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Museum curator is new Pembrokeshire County Council leader

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A LOCAL historian and museum curator is the new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.
Dr Simon Hancock JP was invested with the chain of office at the Authority’s annual meeting in County Hall, Haverfordwest, on Friday (10th May).
He succeeds Councillor Aden Brinn of Pembroke.
Councillor Dr Hancock represents the Neyland East electoral division on the Authority of which he is one of just three existing founder members from 1995.
Born and bred in Neyland, he has been the Curator of Haverfordwest Town Museum in the town’s castle for the past 21 years.
A published author, he has been Mayor of Neyland nine times and this week marked 32 years on the Town Council.
He was also Chairman of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority from 2006 to 2009.
Educated in Neyland and Milford Haven, he obtained a Ph.D from Cardiff University in 2015 in recognition of his thesis on Pembrokeshire in the First World War.
Councillor Dr Hancock is well known in the community for his charity work which includes serving on the local boards of Mencap and the Blind Society. He is also Chairman of the VC Gallery.
He is married to Christina and has two step-daughters: Miss Kim Furness and Mrs Helen Keir who will act as his Consort.
At the annual meeting he was proposed as Chairman by Councillor David Lloyd, seconded by Councillor Michael John.
Councillor Mike James of St. Dogmaels was elected Vice-Chairman.
Council Leader, David Simpson, proposed a vote of thanks to Councillor Brinn, the outgoing Chairman.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, attended the annual meeting as a guest.

Pictured above: The new Chairman, Councillor Dr Simon Hancock, is pictured flanked by his Consort, Mrs Helen Keir. Also seated (left) is Council Chief Executive, Ian Westley, and new Vice-Chairman, Councillor Mike James. Standing (left to right) is past Chairman, Councillor Aden Brinn alongside his Consort, Cllr Mrs Rose Blackburn, and Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson.

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Crabb backs veterans of Irish Troubles

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VETERANS of the Northern Irish Troubles have been backed by Preseli MP Stephen Crabb during votes in the House of Commons.

In the absence of a functioning administration in Northern Ireland, Members of Parliament have been voting in an effort to keep Northern Ireland running.

Stephen Crabb co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Johnny Mercer MP which passed. The Secretary of State must now report on the options available to allow veterans of the Troubles to assist in a truth recovery process, for the benefit of bereaved families, without fear of prosecution.

Commenting following the vote, Stephen Crabb MP said: “This is a positive step towards ensuring the hounding of veterans is stopped. The proud, local veteran community, along with myself, have been deeply troubled by the ongoing pursuit of current and former British Soldiers for actions carried out while under orders on active service.

“I have made the point previously to Ministers that we risk a serious breach of trust with our Armed Forces by opening the door to such prosecutions. The pressures placed on a solder in conflict situations are enormous and it cannot be right that actions carried out in these circumstances are re-opened decades later by people with no understanding of what happened on the ground.“

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Identical ‘call-out’ within three days for Fishguard RNLI lifeboat

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FISHGUARD RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on Thursday evening 18 July to the very same inflatable dinghy they rescued on Monday July 15

The inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew launched at 8.45pm after the inflatable was reported drifting out to sea from Fishguard harbour. The flimsy inflatable and the young men onboard were taken under tow back to the area of Goodwick beach and they were again spoken to regarding the dangers of inflatable craft. On this occasion there was an off-shore wind and an ebbing tide which potentially presented much more dangerous conditions for the persons onboard.

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Rosslare ready to go it alone

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THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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