Mullan named as Sinn Féin as new education spokesperson

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has been confirmed as Sinn Féin’s new spokesperson on Education in the North.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

 Karen Mullan said she looked forward to her new role, while recognising the serious challenges facing the sector.

She said “I look forward to my new role, to developing new and positive working relationships with those working in the education, and I hope my contribution will help bring about the positive changes that are urgently needed for children and students.

I am under no illusions it will be challenging as we face the Tory austerity agenda.

We have just seen the recent the proposed £3 million reduction for school uniform grants which many seen as an attack on children and low income families.

Sinn Féin will fight any Tory proposed reductions.

 Mandela Nelson once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” so for me it’s important to be front and centre in championing education at every level.

Busy Creggan walkway gets clean up –Campbell

Welcoming the clean-up of one of the  busiest walkways in Creggan used by 100s of people everyday Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said

kevin campbell

kevin campbell

“I am pleased that the Council staff using the Hako machine have cleaned the  Chapel Lane in Creggan. This is something I have been calling for a while.

This lane is an important part of the infrastructure of Creggan,hundreds of people use it every day going to 10.00am mass in St Marys Chapel or taking a short cut to the town and children using the local play parks.

So a big thank you to council staff for the clean-up as this particular lane can get really bad with broken glass and litter.

Sinn Féin challenge DUP over Irish language Act

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has challenged the DUP to ‘call our bluff’ if they seriously believe the Irish Language Act is being used as a reason to avoid sharing power in the North.raymond-mccartney2

The Sinn Féin MLA was responding to comments by DUP MP Edwin Poots at the Magill Summer School when he claimed the Irish Language Act was a ‘useful tool’ for Sinn Féin to avoid the hard decisions that come with government.

He commented: “I welcome the fact that Edwin Poots chose to make part of his address as Gaeilge and hopefully that indicates a move in the right direction on the DUP approach to the issue of an Irish Language Act.

“However, his comments regarding Sinn Féin’s motivation for an act simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. No party has done more to make the institutions work than Sinn Féin. No individual has done more than Martin McGuinness. So to claim we are seeking to avoid government is plainly ludicrous.

“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to the re-establishment of the Executive and if the DUP really believe we aren’t then they should call our bluff. They should agree to an Irish Language Act and the implementation of the other rights-based issues which are still outstanding.

“Until now the DUP’s position has been that they are prepared to go back into the Executive providing that it is on the same basis that led to its collapse in January. Clearly that isn’t feasible.

“If the DUP are serious about getting back to power-sharing, they know very well what the issues are and that any new Executive will have to be based on the acceptance, recognition and delivery of rights for all.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson warns of growing Gaza humanitarian crisis

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza as a result of power shortages.

martina anderson raymond mccartney

martina anderson raymond mccartney

Martina Anderson said:

“Conditions in Gaza have been deteriorating for some time and now the people there are forced to live without electricity for 20 hours a day.

“Sewage facilities have also broken down, causing contamination and leading to serious public health fears.

“Health provision in the area is on the verge of collapse with mounting pressure on hospitals which are without power.

“Israel has a responsibility to increase the power supply to Gaza in order to address the growing humanitarian crisis.

“Instead it has reduced the power supply, adding to the pain and suffering of the population of Gaza.

“The international community needs to act to save lives in Gaza and end the humanitarian and public health crisis.” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin slam Tories and DUP over pension move

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has condemned the decision by the Tory Government to increase the State Pension Age seven years earlier than planned.elisha-mccallion-copy

The Foyle MP was commenting after it was announced that the pension age increase to 68 will now be phased in between 2037 and 2039, rather than from 2044 as was originally proposed.”This will undoubtedly lead to increased rates of poverty,”
she said.

“The Tories are yet again targeting people who are already struggling due to their austerity driven agenda. “For many people, the stark reality is that the state pension age will now be higher than healthy life expectancy.

“It is also particularly cynical that they delayed making this announcement until after the election when they had originally been due to make their intentions known in May.”Ms. McCallion also criticised the DUP for supporting for agreeing to prop up Theresa May’s government.

She said: “The DUP represent a region that has the lowest life expectancy in these islands so today’s announcement again exposes the folly of them giving the Tories a blank cheque to continue their destructive austerity policies.”

Ends

No longer any excuse for school uniform cut’ – Mullan

The planned cut to the school uniform grant should be immediately scrapped, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The Foyle MLA was speaking after the announcement from British Secretary of State James Brokenshire clarifying the funds available to the health and education departments.

“It’s certainly ironic that James Brokenshire made this announcement while his government, supported by the DUP, is still pursuing its austerity agenda and cutting the block grant to the North,” she commented.

“Nevertheless, any additional assurance that allows money to be spent on front line services is welcome and I have written to both the Education Department and the Education Authority to make it clear there is now absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful cuts they intended to make.

“In particular the cut to the school uniform grant was a direct attack on some of the most disadvantaged families and should be immediately reversed.”Other key protections for vulnerable children such as the Special Educational Needs budget should also be protected.”

Hundreds of new homes for Derry – Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that Braidwater is to invest £60m in building over 400 new homes in the Skeoge and Belt Road areas of the city.

200 Skeoge and 219 at Birch Hill on the Belt Road.bigpic-copy

Councillor Tony Hassan said

“I welcome the development of these new homes at Skeoge and at Birch Hill on the Belt Road in the Waterside area of the city.

This £60million investment will create hundreds of much needed construction jobs over the next three to four years and support local firms in the supply business.

It sends out the message that the housing market is picking up again in the city and will allow first time buyers a chance to get on to the housing ladder.I will also continue to lobby at every opportunity to ensure that the need for new social housing schemes in Derry is kept firmly on the agenda.”

Tory Brexit agenda limits opportunities for young people – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has the impact of the Tory Brexit agenda will limit opportunities for young people.

Speaking to a youth council event at Queens University, Belfast, Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“Over the course of the last year young people have become more passionate about and more involved in politics.

“Brexit is undoubtedly one of the issues that has grabbed the attention of young people because it is their future that is being sold short by the Tories and it is they who will bear the brunt of this disastrous plan.

“Young people are already facing huge challenges as a result of the austerity policies of the Tory government and now they are seeing their opportunities further limited by Brexit.

“Study opportunities, employment options and travel choices will all be hit by the Tory Brexit agenda.

“We want to see those opportunities protected and to create more opportunities within a changed, more democratic and accountable EU.

