Saturday, 17 September 2011

Picking up the pieces

As might have been expected, Neath Port Talbot council resolved unanimously not to proceed with the meeting I referred to yesterday. In the light of the reports of two deaths in Cilybebyll which we already had (and the news of the third fatality came through as we were sitting) nobody felt that this was a day on which we should engage in political debate, let alone a discussion on members' allowances.

There has been much criticism of the scale of TV reporting. Correspondents contrast the sixteen deaths and many more injuries on the roads of the UK every day with the loss of just four men. My response is that multiple fatalities on the roads do make the headlines in Wales. More to the point, my English friends ignore the emotional charge of news about mining disasters, something which we thought we would not see again in this country. There was also the human interest in the families waiting in Rhos community centre with dignity, hoping against hope that there would be a happy outcome.

Secretary of State Cheryl Gillan announced that there would be a full investigation, probably after the machinery of the Health and Safety Executive had already started moving, as it was compelled by law to do. It is generally assumed that water broke through from an adjacent flooded abandoned working. If so, it is important to determine the circumstances which caused this. What cannot be doubted is the promptness, extent and dedication of the rescue effort.

I may not know personally the men who died, or their families, but I know many people who do. I feel their sorrow. Nor must we forget the survivor who is fighting for his life in Morriston Hospital. I trust that he will pull through.

Peter Black, one of the local AMs, has blogged on the tragedy. I echo Peter's remark: "In the meantime our minds and our hearts now turn to the families and their grief. They have borne the trauma of the past few days with dignity. It is time to leave them and their community in peace to come to terms with their loss."

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

For expert comment, hear the first twenty minutes of Radio Wales' "Sunday Supplement", available for the next seven days.