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Iain McLean, campaigner for Aberfan community, welcomes funding announcment

Iain McLean, long-time campaigner for the Aberfan community and Project Director for research into the Aberfan Diaster, has welcomed the news that the National Assembly for Wales is giving £2m to the village.
The First Minister of Wales has announced that the Assembly Government will provide funding for the upkeep of the village memorials to those lost in the tragedy and support for local schools.

Between 1996 and 2000 when the National Archives on Aberfan were opened, Iain and his research team, funded by the British Academy and ESRC, uncovered damning documents about the response from Government Departments before, during and after the tragedy on 21 October 1966 when 144 people, mostly school children, were killed by a sliding coal tip.

In 2000, Iain and his research officer Martin Johnes published a book, Aberfan: government and disasters. His website at http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/politics/aberfan/home.htm gives the main findings of this research. In particular, it shows how the Government of the day improperly let charitable funds from the Aberfan Disaster Fund be taken to pay for the removal of the Aberfan coal tips in 1968. In 1997, the Former Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies MP, returned some of this money, citing Iain as one of those who had led him to this decision.

Commenting on the announcement that £1.5m has been agreed to maintain the work of the Aberfan Memorial Charity and a £500,000 grant secured for the Aberfan Education Charity, Iain said: ‘This is fantastic news. I congratulate the First Minister, the local Assembly Member, and the Trustees of the Aberfan charities for bringing this about. After forty years, a long-standing injustice has been righted.’