“To retain these opportunities for young people we need to retain our EU membership through securing special designated status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

McCartney urges supporters of human rights to attend the march for Tony Taylor

McCartney urges supporters of human rights to attend the march for Tony Taylor

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney has called on people to attend the march and rally for Tony Taylor taking place in Derry on Sunday.

Raymond McCartney said:

tony taylor

tony taylor

“Tony Taylor was returned to prison in Maghaberry Prison at the behest of the previous British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, without having been charged, questioned or allowed legal representation.

“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.

“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.

“I am calling on everyone who supports human rights to join the march on Sunday assembling at 2.30pm at the Brandywell Grotto.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

No certainty over debit card surcharges ban after Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said people here may not be able to avail of new measures to be introduced to ban surcharges on debit and credit cards after Brexit.

Martina Anderson said;

elisha mccallion martina anderson

elisha mccallion martina anderson

“Plans announced today to ban surcharges on credit and debit cards will no doubt be welcomed by consumers.

“This will be brought in from January next year in line with a European Union directive.

“While this will help consumers once it is introduced, particularly when it comes to making airline bookings online, there is no certainty that it will be retained post-Brexit when the British government will no longer be bound by EU directives.

“This is just one of the many uncertainties, like the future of roaming charges, that we are facing as a result of the directionless Tory Brexit agenda.

“That reality is now being widely recognised, including by one of the authors of Article 50, Lord Kerr, who has now warned of the ‘disastrous consequences’ of Brexit.

“In order to avoid this uncertainty we need to secure designated special status for the north within the EU. We have been securing support for that across Europe and we need to see the Irish government making it a priority in the current Brexit negotiations.” Ends/Críoch

Light up social media for Gaza – SFRY

Sinn Féin Republican Youth are encouraging people to take part in the ‘Light for Gaza’ initiative by lighting a candle and placing a solidarity message beside it, take a photo of it and upload it to Facebook and Twitter ‪between 10.00pm and 11.00pm on Sunday 23rd July‬.

Spokesperson for Sinn Féin Republican Youth in Derry Caolán McGinley said:

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“People have been outraged by what has been happening in Gaza over the past number of years with the continued Israeli onslaught and occupation.

“The most recent crisis has seen Gaza’s only operating power plant turned off due to a severe shortage of fuel, leaving the entire Gaza area in a complete blackout.

“Many news outlets ignore what happens in Gaza and the inhumane conditions in which people are forced to live due to Israeli occupation. Social media can be a powerful method of sharing their story.

“Gaza suffers chronic electricity shortages, meaning almost all of the 1.8m people who live there can’t pump water to their homes or get access to fresh water. Many people depend on limited supplies from the UN and humanitarian aid agencies.

“In an effort to highlight the horrible conditions in which people currently live in Gaza. We are encouraging people to take part in the ‘Light for Gaza’ initiative.

“Simply light a candle, place a solidarity message beside it, take a photo and upload it to Facebook and Twitter ‪between 10.00pm and 11.00pm on Sunday 23rd July‬, using the hashtag – #Light4Gaza.

“We chose this time because it’s when most of the main news will be broadcast across Europe.

“Take part and stand in solidarity with people in Gaza by using the power of social media to highlight the suffering the Palestinian’s endure.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Rural communities concerned over Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said rural communities are concerned about the impact of Brexit and are demanding special status for the north within the EU.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“I visited South Down today alongside local Sinn Féin MLAs Emma Rogan and Sineád Ennis and Chris Hazzard MP to meet with local groups to discuss the impact of Brexit.

“We met with rural community groups who are concerned about loss of vital funding and the prospect of increased rural isolation, particularly among older people.

“We also met with farmers who are fearful for their futures as they don’t believe that a Tory government which has been wedded to austerity will replace EU funding streams. They are also worried about the prospect of a reinforced border on the island of Ireland and the devastating impact it would have on the sector.

“I updated them on the work the Sinn Féin team is doing in the European Parliament to build support for the case for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.

“There is growing support across Europe for that case and we now need to see everyone, particularly the Irish government, getting behind it to make it a reality.” Ends/Críoc

Concerns over work on one of Derry’s busiest road –McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has written to Transport NI following concerns about the impact of the closure of the Northland Road from the junction of Great James street to the William Street roundabout to carry out roadwork’s._dsc8219

Raymond McCartney said

I have written to Transport NI Divisional headquarters in regards to the proposed road works that are due to commence within the next few weeks on the Northland Road from the junction of Great James street to the William Street roundabout.

This road is one of the main thoroughfares in the city and any closure has the potential to cause major disruption in the traffic flow in the city.

Furthermore, given that it is proposed that the road be closed for 4 weeks then this disruption needs to be mitigated properly with adequate Traffic management measures and proper diversions put in place.

It also vital that residents are fully informed of this closure and that adequate parking arrangements are put in place.
I have asked Transport NI (Roads Service) to request information on what plans they have to mitigate for this disruption.

Anger over Parachute Regiment Flags in the Waterside

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has said that the erecting of Parachute Regiment Flags in the Waterside area at the weekend is insensitive and inflammatory.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

He made his comments after complaints that Parachute Regiment Flags along with other flags were erected on lampposts along the Rossdowney Road from the junction of Glendermott Road.

Councillor Jackson said “I was contacted by a number of people at the weekend angered about the erecting of these flags.

Given the brutal history of the Parachute Regiment in this city the putting up of these flags is being seen as provocation in an effort to raise tensions in the greater Waterside area at a time when many others are working night and day for a peaceful summer.

We had a similar number of incidents in Derry last year and we seen the anger in the city two weeks ago about flags at the Caw roundabout.

We now need to see leadership from within Unionism to ensure that such flags are removed.

Ends

Rossnagalliagh fire-Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said a family in Rossnagalliagh had a lucky escape after a fire was started adjacent to their home just after 6am on Monday morning.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

Councillor Hassan said “This family has had a lucky escape. Just after 6am neighbours spotted a fire at the fence beside their home. It has transpired that the brown food bin was set on fire which then spread to the fence.

Neighbours alerted the family and the fire service. They then helped put out the fire . I would like to commend everyone here for their quick response and urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

Ends

Foyle MLA congratulates Smyth on World Championship gold medal

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has congratulated Derry athlete Jason Smyth who won his sixth World Championship gold medal at the Para Athletics World Championships being held this week in London.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “Jason Smyth is an inspirational Paralympian .To win his sixth World Championship gold medal at the Para Athletics World Championships in London is a remarkable achievement”

I would also like to congratulate fellow Irish athlete Michael McKillop on winning the 800m title.

