FAMILY members continue to be left in the dark as no progress has been made on a long-awaited inquest into a Pontardawe mining disaster.

On September 15, 2011, four men died in the Gleision mining disaster at Gleision Colliery near Cilybebyll, Pontardawe, and their families have been suffering further heartbreak with years of campaigning for an inquest.

Charles Breslin, David Powell, Philip Hill and Garry Jenkins were killed then the mine was flooded after a routine blasting. Their families spent more than a decade campaigning for an inquest, which was eventually ordered by the coroner in December 2022.

In March 2023, the terms of the inquest were agreed but the September 2023 pre-inquest hearing was cancelled shortly before it was due to be held and there has since been no new date set.

Sioned Williams, MS for South Wales West, was involved in the campaign for an inquest and has expressed her ‘deep concern’ over the delay. She wrote to Alun Michael, South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner, to share her concerns that the families were being left in the dark.

She was told in response by Detective Chief Superintendent Ceri Hughes that police had received information in 2023 which caused the inquest process to be ‘paused’ but could not provide a timescale for the resumption.

Ms Williams said: “The families of the four men who lost their lives in the Gleision mining disaster are aware that what matters is the truth, not the speed at which this progresses. Yet it’s hard not to agree that thirteen years is far too long a time to wait for answers about what happened to a loved one.

“These families have had to fight so hard to even get the right questions asked, let alone find the answers, and the inquest was to be a crucial part of that. For a year to have passed since the terms of the inquest were agreed is bringing additional distress to an already unbearably long wait for the truth.

“Since then, there have been no outward signs of progress, nor has there been contact from victims support. It’s for this reason that I asked PCC Alun Michael to step in and ensure the families get the update that they need and deserve.

“To only now learn of a further delay due to information received last year is simply not acceptable.”