• 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: 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 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’s article on 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising

    In this week that marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, I was reminded of the old cliché about Anglo-Irish relations; that what the English can never remember, the Irish can never forget.

    The Easters of my childhood in a staunchly Catholic and nationalist community were duly informed by the unchallengeable facts that, as Eamonn McCann wrote, “Jesus Christ died for the human race and Padraig Pearse for the Irish section of it”.

    On a sunny Dublin morning, as I took my seat alongside other guests for the State Commemoration of the Easter Rising, I remembered those simplicities of my own youthful mind and older ones around me then. During dark days of violence and war, orthodoxies aren’t questioned, history seems an imperative and enemies are clearly defined.  Conflict might be hard on the heart, but in some ways, in the heat of battle at least, it can be easy on the head.

    On Sunday, as I watched the UK Ambassador to Ireland Dominic Chilcott take his seat, I thought to myself that making peace and reconciliation is the complicated thing. I thought the same when I watched the Irish Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day last year. Leading by example and showing you mean what you say can be hard on the body, mind and soul. The tortuous and circuitous negotiations over the last 20 years in Northern Ireland are testament to that. In those lie the transformation of British-Irish relations, a nexus forged through trying to resolve the unresolvable and a desire to move beyond a seemingly impassable barrier. That tests and strengthens a relationship and gives it even greater depth.

    In 1916, the Proclamation of the Irish Republic vowed to cherish all children of the nation equally. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement enshrined the right of everyone in Northern Ireland to be Irish or British, or both. A lot happened before, in between, and is continuing thereafter. There are still competing visions for Ireland’s future, North and South, that sit alongside uncomfortable and ongoing disputes about its past.

    But those two simple statements validating and recognising the identity and citizenship of everyone on the island of Ireland point to a better future, wherever it might lead. They should be the self-evident truths upon which we continue to build and work together as countries and peoples, equals and friends.

    I think the last week, indeed the last number of years, have made that old cliché about Anglo-Irish relations redundant. Far better the words of The Queen who said when she visited Ireland in 2012 that “with the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.” That’s not about anyone forgetting or remembering too much or too little, it’s about all of us ensuring that the next chapter of British-Irish relations start with our commitment never do those same things again.

    This article originally appeared in Politics Home on 30th March 2016.

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/politics/opinion/house-commons/73298/conor-mcginn-mp-time-learn-lessons-history

  • Conor says £3.8m of EU investment show St Helens North is Stronger In

    Analysis published by the Stronger In campaign today shows projects across St Helens North benefit from £3.8m of EU investment each year.

    A vote to leave the European Union would mean that St Helens North would lose access to the funds that support its communities.

    These statistics highlight the significant benefits of Britain’s membership of the EU in almost every area of the country.

    During the 2007-2013 European Structural Funds programme, the North West received £990 million and will receive £910 million under the 2014-2020 programme which has been allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships who will help decide how the money is spent locally.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “This analysis by the Stronger In campaign shows just how important remaining in the EU is for people in St Helens North and across the North West.

    “St Helens North benefits through receiving EU funding, which supports regional development, provides investment in businesses, creates job opportunities, improves prospects for young people through apprenticeships and higher education, and supports agriculture.

    “Northern Trust and Morley Estates have received over £1.2 million and £2.5 million respectively for important projects run in the constituency.

    “For people in St Helens North and across the UK, being in Europe supports jobs and lower prices here at home, makes it easier to keep our streets safe and gives our country a stronger leadership role on the global stage.

    “Going out on our own is a risk we simply can’t afford to take. The European Union isn’t perfect. No partnership is. But the benefits outweigh the costs and this deal makes Britain even stronger in Europe than we would be out of it.”

  • Conor: a failing Budget from a failing Chancellor

    Conor responding to the Budget delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer today said:

    “The Chancellor talks a good game but in reality, this was a budget of failure.  

    “The OBR has revised down its growth predictions and the Chancellor has failed to meet his own fiscal targets. The economy is smaller than predicted and there is now a £18 billion black hole.

    “Whilst I welcome the announcement of HS3 and further infrastructure investment in the North, these have to be delivered and the Chancellors record previously has been one of failure. That over 97% of staff employed to deliver the so-called ‘northern powerhouse’ are based in London is an absolute shambles.

    “It seems the Chancellor is primarily concerned with posturing for Tory leadership, and is making working families pay for his own economic failings rather than helping them.   

    “Mates’ rates on taxes for multinationals -while local authorities suffer 79% cuts, child poverty set to rise every year, 2.1 million working families £1,600 a year worse after cuts to Universal Credit and 200,000 disabled people set to lose £3000 a year; the Chancellor is making working people and the most vulnerable pay for his own economic failings.

    “This was more of the same from an out of touch Chancellor and will do little to help people in St Helens North and across the North West.”

     

     

     

  • Conor says focus should be on effects of poverty not blaming families

    Conor McGinn MP has criticised the Government for increasing levels of poverty and its impact on family stability.

    After a Tory MP asked the Work and Pensions Secretary how family stability affected poverty levels, McGinn turned the question around to ask the Government to explain how increasing levels of poverty under his government are affecting family stability.

    Over the last parliament, average real wages fell by over a thousand pound a year and cuts to Universal Credit that begin in April will see 2.1 million working families £1,600 a year worse off by 2020.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “In my constituency child poverty levels are almost 5% above the national average and recent statistics show that the number of children living in poverty is not decreasing.

    “The government’s failure to make work pay and its cuts to in-work support risk increasing the number of working families in poverty even further.

    “Cuts to Universal Credit that will begin in April will make it almost impossible for families to work their way out of poverty.

    “It is high-time the Tories recognised that we should be working to address the root causes and ensure working families get the support they need, not putting families under increasing pressure.”

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