Ends

McCallion meets RCN on ‘Scrap The Cap’ campaign

Sinn Féin Foyle MP, Elisha McCallion has today met with staff and trade union representatives from the Royal College of Nursing and pledged Sinn Féin’s support for nurses and all public sector workers.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

Elisha McCallion said:

“I met today with staff and trade union representatives from the Royal College of Nursing to discuss the ongoing ‘Scrap The Cap’ campaign which calls for a pay increase for nurses.

“Nurses provide a vital service and deserve a fair wage for their work. Nurses in the north earn 3% less than colleagues in Scotland and 2% less than workers in England and Wales.

“This is forcing many nurses to move in order to seek employment with a fair wage.

“The Tory government, backed by the DUP has implemented a policy of unrelenting austerity. 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.”

Warning over distraction /walk in robberies –Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has said there is concern in the city over walk in burglaries and distraction robberies and warned to always check identification of people looking to access their home.image01-copy

The Foyle MLA said “There are concerns and fears out there in the community over distraction robberies and walk in robberies in the city particularly in the Bogside area following a number of recent incidents.

This is an area of the city where it has been a tradition to have the front door and porch door open. Sadly there are those out there who will use it as an opportunity to exploit for their criminal activities targeting houses.

On many occasions we hear of such incidents and never think it will happen to us and that someone else will be the victim.

I would appeal to people who are just nipping out to the local shop, calling with a neighbour or just going to Mass for half an hour to ensure they lock their doors at all time. The criminals carrying out these acts are always on the lookout for their next victim. All too often now they are looking for car keys, whatever money they can get their hands on and can be in and out of a house in a couple of minutes.

Those engaged in this type of activity, care nothing for the hurt, fear and damage they cause, but only for their own selfish greed.

McCallion calls for action on Gaza power crisis

Sinn Féin Foyle MP, Elisha McCallion has requested an urgent meeting with the British government’s Foreign Secretary to raise concerns regarding the severe electricity and water crisis in Gaza.elisha1

Elisha McCallion said:

“I have written Boris Johnson today requesting an urgent meeting to raise my concerns regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“As of Wednesday 12th July 2017, Gaza’s only operating power plant was turned off due to a severe shortage of fuel, leaving the entire Gaza area in a complete blackout.

“Gaza suffers chronic electricity shortages, largely due to the Israeli aggression and onslaught which has seriously damaged critical infrastructure, meaning people can’t pump water to their homes or get access to fresh water. Many people depend on limited supplies from the UN and humanitarian aid agencies.

“Almost all of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents suffer from a severe lack of water for drinking and washing.

“This is deeply concerning and utterly disgraceful, a major humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes and the eyes of the world. The Irish and British governments must act immediately to help bring an end to this crisis.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.”

Críoch/Ends

McCallion calls for action on Gaza power crisis

Sinn Féin Foyle MP, Elisha McCallion has requested an urgent meeting with the British government’s Foreign Secretary to raise concerns regarding the severe electricity and water crisis in Gaza.

Elisha McCallion said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“I have written Boris Johnson today requesting an urgent meeting to raise my concerns regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“As of Wednesday 12th July 2017, Gaza’s only operating power plant was turned off due to a severe shortage of fuel, leaving the entire Gaza area in a complete blackout.

“Gaza suffers chronic electricity shortages, largely due to the Israeli aggression and onslaught which has seriously damaged critical infrastructure, meaning people can’t pump water to their homes or get access to fresh water. Many people depend on limited supplies from the UN and humanitarian aid agencies.

“Almost all of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents suffer from a severe lack of water for drinking and washing.

“This is deeply concerning and utterly disgraceful, a major humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes and the eyes of the world. The Irish and British governments must act immediately to help bring an end to this crisis.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.” Ends/Críoch

Crawford Square greenery to spruce up –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said “I have received confirmation from Teamwork’s that they will carry out a spruce up of the greenery in Crawford Square.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

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.

It’s also 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.

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Bicycle theft in Ballymagroarty – McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on the community to ensure that pedal bikes are securely locked away when not in use.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “There have been incidents recently where pedal bikes have been stolen from people’s property in the Ballymagroarty area and left vandalised.

There is no excuse for this type of behaviour which deprives children of their possessions but I would ask everyone to ensure that the bikes are placed in a securely locked place when not in use.”

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McCartney welcomes reports Dublin to recommit €465million A5 funding

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA has Raymond McCartney has said that if reports coming out of Dublin that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is preparing a plan that would see his government recommit the €465milion Irish government contribution to the completion of the A5 Derry/Dublin dual Carriageway it is a very welcome development..

Raymond McCartney said:_dsc8219

“The A5 and A6 Routes are essential to economic development of the North West.

“Leo Varadkar during his Fine Gael Leadership bid raised the possibility of reinstating the Irish government’s original €465million financing commitment for the Derry/Dublin road dual carriageway.

“If reports emanating from government sources in Dublin are correct it would seem that his proposal has moved a step closer to realisation.

“Dublin sources are suggesting that an Taoiseach is preparing a major infrastructure investment plan which would include recommitting the €465million contribution which was withdrawn by his predecessor Enda Kenny.

“The impact it would have on economic development of Derry and Donegal cannot be underestimated.

“But as we said when he original raised the possibility during his bid for Fine Gael Leadership plans and promises are fine and good but we want to see delivery.

“After overcoming a number of obstacles it is now expected that work will begin in the autumn on the £150 million dualling of the Derry to Strabane section of the A5. This represents the first phase of the of the dual carriageway Dublin route.

“Leo Varadkar’s plan if delivered on this time would represent a massive vote of confidence for the future of the North West economy.

“The importance of this project has never been more important given the implications of BREXIT. The Derry and the North West region needs to reinforce its connections with the capital city through projects such as the A5 rather than the imposition of border tariffs and other financial penalties which Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and others are working on daily to try to counteract by securing Designated Status for the north.

“Sinn Féin Ministers while holding the Ministerial portfolio in the Assembly have been to the fore in progressing these economic building blocks for this region.

“Sinn Féin MPs, TDs, MEP’s, Senators and councillors particularly in the Border will maintain the pressure to deliver the infrastructural investment and job creation initiatives required for Foyle and the North West.”

