• Conor: Prime Minister’s apology means little without action for victims of contaminated blood scandal

    Conor has said that the Government must show those affected by the contaminated blood that it means what it says, and match the Prime Minister’s apology with action to support it.

    Conor was speaking on behalf of his constituent Sandra Molyneux whose husband tragically died as a consequence of receiving contaminated blood.

    He noted that the Prime Minister had told victims of the scandal that the Government were sorry but the subsequent actions had not demonstrated that they were.

    Sandra Molyneux

    Conor’s comments were met with applause from the many victims and victims family members sitting in the public gallery.

    From the 1970s through to the early-1990s, thousands of people underwent treatment with NHS-supplied blood products. Many of these products are now known to have been contaminated with HIV and/or Hepatitis C. Thousands were affected and many have sadly passed away, and their families and survivors have campaigned for years for justice and to receive compensation.

    Despite previous commitments to give the survivors and families a resolution to the scandal the Government has again delayed matters by setting up a further consultation on the compensation package, which could see some of those who were affected lose thousands of pounds.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “It’s impossible to underestimate the scale of this scandal and the pain it has caused to many families including my constituent Mrs Molyneux.

    “For too long the Government have failed to address the concerns over the administration of the compensation scheme. It is high-time that the Government didn’t just tell victims of the scandal they were sorry, but showed they were.

    “Alongside my colleague Diane Johnson, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, I will continue to support the victims of this scandal and will work to ensure they receive just compensation.”

    Conor’s intervention also featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today in Parliament and the clipping can be found below.

    BBC radio 4

  • Conor McGinn backs St Helens community pharmacies

    Community Pharmacy

    Conor McGinn has thrown his support behind the campaign to protect the vital services provided by community pharmacies in St Helens.

     

    While visiting Donlon’s in Haydock and Well in Rainford, he called on the Government to stop a planned £170 million cut to community pharmacies which would put their very existence at risk.

     

    The withdrawal of funding will put pressure on the services local pharmacies provide for patients at a time when the Government is asking them to do more to prevent ill health and promote healthy living.

     

    The cuts, which will take effect this year, will see the budget for community pharmacies cut from £2.8 billion in 2015/16 to £2.63 in 2016/17, which amounts to a real terms cut of 6 per cent.

     

    The reduction in funding also comes as NHS primary care and accident and emergency services are struggling to cope with demand.

     

    Conor is urging everyone to sign the petition support local community pharmacies at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116943  and is urging others to do the same.

     

    Commenting Conor said:

     

    “The planned cuts to community pharmacies will limit the ability of pharmacies to provide vital services to patients, and will have a damaging impact on public health in St Helens North and constituencies across the UK.

     

    “At a time when our NHS is stretched to the limit and more people are waiting longer at A&E departments, cuts to local community pharmacies will just make things worse.

     

    “It is bad policy and a false economy, because better public health, better preventative measures and advice from pharmacists means better treatment in the community and helps save the NHS money.

     

    “That is why I am joining with local pharmacists in St Helens North to call on the Government to drop the planned cuts and work with pharmacies for a fairer deal.

     

    “I urge others to show their support by signing the petition, either online or at their local pharmacy.”

     

    Chris Williams from Donlon pharmacies in Haydock, who is urging customers to back the campaign, said:

     

    “I’d like to thank Conor for all his support and for highlighting this important issue.

     

    “There is a real danger that these cuts will make many pharmacies unviable.

     

    “That can only mean longer trips not just for prescriptions, but for free advice on minor ailments or medicines as well as a number of other NHS led services we provide.

     

    “As a consequence, it will put more pressure on GP surgeries and A&E departments”

     

    Details of how you can support your local pharmacies can be found at http://supportyourlocalpharmacy.org/what-you-can-do/

  • Conor picks Grand National winner for Steve Prescott Foundation

    Grandnational

    Conor showed there may be some truth to the old adage about “the luck of the Irish” as picked winning horse Rule The World for his charity bet at this year’s Grand National.

    In doing so he raised £216.15 for the Steve Prescott Foundation as the horse went on to romp home the race at 33-1. Conor’s selection even got a mention on the BBC’s live coverage via their website.

    Conor’s charity bet winnings will go towards this year’s grueling challenge The Everest Base Camp, where a party of climbers led by SPF Trustee Ade Cunliffe will set off on 13th October and return to the UK on 28th October.

