Brexit, Pride & Supporting the Sam Davies Ward

Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:

I begin by drawing your attention to the public consultation on Cardiff and Vale Health Board’s proposals for the Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital. On Monday 23rd September there is a public consultation meeting in the Glamorgan Suite of Barry Memorial Hall from 1.30pm – 3pm. I know there is a huge level of concern locally about the closure of the Sam Davies Ward and I strongly urge people to make their feelings known.

I recognise the long-term impact the closure would have on local health services. The salami-slicing of services is something I find deeply concerning as it means we lose parts of our health services bit by bit, until there’s nothing left.

Therefore, I’ve met with Barry Soroptimists to offer my support, as they are a key campaign group in the fight to keep the Sam Davies Ward open. They are campaigning passionately and I want to pay tribute to the work they are doing to engage the wider community.

Last week, I held a public meeting on Brexit at the Master Mariner in Gibbonsdown to engage with constituents in a question and answer session. Thank you to all who attended and put their views across. I appreciate that tensions can rise and that there is strong feeling on both sides of the debate. However, it’s important that we can discuss openly in a calm and orderly manner. 

You may be aware of the Pro-EU activists who approached me prior to the meeting. The reason I hold these meetings is to engage with constituents from all sides. However, I made it absolutely clear that we must respect the result of the referendum. The country voted to Leave and there are strong calls from the local community to deliver Brexit. Their vote must be respected.

I want to take this opportunity to offer clarity on how the Vale voted at the Referendum in 2016. It is important to recognise that the Vale of Glamorgan parliamentary constituency is different to the local authority area which includes Penarth. The House of Commons Library has concluded that the parliamentary constituency of the Vale of Glamorgan voted to Leave.

Finally, I would like to note that it was great to hold the meeting at the Master Mariner, which had been at risk of closure and was saved by the local community in Gibbonsdown who fought passionately to keep it open.

Looking ahead to the weekend, I’m excited to attend the first ever Barry Pride. Last year, Llantwit Major Pride, which was the first Pride event to take place in the Vale, was very well received and I’m pleased that Barry will now host its own. I recognise that Pride is an important event for the LGBT community, which is a celebration where everyone is welcome. If you’re in Barry on Saturday, show your support and help to ensure it is a massive success.