McKnight slams criminals who targeted businesses in Northside

Sinn Féin Councilllor Caoimhe McKnight has condemned an overnight break-in at the Northside Shopping centre during which a number of premises were targeted and damage was caused.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

Councillor McKnight said “It’s absolutely disgraceful that these premises were targeted in this way.

They are providing jobs and services for local people.

Many small businesses are working on tight margins and the last thing they need is any disruption or added costs or losses caused by this break in.

I would urge anyone with information to contact the police straight away.

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Ibrahim Halawa’s acquittal welcome – McGinley

Republican Youth welcome the news that Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa has been acquitted in Cairo today.

Caolán McGinley said:dkchoo5x0aiugl31

“I welcome the news that Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa has been acquitted in an Egyptian court today.

“Ibrahim Halawa spent four years of his life in an Eqyptian prison and was subject to many farcical mass trials.

“His physical and mental health suffered greatly as result of his imprisonment and the inhumane treatment he received from the authorities.

“The Egyptian government must now guarantee his safe return to Ireland and his family as soon as possible.”

McCartney disappointed by RHI delay

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed disappointment after it was confirmed that the RHI scandal will not begin oral hearings until November, a month later than planned.

Commenting on the delay Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“The delay is disappointing but it is also understandable given the vast amount of evidence that the inquiry team has already gathered and which must be thoroughly processed and prepared prior to the oral hearings taking place.

“It is important that happens because the need to get to the facts of the RHI scandal is just as prevalent now as it was when I instituted the inquiry.

“If we are to restore public confidence in the institutions of government then any negligence, incompetence, alleged corruption and abuse must be identified and those responsible held to account.”

Mullan welcomes EA action over transport travel times

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has welcomed an admission from the Education Authority that special educational needs transport travel times were unacceptable.

The Foyle MLA said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“During a meeting with the Education Authority on Friday we raised our concerns surrounding special educational needs transport times and made it clear that current travel arrangements were unacceptable.

“I welcome the fact that the Education Authority listened to our concerns and acted accordingly.

“No child should be subjected to excessive travel times

“The Education Authority now need to clarify that no child’s health and safety was put at risk as a result of actions taken by the authority and the very serious incidents which occured as a result.

“I would urge any parent whose remains unsatisfied with their child’s transport arrangements to contact the authority immediately.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Catalans must be allowed to have their say unhindered – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Catalan people must be allowed to have their say in their independence referendum unhindered.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Martina Anderson, who will travel to Catalonia for the referendum as a European Parliament observer, said:

“The Catalan independence referendum was legislated for by the Catalan Parliament in a democratic vote.

“The Spanish government should respect this democratic referendum as legally binding.

“The raids on the offices of Catalan ministries and arrest of a senior Catalan government official by Spanish police last night was an attempt to subvert the democratic process.

“The people of Catalonia should be allowed to have their say in this referendum unhindered by Spanish police repression.

“Ultimately, it is up to the Catalan people to have their say on their future on October 1st and they should be allowed to do so without interference.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion welcomes news on A6 development

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed news that the A6 road upgrade project can now proceed as planned.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP said:

“Today’s decision from the Court of Appeal that the middle section of the A6 road upgrade can now proceed is welcome.

“The Department for Infrastructure has now confirmed that work on the Toome to Moyola River section of the project can now get underway.

“This is a vital infrastructure project linking the north west to Belfast and further afield and will significantly reduce journey time when completed in 2019.

“Not only will this bring economic benefits to the north west, it will also be welcomed by the thousands of people who travel this route on a daily basis.

“I look forward to the completion of this project and its benefits for Derry and the wider north west.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

£8m under funding for Learning Disability services resolved-McCartney

Following a meeting with senior managers within the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney,has welcomed the assurances that the estimated annual £8m under funding for Learning Disability services has been resolved. The Trust has confirmed that it has put in place measures that will reinstate the funding fully by the financial year 2018/19.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The senior management team gave a further assurance that both WHSCT and the Health and Social Care Board(HSCB) are planning for an additional £8m investment in Learning Disability services in the WHSCT by 2018/19 with an extra £2.5m this year and a further £2.5m in 18/19 in addition to the £3m recurring monies already invested,

In welcoming the announcement by the Trust Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney stated “Our party has fully supported the demands of the parent’s representative group Western Learning Disability Action Group (WLDAG) who have been campaigning on the matter since March 2016 when it was first identified that there was an underfunding issue. Myself and Martin McGuinness met with the group in May 2016 and Michelle O’Neill who was the Health Minister also met with the group on a number of occasions and offered support.”

In February this year the Health Minister appointed an independent facilitator to work with the families and carers of people with learning disabilities and the Western Health and Social Care Trust in order to restore trust and confidence to find ways to resolve the situation. At that time the Minister also pledged to ensure that the Health and Social Care Board meets with the families to explain and discuss the capitation model being used to determine the level of funding the learning disability services should receive in the future.

Raymond McCartney continued “I want to congratulate all those parents and organisations that worked to get a resolution to this problem. Services to people with learning disabilities have been greatly impacted by the underfunding in the past. I look forward to people getting access to better services and facilities in the future.”

He also said “The commitment by the Trust to involve parents, carers and service users using PPI principles in the design and delivery of services in the future is a positive step that could be the precursor for future models of good practice throughout the wider Health Service.”

Mullan seeks update on Meenan Square complex

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan is to meet officials at the Executive Office on Wednesday to discuss future plans for the Meenan Square complex beside the Lecky Road Flyover. And get an update on the plans around the whole Urban Villages Programme.image01-copy

The Foyle MLA

“Tomorrow I will be meeting with the Executive Office to see what can be done to turn this site around and put it back to good use. I will also be getting an update on the plans for the Urban Villages initiative across the Bogside, Brandywell, Bishop Street and Fountain areas.

This time last year Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster visited the Gasyard following the area being designated as an Urban Village by the Executive Office.

The measure of the success of this initiative will be the regeneration of Meenan Park.

It was once the vibrant heartbeat of the Bogside with many local businesses and services. We all know about the demise of the shops complex there over recent years. The buildings are in a sorry looking state and has been a magnet for all sorts of anti-community activity.

It is vitally important that this complex is brought into public or community ownership for the greater good of the community and the residents that live close by.

McCallion expresses sympathy following Derry road death

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion had expressed sympathy following the death of a woman in a collision on the outskirts of Derry.elisha1

The Foyle MP said:

“The news that a 48-year-old woman has keen killed in a road collision on the outskirts of Derry has come as a shock to the local community.

“This death is a tragedy and will bring sadness to all those involved.

“Any death on our roads is one too many.

“I want to express my sympathy to the friends and family of the woman who lost her life at this sad and difficult time.”

Schools LGBT report needs acted upon – Mullan

Sinn Féin have called for the Education Department to take action based on the findings of new research showing that almost half of LGBT pupils in schools here have experienced bullying as a result of their sexuality or gender identity.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The party’s education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA commented:

“This study was commissioned by then Minister John O’Dowd in 2015 and delivered to the department over a year ago so it is disappointing that it is only surfacing now.

“A lot of time has been lost and immediate steps are now required to begin addressing the issues identified in this report. For example, nearly two-thirds of LGBT young people said they do not feel welcomed or valued in their post-primary school while almost half had experienced bullying as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“That can not be tolerated and steps should be taken to ensure Relationships and Sexual Education in post primary schools effectively addresses sexuality, gender identity and same sex relationships. We will be engaging with the Department Of Education and the Education Authority on this matter.

“The Department must also ensure the anti-bullying legislation taken forward by John O’Dowd is enacted in order to protect all children from all forms of bullying. No child should be left behind. We will continue to engage with all relevant parties to ensure that the legislation is fully implemented and to identify improvements.”

Threats against probation workers should be lifted immediately –McCartney

A dissident republican threat to probation workers should be immediately lifted, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.raymond-mccartney2

The Foyle MLA was speaking after it emerged that Probation Service staff across the North have been told to review their security in light of the threat.

“This threat is entirely unacceptable and should be lifted immediately,” he commented.

“This is a threat against staff, all of whom are social workers and over 70 per cent of are women.

“The Probation Service plays an important role within the justice system, particularly in terms of preventing reoffending and keeping communities safe. They also assist in the rehabilitation and re-integration of former prisoners back into a more positive role in the community.

“That is in stark contrast to the actions of the groups issuing these threats because they bring nothing but fear and misery to communities.

“They should withdraw it immediately and they should get off the backs of our communities once and for all.”

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United voice needed to secure release of Tony Taylor – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has repeated her party’s call for the immediate release of imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor. djxqrmxxcaatcy

Speaking after visiting Tony Taylor in Maghaberry today, the Foyle MP said:

“I led a Sinn Féin delegation made up of Martina Anderson MEP, Raymond McCartney MLA and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, councillor Maolíosa McHugh, into Maghaberry Prison to visit imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor.

“His ongoing detention is wrong and is an affront to democracy an the justice system.

“We were told today that he is now being detained on ‘probability’, not facts or evidence.

“The continued detention of Tony is also placing a considerable strain on his wife, family and parents.

“Tony Taylor should be released immediately and we want to see a united voice coming from this city and beyond to end this injustice and see him released immediately.” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin to meet EA on Special Educational Needs Transport

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan is to meet the Education Authority to secure an effective solution to Special Educational Needs Transport,

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Karen Mullan MLA commented:

“I alongside my party colleague Caoimhe Archibald MLA will be meeting with the Department of Education Authority.

“We will be calling for an immediate and effective long-term solution to address the unacceptable travel times experienced by children attending Harberton and other special schools in the Belfast area.

“There have been reports of children with special educational needs and other health issues having to sit for hours on a bus and that some of those who are entitled to be picked up from their own homes are having to make their way to meeting points.

“This is completely unacceptable. We have been pressing to meet the Authority for more than a week to discuss these very serious issues.

“The Education Authority have previously stated that they have put in place arrangements to ensure that these children could travel safely to and from school in a timely fashion. These arrangements have continued to fail.

“We will be demanding that the Authority takes immediate steps to ensure that suitable and sustainable transport arrangements are put in place for these children.