    Personalities already pledging to undertake this challenge are St Helens actor Michael Parr who plays bad boy Ross Barton in ITV’s Emmerdale and rugby league legends Lee Briers, Barrie McDermott, Alan Hunte, Chico Jackson, Mike Wainwright, Ade Gardner, Iestyn Harris and Neil Harmon.

    The party will arrive in Kathmandu and then face an eleven day trek to Nepal Everest Base Camp and then continue to “Kala Pattar” to reach a finishing height of 5645 meters above sea level. The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas and is visited by thousands of trekkers each year. The trek is considered strenuous and will be a test of fitness, stamina and determination for all the climbers.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “As a keen horse-racing man who likes an occasional bet it’s always nice to have a winner, but especially in the Grand National and even more so when I backed Rule The World as my charity bet for the Steve Prescott Foundation.

    “Every little helps and £216.25 will be heading to the SPF as a little help from me towards making 2016 their million pound year, thanks to a great horse, jockey and trainer and an unusually generous bookie.

    “I would also like to wish all those undertaking the Everest Base Camp Challenge the best of luck and I hope million pound target is reached as deserved.”

  • Conor shows support for community activities for young people

    half term 2 (2)Half term 1

    During the half term holidays, Conor McGinn MP visited some of the activities arranged for young people by St Helens Council, the Make it Happen Project with Helena Partnerships, and other voluntary groups.

    Two of the activities Conor went to see were the breakfast club at St Davids Moss Bank run by St Helens Youth Service and craft and play activities at Derbyshire Hill Family Centre in Parr, a volunteer-run project funded through a grant from Jane Kennedy, Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

    During his visits, Conor spoke to staff and volunteers about the holiday sessions, and with the young people about how much they enjoyed the chance to take part in the activities.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “Despite increasing pressures on funding, St Helens Council and Helena have done excellent work with local communities to put on holiday activities for our young people.

    “It was good to see the kids enjoying themselves and a great chance to meet dedicated youth service staff like Barbara at St David’s and volunteers like Mandy at Derbyshire Hill Family Centre who give their time and these opportunities to local children.”

     

  • Conor visits Pilkington in St Helens

    Pilkingtons 2

     

     

     

     

     

    Conor and Theresa Griffin MEP (North West England) have met with representatives from Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG group, to discuss future measures that could support the growth and development of the glass and glazing sector in the UK and mainland Europe, particularly in relation to the energy efficiency of buildings.

    The visit, which took place at the company’s manufacturing facility in St. Helens, Merseyside, was initiated by Glass for Europe – the trade association for Europe’s manufacturers of flat glass. The body has been lobbying for changes to elements of legislation that it believes will support the future development of the sector, including an ambitious revision of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

    According to Glass for Europe, the construction sector is able to deliver more energy savings than it has done in recent years. However, in order to do so the EU must set an objective of all new buildings being energy positive by 2030 and an aim to triple the current renovation rate – commitments that would boost the glass and glazing industry through increased demand for energy-efficient glazing.

    The visit saw Conor and Theresa Griffin MEP tour Pilkington’s UK5 float glass manufacturing line at Greengate, and hear more about its state-of-the-art offline coater at Cowley Hill.

    Conor said: “I joined with Theresa Griffin MEP to visit the site because, whilst the UK’s steel industry is understandably and rightfully receiving a lot of public attention, the glass industry cannot be overlooked and needs support as an Energy Intensive Industry. Not least because of the importance locally in terms of jobs and Pilkington’s historical links to St. Helens. These are challenging times for the industry, as a company it is at the forefront of glass technology and is a world leader in creativity and innovation but the government must still play its part in supporting the industry.”

    Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European Spokesperson for Industry and Energy, said: “It is incredibly important that I meet with industry and ​trade unions that are affected by the legislation that the European Parliament is working on to make it the best and most appropriate that it can be. Pilkington is doing some good work on energy efficient products that will work towards tackling energy poverty in the UK and across Europe ​, we need to support our manufacturing and research bases in the North West ​.​ ​We need legally binding energy efficiency targets across Europe to help our most vulnerable people suffering energy poverty ”

    Phil Brown, European Regulatory Marketing Manager at Pilkington, said: “This is a really important issue for the glass and glazing sector, and it is great to have Theresa and Conor visit our site here in St. Helens so they can see first-hand the difference such reforms could make. Not only on the industry as a whole, but also the local economy.

