AM’s open meeting in Holyhead

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth yesterday held a public meeting in Holyhead, where constituents controlled the agenda.
The meeting at the Sea Cadets Building in Newry, Holyhead, was an opportunity for local residents to have their say on matters of importance to them or the town.
Speaking after the meeting, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:
“Thanks to those who came along to the open meeting.  We had a constructive discussion on a range of issues – from local job opportunities to the single market, from transport connections between north and south to electricity connection across the island.
“For those not able to make it, I’m always available to discuss any issue of importance to you.  Get in touch with me – – or come along to my next public meeting in Amlwch.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth will be holding another public meeting with a warm welcome to all at the Dinorben Arms, Amlwch on Thursday, November 10th at 6pm.

Rhun ap Iorwerth urges those in ‘at-risk’ groups to get the free flu vaccination

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM is urging all those eligible for the free flu vaccine to protect themselves against catching or spreading flu, which is a debilitating and potentially deadly illness.

Mr ap Iorwerth, who represents Ynys Môn, is joining calls being made by leading health professionals urging people aged 65 or over, carers, pregnant women and those with certain long-term illnesses to make an appointment with their local GP and get the free flu vaccine soon.

All children aged two and three years old on 31 August 2016, and children in primary school reception class, year one, two and three in school are also being offered protection with a nasal spray flu vaccine. The two and three year olds will have their nasal spray vaccine at their GP surgery and children in reception class, year one, two and three (generally aged 4 – 7 years old) will be offered their nasal spray vaccine at school.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “A major immunisation programme is underway throughout Wales to offer flu vaccines to individuals most at risk of serious complications from flu, and my message to them is ‘beat flu before it beats you!’

“Last year in Wales less than half (47%) of those in at-risk groups under the age of 65 took up their free NHS vaccination, and we really need to significantly increase the numbers of people being vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of this largely preventable illness.”

Commenting, Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, said, “Flu vaccine is strongly recommended for everyone at higher risk of severe influenza, a group which includes those aged 65 or over, people who have long term health conditions, pregnant women as well as all two to seven year olds. Flu vaccination is available free for all these groups, and also for those who are unpaid carers.  This year the NHS is also providing free vaccination for morbidly obese adults – that is adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above.”

Dr Roberts added “Most people who catch influenza (or ‘the flu’) usually recover after 4-5 days of fever, headache, aching muscles and sore throat. But influenza can also be more serious and require hospital care. Last winter, as in most winters, there were many deaths from influenza.”

It is possible to prevent flu with a simple, safe vaccination which is offered each year at GP surgeries and at some community pharmacies for those in ‘at risk’ groups. This is to protect against a potentially avoidable, serious infection as flu can make a current health condition worse.

The flu virus is spread easily via droplets which are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces can also spread infection. It can spread rapidly, especially in closed communities such as hospitals, residential homes and schools.

‘At risk’ groups include; all pregnant women, and individuals from 6 months of age with chronic respiratory disease, including moderate to severe asthma, chronic heart conditions including angina and heart failure, kidney disease, liver problems or neurological disorders (such as stroke and mini stroke) as well as anyone with diabetes. Morbidly obese adults are also recommended to have flu vaccine.

A further group at significantly increased risk of severe influenza are those with weakened immune systems due to disease or treatment with certain drugs, such as those receiving treatment for cancer or conditions such as severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Everyone aged 65 or over is at increased risk from flu and recommended to have a flu vaccine each year.

Readers can find out more about how to get their free vaccine by visiting or, or finding Beat Flu or Curwch Ffliw on twitter and facebook.

Protect Anglesey’s natural environment from pylons, says AM

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth this week asked the Environment Secretary about the environmental impact of the National Grid’s plans across Anglesey.

Speaking in the Senedd chamber, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“The Cabinet Secretary will be aware of the decision by National Grid to place cables in a tunnel under the Menai Straits. We hope to see a new bridge constructed to go with the Britannia Bridge. I’m sure that the Cabinet Secretary would agree with me that there would be less environmental impact in placing those cables on that bridge, rather than actually building a bridge and digging a tunnel.

“But if the grid goes for the tunnel option in order to protect the natural environment of the Menai area, particularly the visual environment, isn’t the same thing true on the need to protect the natural environment of Anglesey as a whole, by undergrounding across the whole island?”

AM queries effect of UK Government border plans on Holyhead and Anglesey

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has raised questions in the Assembly chamber regarding the effect on the Holyhead-Dublin crossing if a border is to be placed around the isle of Ireland.

During this week’s FMQs, Rhun ap Iorwerth talked of the importance of Holyhead Port. He said:

“In my constituency of Anglesey, the question of borders with Ireland is one of the most crucial questions in terms of the debate on leaving the European Union. If a border is to be placed around the isle of Ireland, as is suggested—and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said that he wants to strengthen border controls in the ports and airports of Ireland—then what’s the First Minister’s assessment of the likely impact of that on the most important crossing point in terms of trade between Britain and Ireland, and that’s in my constituency, the port of Holyhead?”

In his response, the First Minister also poured cold water over the UK Government’s plans to place the British border in Irish ports and airports, warning of a “number of problems” with the proposal, and saying that no-one had come up with a way to solve the problem, which was not good for the residents of Ynys Môn or Holyhead. However Plaid Cymru says it’s time Welsh Labour took a firmer and more consistent line.