“The horrific travel times experienced by children with special educational needs were a result of a cynical cost-cutting exercise employed by the Education Authority which has caused undue stress and hardship to vulnerable children and their parents.

“The EA need to provide assurances that the health and safety of these children was not put at risk through the excessive times that they have spent on buses.

“It is their duty to ensure that children arrive safely at school.

Visit to the La Dolce Vita project in Derry.

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney visit Donna Maria Logue at the La Dolce Vita project in Derry.resized_20170904_114639_2768

The La Dolce Vita project provides support services to those who have been affected by domestic violence

Speaking after the visit Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney :

“Sinn Féin support La Dolce Vita’s campaign for better and more effective legislation to protect victims of domestic violence.

There are many areas of current legislation which require review and Sinn Féin will engage to ensure that the victims of domestic violence are properly protected.

Ends

Right to democratic representation must be upheld – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the right of the people of the north to be directly represented in the European Parliament must be upheld.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“The proposals put forward this week to redistribute European Parliament seats post-Brexit does not take into account the democratic rights of the people of the north of Ireland.

“The 1.8 million people living in the north have the right to Irish, and therefore EU citizenship and as such are entitled to direct democratic representation in the European Parliament.

“Access to the democratic process and direct representation is a basic fundamental right.

“All citizens in the north should be taken into account in any proposals for potential redistribution to European Parliament seats across the island of Ireland.

“This is about safeguarding rights and the best way to do that is to secure special status for the north within the EU so that the people in the north continue to have direct representation in the European Parliament.”

DUP can’t lecture on ‘common sense’ – Foyle MP

If the DUP are seriously concerned about public services and well-being then they would end their support for Tory cuts and drop their denial of rights to citizens which is preventing the formation of a new Stormont Executive, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP was speaking after the DUP’s Nigel Dodds accused Sinn Féin of rejecting a ‘common sense’ proposal to re-enter the Executive.

She commented:”The DUP are in no position to lecture others about common sense when they have committed to support every Tory Budget and every piece of Tory Brexit legislation without even having seen them.

“Is that the approach they would like a new Executive to take? To give unconditional support to the same Tory government that is responsible for the cuts to our public services?

“If the DUP are seriously concerned about public services and the well-being of the people who live here, then they would tear up their blank cheque to the Tories. And they would end their denial of rights to citizens here – the same rights which are protected in law everywhere else on these islands. That is the only basis on which any new Executive can possibly be credible and sustainable.”

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Mullan hails Feel Good Fortnight 5K

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has congratulated all those who took part in the Feel Good Fortnight 5K Walk in Derry on Thursday night20170914_185704

“I would like to congratulate everyone who took part on the 5K Walk /Run.

It is important for all of us, of all ages, to look after our mental health and wellbeing and that’s what the Feel Good Fortnight is all about.

“It encourages us to take five steps to help improve our mental health: To connect with others; to be active; to take notice of the world around us without the use of technology to try new things; and to give to others, whether through donating to charity or carrying out random acts of kindness.

Ends

McCallion urges support for Derry minor team in All Ireland Final

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has wished the Derry minor team all the best as they prepare for the All-Ireland minor football final in Dublin on Sunday.18739765_1400343640021696_614918040889171436_n

The Foyle MP said “It’s a great achievement for any county to reach the final and takes a lot of work, dedication and commitment.

“I would like to wish the Derry minor team all the best as they prepare for the All Ireland final against Kerry on Sunday. Everyone in the Oak Leaf County will be behind you.

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Moves to address anti community activity in Creggan -Campbell

Creggan Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has appealed to young people who socialised around Kildrum Gardens and Rathlin Drive areas of Creggan to be very mindful of their behaviour and how this impacts upon residents, particularly older residents in the area. 20170913_123600

He said he was approached by a number of residents in the area and decided to carry out a resident engagement through a door knock/leaflet drop to establish the views of people and identify what the issues are.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said “We did a door knocking exercise and talked to a large number of residents.It seems that at times large groups of young people, some from outside the area, are socialising in and around parts of Kildrum Gardens and Rathlin Drive.

Residents don’t necessarily mind that, but when noise levels rise or ‘muck bombs’ are thrown at people’s homes then that behaviour is totally unacceptable and has had a very negative impact upon residents, particularly older people.”

Cllr Campbell continued “I visited the area on Friday night as a follow up with councils Community Safety Wardens and introduced the Wardens to some residents, handed out letters with contact numbers for residents such as local councillors, Community Safety Wardens and CRJ .

I have also had discussions with the local Youth Services, who do great work in the Creggan area to assist in finding solutions to such problems. While there we also discovered that a number of lights were out in the area and I spoke to Transport NI and reported the lights and also requested Triax Neighbourhood Management Team in to cut back the overhanging hedges in an effort to whittle down cover for identified hotspots.”

Councillor Campbell stated he intends to also raise this issue at the community safety partnership meeting this week where the statutory agencies such as the Housing Executive, Apex Housing Association, Wardens, PSNI and CRJ and other community based projects attend to make sure that everyone was aware of the extent of the problems.

He concluded Sinn Féin will continue to be active to assist in resolving this situation and we would appeal to parents to have a word with their children and to be mindful as to where they are at night

Strategic Growth Plan crucial for North West -Councillor Paul Fleming

Sinn Féin group leader on Derry City and Strabane district council Councillor Paul Fleming has welcomed the launch of the Strategic Growth Plan and the comprehensive consultation that has taken place across local levels and with strategic partners.paul-fleming-copy

Councillor Fleming said “The consultation around the Strategic Growth Plan has been a very substantial piece of work. Sinn Féin is contributing to this and have put forward a submission.

It’s important that we get this right to ensure that we help shape the plans for the council and the North West region across many areas for the years ahead.

The economy and regional infrastructural development are key drivers for economic progress for the North West and job creation.

We need our tourism product to further reach its full potential in terms of increasing visitor numbers to the city and district and ensure that adequate cultural infrastructure is invested in to allow cultural activity to be city-wide and reach out into our rural communities.

There needs to be continued provision of funding for rural projects and its crucial that there is forward planning to ensure that any loss in future Rural Development Fund( RDF)funding is factored into council’s discussions with central government.

I would like to thank Council staff for the considerable work which has been carried out thus far on the Growth Plan, all those who participated in this consultation and we look forward to contributing to the next stages of this vital project.

Tory/DUP cuts must be opposed – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said Tory/DUP cuts to frontline services must be opposed.

The Foyle MP said: djsj0ejxkaab9rd

“Today in Derry, Sinn Féin staged a protest outside the Guildhall ahead of a briefing by the Western Trust on proposed cuts to the health service.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to these cuts, which we regard as a direct attack on those most in need in our society.

“Instead of cuts, we need to see investment in our health service, just as former health minister Michelle O’Neill called for.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose Tory/DUP cuts to our frontline services and will continue to demonstrate, campaign and lobby against austerity.” Ends/Críoch

National Ploughing Championships

ploughingchamps2017_socialmedia

Oireachtas Committee report on impact of Brexit on Good Friday launched

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion speaking following attending the launch of an Oireachtas report on the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement held in the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

She saiddjnrftxwaaarhkp

“The Committee’s report focuses on a number of interlinked areas that directly impact on the Good Friday Agreement. These include; Cross-Border Cooperation, EU Funding, Trade, Free Movement and Security; Constitutional Issues and Reconciliation and Identity.

“This report, the result of nine months of consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, highlights the very real and serious concerns that businesses, communities, think tanks, local authorities, the retail industry, environmental actors, and those working on peace, justice, human rights and reconciliation have. Those concerns must be heard and acted upon.

Ends

Anderson raises legacy concerns with Council of Europe Commissioner

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss dealing with the legacy of the conflict.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Speaking after meeting the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, in Brussels today, Martina Anderson said:

“I met today with Nils Muiznieks in Strasbourg to discuss the failures of the British government and others to address the legacy of the conflict.

“Sinn Féin MLAs and MPs have met with the PSNI Chief Constable, the PSNI’s head of legacy and the NIO to discuss legacy issues in recent weeks and today’s engagement is an extension of that.

“I updated him on the recent highly significant rulings from the High Court on the disclosure, or more appropriately, the non-disclosure of files relating to legacy cases, including the activities of the Glenanne gang.

“I also reiterated the need for the British government to release funding to clear the backlog in legacy inquests in line with the proposal from the Lord Chief Justice.

“As well as that, we discussed the continued failure of the British government to implement its commitment to an Act Gaeilge.

“And I also raised the case of imprisoned Derry man Tony Taylor and updated him on the developments calling for his release.”

Deportations a result of Brexit xenophobia’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has blamed a climate of Brexit-inspired xenophobia is responsible for a spike in the deportations of EU citizens from Britain.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

he said:“Over 5,000 EU citizens have been forced to leave Britain since the Brexit vote.

“The record number of deportations is further evidence of a spiralling climate within British politics of rising xenophobia, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in recent years.

“The hardcore anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Tories, DUP and UKIP in the pro-Brexit camp is directly responsible for a spike in hate crime and these deportations.

“As Westminster sits to discuss the rights of citizens in the EU, the right-wing political establishment in Britain must take note of the impact their own rhetoric has on the lives of migrants and minorities.”

Ends

Students need to be educated over gambling risks – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has is calling for more advice and guidance to be given to students to help prevent them from becoming hooked on gambling.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The party’s Assembly Education spokesperson was speaking after reports from the Gambling Commission show that some students have £10,000 gambling debt.

She said:

“The Gambling Commission findings are deeply concerning.

“Gambling is a problem throughout society as a whole but the student population is particularly vulnerable.

“Students are often targeted by online gambling promotions and gambling stalls are set up at some fresher’s fairs.

“This type of aggressive marketing is leading to more people, and especially younger people, becoming involved in gambling.

“Students receive their student loans and have to budget their money in a way they are unlikely to have done before.

“Gambling could be viewed by students as a means of getting more money quickly and as a way of dealing with stress and pressure.

“Gambling, and online gambling in particular, is increasingly a cause for concern. More action is needed to minimise risks; students and indeed the public in general, should be educated around gambling and the dangers that exist with it.

“Everyone must be made aware of the help and advice that is available for those affected by gambling.”

