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Tyrone O’Sullivan: ‘Labour can win’

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TYRONE O’SULLIVAN is a former National Union of Mineworkers Branch Secretary. He was instrumental in the workers’ buy out of Tower Colliery and is a long time supporter and friend of Jeremy Corbyn. 

The Herald caught up with Mr O’Sullivan just before he went on stage to speak at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election rally at the LC2 in Swansea.

He told us that he would be speaking about the Merthyr Rising, the red flag and the meaning behind that and how people power can change the world. We asked him if he believed that Jeremy Corbyn would win the leadership battle.

He answered conclusively: “I am positive he will win.” He quantified his reasoning by saying: “There is no way he is going to lose this election. Providing we all get on the same bus and the MPs come back in, I think we could make a huge difference in the next eighteen months at a general election.

“There is a load of talent out there in the Labour party and I wouldn’t want to lose that. I think Labour can win the next election. The Conservatives are making a lot of mistakes. Theresa May is worse than Maggie Thatcher.”

Jeremy Corbyn came in for criticism over his lack of effort on persuading Labour voters during the EU referendum. We asked Tyrone if he believed that the criticism was justified.

He replied: “How can they blame him for Brexit? He had more meetings than any other MP. They are using any excuse. The second after he got elected, they started having a go at him. They are going to have to realise if he wins or loses, we have to unite. He is the sort of guy who does not take any nonsense. Give us eighteen months and we will show the people of Britain what we can do.”

Mr O’Sullivan was upbeat about Corbyn’s chances of winning and said that the party politics was now about reaching working people.

“This battle between Corbyn and Smith is about people. We have lost a lot of working class votes. They had nothing from Blair and nothing from the Tories. Why should they come out of their homes to vote? No change. What’s the point? They have come out for Jeremy. That bottom 20% who have abstained will make a big difference.”

It is hard to avoid the issue of personality during the leadership battle. Mr Corbyn appears to be a relatively quiet, passive man. We asked Tyrone O’Sullivan if this passivity and lack of aggression was a bad thing: “Of course not. People have to get used to him.

“Jeremy is not doing this to be the Prime Minister of Great Britain. He is doing this for the people. He is not challenging for his own job, a smart news suit and tie. He is working for the benefit of ordinary working people. Give him eighteen months on his own with no back biting and he will make a huge difference to where we stand in the polls.”

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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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