CRÍOCH/END

Major new exhibition on the history of the Rosemount -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor and local historian Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation that the a major new exhibition on the history of the Rosemount area will begin touring venues across the Outer West Neighbourhood Renewal area in the coming months .

michael mickey cooper

mickey cooper

Councillor Cooper, who wrote the historical content of the exhibition for the Outer West NRA on a voluntary basis, said he was certain it would increase community pride and also showcase the rich history of the Rosemount area to locals and visitors to the area:

“I was delighted to write the content for the exhibition and to collaborate with the Outer West NRA, CRAFT and the Nerve Centre in the project. The funding which was made available by Sinn Féin MLA Caral Ni Chulain when she was Minister for Culture has also been used to purchase a vehicle and other equipment that the Outer West organisation can use for other cultural events across the area.

The exhibition also includes a wide range of archive images from the Rosemount Historical Society, Guildhall Press and local historian and photographer Jim Collins, many of which have not been seen in public for generations.

When it is complete it will provide a perfect backdrop for the wide range of cultural events hosted by CRAFT and other cultural groups in the area and will showcase the rich history of the area to visitors from far and wide. Taken in tandem with the recent redevelopment of Brooke Park and the Creggan Burn Park, it marks another step in Rosemount’s renaissance as a cultural and leisure hot spot in the city”

Further details on the venues which the exhibition will tour will be available in the coming weeks.

Common sense urged over parking at Brooke Park -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged motorists to use common sense if visiting the new Brooke Park .His comments follow concerns about cars being parked on the pathways leading from the children’s park or leading to the large green space in front of the café there.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly said “We know that since the park opened it has far exceeded its expectations in regards to its popularity and the amounts of users.

With the summer now on us and spells of good weather the park is packed.I have been contacted by a number of users over recent days concerned about motorists parking in front of the pathways leading from the children’s park or leading to the large green space in front of the café.
number-plates-blacked-out
This is creating obstacles for anyone pushing a pram or wheelchair users and even motorists trying to turn their cars to leave the park.

I would urge anyone using the park to use a bit of common sense and do not block the pathways that way we can all use the park safely.

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Sinn Féin welcome human rights findings -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the findings of a new poll carried out by the Human Rights Consortium that shows an extremely high level of support for human rights among the population of the North.

He said:

“News that 84 percent of the population of the North are supportive of human rights is to be welcomed.

“In the last elections Sinn Féin stood on a platform of rights and equality for all citizens. We remain committed to restoring the political institutions on the basis of equality, respect and rights, delivering for all citizens and discriminating against none.

“It is unacceptable that basic rights, including language rights, marriage equality, and the right to coroners inquests are not available here when they are protected in law everywhere else on these islands.

“Rights and equality are not things that can be compromised on, they threaten no one.

“That is not a solely Sinn Féin position as the Human Rights Consortium found that 90 percent of those polled believe there should be universal and equal application of human rights.

“A similar percentage felt that these rights should be upheld in law and conform to international standards.

“In the face of the British Government’s Brexit agenda and their intention to repeal the Human Rights Act it is imperative that human rights protections are strengthened not weakened.

“We cannot depend on the British government who have failed to implement United Nations human rights standards to offer even the most basic protections to all in our society.

“Rights need to be strengthened not weakened and the best way to do that is by re-establishing an Executive on the basis of equality and protecting our place in Europe through designated special status.”

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Anderson meets north west council chief executives over Brexit

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met today with the chief executives of Derry and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council in Brussels to discuss Brexit.

Martina Anderson said: dawph6oxsaas5mo

“There is no doubt that the Tory Brexit agenda is disastrous for Ireland and that its impact will be particularly felt in border areas.

“Today in Brussels I met with the Chief Executives of Derry and Strabane District Council and Donegal Council Council, John Kelpie and Seamus Neely, to discuss the impact of Brexit.

“There is clear concern over Brexit, particularly in areas such as Derry and Donegal.

“I updated the chief executives on the work of the Sinn Féin team in Europe in highlighting the impact of Brexit on Ireland and on building support for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.

“We will continue to engage with the chief executives of both councils as we continue to work to secure special status within the EU for the north.” Ends/Crioch

Sinn Féin slam ‘slash and burn’ cuts – Mullan

Low-income households will bear the brunt of ‘slash and burn’ cuts by the Education Department, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has warned.

Speaking after a Sinn Féin delegation met with senior department officials , the Foyle MLA commented:

sandra duffy

sandra duffy

“A Sinn Féin delegation met with the Department of Education to challenge their recent budget decisions.

“Children and families living on low incomes will be directly impacted by planned cuts to school uniform grants, the extended schools budget and the Sports Development Programme. That is completely unacceptable

She went on to say

“This is nothing more than a series of ill-thought out, vicious slash and burn cuts which are in the most part directed towards children and families living on low incomes.

“The Department should immediately reverse this course of action and employ appropriate budgeting standards and procedures in line with its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement, the Child Poverty Act and the Child Poverty Strategy.

“While we acknowledge that the Department is facing considerable financial pressures we cannot accept their rationale to target children from low-income families in this manner.”

Unionists must condemn sectarian hatemongers following McGuinness image on bonfire – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has called on unionist political leaders to condemn the ‘hatemongers’ who put a coffin bearing the image of Martin McGuinness on an East Belfast bonfire.????????????????????????????????????

“This display is a particularly sickening manifestation of the hate we have witnessed across the North over recent days, including some of the most vile sectarian and racist abuse,” the South Antrim MLA said.

“This is the action of hatemongers intent on indoctrinating bigotry and perpetuating sectarian divisions in our society. Their behaviour stands in stark contrast to the work that Martin McGuinness did to build reconciliation and reach out the hand of friendship.

“It is also grossly insulting to the McGuinness family which still mourns the loss of a much loved father, brother and grandfather.”

Calling on unionist leaders to condemn the display, he added:

“It is simply unacceptable that unionist political parties still refuse to condemn this kind of hate crime.

“Rather than supporting these so-called celebrations and, in some cases, posing for photos as they light the bonfires, it is long past time that political unionism showed some leadership and called for an immediate end to these sickening displays. I am directly challenging the leaders of all unionists parties to immediately disassociate themselves and their parties from this and other examples of sectarian hate crime.”

McCallion expresses condolences after death of child

Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has expressed her heartfelt sorrow and sincerest condolences to the family of the young child who was fatally injured in a road traffic accident in Derry this morning.

Elisha McCallion said:candle-burning-450x299

“This is a heart-breaking tragedy for the family of this young child who lost his life in a road traffic accident in Derry this morning. The whole community is in shock.

“I extend my heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the family as a public representative but more personally as the mother of young children myself. It is beyond comprehension how this family is feeling today but I have no doubt that the whole community will rally in support of them in every way possible.