Greater training and advice needed to reduce farm deaths -Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has said more training and advice must to be given to farmers to help reduce the numbers of injuries and deaths on farms.paul-fleming-copy

He was speaking after the Farm Safety Partnership published its new action plan which is aimed at reducing the numbers of injuries and deaths on farms.

Paul Fleming said:

“I welcome the publication of the Farm Safety Partnership’s new action plan.

“This year six people have been killed on farms in the North and approximately 100 accidents resulting in medical treatment take place each month.

“It is clear that agriculture and indeed farming remains one of the most hazardous work industries.

“Farmers need guidance and training on how to use machine and handling animals in a safe manner as well as first aid and response training in order to deal with incidents on farms to allow time for the emergency services to get there.”

Ends

Cooper welcomes funding for Derry and Strabane Christmas events

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that funding has been agreed by the Business committee within Derry City and Strabane council for the hosting of community events over the Christmas period. The £15,000 allocation was the result of a lobby by Clr Cooper to council to allow last years extremely successful events to be repeated in both Derry and Strabane Neighbourhood Renewal Areas

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said

“I welcome the news that this funding has been agreed for five Neighbourhood renewal areas in Derry and Strabane.

Last year saw some very successful Christmas events including the Tales and Trails Brooke Park events, the Fountain/Bishop Street peace wall market and other well received events in other areas.

I look forward to this year’s festivities and would encourage parents to keep an eye for news of tickets as there is likely to be huge interest given the success of last years events’.

Ends

McCallion condemns Christchurch vandalism

Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion has condemned a break-in and vandalism at Christchurch in Derry.

The Foyle MP said:elisha-mccallion-copy

“This break-in and wanton vandalism at Christchurch in Derry was disgraceful and I condemn it utterly.

“All places of worship should be treated with respect and any attack on them is an act of sacrilege.

“Not only was the historic church organ vandalised but other sacred items were also destroyed.

“Those responsible for this mindless attack are not representative of the people of this city and have nothing to offer society.

“My thoughts are with Archdeacon Robert Miller and all the parishioners at Christchurch.

“I know that this city will rally round and support them in any way we can at this difficult time.

“I would also encourage anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the PSNI.” Ends/Críoch

Mullan condemns mindless attack on Christ Church

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has condemned a break-in and vandalism attack on the Church of Ireland ,Christ Church located at Infirmary Road, Derry.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Stained- class windows and the church organ were badly damaged during the break in.

The Foyle MLA said:

“I condemn this mindless attack on the church it is totally unacceptable.

“It is wrong and it needs to be condemned.

“On hearing news of this incident the local community is understandably angry and frustrated at what has taken place here.

“Our thoughts are with the congregation of Christ Church.

“I would call on anyone with information to contact the police.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson raises Tony Taylor case in Strasbourg

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has raised the case of Derry man Tony Taylor in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and called for his immediate release.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Martina Anderson said:

“I addressed the chamber in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night and raised the case of imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor.

“I told MEPs that his continued imprisonment is an affront to justice and democracy.

“His continued detention is wrong and needs to end.

“I told the Parliament that he should be released immediately or brought before a court.

“On Friday, Elisha McCallion MP, Raymond McCartney MLA and I will be going to Maghaberry to visit Tony Taylor and we will once again call for his release.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion welcomes launch of north North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed the launch of the cross-border North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing based at Catalyst Inc.

The Foyle MP said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“Today I attended the launch of the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing based at Catalyst Inc in Derry.

“The project, which is funded by the EU will bring together 26 PhD students to develop cutting edge new advanced manufacturing techniques and processes.

“It will enhance all-Ireland research and innovation collaboration, particular in the health and life sciences sectors.

“It will include input from leading companies including Randox, Nuprint and Ulster University.

“This highlights the key role Catalyst Inc plays in encouraging and promoting our business sector and further underscores the need for additional development at site and I will be working with others to try to secure funding for the second phase of the development.”

Ends

MP for Foyle urges support for Feel Good Fortnight

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has encouraged people to support the Feel Good Fortnight designed to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The Foyle MP said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“Today marks the start of the Feel Good Fortnight, an excellent initiative designed to promote positive mental health, emotional wellbeing and healthy living.

“Over the next two weeks, people are encouraged to take simple steps to improve their own mental health and that of others.

“It is important for all of us, of all ages, to look after our mental health and wellbeing and that’s what the Feel Good Fortnight is all about.

“It encourages us to take five steps to help improve our mental health: To connect with others; to be active; to take notice of the world around us without the use of technology to try new things; and to give to others, whether through donating to charity or carrying out random acts of kindness.

“I would encourage others to get behind the Feel Good Fortnight and take a little to think about their mental health and the mental health of others.”

Hassan calls for safety crossing at accident black spot

Sinn Féin councillor Tony Hassan is calling on Transport NI to look at the introduction of a zebra crossing on a section of the Racecourse Road between the junction of Carnhill and Danesfort Crescent

tony hassan

tony hassan

His call comes after a woman was knocked down and injured on this stretch of road on Friday afternoon.

Councillor Tony Hassan said “ In the last few years the Racecourse Road has seen a steady increase in a heavy volume of traffic. There have been a number of very serious accidents at this point.

In that time Sinn Féin has called on a number of occasions for the introduction of a pedestrian crossing.

We will be seeking an urgent onsite meeting with Transport NI to lobby for a safe crossing on this road.

Ends

Derry delegation to visit Tony Taylor on Friday

A delegation from Derry is to visit Tony Taylor in Maghaberry Jail on Friday its follows a request from his campaign for a visit from a cross party delegation from the city to take place.

tony taylor

tony taylor

Part of the delegation will be the Mayor of Derry and Strabane Maolíosa McHugh ,MEP Martina Anderson ,MP Elisha McCallion and Raymond McCartney MLA

Speaking ahead of the visit Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “The delegation will be visiting Tony in Maghaberry prison on Friday.

“Sinn Féin has consistently stated that if evidence exists to show that Tony Taylor is a risk to the public it should be put before him and his legal team in open court so this can be challenged.raymond mccartney

“His continued detention is a violation of fundamental human rights and subversion of due process. It is a form of legalised interment by remand and a denial of natural justice.

“Sinn Féin representatives have continuously raised this matter with the British Secretary of State and most recently, Elisha McCallion MP raised the matter with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Ends

Traffic gridlock at busy Racecourse roundabout – Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed moves by Transport NI to resolve traffic gridlock at the major roundabout at the junctions of Racecourse and Ballyarnett Roads.

Councillor Duffy said “I have been liaising with Transport NI (formally Roads Service) over the past year regarding traffic management on the Racecourse Road at Ballyarnett Road roundabout , particularly in the mornings.

sandra duffy

sandra duffy

I had been contacted again this week again by local residents regarding the issue.

They were really concerned about the junction and were saying that it was traffic chaos there , with cars resorting to driving on the footpath and that five minute journeys were taking forty-five minutes to an hour.

I got back in contact with Transport NI and asked them to repeat a survey they conducted in May.

They have come back to me to say they observed the road and the junction for that last number of days and they agree that the traffic is very heavy.

As an interim measure to see if it helps they will now resequence the traffic lights at Bradleys Pass to prevent the back up of traffic here, which in turn should ease the flow of traffic coming off the Ballyarnett Roundabout.

I welcome this interim solution and look forward to meeting with Transport NI to look at other options that would help alleviate this highly frustrating situation for local residents.

McCallion welcomes end to Universal Credit blockage for Irish passport holders

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed confirmation from the Department of Finance and the Department of Communities that technical issues barring Irish passport holders from accessing Universal Credit have been resolved.elisha-mccallion-copy

Speaking following notification from Department officials, the Foyle MP said:

“Sinn Féin have been engaging with the Department of Finance on an ongoing basis to resolve this issue, so i welcome this announcement.

“The fact that Irish passport holders, and those with driving licences issued in the north, faced additional obstacles was unacceptable.

“Following my party being in direct contact with the Department, I am thankful that this issue has been resolved.”

End

Sinn Féin Welcomes Review on Location of PIP Medical Assessments -Mullan

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the review of equality screening processes regarding the location of medical assessments associated with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in response to concerns raised by Sinn Féin.

The Foyle MLA said:

“Following the departments publication of screening template for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – Capita Consultation Centres Sinn Féin raised the adverse impacts facing those people living in rural areas could experience when trying to access PIP.

“As a result Sinn Féin raised serious questions with the Department as to why they had not proceeded with an Equality Impact Assessment.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“The Rural Needs Act came into operation June 2017 for government departments, Sinn Féin asked the Department if it gave “due regard to the rural needs” when developing, adopting, implementing this new policy on the location of Capita Consultation Centres.

“Sinn Féin is concerned that the proposals contained in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) –Capita Consultation Centres may lead to a person with a disability/mental health problem being unable to make the journey to their PIP Assessment, especially for those living in a rural areas as it may be too difficult which could result in the loss of benefits.

“Sinn Féin do not want to see the most vulnerable people in our communities living in increased poverty as a direct result of these proposals.

“Sinn Féin welcome the review of the equality screening processes associated with this consultation being undertaken by the Department of Communities as a direct result of concerns we raised regarding the approach taken.

“We will continue to engage with the Department to ensure that the needs of those people living in rural communities are properly addressed.”

Sinn Féin reiterate call for reversal of sports cut

Sinn Féin will continue to pressure the Department of Education to reinstate sports development funding the party’s Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The Foyle MLA was speaking as an increasing number of schools voiced concern at the impact of the cut on children.

“Closing the Sports Development Grant will have a hugely detrimental impact on GAA and IFA coaching schemes and could affect up to 50 jobs, 400 schools and approximately 40,000 children.

“It means that some children simply will not partake in any form of physical activity throughout the week.

“The Department for Education needs to reconsider their decision urgently and Sinn Féin will continue to press for the reversal of these cuts in order to protect front line services for children.

Progress possible but still a mountain to climb

This piece by Michelle O’Neill appeared in this morning’s Irish News Monday, 11 September.

I laid out the Sinn Féin position last week while addressing our All-Ireland parliamentary teams in North county Dublin. 20170128_154209

I said that the route-map to an agreement in the Stormont talks is clear.

That is still the case.

