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Plaid calls for Welsh voice be “heard distinctly” within UK Covid inquiry

PLAID Cymru has called for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru to be given Core Participant Status in the UK Covid-19 public inquiry.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, has this week written to the Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry asking them to “ensure that the Welsh voice is heard distinctly” and to look at this “as a matter of urgency.”

The evidence being put forward by Covid Bereaved Families for Justice Groups UK relates solely to the UK government. Mr ap Iorwerth is calling for assurances from the UK inquiry that the evidence from the group in Wales – which has its own legal team – is represented distinctly, given that health is a devolved matter.

On Tuesday (1 March) Mr ap Iorwerth held a drop in event so that Members of Senedd could meet members of Covid-19 Bereaved Families Members for Justice Cymru and discuss their first-hand experience of the pandemic.

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Following the event, Mr ap Iorwerth called on the Health Minister to support his call. She said she was “glad to hear that you met with the bereaved families group” but added “when it comes to a specific Wales inquiry, we’ve made our position quite clear on that on several occasions in the Chamber.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“We recently reached the devastating milestone of 7,000 Covid deaths in Wales, a reminder that it’s more important than ever to fully understand what happened in Wales. The case for a Wales-specific inquiry remains strong – after all, health is a devolved matter, and decisions taken in Wales should be scrutinised in Wales.

“Given that our appeals to the Labour Welsh Government for a Wales-specific inquiry fell on deaf ears, we absolutely have to make sure the Welsh voice has a chance of being heard distinctly within the UK-wide Inquiry.

“The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru has its own legal team, with specialist understanding of the Welsh context. The importance of this group being given Core Participant Status in the inquiry cannot be overstated. Even though some decisions were made at UK level, much of the response to the pandemic has been in the hands of the Welsh Government.

“Having the Welsh perspective captured will give some reassurance to the loved ones of those lost 7,000. I’m only sorry that the Health Minister was unable to support my calls to ensure that the Welsh voice is heard distinctly within the UK-wide inquiry.”


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