“I have spoken to a number of neighbours who also have young children and it is a situation of total devastation for them to digest. Obviously counselling services will be made available to liaise with the immediate family but they also need to be available to those neighbours with small children who are also traumatised.

“I also wish to pay tribute to the emergency services who attended the scene of this tragic accident but sadly on this occasion were unable to save this child’s life.” CRÍOCH/END

Rights of Irish citizens must be protected – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the rights of Irish citizens must be protected in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Martina news

Martina Anderson said:

“The latest round of meetings in the Brexit negotiations will get underway today and will focus on the rights of citizens.

“It is essential at this stage of the negotiations includes protecting the rights of the people of Ireland, north and south.

“Today, the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group has made it clear that the rights of all EU citizens should be upheld and protected.

“That includes the 1.8 million people in the north who are entitled to EU citizenship because they are entitled to be Irish citizens through the Good Friday Agreement.

“We want to ensure that their rights as EU citizens are protected in these negotiations.

“The Tories want to trample over these rights by dragging us out of the EU against our will while at the same time joining up with the DUP to deny rights to large sections of our community.

“In order to protect the rights of the people of the north we need to ensure special designated status for the north within the EU and we will continue to build support for that across Europe.”

Mullan urges support in Derry for the BDS campaign

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan today urged support for the BDS campaign and the boycott of Israeli goods. 19420689_1481744315202119_2558256730074034732_n

The call came after attending a meeting alongside Elisha McCallion MP and Martina Anderson MEP with the co-founder of the Palestinian ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ campaign, Omar Barghouti during a visit to Derry, hosted by the Trade Union Friends of Palestine.

Following the meeting, Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said:

“We held a very positive and constructive meeting with BDS co-founder, Omar Barghouti as part of his engagements with a number of groups and Trade Unions across the North.

“We highlighted Sinn Féin’s continued support for the BDS campaign until a just and lasting peace is achieved and a Palestinian state is established.

“Sinn Féin totally supports the right for non-violent, grassroots, civil society campaigns for justice to exist.

“This cultural, academic and economic boycott of Israel is the most effective peaceful way of securing change, as happened with the South African Apartheid regime.

“In October 2016, Sinn Féin colleagues proposed and successfully passed a BDS motion on Derry City & Strabane District Council, achieving an Apartheid free zone. We must now ensure this motion is implemented in the most practical way possible.”

Críoch/Ends

McCallion meets New York State Comptroller to discuss investment

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has met with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to discuss attracting additional investment to the north west.

Elisha McCallion said: 5

“I met with New York State Comptroller Tom Di Napoli in Derry alongside Martina Anderson MEP to discuss his continuing support for attracting investment to the city.

“Tom Di Napoli has been a close ally of the north for many years through his friendship with the late Martin McGuinness and has already invested million of dollars in the north through the New York state pension fund.

“Together with Martin McGuinness, Tom DiNapoli has brought millions of dollars of investment to the North and helped the development of the peace process.

“During his visit to the city he met with Martin McGuinness’ sons, Emmet and Fiachra, and pledged to continue their father’s legacy.

“He also met with representatives of the business community and will be awarded an honorary doctorate at the Ulster University at Magee in recognition of his efforts to promote investment, peace and social justice.”

“I will continue to engage with Tom DiNapoli and his office in order to work towards attracting additional investment to Derry in the future.” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin table HIA compensation plan

Immediate steps towards establishing a compensation fund for the victims of historical institutional abuse can be taken under a plan proposed by Sinn Féin today, the party’s Northern Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.0h0a04981

Commenting on the proposed legal and financial framework, which would also seek contributions from various religious orders and the British Government, she said victims deserved clarity amid the ongoing political uncertainty.

Michelle O’Neill said: “Sinn Féin has always fully supported the victims and survivors of historic abuse.

“We welcomed the publication of the panel report from the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry recommending redress payments and we want to see those recommendations implemented as soon as possible.

“However, given the ongoing political uncertainty and the need to provide clarity to the victims of institutional abuse, I have today made a formal proposal to the leaders of the main parties.

“The proposal would see immediate steps to ringfence funds for a compensation fund and to seek contributions from the British Government and the religious orders responsible for running institutions where abuse took place.

“It would also see work beginning immediately to provide the legal and legislative framework to enable the redress panel and commissioner’s office to be established in statute.

“I believe this is the best way to give clarity to victims and to begin taking tangible measures aimed at addressing their concerns so I am looking forward to working with the other party leaders without delay.”

NOTES TO EDITOR:

The Sinn Féin proposal involves:

· The parties agreeing to commit an initial amount to the compensation fund for victims as an agreed political position to be put to the Head of the Civil Service and the Department of Finance;

· Agreeing to seek a significant contribution from the British Government on the basis that they were the responsible authority for a considerable period during which the abuse took place in these institutions.

· Agreeing to ask the Head of the Civil Service to instruct The Executive Office to prepare legislation to put the redress panel and commissioner’s office in statute.

· Agreeing to write jointly to religious orders and institutions to underline their financial and other responsibilities in relation to redress for victims; and finally,

· Agreeing to ask The Executive Office to provide a draft paper on implementation of the recommendations for discussion and agreement.

· Agree to ask TEO to urgently consider making Interim Payments and to formalise discussions with the Expert Panel on Redress.

Kelly welcomes launch of new JAM Card and app

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly “People with disabilities do not have the same opportunities and face barriers when studying, when looking for a job, when travelling, when purchasing goods and services or simply when accessing information that most of us do not have to face.

Key to breaking down barriers would be having access to public transport .It’s great that the new JAM Card and app will go some way in doing that.

The app designed by the NOW Group allows people with communication barriers such as learning disabilities/difficulties, autism, Asperger’s or a brain injury to alert front line public transport staff discreetly that the card-holder needs Just A Minute of patience and time when interacting with them.

Buncrana Road needs to be prioritised

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has called for the Buncrana Road to be prioritised
The local Transport spokesperson said ????????????????????????????????????

Transport N.I are considering bringing the mid-section of the Skeoge link road into a four lane carriageway or just a four lane upgrade.

A report was given to the most recent Environment and Regeneration committee meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council and while i welcome any new road infrastructure in our city and mind you we have been neglected in the North West for many long years it has to be put in the right prospective.

Firstly, the road between the Ballyarnett Roundabout and Glenabbey roundabout is not a priority at the moment.

Does it need a four lane carriageway? The answer is yes.

It needs a four lane carriageway but the main road infrastructure that should be the priority today for Transport N.I, is the Buncrana Road.