And the destination at the end of that route-map is equally clear.

It is a society where all citizens are treated with equality and respect by the Executive whom they democratically elect to serve the people.

Where no one faces discrimination because of the language they speak, where they come from or who they love.

Where families who have lost loved ones during the conflict are afforded compassion and their right to due process through the courts.

Can anyone logically explain why a loving couple cannot marry in the North, but can do so across the rest of these islands?

Why children being educated through the medium of Irish are being denied the same language rights as enjoyed by their peers in other parts of these islands?

Or why some bereaved families have now been waiting over 40 years for inquests to be held?

That wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else and it will not be tolerated here.

So our destination is a society that puts an end to the denial of rights.

A society governed by political institutions on the basis of integrity, mutual respect and equal partnership government. A government where commitments given and agreements made are honoured and implemented to the benefit of all of society.

No one who is genuinely committed to the well-being of citizens, to good governance and the delivery of the very best public services has anything to fear from that.

It is not a republican agenda; it is a progressive agenda. A people-first agenda.

That is what Sinn Féin spent ten years in the Executive trying to build under the leadership of Martin McGuinness.

As a member of the Executive I witnessed how he worked with successive DUP leaders, to continually reach out to unionists on the basis of equality, respect and reconciliation.

It pained him greatly that his leadership wasn’t reciprocated.

There is a mutual obligation on the First and deputy First Ministers to represent their respective communities, who have distinct identities. There is also a special responsibility on the joint office to bridge the divide between those communities by representing everyone together.

Martin persevered because it was the right thing to do and no one can question SInn Féin’s track record in the Executive. We not only worked the institutions, but heavily invested in them up until the point of collapse.

They are an integral part of our strategy, pivotal to our plans to transform society for the better on this island.

Sinn Féin wants to bring about fundamental societal change North and South. This therefore requires us to be in government in both Dublin and Belfast.

So we are absolutely committed to seeing the political institutions re-established. We are determined to build on Martin’s legacy, but not at any cost.

That is what success in the talks looks like – new institutions founded on their original guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.

This would be an important advance for citizens who want the parties to turn a corner and who want to see a significant step change. A new political era which looks to the future, rather than the past.

To date, there have been three phases of talks, which have not yet produced the right basis to form a sustainable executive.

However, I remain convinced that we can find a resolution and I welcome the recent intensification of talks with the DUP and Arlene Foster’s acknowledgment that legislative protections should be afforded to Irish speakers.

That is common ground, a good starting point. However nobody can be in any doubt that we still have a mountain to climb.

We need to build on that in the days ahead. To broaden the common ground further.

To re-establish the institutions on the basis they were originally designed and endorsed by the people of Ireland in the Good Friday Agreement.

It is doable, it is achievable. It doesn’t require anyone to compromise their principles or lose face. I have said time and again, I do not want to see majorities or minorities – only equality and respect.

Citizens rights need to be underpinned in law.

Citizens must have the means to legally challenge any denial of their rights.

This means all citizens regardless of political allegiance.

And it’s the key to unlocking the current impasse and the restoration of institutions that can deliver for all of our people.

Growing support for special status across the EU – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said there is growing support in the EU for special status for the north.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has made it clear that he is worried about the proposals relating to Ireland and the border being put forward by the Tories.

“It is encouraging but not surprising that senior EU figures recognise our unique circumstances because that is the message I and my Sinn Féin colleagues have been getting when we meet with MEPs from across Europe lobbying for special status.

“The EU has stated clearly that it wants to protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid the imposition of an EU frontier on the island of Ireland.

“The best way to to do that is to secure designated special status for the North within the EU.

“The EU has challenged the Tories to look for a unique solution for the north; in my eyes that would be special status within the EU.” Ends/C

Burst water main causing considerable disruption in parts of Creggan – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has said a burst water main caused considerable disruption in the Creggan Heights area on Saturday morning.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly said

I was contacted by residents early on Saturday morning saying there was a flow of heavy water running down through Creggan Heights at a very fast rate.

When I went to the area I seen how bad it was .This burst was coming up through the footpaths and actually swelled parts of the footpath the force of the water was so strong.

I contacted NI Water who turned off the flowing water in that area and will be working to fix what seems to have been a burst main pipe on top of what was a night of heavy rain.

If any resident has any more concerns they should feel free to get in contact with me and if there are any more updates over the next few days I will keep them informed.

Ends

Catalonia should be allowed to hold independence referendum – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Karen Mullan has called on the Spanish Government to respect the legislation recently passed by the Catalan Parliament to allow for a democratic and legally binding referendum on independence to take place on 1 October 2017.

A delegation of Sinn Féin Youth from Derry will travel to Barcelona this weekend to celebrate the Catalan National Day (Monday) and they will take part in events along with the JERC (Catalan Youth Movement) 21430298_10212324528086673_1309959163790933656_n

The Derry delegation includes Caolán McGinley ,Dáire Lamberton ,Joe Dunn and Lauren Hegarty

Speaking as Catalans prepare to celebrate their National Day, Karen Mullan said:

“A majority of Members of the Catalan Parliament have approved legislation to allow an independence referendum to take place on 1 October 2017. It is clear that the majority of elected representatives and the people of Catalonia want a democratic and legally binding referendum to be held.

“The Spanish Government has so far denied that legitimate expression of democracy and refused to negotiate with the Catalan Government to allow a referendum on independence.

“The Spanish Government should respect this newly passed law and immediately open meaningful negotiations with representatives of the Catalan Government to ensure a referendum free from coercion and outside influence can be carried out on this date.

“I believe that the people of Catalonia should have the right to democratically decide their own future in a democratic referendum on 1 October.”

McCallion welcomes creation of 40 new jobs at Primrose

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed the news of a major expansion by Derry food company, Primrose with the opening of a new café-bistro on the Strand Road.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP “I welcome the news that forty new jobs will be created with Primrose opening a new café-bistro on the Strand Road
following on from the opening of two outlets at Carlisle Road and along the riverfront over recent years.

I wish them every success and this comes at a time when a number of other new building projects are taking place along the Lower Strand Road which will hopefully increase footfall through the area.

Ends

Concern Derry children missing out on free school meals – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has contacted the Chief Executive of the Education Authority to raise concerns that children in Derry are missing out on free school meals due to late applications.- John O Dowd MLA , and Sinn Féin  Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Logue said “I have been dealing with a number of complaints about late applications being processed.

Pupils award are not being backdated and this is putting stress on very vulnerable families.

Schools should be able to provide food for pupils and be reimbursed when the application is accessed.

I have contacted the Chief Executive of the Education Authority to raise concerns that children in Derry are missing out on free school meals due to late applications.

End

Get involved with Culmore community consultation -Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Greater Culmore area Tony Hassan is calling on the residents to get involved with the community consultation which is to start on the 23rd September at the new Culmore Country Park on the Coney road.bigpic-copy

Cllr, Hassan said.

The Culmore Community Partnership in collaboration with Derry City and Strabane District council are running a Family fun day on Saturday 23rd of September.

This will be one of the biggest fun day festivals in the city this summer and the Mayor Maoliosa Mc Hugh will be officially opening the country park and start the consultation looking at what the public would like to see in the park.

The consultation will last for a number of months and will be run in different locations in the Culmore area, it will also involve the local schools in the area and I would ask as many people as possible to get involved in the consultation.

The Culmore Steering Group was established in late 2014 to explore the development of an integrated Sport, Recreation and Community Facilities Plan for Culmore. Comprising of local residents, Community and Voluntary Sector, it has now developed into the new Culmore Community Partnership which has prioritised key projects and have been working closely with a range of Officers within Council to progress these.

The progression of the Culmore District Park -Landfill Site Masterplan which is now in place has agreed the development of a 3G pitch facility at Thornhill college and the development of a Community Centre for the Culmore area.

Sinn Féin believe all these projects have the potential to transform the social and physical infrastructure within the Culmore area, and meet the considerable needs of the community.

The new GAA club Cú Chulainns that has been set up in Culmore will go a long way to help loads of activities for the kids in the area.

ENDS.

‘British must honour Legacy obligations’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney made the call after the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan today publicly criticised the lack of progress on his proposal, adding that the State has a legal obligation to ensure that legacy inquests take place.

Raymond McCartney said:raymond-mccartney2

“Sinn Féin met the Lord Chief Justice on two occasions to discuss his proposals for the release of funds guaranteed under the Fresh Start Agreement for legacy inquests. He has called for £5m a year over five years for legacy inquests.

“However, the British Government has refused so far to make the funding available to the most senior judge in the state to run the courts.

“Meanwhile families are being denied the truth and access to justice and many are now waiting more than four decades for inquests into the killing of their loved ones.

“That is wrong and unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the families who are being denied truth and I’m calling again on the British Government to honour their obligations, release the funding and end the cover up.”

Fleming calls for meeting with Head of the Civil Service over floods relief scheme

Sinn Féin Group Leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Paul Fleming has called for the local council to request a meeting with the interim Head of the Civil Service to lobby for an extension of the flood relief scheme of up to £1000 to local businesses and farmers.paul-fleming-copy

Councillor Fleming said “People are in the process of cleaning-up and rebuilding following the recent devastation caused by the floods so we need to ensure every possible assistance is provided to them.”

Many small businesses and the farming community in the North West have been hit particularly hard by the floods.

Sinn Féin is calling on the council to request a meeting with the interim Head of the Civil Service to lobby for an extension of the flood relief scheme of up to £1000 to local businesses and farmers.This would go some way to help those affected in clean up costs.

We also need to look at a wider hardship fund to help people in similar situations in the future.

Concluding he said

“Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has met with the interim Head of the Civil Service to get an update on the action plans in response to the floods and she stressed the need for a cross-cutting response from the various agencies over the days and weeks ahead.

McCartney slams ‘untrue’ SDLP health claims

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has hit back at SDLP claims that funds committed to the Heath Service have not been delivered.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“The claim made by Mark H Durkan that not an extra penny has been allocated to the health service since our commitment to invest an additional £1billion in the department over five years is simply not true,” he commented.

“It raises serious questions about Mr Durkan’s understanding of the health brief or whether he has been paying any attention to the situation over the last year or so aside from making inaccurate statements.

