Connect with us


Jill Evans: Shaping a new future for Wales

Jon Coles



Jill Evans: At her desk in Brussels

Jill Evans: At her desk in Brussels

JILL EVANS has been a Member of the European Parliament for Wales since 1999. She has been a member of the European Free Alliance group and serves as the first Vice-President of the Greens/EFA coalition group. 

In the current parliament, Jill is a member of the Committee on Culture and Education, the Delegation for relations with Switzerland and Norway, the EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee, and the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee. She is Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for European and International issues.

After the UK voted to leave the European Union, we asked Jill to reflect on 17 years as an MEP. How does she feel about the referendum result? Why is she so committed to the EU? Why was it that Wales voted to leave? What did she think would change for Wales in the short term and after ‘Brexit’? And what now happens with her job as our elected representative?

“However each of us voted in the referendum on June 23, we must take the opportunity it presents to shape a new future for Wales. Wales must be a key player in the negotiations. We cannot let others decide our future for us.

“As someone who has worked all my political life to see Wales flourish and become an independent nation within the European Union, I was deeply disappointed by the result. There is no single reason to explain the vote, but without a doubt the Referendum campaign itself was one of the most negative and unpleasant I have ever been involved in. The positive case for the EU was lost in the shouting.

“I was inspired by a visit to the European Parliament in my early twenties. This unique project had brought countries together around the table who had previously shot at each other across the battlefield. I decided then I wanted to be a part of it. Since my election as an MEP, it has grown from 15 countries to 28, including much of Eastern Europe. It is a remarkable achievement.”


“I have worked to forge a new role for the EU, particularly a peace-making one. We don’t need a European army – we need a civilian corps made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers and others who can work in sensitive areas to prevent conflict developing.

“I also worked for an EU which recognised all the real nations of Europe – our languages and our cultures. For me, that is what the EU motto ‘United in Diversity’ really means.

“I waged a long campaign to get recognition of the Welsh language, and was eventually successful in 2011 when it was granted ‘co-official’ or semi-official status. No-one was prouder when the then Welsh minister Alun Ffred Jones addressed a Council of Ministers meeting in Welsh – speaking on behalf of the UK! I believe that bringing the EU closer to the people will make it more democratic and effective.

“Although I have been one of the critical voices calling for more action, there is no doubt that without the EU we would not have the international action against climate change that was agreed in Paris last year. As a member of the Environment Committee for several years, I helped shape legislation restricting dangerous chemicals, promoting renewable energy and recycling, controlling GMOs, getting better food labelling and much more. The EU affects our everyday lives in many ways.”


“For now, as your elected MEP, I continue with my work representing Wales in Parliament. I have always made it a priority to raise Wales’ profile at every opportunity and ensure that the laws passed were in our interests. The circumstances have changed, but my responsibility to my constituents has not. So I will do whatever I can to get the best possible deal for Wales when the UK leaves.

“I am very sad that we are walking away from such an exciting project. I believe that Wales benefits from the EU, not just in financial terms but in many other ways. I regret that my grandchildren might not have the freedom to travel, study and work in other countries and that our communities could lose out on the benefits we have seen through migration and the richness it has brought to Wales.

“But Wales has come a long way too. I still see our future as a successful independent nation – I hope in the European Union – but certainly in Europe and I will continue to campaign for that.”


In the wake of the EU referendum result, Plaid Cymru are holding a Special Conference at the Halliwell Theatre in Carmarthen on Saturday (Jul 16) to discuss ‘Securing Wales Future’.

After conducting a whistle-stop series of public meetings across Wales, Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has outlined her vision. She proposes redesigning the political structures of the UK to create a new union of independent states working together for the common good. This would include an independent Wales. In the meantime, Plaid Cymru will reject the Green Party’s call to form a ‘progressive alliance’ of the Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru to fight the next general election.

While Leanne Wood has rejected the idea of a second referendum on Europe, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Adam Price believes that a second vote should be held once the terms of Brexit are known.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell



A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

Continue Reading


Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell



A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

Continue Reading


Government ban on knives, firearms and offensive weapons has come into force across Wales

Carli Newell



A TOUGH ban on a wide range of knives, weapons, and specific firearms comes into force on Wednesday (July 14) as part of Government action to tackle violent crime and serious violence.

Cyclone knives, spiral knives and ‘rapid-fire’ rifles are among those covered by the ban, all of which have been associated with serious violence in communities across the country.

A new legal definition of flick knives, banned since 1959, also takes effect, resulting in more of these bladed weapons being outlawed.

All weapons banned in public by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, including zombie knives, shuriken or death stars and knuckledusters, will now also be banned in private, meaning people can no longer keep them at home.

Anyone unlawfully possessing a firearm covered by the ban will face up to 10 years in prison and those possessing one of the other weapons can be sentenced to up to six months imprisonment or a fine or both.

Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett said: “The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.

“We welcome the changes to legislation being introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act. These measures will help officers to seize more dangerous weapons, deal with those intent on using them to cause harm and suffering, and crucially, make it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives and other dangerous items in the first place.

“Knife crime is not something that can be solved by policing alone. We are working closely with partners and with groups such schools and businesses to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “There is no place in our society for violent crime and harm caused by such knives and firearms. Lives have been lost through serious violence, and this ban will help save lives by getting more knives and other weapons off the streets and out of the hands of violent criminals.

“The human suffering and hurt caused by the tragic loss of life through violent crime is unacceptable, which is why the Government will stop at nothing to give the police the powers needed to stop violent crime and protect the public.

“From today, anyone possessing one of these deadly weapons unlawfully will face the full force of the law.”

The provisions are set out in the Government’s Offensive Weapons Act, which received Royal Assent in May 2019.

From December 2020 to March 2021, the Government ran a scheme allowing members of the public to surrender to the police any items that fell within the new ban and claim compensation from the Home Office.

During the period, 14,965 knives and offensive weapons, 1,133 ‘rapid fire’ firearms (as defined within the Offensive Weapons Act) and more than 32,000 items of ancillary equipment were surrendered, with the Home Office receiving and processing 829 claims for compensation.

The Government is also reminding members of the public about forthcoming changes to the law around antique firearms.

The Antique Firearms Regulations 2021, introduced in March this year, provides for the first time a legal definition of ‘antique firearm’ to prevent criminals exploiting a lack of clarity in law to gain possession of such a weapon for use in crime.

Owners of firearms which have ceased to be antiques as a result of the 2021 Regulations have until 22 September this year to apply to the police for a firearms certificate, which allows them to own these weapons legally. Alternatively, they can surrender, sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm before 22 September.

Police continue to urge anybody to contact them should they know of anybody involved with illegal weapons to contact them via the website or by calling 101. Alternatively contact can also be made via Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Continue Reading