NATO disruption was forced upon us - Plaid Cymru councillor

DEBATE: Councillor Ian Johnson (9437804)

DEBATE: Councillor Ian Johnson (9437804)

First published in News by

PLAID Cymru councillor Ian Johnson has entered the debate surrounding the disruption to Barry schools during next month's NATO summit, saying that he found it strange that Conservative party members are complaining about disruptions being caused by a summit they themselves organised during term time.

The decision to alter school opening hours has caused a political stir, with Labour and Conservative councillors clashing over the necessity of the changes.

Barry town centre councillor Ian Johnson has said that the safety of school children must be the first priority and that this sort of disruption would have to be expected when a major international event including a large number of military leaders is being planned in south Wales, and that the possibility of any incident must be taken seriously.

Councillor Johnson also spoke out about the possible closure of Barry Hospital's minor injury unit when staff are drafted into Cardiff for security purposes.

The Plaid Cymru councillor said: "The UK Government made a decision that Wales would play a host to a large number of world dignitaries and military leaders during term-time - a large group of people who are, inevitably, terrorist targets at a time of international instability.

“This will inevitably lead to disruption on our roads as their safety and schedules are given priority over those on the school run or heading to and from work.

“It is an inconvenience forced upon us by the UK Government and I find it strange that somebody like Alun Cairns, whose party insisted the NATO conference be held here, complains that security is prioritised like this.

“It is naïve and simplistic to think otherwise.

“Quite simply, there would be no disruption to our schools, or threats to our safety, if his government had not organized this event, in Wales, during term time.

“All we can hope is that the conference is a security success and that it passes off peacefully.

“That is especially the case if Barry Hospital faces closure during the summit because of the lack of available staff, who will be drafted into Cardiff for security purposes - and forcing Barry people to go to Cardiff even for minor injuries.

“This shows the limited capacity of our Welsh NHS to deal with major events like this.

“Sadly the organisers of the summit don’t seem to have considered how an event like this impacts upon everyday life for people in Barry, unconnected to the events at Celtic Manor many miles away.”

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