“Since the commitment to increase health spending by £1 Billion over five years, more than £400m additional has already been allocated to the department. By the end of the five-year period, in excess of an additional £1 Billion will have been allocated.

“This funding is vital in delivering frontline health and social care services but of course we also need to ensure that additional investment goes into structural transformation of the health services so that we tackle the long-term challenges facing the service.

“Recent Health Trust proposals to cut £70m from frontline services runs contrary to this direction of transformation laid out by Michelle O’Neill when Minister for Health. This would only worsen the situation and cause longer waiting times for patients and will be fiercely opposed by Sinn Féin.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Sinn Féin MPs proud to support ‘Scrap the Cap’ Rally

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has expressed solidarity with the RCN ‘Scrap the Cap’ campaign in advance of their rally in London today.djccvo9xoaaxew

The Foyle MP said her party colleagues Paul Maskey MP and the Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff, will be in attendance at the RCN rally, followed by the ‘Scrap the Cap’ protest meeting in Portcullis House.

Speaking in advance of the day’s events, Elisha McCallion MP said:

“Sinn Féin fully support RCN and the ‘Scrap the Cap’ campaign, and look forward to standing with them today.

“Nurses provide a vital service and deserve a fair wage for their work.

“Like most public sector workers, they have been subjected to years of relentless Tory austerity.

“Now the Tories have new partners in Westminster to continue their attacks on the public sector.

“The DUP’s first act in support of the Tory government was to vote for an effective cut to the wages of emergency and public service workers.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose austerity, defend frontline services and campaign for adequate funding for our public services and our public sector workers.”

EA must be held to account over transport to Harberton Special School – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said the Education Authority (EA) must be held to account over the transport of children with special education needs to Harberton School following reports of children having to endure excessive travel times.

The Foyle MLA said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“No child should have to experience travel times excessive travel times to and from school.

“The EA need to be held account for the failure of transport services at Harberton School.

“Whilst it is welcome that the EA have indicated that they have rectified the situation from today onwards. The fact is that these children with special educational needs, many of whom have additional health problems should never have had to endure excessive travel times.

“It is of primary importance that the EA clarify immediately whether the health of safety of these children were placed at risk and the steps that they have taken to ensure that instances of this kind never happen again.

“Children who are under the duty and care of the EA should arrive to and from school safely and within an appropriate time frame.

“These issues have to come to light at the same time as reports from parents indicating that they will have to wait until November for a decision regarding concessionary transport places.

“The school term has already started no parent or child should have to wait two to three months to find out if they are eligible for concessionary transport. The EA is effectively excluding children from concessionary places for at least half of the school term.

“Sinn Féin recognise that there are considerable financial pressures within the education system and that these pressures extend to school transport but no-one should be under any illusion that the funding crisis within education is as a direct result of Tory austerity which will continue under the Tory/DUP.

“That said, it is the duty of EA to oversee and administer school transport services. The EA should get their house in order on these matters and ensure that they communicate effectively with parents and children.

“It is important that parents and children have clarity on and confidence in school transport. The EA is failing children and families.

“I have requested an immediate meeting with the EA on these very serious matters.”

Sinn Féin want to be in government North and South – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney and Councillor Elisha McCallion with the Health Minister Michelle ONeill at the opening of the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin hospital this morning

Raymond McCartney said 2 gerrys

“This is good news for the North West region and all those who have lobbied and campaigned hard to have the new Radiotherapy Unit located at Altnagelvin Hospital. This new facility will make a dramatic impact on the lives of cancer sufferers as it will mean that the vast majority of patients will be able to receive radiotherapy treatment within one hour travelling distance of their homes.

Ends

McCallion – Lords’ Brexit debate is a pointless sideshow

The Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“Today’s debate is a detached and pointless sideshow which has no relevance to citizens in the north.

“This British government with the support of the DUP has already shown their disregard for the impact of Brexit on the lives and livelihoods of the people of Ireland, north and south.

“They explicitly rejected protections for the Good Friday Agreement and are wedded to a delusional ‘frictionless’ border.

“The solution to the disastrous consequences of Brexit does not lie with hereditary peers in London.

“Special Designated Status within the EU is the only way to protect the democratic wishes of citizens in Ireland.”

Ends

Anderson hails peace efforts of Basque civil society

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has praised the efforts of the civic society in aiding the Basque peace process.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Speaking after chairing a discussion at a Basque friendship event in the European Parliament in Brussels, Martina Anderson said:

“Today I chaired an event which looked at the role of civic society in encouraging and promotion the Basque peace process.

“It was also attended by Reverend Harold Good, who played a major role in our own peace process in Ireland.

“In particular we looked at the excellent work being carried out by Bake Bidea, a civil society platform from the north Basque country which brings together political parties, trade unions and social movements.

“It has played a vital role in the peace process, including the development which saw weapons being put beyond use.

“Importantly, it has also placed a particular emphasis on the issue of prisoners and tackling the causes and consequences of the conflict.

“In any peace process it it essential that wider civil society gets involved in the way Bake Bidea has done.

“It is important that we share the experiences from our peace process and learn from the experiences of others in order to assist communities emerging from conflict across the world.” Ends/Críoch

DUP need to stop saying “no” to a society of equals -Campbell

Sinn Féin Irish Language spokesperson Councillor Kevin Campbell has accused DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson of “scraping the bottom of the barrel” in his opposition to an Irish Language Act.

The Creggan Councillor said:unknown

“RTÉ reports that Jeffrey Donaldson ‘gave the example of Sinn Féin wanting 10 per cent of all public jobs to go to Irish speakers’. Sinn Féin has never made such a proposal.

“The DUP’s refusal to afford Irish language speakers in the North rights which speakers of Welsh, Gaelic and Irish enjoy across these islands is shameful and speaks more of our divided past than of the shared future Sinn Féin wishes to see.

“The DUP would be much better served focusing on the discrimination by their ministers and representatives against the Irish language which contributed to the collapse of the political institutions.

“The DUP realise their arguments against the Irish language wouldn’t stand up in any progressive European society which is why they are now scraping the bottom of the barrel to find excuses for continuing to say ‘no’ to a society of equals.”

Discrimination towards breastfeeding mothers unacceptable -Logue

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has called on local businesses to fully commit to the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) Breastfeeding Welcome Here programme to ensure breast feeding mothers and babies are supported and not stigmatised.

She said said:patricia-logue221-790x1024

“Recently there have been a number of reported instances in which businesses across the north have refused to accommodate breastfeeding mothers.

“Discrimination towards mothers who breastfeed is unacceptable.

“Breastfeeding mothers and their children should be supported and have equal access to services.

“No mother should ever be discouraged or made feel guilty for breastfeeding her baby in public.

“Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organisation. It is a perfectly natural thing to do with proven health benefits for both mothers and their babies.

“Sinn Féin is calling on local businesses to fully commit to the PHA Breastfeeding Welcome Here programme in order to promote and normalise breastfeeding and challenge the social stigma that is attached to breastfeeding, particularly in relation to breastfeeding in public places.

“Implementation of the breastfeeding legislation that my colleague, former Health Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA, tasked her department to develop would ensure breastfeeding mothers have the right to feed their children with confidence and without interruption in a public place.”

Onus on Brokenshire to deliver rights and equality – O’Neill

Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA has said there is a political onus on the British Secretary of State to fulfil his duty in delivering citizens’ rights and equality.

Speaking after meeting with James Brokenshire, Michelle O’Neill said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“Sinn Féin wants a resolution to the political impasse.

“We do not believe there is any public appetite, or need for another long drawn-out talks process in the autumn.

“I have told the British Secretary of State this again today.

“We need a commitment from all parties and both Governments to get actively re-engaged in a short, sharp, and meaningful negotiation process. We have a short timeframe in front of us. This time is critical and must not be wasted.

“I have also reaffirmed my view to Mr Brokenshire that the political onus is on him to deliver on the legacy inquest funding, and not allow the Tory partnership with the DUP at Westminster to deny the delivery of rights here, which are enjoyed by citizens elsewhere on these islands.”

All-Ireland bodies must be protected – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said all-Ireland institutions and bodies must be protected from the Tory Brexit agenda.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson


“The comments from the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier that substantial work is needed on cross-border bodies in the Brexit negotiations highlights the need for them to be protected.
“The all-Ireland institutions were created as part of the Good Friday Agreement – an internationally binding document – and must be protected along with the rest of the Agreement.
“The Tory Brexit agenda cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Irish government, as a co-guarantor of that Agreement, also need to make it clear in the negotiations that the Good Friday Agreement and the all-Ireland bodies it created are not negotiable.
“The best way to protect the all-Ireland bodies and the other rights the Good Friday Agreement guarantees is for the north to secure special status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Cooper welcomes initial findings of Conars Court Survey of Works.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the initial findings of Conars Court Survey ofWorks.mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

Councillor Cooper said “The problems around the Conars Court complex have been well documented in the local press for some time now.

The have been concerns over structural and heating issues.

The preliminary findings of a number of consultant’s reports have found that the building is structurally sound with hairline cracks due to shrinkage and settlement consistent with the property type.

Minor work is required to apartments for servicing of windows and doors along and some minor plaster repairs. The electrical systems were found to be ok and smoke and heat detectors are to be replaced also.

A number of other tests are taking place and it’s important if any issues arise that they dealt with immediately.

I will continue to liaise with residents and Habinteg Housing as we move forward in finding a satisfactory conclusion to all residents’ issues.

Ends

Duffy slams arson attack on MUGA play facilities

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has slammed anti community activity that has taken place at the MUGA play facility in Shantallow.

sandra duffy

sandra duffy

She said “Sadly in the greater Shantallow area we have now seen the second attack on a community facility in less than a week. There was a vandalism attack on a play park at Racecourse Road and now the MUGA pitches at Shantallow.

The MUGA pitches which are a very much used community facility came under attack on Friday when a gang of youths set fire to tyres and rolling them onto the pitch.

This is a disgraceful attack and must be condemned.

Community facilities in this district have been hard fought for over many years. We cannot allow a handful to undermine nor detract from the excellent youth work that goes on in the area.

If anyone has information relating to who was responsible for this they should contact the relevant authorities.

