society in Llangefni. I know banks aren’t charities, but somehow the banking sector must be made to face up to the fact that we all help them make their profits, and that somehow they must work together to give people a decent level of face-to-face access when they need it.

Finally, the weekend’s scenes in the United States following President Trump’s clampdown on travel from muslim countries may have happened thousands of miles away, but they strike at values that should be important to all of us, whether we’re in Anglesey or Alabama.

Tolerance is a principle that is very important to me, and many constituents have contacted me to share their despair at what appears to be an increasing breakdown in tolerance worldwide.

Let’s make a pledge to uphold those values of decency that bring out the best in society, not the worst.