• Conor backs the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign to protect terminally ill workers

    TUC

    Conor has given his support to the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign which is seeking to change the law to provide additional employment protection for terminally ill workers.

    Dying to Work was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

    Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, said: “People battling a terminal illness deserve choice and shouldn’t be forced to undergo stressful HR procedures with the risk of losing the positive stimulation and distraction of work. Furthermore, it is shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work.”

    In addition to support from across the political spectrum, the campaign has also been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.

    Furthermore, the company, E.On have today (Monday 18th April) become the first company to sign the Dying to Work voluntary charter to provide support to their employees and the campaign in a ceremony in College Green.

    Conor continued: “I am proud to back the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign and why I will be encouraging businesses in my constituency to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter to help ensure that the current law is changed.

    TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis.

    “It’s fantastic that Conor has joined MPs from all parties to show his support and get involved in this campaign to make terminal illness a protected characteristic.”

    “Hopefully now more employers will now follow E.ON’s lead by signing the Dying to Work Charter and we will see further action in Parliament to deliver this vital employment protection for terminally ill workers.”

     

  • Conor leads Parliamentary debate on dementia with Lewy bodies

    Conor McGinn MP today led a Westminster Hall debate on securing recognition and increased awareness of dementia with Lewy bodies, and support for those suffering from it and their families

    Above is a clipping of his speech and below is article he wrote on the issue which originally appeared on the Politics Home website.

    Conor: Dementia with Lewy Body – “lesser – known but equally cruel” – Politics Home – 26th April 2016

    EVERYONE is aware of dementia and its devastating impact on sufferers and their families. However, too few people are aware of a lesser-known but equally cruel disease.

    It’s called Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

    The condition, also known as Lewy body dementia, affects more than 100,000 people in Britain, including at least five per cent of those aged 85 and older.

    But the diagnosis and data is not as good as it should be, so the true number of victims could be far higher.

    DLB shares mental symptoms like confusion and loss of memory with Alzheimer’s. It shares motor issues like slow movement with Parkinson’s.

    That means it can be misdiagnosed, raising the risk that sufferers are prescribed the wrong drugs – something that can prove fatal in the worst cases.

    That’s why I ‘m working as an ambassador for the Lewy Body Society – the only charity in Europe dedicated exclusively to raising awareness of this debilitating disease and finding ways to fight it and supporting sufferers and their families.

    I’m raising the issue in Parliament today (TUESDAY) of the disease – caused by abnormal amounts of a certain type of protein in the brain – as part of that work.

    With the number of people suffering from all forms of dementia set to rise to more than a million by 2021, we need earlier and better diagnosis.

    This will mean people will be able to get swifter treatment and have the best quality of life possible for as long as possible.

    In 2012, David Cameron said he wanted to make England “the best country in the world for dementia care and support” by 2020.

    Some progress has been made. A new Dementia Research Institute will be up and running by 2020 with the backing of £150 million in funding.

    But we need to be doing far more. Dementia Lewy bodies is the second most common form of dementia, but it is not mentioned in the Government’s 2020 Dementia Challenge strategy. That needs to change.

    We need a commitment for proper funding to help DLB sufferers and provide detailed research into the disease. At present, the Lewy Body Society does not get a penny in support from Whitehall.

    The Department of Health should set up training programmes to help GPs and other healthcare professionals identify DLB correctly, to raise awareness of the condition and how it differs from other forms of dementia.

    We must raise the awareness of this brutal disease and increase the funding and research to tackle it.   That’s the best way we can ease the pain of sufferers and their families.

    The original article can be found here.

    A transcript of Conor’s speech in full can be found here.

  • Conor: Let England Celebrate Its National Day Too

    Huff post

    As a son of the Emerald Isle, I know about having good craic.

    But when it comes to enjoying a day off, why should the Irish and our Scottish friends have more fun than everyone else?

    Anyone fortunate enough to live in Northern Ireland gets ten Bank Holidays a year, including days off for St Patrick’s Day and The Twelfth of July.

    In Scotland, workers get nine Bank Holidays, ever since they were granted an extra day a year in 2008 to mark St Andrew’s Day.

    But it is a different story in England which has just eight Bank Holidays – compared to an EU average of 11 public holidays. In fact, as far as I know, only the Mexicans get fewer public days off.

    St George’s Day this Saturday will again go unmarked by a public holiday. It’s the same in Wales where the eight Bank Holidays do not include St David’s Day.

    I believe it is time that changed and we honoured the patron saints of England and Wales in same ways as we honour those of Scotland and Ireland.

    That’s why I’m calling today on the Government to look at the possibility of creating an extra Bank Holiday in both England and Wales.

    It would give both nations a chance to celebrate their proud heritage in the same way as the Irish and the Scottish.

    And, it would provide a boost for tourism and give millions of workers a well-earned day off to enjoy as they wish with family and friends.

    I recognise there could be some concerns from businesses that might talk about the risk of lost productivity. But happy workers are productive workers.

    Bringing England and Wales more into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland is not only the fair thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do.

    St Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. The Irish diaspora here in Britain, in America and across the globe have raised a glass and joined annual celebrations, wherever they may be.

    It brings together strangers in foreign lands who share a common heritage and it helps promote the culture and values of Ireland across the world.

    These are benefits that England and Wales should also be enjoying.

    It’s time the Government acted to end the unfairness that has seen workers in England short-changed for too long when it comes to Bank Holidays. So, this St George’s Day, I echo the famous words used in the House of Commons many years ago, and say to the Prime Minister: speak for England, David, and give the English their national day off too!

    This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post website on 20th April 2016

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/conor-mcginn/let-england-celebrate-its_b_9739906.html

  • Commons first as Conor wishes the Queen a Happy Birthday as Gaeilge

    In what is thought to be a first in the House of Commons, Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain, wished the Queen a Happy Birthday in Irish during a debate to mark the occasion.

    Conor noted the important role the Queen had played in British-Irish relations and commented upon her visit to Ireland before wishing her many happy returns.

    Early in the day Conor phoned his constituent Norah Collins, originally from County Galway, to congratulate her on reaching the same milestone as Her Majesty. Norah attended the Queen’s 80th Birthday lunch in 2006.

    Speaking in Parliament, Conor said:

    “I rise to wish Her Majesty the Queen many happy returns on behalf of my constituents in St Helens North, one of whom, Norah Collins, also celebrates her 90th birthday today.

    “She is originally from County Galway and I thought it was somewhat appropriate that I spoke to her this morning, because of course the Queen has done so much to further good relations between Britain and Ireland.

    “As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the Irish in Britain, I know that the community here felt special pride at her state visit to Ireland and the reciprocal visit here by the President of Ireland.

    “On behalf of the all-party group and the community here I say, “Breithlá sona duit a Banríon.” Happy birthday to the Queen.”

     

  • Conor says football really is coming home with St Helens AFC moving back in to the borough

    St Helens FC

    Conor McGinn has welcomed the news that St Helens Town AFC are to return home to play football in the borough after a period away.

    The club has announced that following the extensive refurbishment of Ruskin Drive Sportsgrounds in Windle it will be playing its home games there in the future.

    Conor said:

    “This is great news for the club and for sport in St Helens.

    “I pay tribute to John McKiernan and everyone associated with the club for their hard work and dedication over many years.

    “The new facilities at Ruskin Drive will serve our sporting clubs and community well and I look forward to seeing St Helens Town AFC back where they belong, in St Helens. Football really is coming home.”

  • 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.”

     

     

     

     

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