I would argue that this road needs to be a key priority.

It is the main road corridor into Donegal and would see the regeneration and development of that part of the city.

Transport N.I say that they want to upgrade the Buncrana road but don’t have the £60m to do the work.

If the money can be found for the upgrade of the Skeoge Link Road then I say to Transport NI and the Department of Infrastructure that a similar focus is put on looking at funding for the Buncrana Road.

We need to unlock the key in the regeneration in that area of the city in the next five to ten years.

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Road safety measures outside two busy Derry schools – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the news that road safety measures are to be installed outside two busy Derry primary schools.

New safety railings are to be installed outside St Johns Primary on Bligh’s Lane and new road safety markings are to be installed on the roadway outside Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir in the Brandywell.Patricia Logue new pic 22

She said “Anyone who is in and around Bligh’s Lane on any week day will tell you how busy it is particularly at peak times of the day. You have hundreds of children attending St Johns Primary, the adjacent St Cecilia’s College and the nursery school.

I met with the Principal to discuss the issue and see what could be done. It was apparent there needed to be a couple of additional safety measures in and around St Johns to prevent any accidents taking place there.Transport NI have now agreed to install new railings at the school and paint the road safety markings in the area.

I am also pleased to have received confirmation this week from Transport NI that new road safety markings are to installed outside Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir in the vicinity of Deanery Street/Donegal Place. I would like to thank Transport NI ,the school Principal and Community Restorative Justice(CRJ) who I have been working with for many months and had a number of onsite meetings to ensure there was a positive outcome.

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Irish Government must challenge Britain over fishing rights for Lough Foyle- Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Senator for Donegal Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Irish Government to get urgent clarification from the British Government over fishing rights for Lough Foyle.

Senator Mac Lochlainn made the call following confirmation that the British Government intends to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention that grants fishing rights to a number of countries including Ireland within the 12 mile coast around the United Kingdom as designated by the British Government.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said:dedleztxuae263l

“Last year, the British Secretary of State for the Six Counties, James Brokenshire asserted that ‘the whole of Lough Foyle is within the UK’. At the time, I received assurances that the Irish Government had challenged the British Government on this arrogant and provocative assertion when I raised the matter in the Seanad with Minister Michael Creed and the Government.

“However, ownership of Lough Foyle still remains unresolved. It is disputed territory.

“Following the announcement from the British Government that they intend to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, this issue of the ownership of Lough Foyle now comes to the fore again.

“The London Fisheries Convention grants fishing rights to a number of countries including Ireland within the 12 mile limit around the coast of the United Kingdom as designated by the British Government.

“The British Government have essentially declared their intent to claim full fishing rights within that limit or zone for their fleet.

“As it stands then, the British Government are declaring their intent to claim full fishing rights for Lough Foyle. This cannot and will not stand. I have called on our Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed to urgently challenge the British Government on this issue and to clarify the situation”.

Fleming condemns sectarian graffiti at site of proposed Housing development

Sinn Féin Group Leader on Derry&Strabane District Council, Councillor Paul Fleming has condemned graffiti sprayed on walls of a Newbuildings site only recently approved for construction of 81 new houses.

Councillor Fleming said:Paul-Fleming

“The appearance of this sectarian graffiti is to be condemned by all responsible public representatives. DCSDC has a very good community relations reputation and any incident of perceived or actual sectarian intimidation must be confronted and opposed in the strongest terms.

“I am calling on unionist representatives to publicly distance themselves from this action and to work with the rest of us to build a society where religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation is not a barrier to where any individual or family can live.

“Members of DCSDC approved planning permission for 81 new homes on the site of the old IAWS site. This approval was welcomed by all shades of political opinion on council. Approval was given on the basis of need for additional housing not to provide homes for a particular section of our community.

“Unionist representatives must make it clear that when completed these houses will be available to all irrespective of religion and free from intimidation.”

Loyalist flags at the Caw roundabout -Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said

“Claiming the right to celebrate any cultural tradition in our society should be totally conditional upon that being done with respect to the rights of others and without causing offence or giving disrespect.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

Cleary what is going on at the Caw roundabout and other areas of the Waterside is causing offence.

The demographics of the Waterside have changed a lot in the last number of years and for 11 months of the year there is little or no hassle but many see the putting up of flags as trying to mark out territory.

Given the enormous efforts and resources that we expend on attracting tourists and business people to our city, this display on one of main arterial routes sends out an entirely wrong and negative message to these visitors.

I would appeal for common sense to prevail.

Irish Citizens in the North looking to Dublin for recognition and representation – Elisha McCallion MP

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has said that Irish Citizens in the North are looking to Dublin for recognition and representation and is calling on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to bring forward legislation that would see the proposals of the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution implemented to provide speaking rights for MPs in relevant debates on the floor of the Dáil as previously proposed and voted for in the Dáil.DSC_0615

Ms McCallion said:

“Over the course of the election there was an intense debate on the future, on Brexit and on rights, equality and unity. Sinn Féin received an increased vote in every constituency and increased our number of MPs from 4 to 7.

“Nationalists have recognised that the future should be determined in Ireland and not from the benches of Westminster.

“There is an onus for the Oireachtas to become a truly national parliament including the voices from the North. That is why we put so much store on participating in the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee.

“Irish Citizens in the North look to Dublin for recognition and representation. They want their voices heard in our National Parliament.

“It is time to implement the proposals of the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution and provide for speaking rights for all the North’s MPs in relevant debates on the floor of the Dáil as previously proposed and voted for in the Dáil.”

Sinn Féin call for youth justice reform – Foyle MLA

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called for the radical improvement of youth justice provision following the publication of the Audit Office Report on Managing Children Who Offend.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

“The report raises a number of concerns around the increasing rate of youth reoffending and the ongoing evidence that custody is still not being used as a last resort,” he commented.

“Recommendations have already been made by the Youth Justice Review on addressing many of the issues highlighted in this report and they should now be fully implemented.

“Action must be taken to ensure proper programmes of early intervention and prevention are put in place to ensure young people do not become caught in a cycle of reoffending.

“It is also crucial that young people released from prison have access to appropriate support services before, during and after the transition from custody to community.

“Sinn Féin have always maintained that youth justice is a matter which requires ongoing prioritisation and reform. Much more needs to be done, and can be done, to address the underlying reasons for the offending behaviour of young people. The key is early intervention and prevention work, which requires a collaborative approach between the Department of Justice and other Departments such as Education and Health.