Video clip of the question and answer in the Senedd:

Speaking afterwards, Rhun ap Iorwerth added:

“The prospect of placing a hard border in Ireland would make it very unattractive for people to travel and do business through Holyhead. Around 2.1 million passengers pass through Holyhead annually in addition to 500,000 cars, and 400,000 freight vehicles. The UK Government has stated that it wants to place the British border in Irish ports and airports, which means that passing through the port of Holyhead will create untold difficulty for these travellers and vehicles.

“This yet again demonstrates that ripping Wales and the UK out of the Single Market is folly, because it will mean an EU frontier at Welsh ports which will increase business costs substantially and risk trade and jobs. 

“Leaving the Single Market will have a massive impact on Welsh jobs and yet the Labour party has completely failed to set out a coherent position on it. Despite acknowledging that placing a hard Border in Ireland would create problems, the Labour government in Wales has taken a ‘hard Brexit’ approach and voted to leave the Single Market whilst the Labour party centrally has advocated remaining in the Single Market.

“It’s clear that remaining in the Single Market is best for Welsh jobs, trade and for Welsh travellers. Plaid Cymru will campaign for membership of the Single Market because that’s what’s in Wales’ best interests.”

Amlwch Post Office – good news, but still long to wait

Responding to the announcement that Post Office services will be available in the Spar in Amlwch from February 2017, Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“I’ve just heard the news that a new Post Office is to open in the Spar in Amlwch. I met with Spar and the Post Office some two months ago and I’m pleased that Amlwch is to get a Post Office again. However, waiting until February is too long in my opinion. I will be contacting Post Office to ask for some kind of temporary service. The town has been without a Post Office for too long already – it’s causing difficulty for people, especially the elderly and most vulnerable. I will let you know when I receive a reply.”

Packed meeting to discuss Menai zorbing plans

Over 100 people attended a public meeting organised by Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth to discuss the proposals for a Zorbing Centre between Llanfairpwll and Menai Bridge.

Local councillors and representatives from developers Zorb Snowdonia were also present at the packed meeting held at Carreg Bran Hotel last night.

Following the meeting, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:

“So many people had contacted me beforehand, I thought it would be a useful exercise to get everyone at one meeting, be they for or against, and give them the opportunity to have their say in a public forum.  I was delighted that representatives of the company came along as well.”
The local AM has said that he will now write to the County Council with a summary of the points raised both at the meeting and in direct correspondence with him.  He added:
“Having heard people’s views tonight, it’s clear that people in this part of Anglesey don’t want this zorb development to be at this iconic location on the banks of the Menai.  While being supportive of these young people coming forward with the idea, the clear message tonight was they should rethink and place it elsewhere.”

Video: Rhun calls for better mobile coverage in rural areas like Anglesey

During First Minister’s Questions, Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth talked about the unreliable mobile signal in rural areas such as Anglesey. He said:

“Although rural areas such as Ynys Môn pay exactly the same as everyone else in the British isles for their mobile phone signal, the service is often second rate. To be honest, many pay more for a mobile phone in areas such as Ynys Môn—some pay for two phones, one for work and one for home; some pay for a box to boost the signal; and others have to pay roaming charges because the signal from Ireland is stronger than the signal available on Ynys Môn. The ‘Daily Post’ at present is running a campaign to try and improve mobile signal in north Wales and they revealed some figures yesterday on 4G coverage: I think that the Netherlands are on 83 per cent, Britain is on 53 per cent and Wales is on just 20 per cent. Given that connectivity is so important in rural areas, what has prevented the Welsh Government from encouraging the mobile phone providers to do more to provide enhanced signal in rural areas and in Ynys Môn?”

The sky’s the limit with new RAF Valley runway investment

RAF Valley is looking forward to many more years at the heart of Anglesey life after its longest runway is resurfaced.

It will take around a year for the work to be completed, but station commander, Group Captain Brian Braid explained to Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth that it is a vital investment in the future of the RAF’s main fast-jet pilot training base.

Group Captain Brian Braid recently assumed command of Royal Air Force Valley, and is delighted to be back at the base at which he himself was trained as a pilot.

He and Mr ap Iorwerth discussed a number of issues surrounding the work of the RAF on the island, including the new runway, the potential to develop more civilians flights, local employment opportunities among the 1000-plus civilian workforce, and concerns about aircraft noise.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “RAF Valley is a very important employer on the island, and it is an important part of my work as the island’s representative in the Assembly to work closely with Group Captain Braid and his team to ensure that the relationship between RAF Valley and the community remains a good one.

“The base can be developed for more civilian flight opportunities, in addition to the Cardiff flight, and that’s an exciting prospect. Aircraft noise is an issue that has been brought to my attention on a number of occasions, and I have corresponded recently with the MoD and Welsh Government on this matter.”

He added that the new runway resurfacing is vital for the future of the base, and said he hoped disruption to the surrounding area during construction would be carefully controlled and kept to a minimum.

Rhun meets with HSBC

Following their decision to close branches in Menai Bridge and Amlwch, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM met with HSBC regional managers. Following the meeting, he said:

“In my meeting with them, I emphasised to HSBC how disappointing their announcement was. I was given assurance that no jobs would be lost, but this is another blow to the towns, and they obviously had no interest in reconsidering. With the uncertainty over the future of the Post Office in Amlwch as well, I asked for a delay in making any decision until we have more assurance about the banking services that will be available for customers through the post office.

“Yes, banking habits have changed and that means less footfall, but decisions to close are taken whilst many, including the elderly and vulnerable, find it difficult or cannot turn to more modern ways of banking and still need the contact with their local branch.”