Mullan welcomes report from Commissioner for Children and Young People

Karen Mullan MLA, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson, has welcomed the report from the Commissioner for Children and Young People into the cost of education for families.

Ms Mullan said:dcws6dwxgaeofpt

“It is unacceptable that families are having to contribute an average of £1,200 to school their children.

“Previous Sinn Féin Education Ministers have supported families by widening the scope for those entitled to free school meals and ensured that those families with children at primary schools were able to access uniform grants.

“Sinn Féin have challenged both the Education Authority and the Department on the areas outlined in the report, including;

■ School meals

■ Transport

■ School uniforms

■ School fees

■ Voluntary contributions

■ Equipment for lessons

“There is no doubt more needs to be done and we are up for the challenge but no one should be in any doubt that the Tory austerity agenda, now supported by the DUP, lies at the root cause of cuts to the education service.”

Gerry Adams is to visit flood hit Inishowen / Eglinton today

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is to visit Inishowen and Eglinton today, to view the devastating impact of the recent flash floods has had on local communities.31869920520_220ca3233e_o

The Louth TD will be touring affected areas of Inishowen before meeting residents in the County Derry village of Eglinton.

Meanwhile, Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has urged anyone affected by the floods and still awaiting assistance to contact her office on 02871 377551 or the local council on 02871 253253

McCartney condemns Derry security alert

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned those responsible for causing a security alert in the Lettershandoney area of Derry.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The Foyle MLA said:

“This is the second alert in as many days. These alerts do nothing for the image of Derry.

“These alerts have caused disruption in the area, on two occasions residents were asked to leave their homes.

“This was a reckless attack and the last thing the people of Derry want.

“Whoever is behind this alert needs to realise they do not represent the people of Derry and stop these futile actions immediately.

“Anyone with any information on these alerts should bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Sustainable Executive must be built on implementation and rights – O’Neill

Responding to comments made by Arlene Foster tonight Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill said:dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“Sinn Féin is entirely committed to making the political institutions work for all citizens.

“ For over ten years Martin McGuinness maintained the Executive while seeking to have the outstanding commitments of the agreements implemented with respect and equality for all.

“Over this period the DUP and the British government refused to honor the agreements and operate powersharing on the basis of equality. On that basis Martin McGuiness resigned.

“The statement by the DUP leader demonstrates that they have not listened or acknowledged the reasons for Martin’s resignation.

“Establishing an Executive that may collapse after a matter of months on the same issues will only fail all our people.

“Let’s agree to quickly conclude talks on implementation and rights, that is the only way to build a sustainable Executive that will last.”

Today FRIDAY at 4pm

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Glen / Rosemount set for bulky lift of rubbish -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said that a bulky lift of rubbish will take place in the Glen /Rosemount next week.

He saidmickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

“Following discussions I had with the Glen Development Initiative and Derry /Strabane Council, I would like to inform residents that on the 13th September a bulky lift will take place in the Rosemount area and on the 14th September it will take place in the Glen Estate/Road area.

Items such as white goods/electrical goods can be collected separately by contacting 02871374107.

The bulky lift will run between 7.30am and 2pm. Please ensure all items are placed for collection before 8am. All bulky lift items should be left at your normal bin collection area for collection. Should any resident have any further queries/issues please feel free to contact me on 07743175709.

Concerns over safety of drinking water eases –Duffy

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Councillor Sandra Duffy has said she has contacted the Environment Agency to seek assurance of the safety of drinking after she has been inundated with calls and messages regarding the safety of the drinking water following the recent flooding and in particular with the River Faughan breaching its banks into the illegal dump at Mobuoy.

Councillor Duffy saidsandra-duffy-pic-1-784x1024-copy

I have been contacted by a number residents regarding the water in their homes tasting different and being cloudy, others have expressed concern regarding the possible contamination of the water coming from the Mobuoy illegal dump.

I have been in regular contact with several relevant agencies over the past week regarding these issues and I am satisfied at this stage that all measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of our drinking water.

The Environment Agency have told me that they are currently monitoring the site and have stepped up their sampling of the water, they have been sending these samples to the Public Health Agency and to date no issues have been raised.

I have been assured that the Environment Agency, NI Water and the Public Health Agency will be continuing with this monitoring and sampling over the coming days and weeks to ensure there is no risk to our water supply. However, if anyone is concerned regarding the taste or colour of their water, they should contact NI Water who will send a representative who will sample it for you.

I am confident that the treatment works is carrying out chemical as well as biological testing on the water supply and have put in place the appropriate checks and balances to ensure public safety. I will continue to liaise with the relevant agencies regarding this matter.’

75th Anniversary of Tom Williams to be remembered in Derry

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has urged people in Derry to attend a commemoration on Saturday to remember IRA Volunteer Tom Williams who was hanged in Crumlin Road Gaol 75 years ago this weekend.

Councillor Campbell said21125325_1491938874195505_5967345916378830277_o

“Seventy-five years ago this weekend on the 2nd September 1942, Óglach Tom Williams, at the age of 19, faced his execution in Crumlin Road Gaol.

Tom, along with his IRA unit, had been imprisoned following the killing of an RUC man. The six man unit, all below the age of 21, were convicted & sentenced to death by hanging.

However, the collective punishment of the unit was eventually overturned as a result of Tom making an admission to being the leader of the men & accepting full responsibility for the actions of the unit which had resulted in the death of the RUC man.

The five IRA volunteers that had been imprisoned alongside Tom received lengthy sentences, however avoided capital punishment.

Tom, alone, would ultimately face his executor.

Prior to his hanging, he, inscribed some messages on the backs of playing cards that he had with him in his cell.

On one he wrote; ‘To whoever receives this, pray for me always & pray for the cause for which I am dying. God save Ireland.’

It’s important that all these years later we remember Tom and the ultimate sacrifice he made and I would encourage as many people as possible to come along on this Saturday at 1pm to Free Derry Wall.

Anger after Play Park in memory of young Derry boy vandalised –Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has slammed vandals who have damaged a play park in the Shantallow area in memory of a young child from the area who died tragically in 2013.

The children’s play park in Derry was named in memory of a young boy who died suddenly just over four years ago.bigpic-copy

Jake Murphy died in July 2013 while playing close to a building site near to his Ardnamoyle home in Shantallow.

Councillor Tony Hassan said “I find it incredible that anyone would damage this play park at the new housing development at Racecourse Park/Drive, which was under development at the time of Jake’s death.

It was very poignant that this park was named in his memory.

I would appeal for these attacks to stop immediately and whoever is behind them to catch themselves on.

I have been in contact with APEX housing to try and get the park fixed as soon as possible.

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School children paying the price for Tory cuts – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said school children are paying the price for Tory cuts.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The Foyle MLA was speaking following reports that primary and nursery schools are to receive £56 less per pupil this school year than in 2016-17.

Karen Mullan said:

“Schools are already coming under significant financial pressures as a direct result of Tory austerity cuts to the Block Grant.

“Since the Tories came into power we have seen over a billion pounds cut from the North’s block grant and local schools and local children are paying the price for this.

“The DUP should end their opposition to rights and equality so that we can get local ministers back in place and they should immediately withdraw their support for this austerity-driven Tory government.”

No Irish Language Act – No Assembly – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking this morning about efforts to re-establish the political institutions in the North said:2 gerrys

“The issue of citizens’ rights is at the core of the current political crisis in the North. Let me be very clear there will be no Assembly and no Executive, without a stand-alone Irish Language Act.

“Irish language speakers in the North must have the same legislative protections that are available everywhere else on these islands.

“The North is changing. It must be a place, which embraces all of its citizens, and respects all on the basis of equality. This does not threaten anyone. On the contrary it is a reflection of the changed political conditions in that part of the island and the need for all citizens there to have their rights respected.

“It is also imperative that the issue of rights is set in the wider context of Brexit. The current negotiations between the EU and Britain will conclude today with little sign of progress. In addition, the British remain committed to scrapping the role of the European Court of Justice and eroding the protections afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the Good Friday Agreement every citizen in the North has the right to EU citizenship. That right must be protected in the current negotiations.”

Dismissing criticism from some unionist leaders about Sinn Féin’s commitment to the political institutions Gerry Adams said:

“Under Martin McGuinness’s leadership, through the work of other Sinn Féin ministers and MLAs, republicans have repeatedly demonstrated our commitment to the political institutions. Sinn Féin’s entire political strategy is vested in workable Good Friday Agreement institutions that are delivering for citizens.

“The Assembly election mandated Sinn Féin to go back into the Executive and Assembly but clearly and only on the basis of equality and the implementation of outstanding issues. Sinn Féin is committed to fulfilling that mandate.”

The Sinn Féin leader urged the Irish government “to stand firm against any suggestion by unionists or the British of a return to Direct Rule. The Irish government has a responsibility under the St Andrew’s Agreement to ensure that direct rule doesn’t reoccur. If for any reason that can’t happen then we have to have a new configuration involving both governments in the absence of a willingness from unionism to embrace the type of dispensation which is required.” ENDS/CRÍOCH
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Mullan calls for sports development grant to be reinstated

Sinn Féin Assembly Education spokesperson MLA Karen Mullan has called on the Department for Education to reconsider their decision to close the sports development programme and reinstate the sports development grant.dcws6dwxgaeofpt

She was speaking after a recent study found that children as old as 12 are unable to run, jump, throw, catch or even hit any type of sports ball properly due to inactivity.

The Foyle MLA said:

“The exercise levels of among 2,000 primary school children aged from four to 12 were studied for the first time as part of the ‘Moving Well – Being Well’ study.

“The findings of the study show that children as old as 12 are unable to run, jump, throw, catch or even hit any type of sports ball properly due to inactivity.

“The sports development programme in the North gives children the chance to learn new sports and skills.

“It teaches children the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle and also helps to increase their confidence and social and interaction skills.

“The result of removing the sports development programme from schools is that some children simply will not partake in any form of physical activity throughout the week.

“The Department for Education needs to reconsider their decision to close the sports development programme and reinstate the sports development grant.”