“Radical improvements are necessary. There is a need for a dedicated youth justice strategy to address youth offending and reoffending which will contribute to a safer and fairer society with less offending and fewer victims.”

Sinn Féin continuing to build support for special status – Carthy

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said Sinn Féin are continuing to build support for designated special status for the North within the EU.

The Sinn Féin MEP said:”The outcome of today’s vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg is disappointing. This amendment was not put forward by Sinn Féin.

“It is equally disappointing that both the DUP and Fine Gael MEPs voted against the democratically expressed will of the people of the north and Dáil Éireann.

“Sinn Féin is continuing to build support for the case for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.

“We have already ensured that the European Parliament is in agreement that the Good Friday Agreement should be protected in all its parts.

“Moreover, the European Council’s negotiation guidelines support the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement and recognise the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland and the need for flexible and imaginative solutions.

“We are engaging with hundreds of political representatives and officials from across Europe in order to gather further support for special status for the north within the EU and will continue to do so.” Ends/Críoch

DUP continue to fail to recognise Irish identity – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney has said that Paul Frew’s assertion that if you live in the north of Ireland you are British whether someone “likes it or not” is further evidence of DUP disrespect to Irish identity. _dsc8219

Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:

“The refusal of DUP MLA Paul Frew to acknowledge Irish identify is indicative of the DUP’s arrogance and disrespect.

“His insistence on that whether someone “likes it or not” if they live in the north of Ireland they are British is arrogant and insulting in the extreme.

“The Good Friday Agreement enshrines “parity of esteem and…just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos, and aspirations of both communities.”, alongside the ‘right to hold both British and Irish citizenship’.

“Paul Frew would do well to take note this and afford people the respect they deserve.”

Sinn Féin call for reversal of uniform cut – Mullan

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has branded a proposed £3 million reduction for school uniform grants as an attack on children and families from deprived communities.

The Foyle MLA commented:19420689_1481744315202119_2558256730074034732_n

“This proposed reduction is an attack on children and families from deprived communities and a further result of Tory austerity cuts.

“Since the Tories came into power we have seen over a billion cut from the North’s block grant.

“The DUP in their support for Theresa May’s Tory government has handed them a blank cheque for their cuts and a Tory Brexit.

“Sinn Féin have asked for urgent meetings with both the Education Authority and the Department and will be calling on them to reverse this cut immediately.”

Brexit may delay access to new medicines – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned that patients in the north may have to wait longer for vital new medicines as a result of Brexit.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“Currently all new medicines and drugs to enter the healthcare system are regulated and approved by the European Medicines Agency, which is based in London.

“There is considerable doubt however, about what will happen if Britain leaves the European Medicines Agency as a result of Brexit.

“One outcome could be that patients have to wait longer for access to new medicines because we would no longer be part of the EU under the Tory Brexit agenda.

“That would potentially put people’s health at risk.

“The best way to retain our membership of the European Medicines Agency is for the north to secure designated status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson condemns plans to expand illegal Israeli settlements

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned Israeli plans to continue with the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“Israel is continuing with the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land with plans to build 1,800 new houses in occupied East Jerusalem.

“Not only will this involve the building of new illegal settlements but it could also involve the demolition of existing Palestinian homes.

“These Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are being built on occupied territory.

“Israel’s action are depriving the Palestinian people of their most basic rights.

“The hypocrisy of Israel’s actions was recently highlighted when Israeli authorities seized solar panels from a Palestinian village which were donated by the Dutch government as they did not have the required permits yet at the same time illegal Israeli settlements are connected to the electricity grid.

“Israel cannot be allowed to continue to deny Palestinians their rights, Israeli aggression and illegal settlement construction must be brought to an end.” Ends/Críoch

New quad bike legislation welcome –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed new legislation that will see riders of quad bikes required to wear helmets.

She said:Sandra Duffy pic

“Any law that makes the road safer for both riders of quads and scramblers and members of the public is to be welcomed.

“Figures show that between 2006 and 2016, five people were killed with 71 injured while riding on a quad bike on a public road.

“The community in the greater Shantallow and Galliagh area knows only too well the dangers that quads can pose to both riders and members of the public when they are used outside of designated places established for their use.

“What we need now is to ensure that the current legislation is strengthened and a more effective enforcement strategy put in place to combat the off road use of quads.”

Ends

Political institutions can only operate on the basis of equality – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said today that the political institutions in the north must be built on equality._dsc8219

He said

” The DUP have not addressed the equality and rights issues, which caused the collapse of the political institutions.

“Nineteen years after the Good Friday Agreement and ten years on from St Andrew’s the DUP have blocked an Acht na Gaeilge, the Bill of Rights, marriage equality, respect, anti-sectarian measures and progress on legacy issues.

“The DUP’s anti-equality approach has been emboldened by their alliance with a Tory government, which has put its own survival first.

“The DUP opposes rights for Irish speakers, it opposes rights for ethnic minorities and for women.

“It opposes rights for gay and lesbian citizens even though there is a majority in the Assembly for marriage equality.

“The political institutions must be built on equality so that a rights based society can emerge.

“That is the only basis on which the institutions can operate.”

Brokenshire statement ‘further pandering to the DUP’ – O’Neill

Sinn Féin leader in the North Michelle O’Neill MLA said that James Brokenshire’s comments today in the British House of Commons were unhelpful and were further evidence of the Tory government pandering to the DUP.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“James Brokenshire comments today were most unhelpful.

“He is once again pandering to the DUP’s delaying and blocking of the rights-based issues which are the heart of the current difficulties.

“He has also quite crassly let the DUP off the hook on the issue of the Dark Money donation of over £400,000 which bought its support for Brexit.

“This latest evidence of a Tory side deal with the DUP comes on the heels of the DUP’s support for cuts to the wages of emergency and public sector workers and support for a Tory Brexit.” 0h0a04981

Duffy condemns shooting in Galliagh

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned a shooting in the Galliagh Park area of Derry last night.

She said:dsc_0638

“The shooting of a man last night was wrong and I condemn it.

“The people of Galliagh do not want these actions taking place on their streets.

“Whoever was behind this shooting wants to drag us back to the past. It will not happen.


”There can be no justification for such actions and I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it forward to the police.”

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Brokenshire statement ‘further pandering to the DUP’ – O’Neill

Sinn Féin leader in the North Michelle O’Neill MLA said that James Brokenshire’s comments today in the British House of Commons were unhelpful and were further evidence of the Tory government pandering to the DUP.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“James Brokenshire comments today were most unhelpful.

“He is once again pandering to the DUP’s delaying and blocking of the rights-based issues which are the heart of the current difficulties.