    “We’ve made a significant investment in both R&D and our manufacturing facilities over the past few years, to enable us to continue to produce high-performing energy-efficient products for the commercial and domestic markets. A firm commitment to a legally binding energy efficiency target and increased building renovation rates would not only present a significant growth opportunity for the glass and glazing sector, it would provide much needed stability for our industry and its supply chain.”

     

     

     

     

  • Conor’s statement on the MoJ decision to move Ian Simms to open prison

    Responding to the news that the Ministry of Justice has approved the parole board’s recommendation to move Ian Simms to an open prison, Conor said:

    “This is very disappointing and comes as something of a surprise given the previous indications Marie and I have had from the Ministry of Justice. I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice to ask him to urgently review this decision.

    “Our campaign for Helen’s Law will continue with a new sense of urgency and I will be raising the issue again in the House of Commons when it returns from Easter recess.”

  • Conor appointed as an Ambassador for the Lewy Body Society

    lewy body picture

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Conor has given his support to a charity battling to get recognition for a debilitating ilness affecting over 100,000 people in Britain.

    Conor is to become an Ambassador for the Lewy Body Society after meeting with the organisation’s Chief Executive, Jacqueline Cannon.

    Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), also known as Lewy body disease, is the second most frequent cause of age-related neurodegenerative dementia. At least 5 percent of people aged 85 and older are thought to suffer from this little known but not uncommon and devastating disease. .

    There are presently over 700,000 people with dementia in the UK and this number is projected to rise to 1,000,000 by 2021 unless cures are found. There are currently about five million people with dementia in the European Union. These figures represent only patients; caregivers double or treble the number of people whose lives are directly affected by dementia and relations and friends increase these numbers further.

    DLB shares mental symptoms, such as confusion and loss of memory, with Alzheimer’s disease and motor symptoms, such as gait and slow movement, with Parkinson’s disease. For that reason it is often misdiagnosed. Accurate diagnosis is essential for successful treatment of the disease: people with DLB are characteristically highly sensitive to certain drugs which can worsen unpleasant symptoms or even be fatal.

    The Lewy Body Society was set up in 2006 to support research into DLB, raise awareness and educate the public and those in the medical profession about all aspects of the disease. The charity will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on the in June this year.

    Conor said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be an Ambassador for the Lewy Body Society and to help support the valuable work that it does. Jacqueline and the team have my full support in trying to raise awareness of this awful illness that affects so many people. I will be campaigning alongside them to get a commitment from the Department of Health to ensure that recognition for DLB is an integral part of strategies to tackle dementia.”

    Jacqueline Cannon, Chief Executive of the Lewy Body Society, said: “The Lewy Body Society is delighted and honoured to appoint Conor McGinn MP as our Ambassador. With a background in public health and a commitment to health and older people’s issues, we think he will be a great asset to our campaign. I’d like to thank him for his support and encouragement.”

    For more information visit www.lewybody.org

  • Conor raising awareness of disabled parking abuse

    disabled parking

    Conor has vowed to raise awareness of motorists who abuse disabled parking bays.

    The Labour politician met with residents Kelly Hayes and Lisa Brennan, who are both regular visitors to Parr Swimming and Fitness Centre.

    They say they have both had to deal with difficulties caused by “inconsiderate” parking in the disabled spots by drivers who do not have a blue badge.

    Commenting Conor said: “I’m glad that Kelly and Lisa brought this to my attention. In St Helens we pride ourselves on a spirit of solidarity and the strength of our community.

    “So it’s really sad that the inconsiderate behaviour of a minority is causing upset and distress for disabled people.”

    He added: “It’s clear to me that this problem is more widespread than first thought, and as well as raising awareness we need to think about how to deal with persistent offenders.

    “I will be working with the council and disability groups locally to find a way forward.”

    Lisa, who is disabled herself, said: “The problem is you get a lot of people who do park on disabled bays and don’t have a blue badge which can be frustrating, especially if you need that space and can’t get access.

    “You do get it in other places quite often in supermarkets and places like that. It is inconsiderate and if you do have to park somewhere else it could be a big round trip to get where I want to get. Not everyone in a wheelchair is confident getting up and down the on kerbs,” added Lisa, 43.

    Meanwhile, Kelly, whose 10-year-old son Jake has autism, added: “This has been going on for about a year at Parr baths. There are various types of disability, you don’t have to be in a chair and I think it is about acceptance.”

     

     

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