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Labour candidates’ Facebook slurs slammed

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Surprised at level of public support: Helen Mary Jones

Surprised at level of public support: Helen Mary Jones

PLAID CYMRU’S AM candidate for Llanelli, Helen Mary Jones has expressed dismay at comments made about her character which have been made on the Facebook page of the Llanelli Labour candidate, Lee Waters by two other Labour AM Candidates.

Helen Mary Jones told The Herald that comments suggesting that she had made Facebook posts while under the influence of alcohol were upsetting and untrue.

The posts were made by Marc Tierney Labour candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembs and Vikki Howells the Labour AM candidate for the Cynon Valley.

Ms Jones said that she did not have a screenshot of the comments and that she has now blocked Mr Waters.

The Plaid Cymru candidate told The Herald: “Marc Tierney’s comment was a pun on my misspelling of the word ‘campaign’, when I inadvertently typed ‘campaign’. Mr Tierney pulling out the word ‘gin’, and made a suggestion about how much had clearly been consumed, in his view. “The other person was Vikki Howells. She said something agreeing and saying that she had got her red pen out. Basically they were mocking the spelling and suggesting it was caused by alcohol.”

The Plaid candidate continued: “I don’t want to make too much of a deal out of this. My Labour opponent Lee Waters shared one of my posts. I have been doing a campaign diary after I return home after campaigning. I wrote this post at around 11.30 pm on Friday evening as that is the time I got back home. I had some comments on it from the usual people.

“I came home late afternoon on Saturday and saw that two of Lee’s fellow candidates had made comments on my post suggesting that I must have been drinking when the status had been put up because the spelling was so poor.”

Helen Mary continued: “I am dyslexic. I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I don’t hide it either. It is important for people to see it is something you live with and something that doesn’t hold you back.

“Obviously I couldn’t have people suggesting in that public place that I would be posting on Facebook under the influence. It wasn’t acceptable.

“I went back to both of those people who made the posts and said, actually I am dyslexic. What I expected them to do was to apologise and remove the comments. They didn’t. One of them didn’t reply and one of them came back to me with a sarcastic comment.

I then had to post a status to Lee saying: ‘this has been said, it is not true, I have dyslexia, as we all know Facebook doesn’t have an auto correct’.”

Helen Mary Jones expressed surprise at the strength of the public response to the online abuse she had suffered: “What happened next really took me back. I had hundreds of messages saying that this was not fair and lots of messages from families and people with dyslexia and who face challenges more serious than mine. I have been really touched by those comments.

“What this has highlighted for me is the number of people living with difficulties we cannot always see. Perhaps we should all be a bit careful before we judge people. There are many people out there living successful lives suffering from mental health problems.”

The Plaid candidate concluded: “I wish those people had chosen to apologise. They didn’t. As far as I am concerned that is the end of it now. I am very grateful to the people who expressed their sympathy and it has reminded me how important it is that if I am elected how important it is to speak up for people who find it difficult to speak up for themselves.”

Labour candidate Lee Waters declined to off any form of apology for the comments posted on his Facebook page by other Labour candidates:“It is a fuss about nothing.”

Lee went on to claim: “A misunderstanding by Helen has now been blown out of all proportion. People are getting very stressed and tired during the campaign and this sort of thing happens. She left a message on Facebook late at night about her day. Someone left a teasing ‘jokey’ message about her spelling mistake. She wrote in reply, ‘I have dyslexia’.”

The Labour candidate explained: “I meant to like that comment as a show of solidarity for her. Somehow I managed to share the post rather than like.”

He continued: “I went to bed and woke up to find that all hell had broken loose. Helen had sent a subsequent message saying I had shared the post and people were making fun of her. “People have over reacted and there are some very unfair comments being made about me. He said he had not seen the comment referring to alcohol and that by the time he had checked it had been deleted.”

We contacted the Labour AM Candidate Marc Tierney to ask for an explanation of his comments.

Marc Tierney: No apology

Marc Tierney: No apology

Marc Tierney said: “This whole episode appears to be a misunderstanding. My comment was simply about the technology we take for granted playing up. It’s wrong to suggest now that it was personal or abusive.

“We’ve all had times when the spell-checker auto corrects something in error. In haste, it’s easy not to notice it. It looks like that happened with the word ‘campaign’ being replaced with something else.

“I don’t follow Ms Jones on Facebook, but when she later asked my advice on how to use the spell check function, I politely and respectfully explained how to do so.”

“So I’m at a loss as to why she might now believe there was some malice or personal attack behind what was, in reality, a swipe at modern technology letting us down.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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