Logue calls for widespread engagement ahead of healthcare consultation

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has urged the public to meaningfully engage with the Department of Health’s ‘continuing healthcare’ consultation, before the closing date on 15th September.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Patricia Logue said

“Following a review of the ‘continuing healthcare’ policy by the Department, a consultation has been opened to gather the thoughts and opinions of civic society and the general public concerning this policy.

“Sinn Féin believes firmly in the principles of co-design and co-production of our health service by care users, allowing citizens to have a direct say in shaping policy and decision-making.

“This consultation has the potential to be an intricate part of that citizen-led project, so I would encourage everyone to take part in the ‘continuing healthcare’ consultation to shape the future of this policy.”
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Bank of Ireland should reverse ATM decision -Campbell

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish language Councillor Kevin Campbell has expressed his disappointment at the Bank of Ireland’s decision to remove the Irish language option from ATMs.kevin-campbell

He said:

“The removal of the Irish language from Bank of Ireland ATMs is a backward step and a denigration of Irish language rights. The banking sector in Ireland has been extremely poor in facilitating Irish language speakers in the use of the Irish language. It is impossible to get statements, online banking or any customer service in Irish anywhere.

“Bank of Ireland have been unique in making an effort to simply facilitate the Irish language with the provision of ATMs with an Irish option.

“This cost, little if anything, met the needs of thousands of customers and allowed the bank to show that it values a key element of our identity.

“However, in a very disappointing move it seems that the Bank is rowing back on this small but valued option. There is a serious lack of consideration regarding the Irish language and Irish language rights amongst the private sector which is unacceptable.

“It’ is well known that the provision of Irish in branding, marketing and customer service is good for business, with even those without the use of the language appreciating when Irish is valued by private sector business. By this move Bank of Ireland is devaluing the Irish language.

I hope they review this decision and give customers the option of communicating in the language of their choice.

McCartney welcomes court decision on Showband Massacre

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed a directive from Belfast High Court that police and military chiefs must disclose intelligence files over British state collusion with the loyalist gang responsible for the Miami Showband massacre.dsc_6528

Raymond McCartney said:

“I welcome the decision to order the disclosure of more than 80 categories of documents related to the loyalist Glenanne Gang working in collusion with British state forces.

“There have been systemic failings on behalf of the PSNI in relation to collusion and the Glenanne Gang in particular.

“The British state has continually sought to deny and delay the truth about the role of its armed forces in running loyalist death squads during the conflict.

“The disclosure of these documents will go some way to explaining how that collusion came into effect.

“However, families should not have to go to the courts to get the truth decades after the killings of their loved ones

“A number of mechanisms were agreed at Stormont House to deal with the legacy of the past.

“The British government needs to implement this agreement and end its veto on disclosure on bogus national security grounds and instruct their intelligence agencies to fully and promptly comply with the court order.”

Anderson slams David Davis for walking away from Brexit Negotiations

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised British Brexit Minister David Davis after he left the latest round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels.

Martina Anderson said:

elisha mccallion martina anderson

elisha mccallion martina anderson

“In the lead up to the Brexit vote, the right wing of the Tory party had a cavalier attitude to the disaster that would be Brexit and made claims that are now acknowledged as untrue. To the Tories Ireland, our economy, our agreements and our citizens’ rights did not merit any thought and were collateral damage.

“The people of the North saw through that and voted to remain.

“The same right wing group are now in the leadership of the Tory party and the same cavalier approach continues.

“They have been a series of papers on Brexit from the British government that were high on rhetoric and low on solutions.

“Four days have been set aside this week for negotiations between the British Government and the EU.

“This is to address the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to deal with the implications of Brexit on Ireland North and South.

“We have today learned that the British Brexit Minister David Davis has left these talks after a matter of hours to return to London.

“This is not good enough and exposes the rhetoric of the British governments documents as meaningless.

“The Irish Government and the EU negotiators must make it clear that neither David Davis or the British Government can walk away from their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement or their responsibility to resolve the problems with their Brexit policy.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion to meet Council Chief Executive over use of Ebrington for major outdoor events

Sinn Féin MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion has congratulated those behind hosting two major outdoor music events at Ebrington Square at the weekend.elishaebrington

She also said she would be having discussions with the council over the long term use of the site once it is fully developed.

The Foyle MP said “I would like to congratulate the organisers behind the two outdoor music events held at Ebrington over the weekend.

During my time as Mayor I was constantly lobbied from people calling for the site to be used more for outdoor music events and to try and bring in major acts.

We have all seen the positive effects of bringing large scale outdoor music and sporting events into our city has on the local hospitably sector, feel good factor for citizens and putting Derry on the map.

When bringing thousands of people to any event there always be a few minor issues on the fringes and we all must work collectively on an ongoing basis to address those as best we can.

Concluding she said

I will be meeting with the Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council to see what can be done around the long term plans for the use of the site once the development is completed.

We need to ensure that we have a good outdoor site for future concerts there and explore all avenues to make it easy for local promoters and international promoters to use the site.

Eamonn “Bronco” Bradley 35th Anniversary remembered in Shantallow

A commemoration took place on Saturday afternoon at the Republican monument on the Racecourse Road in Shantallow to remember IRA Volunteer Eamonn “Bronco “Bradley who was shot and killed by the British Army 35 years ago.bb31

He was shot by members of the Royal Anglican regiment shortly after leaving Shantallow House with friends.

The new Sinn Féin MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion gave an oration reflecting on the life of Eamonn Bradley ,his role within the Republican movement in the Shantallow area and his murder by the British Army.

Leona Barnfield a wreath on behalf of the Bradley/ Heaney committee,Gerry Mc Cartney laid a wreath on behalf of the republican movement; Martin Connelly laid a wreath on behalf of Sinn Féinbb2

Bobby Sheerin then presented a representative of the family with flowers to mark the anniversary. And Martin McGilloway made a presentation on the behalf of the Bradley /Heaney committee.

Proceedings ended with Peter McDonnell addressing the crowd with words of thanks for those who attended the event and for the support they had received over the years and Sarah Griffin singing Amhrán na bhFiann.

North must be designated special status within the EU – McCallion

It has been reported at the weekend that the British Labour Party is considering a policy of staying in the Customs Union and the Single Market as part of Brexit.Responding to these reports

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said:elisha-mccallion-copy

“The people of the North voted against Brexit. The policy documents unveiled by the British Government over the past two weeks including leaving the Customs Union will have disastrous consequence for trade across Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.
“It will cost jobs, undermine the economy and agreements. It is bad for the island of Ireland.

“I note that it has been reported that the British Labour Party is considering remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market. This would be welcome as it would mitigate some the impacts of Brexit. We will be in contact with the British Labour Party on their proposals and Sinn Féin will be meeting with them and other parties at Westminster in the coming weeks.

“However, remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market will only deal with part of the negative impacts of Brexit. What is required to give effect to the vote of the people of the North, is for the North to be designated special status within the EU.”

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Kelly urges caution on roads as schools return after holidays

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Colly Kelly has urged motorists to show due care and attention as the local schools return after the holidays.

colly kelly

colly kelly

Councillor Kelly said “With schools in Derry returning after the summer holidays I would urge motorists to show extra due car and attention on the roads particularly in built-up areas.

The volume and speed of traffic travelling through all areas in our city has increased over the last few years.

There will be an increase of children out on about walking to school, using bus stops and local shops, and it will take motorists a few days to get adjusted.

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McCallion to meet Comhaltas over return of Fleadh to Derry

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said she will be meeting Comhaltas Ceolteóirí Éireann to discuss bringing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann back to Derry.

The Foyle MP said:elisha-mccallion-copy

“There is no doubt that the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2013 was one of the biggest and best events ever held in our city.

“Not only did this hugely successful event celebrate our rich heritage of music and culture and showcase our talent to a global audience, it also brought communities together.

“It generated tens of millions for the local economy and left a legacy of music and tourism which is still developing.

“I want to see this fantastic event coming back to the city as soon as possible and I will be meeting the local branch of Comhaltas Ceolteóirí Éireann to discuss how we can kick start the campaign to ensure its return.

“I’m looking forward to working with Comhaltas to put together an imaginative and create campaign to make sure that Derry’s next Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is even bigger and better than the last.” Ends/Críoch

Congratulations to all GCSE students – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has congratulated all students across the north who have received their GCSE examinations results .

Karen Mullan said:dcws6dwxgaeofpt

“I would like to congratulate all those students getting their GCSE results.

“I believe they are the result of the hard work and dedication. They are also a credit to the professionalism and commitment of teachers and parents.

“I would like to commend the three successive Sinn Féin Education Ministers for their work in developing our education system.

“If you did not achieve the grades you wanted, there are other options out there. I would urge you to explore these by talking to your teachers and careers advisers.

“There is a lot of pressure on young people now a-days and I would tell them follow your heart, follow your passion.

I wish you all every success for the future, whether you decide to go on to study A-Levels, take up a new course, go into training or employment.”

Foyle MP raises Supporting People cut with Housing Executive CEO

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion met with the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive today to raise concerns around cuts to the Supporting People programme.20170818_113108

She attended the meeting with party colleagues, Karen Mullan MLA and Councillor Colly Kelly.

The Foyle MP said:

“Today, I met with Clark Bailie, Chief Executive of the Housing Executive and outlined our concern regarding the five percent cut to the Supporting People programme budget.

“I highlighted the adverse effect that this cut is having on local groups on providing much needed support for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“I stressed the cut to the Supporting People programme would have serious implications for people’s well-being and will create more pressure on public finances in the long-term.

“The meeting was positive and the Chief Executive informed us that he is seeking additional funding for Supporting People programmes and he is hopeful that he can secure this funding.

“Supporting People helps vulnerable people to live independently, including those who are disabled, elderly, and victims of domestic violence. It is vital that this service is protected.”

Number of attempted break-ins at Ballymagowan – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has warned residents in Creggan to be on the alert following a number of attempted break-ins in the Ballymagowan development.cityside-candidates-for-2014-kevin-patricia-colly-and-liam-c-mc-menamin-pics-239-438x450-copy

Councillor Kelly said “I am aware of at least three attempted break-ins in the Ballymagowan development over the past two weeks.

Residents I have spoken to are worried that their home could be next to be targeted by these criminals.

It’s important to keep doors locked as creeper burglars only need a few moments to get into a house and take whatever they can get their hands on.

I would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious in the area to alert their neighbours and the police.

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Strong Sinn Féin team to represent health needs- McCallion

Every Sinn Féin MP and a number of Assembly members will be attending a series of Health Service consultations across the North today, to ensure strong representation for the needs of citizens in every constituency.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

Stressing the importance of the consultations, the party’s MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion said: “Each Health Trust is holding a public board meeting at which future savings plans will be discussed so Sinn Féin feels it is crucial that we send a very strong message in every trust area that frontline services must be protected.

“All of our seven MPs and a significant number of MLAs will be in attendance to ensure the needs of all constituencies and every citizen are strongly represented.

“Our frontline services including health and education are obviously under severe pressure as a result of sustained austerity cuts on our block grant by the Tory government now supported by the DUP.

“The best way to mitigate against that is through a sustainable and credible Executive which is properly resourced to combat the impact of Tory-DUP austerity.

“In the interim however, every step must be taken to protect frontline services and Sinn Féin will be strongly arguing for spending decisions to reflect that objective in the time ahead.”

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Sinn Féin call for Universal Credit postponement amid passport concerns

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has reiterated calls for the introduction of Universal Credit to be postponed following the latest problems with the system which have seen Irish passports rejected as a form of identification. raymond-mccartney2

He said

“Tory plans to introduce the Universal Credit system in September have already created considerable concern, particularly around the processing of payments.

“The unacceptable delay of, on average, up to six weeks in administering the first payment has the potential to cause severe hardship during the most financially challenging months of the year.

“Now this has been compounded by problems with the online system resulting in Irish passports and local driving licenses being refused as valid forms of identification despite assurances from the Department of Communities that this should not be the case.

“Clearly, Universal Credit and the online system which is supposed to underpin it is not fit for purpose and its implementation should be postponed until such times as appropriate arrangements can be put in place which do not disadvantage claimants.

“We have already asked the department to defer introduction and my party colleague Alex Maskey MLA is meeting the head of Social Security Agency on Friday to discuss this and other related matters. Given these problems we believe it is unacceptable to introduce this system without resolution.”

ENDS

Brexit puts future of tourism industry at risk – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit puts the future of the tourism industry in the north at risk.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Speaking after meeting with members of Tourism NI to discuss the impact of Brexit, Martina Anderson said:

“I met with representatives of the tourism industry to discuss the impact of Brexit on the sector and it is clear there is widespread concern about the future.

“Tourists from around the world view Ireland as a single entity and the imposition of an EU border on the island of Ireland would have a huge impact on our ability to attract tourists to the north.

“The main growth markets for visitors to Ireland are the south, the EU and the US and Brexit could put that at risk if it is more difficult to travel throughout the island.

“There is also a concern that one of our key tourist attractions, our natural environment, could be at risk as a result of changes in environmental protection legislation.

“Any changes to freedom of movement of people could also have a far-reaching consequences for the hospitality sector.

“Tourism is yet another area where the Tory Brexit agenda will have a hugely negative impact on our economy and is being ignored by the British government.

“Tourism Ireland is an implementation body established under the Good Friday Agreement. The British government has failed to safeguard or address its continued status and operation post-Brexit.

“We need to secure designated special status for the north within the EU and we need to see the Irish government making that a demand in the negotiations.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion praises emergency response to North West floods

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has praised the efforts of the emergency services, statutory agencies and members of the public who helped people affected by widespread flash flooding across the North West caused by extreme rainfall on Tuesday afternoon.elisha new head shot 2014 2

She also urged people whose homes have been damaged by flooding should immediately apply for the £1000 payment from the Department of Communities to help with clean-up costs.

The Foyle MP said “I would like pay tribute to everyone who helped in anyway during the flash flooding which affected a wide area across the North West.

“There are many stories emerging of people who were selfless in helping friends, neighbours or complete strangers in their hour of need. Some of the scenes of destruction during the peak of the rainfall were frightening. Many people are waking up to scenes of devastation around their homes and businesses. People have lost their family cars and work vans. Many roads particularly in the rural areas are affected by subsidence, trees are down and roads are impassable.

“Its important that all resources are provided to get these roads open again and help families and businesses directly affected by the floods.

“Early this morning, my office was able to secure confirmation that an emergency fund has been opened by the Department of the Communities providing up to £1000 to help with clean-up costs and I would urge people to apply as soon as possible.

Concluding she said:

“Clearly there are serious areas of concern as to how this emergency was handled by some of the agencies responsible, including access to sandbags in the Derry area during the peak of the flooding.

“We intend to raise these issues in the coming days but for the time being the focus should be on helping those in need and trying to get our infrastructure back up and running.”

McCallion calls for action on Unity poll

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called on all political parties who support Irish reunification to begin working towards an Irish Unity poll.elisha1

Writing in the Derry Journal, the Foyle MP argues that citizens should be allowed their democratic say on the political and constitutional changes, which will inevitably follow Brexit.

She writes:

“Sinn Féin accepts that it is up to us to convince unionists of the merits of a new Ireland and we are confident that we have the economic, social and political arguments to do so.

“We are convinced that no truly dispassionate and independent analysis of the case can come to any other conclusion than reunification as the best way forward for all our citizens.

“What is required now is for those many other advocates for unification to join the debate.

“There should be no more standing on the side-lines. There should be no more putting off the inevitable. No more lip service.

“In these uncertain political times, there is a responsibility on all parties, on all leaders who say they believe in unification to start doing something about it.

“Ireland should not be forced to accept the disastrous consequences of Brexit without even having the chance to democratically choose a different path through a poll on Irish Unity.”

http://www.derryjournal.com/news/we-should-have-right-to-decide-our-own-destiny-1-8114361

McCallion calls for united response to Waterside violence

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion is convening an emergency meeting today in response to a recent spate of gun and bombs attacks in the Waterside area of the city.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“The recent attacks are greatly concerning and clearly there are ongoing tensions in the area,” she commented.

“I believe an urgent approach involving all the relevant agencies and community representatives is required in order to address this issue before someone is seriously injured or even killed.

“I have called today’s meeting in order to ensure all the relevant stakeholders are taking a co-ordinated approach aimed at defusing this situation.

“There can be no place for gun and bomb attacks in our city and I would urge all political and community leaders to use their influence to bring it to an end.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

Show your support for Foyle Pride 2017 – McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has encouraged people to attend events organised as part of the annual Foyle Pride festival.final-psmckinght-copy-copy

Caoimhe McKnight said:

“Sinn Féin in Derry are absolutely delighted to be supporting the 2017 Foyle Pride festival.

“The struggle for equality goes on and we must ensure that people here in Derry have the same rights as those elsewhere on this island.

“Sinn Féin want a rights based society which guarantees rights to all citizens, be it language rights, a bill of rights or Marriage Equality.

“I would encourage you all to read the festival programme and support events organised as part of the Foyle Pride Festival, It’s fun and inclusive and there’s something for all the family.

“The annual parade will take place on Saturday 26th August, leaving Waterside station at 2pm.

“I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe pride.”

Crawford Square greenery gets spruce up –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

“I had received a number of complaints that the hedges were blocking motorists view. Anyone who is in the area on a daily basis will tell you how busy it is due its proximity to the city centre and in particular the Northland Road which sees hundreds of cars on it 24 hours a day.

Teamwork’s carried out work to the exterior of the green space in Crawford Square.

It was important to get the hedges cut back for the safety of pedestrians to stop anyone having to step out onto a busy road for even a few seconds.

In the coming weeks I hope to get issues around the maintenance and upkeep of the park resolved. This is a gem on the fringes of the city centre and its important it is preserved and looked after.

Ends

Sinn Féin propose resumption of formal talks

In a letter to the Irish and British governments and leaders of other political parties, Sinn Féin Northern leader Michelle O’Neill has proposed a formal resumption of the Stormont talks on Monday 28th August.

Michelle O’Neill said:elisha mccallion

“With limited engagement since the talks concluded on 4th July, I am keen to formally re-engage at the earliest opportunity in order to re-establish an Executive and power sharing institutions on a proper and sustainable footing.

“Moreover, I do not believe there is much public appetite, or need, for another drawn-out phase of talks.

“In this context, and with an eagerness to resolve outstanding issues, I am also formally proposing that this round of talks be focused and time limited.”

Jackson condemns gun attack on Waterside home

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned a sectarian gun attack on a house in the Waterside area of Derry.

Councillor Jackson said: jackson2

“This attack during which shots were fired at a house in Rossdowney Drive is wrong and must be condemned.

“Thankfully no one was injured in this incident but it must have been a frightening experience for those in the area at the time.

“There is no place for guns on the streets of our city and those behind these attacks need to end their war with the community.”

Sinn Féin slam SDLP hypocrisy on welfare

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has slammed SDLP ‘hypocrisy’ over the Tory Government’s Universal Credit plans.

The Foyle MLA commented:raymond-mccartney2

“The SDLP helped to deliver welfare changes not block them.

“Margaret Ritchie introduced the first Welfare Reform Act in the north and her party colleague Alex Attwood introduced the highly criticised work capability assessment under a private company.

“It is not surprising that the SDLP is again trying to exploit genuine concerns about the roll out of Universal Credit to score cheap political points.

“Universal Credit is being imposed by the Tory Government, no-one else and for the SDLP to pretend otherwise is spurious and hypocritical.

“The SDLP promised to block welfare reform at Westminster. They failed.

“The SDLP supported the £500 million welfare mitigation package secured by Sinn Féin then voted against it.

“Let’s be clear. Had it been left to the SDLP, the full extent of Tory welfare cuts would have been implemented here without any mitigation package to protect the most vulnerable.

Anderson hails aid workers on World Humanitarian Day

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has paid tribute to international aid workers on World Humanitarian Day.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict.

“On this day I want to pay particular tribute to the brave health and aid workers for their efforts in conflict zones around the world.

“Often these aid workers are targeted or obstructed as they work to help people in need.

“I also want to commend the the government employees, members of civil society and representatives of international organisations and agencies who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid and protection.

“Those who carry out vital and lifesaving humanitarian work should not be targets; they are humanitarian heroes.” Ends/Críoch

Marriage Equality Rally

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