“He has also quite crassly let the DUP off the hook on the issue of the Dark Money donation of over £400,000 which bought its support for Brexit.

“This latest evidence of a Tory side deal with the DUP comes on the heels of the DUP’s support for cuts to the wages of emergency and public sector workers and support for a Tory Brexit.”

Hassan appeals for information following attack on man in Carnhill

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has appealed for anyone with information about an assault and robbery of a young man at a tunnel connecting Carnhill and Galliagh in the early hours of Friday morning to come forward.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

Councillor Hassan said “This must have been a very shocking experience for this young man and i hope he makes a full recovery.

Those who would carry out such actions do so without any care for those they may hurt in the process.

I would appeal for anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the police straight away.

Ends

Political institutions can only operate on the basis of equality – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said today that the political institutions in the north must be built on equality.ddfmmnwxkaeqs-i

He said

” The DUP have not addressed the equality and rights issues, which caused the collapse of the political institutions.

“Nineteen years after the Good Friday Agreement and ten years on from St Andrew’s the DUP have blocked an Acht na Gaeilge, the Bill of Rights, marriage equality, respect, anti-sectarian measures and progress on legacy issues.

“The DUP’s anti-equality approach has been emboldened by their alliance with a Tory government, which has put its own survival first.

“The DUP opposes rights for Irish speakers, it opposes rights for ethnic minorities and for women.

“It opposes rights for gay and lesbian citizens even though there is a majority in the Assembly for marriage equality.

“The political institutions must be built on equality so that a rights based society can emerge.

“That is the only basis on which the institutions can operate.”

Ongoing incident Glengalliagh Road

Commenting after part of the Glengalliagh Road has been sealed off tonight due to a suspect device Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

“Regardless if this device is viable or an elaborate hoax ,this should not be happening.

It’s senseless and serves no purpose except disrupting the lives of local people.
ddwqqynxkaaqyla

Anderson calls for action to prevent further deaths in the Mediterranean

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for international action to end the tragedies of refugee deaths in the Mediterranean.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“At today’s meeting of the Civil Liberties committee in Brussels we received a report on Frontex, the European border agency, about the current situation on refugees crossing the Mediterranean.

“The report said that from January to June this year, 2,005 men, women and children have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to flee conflict and persecution.

“This is not just a statistic; these are people and every single death is a tragedy.

“Instead of trying to keep people out the EU should be looking at keeping people safe.

“We need to provide a safe and legal avenue for those escaping war and persecution.

“It is shameful that so many people are dying in the Mediterranean and we need to see more action from the EU and the international community to end the growing humanitarian crisis and prevent further tragedies.” Ends/Críoch

Meeting held to resolve problems at Brooke Park 3G pitch -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for Rosemount Mickey Cooper has welcomed a meeting that took place today between Council officials, elected representatives and user groups of the Brooke Park 3G pitch which recently closed due to health and safety issues caused by football’s going over the exterior fence around the pitch:

Councillor Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

‘The meeting allowed user groups to air their concerns that a safety net was not installed above the pitch when it was initially developed which has seen a number of balls land on the adjacent road and also cause some damage to the roofs of nearby properties.

The council officers were able to reassure the groups that funding for a new net was being processed through council with a view to having it procured and installed as soon as possible and that all user groups would be accommodated with alternative provision whilst the procurement of the net was taking place. The user groups were also able to make their own suggestions to council which are now being explored by council officers.

Whilst the current situation is not one that anybody wanted, I am at least reassured that the funding is in place to resolve the situation. I will continue to liaise with groups and council officers to ensure the permanent solution of a new net will be processed as quickly as possible and that all groups are accommodated in the meantime to allow their activities and programmes to continue.’

Mullan welcomes Ed Sheeran move on ticket touts

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the decision by Ed Sheeran and Aiken Promotions to invalidate tickets bought for huge prices on secondary ticketing websites, therefore preventing ticket touting for his upcoming concerts in Ireland.

She said19420689_1481744315202119_2558256730074034732_n

“I am very happy to see Ed Sheeran and Aiken Promotions taking such proactive action tackling ticket touting, which would not have been necessary if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil had not blocked a bill by my party colleague Maurice Quinlivan TD on regulating ticket sales for entertainment events last month.

“Tickets for Ed Sheeran’s upcoming concerts must be accompanied by evidence of original purchase, and legitimate secondary sales can only take place on the designated resale partner website, which only allows resale at face value.

“This will allow real fans to buy tickets and will prevent touts and companies snatching up all the tickets and selling them on for extortionate prices.

“It is a shame that music artists have had to take action themselves.

The Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017 aimed to take the profit out of ticket resales and protect consumers from unfair market practices.

“The Bill came before the Dáil in May and the Irish government decided to kick it down the road for at least 9 months, helped along by support from Fianna Fáil.

“Although the decision by Ed Sheeran and Aiken Promotions in this case is very welcome and I commend them for taking such action, not every artist or sports team will do this, so the issue of ticket touting will persist until legislation is brought in at national level.”

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Assessment of wooden framed double glazing windows in Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank.-McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the Housing Executive’s commitment to carry out an assessment of wooden framed double glazing windows in Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “A number of residents in the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank estates have expressed concern at the deteriorating condition of their window frames.

Following discussions with senior Housing Executive personnel I have been given assurances that an assessment of windows will be carried out in the near future.

This is a welcome development and I will continue to engage with the Housing Executive in relation to the results of the planned assessment and the programmes of work which may be required to address the poor state of the window frames. Continue reading

‘Decision time for DUP on equality’ – McCartney

It is time for the DUP to accept rights and equality at the centre of government, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said.ddfmmnwxkaeqs-i

Speaking from the Stormont negotiations, he commented: “We are disappointed that today’s Assembly sitting was postponed. This was at the request of the DUP.

“The DUP have not yet agreed to Acht na Gaeilge, the Bill of Rights, marriage equality, anti-sectarian measures and legacy issues.

“There was sufficient time for these matters to be agreed.

“All of these issues were identified by Martin McGuinness in his letter of resignation in January.

“The British Government must accept its responsibility for the failure to reach agreement to date. Its alliance with the DUP has deepened DUP intransigence and arrogance and emboldened its anti-rights, anti-equality agenda.

“That isn’t acceptable or sustainable.

“Sinn Féin wants to see the institutions restored but that must be on a credible and sustainable basis, with equality and respect at their core and commanding public confidence.

“It is make your mind up time for the DUP.”

Anderson condemns Israeli bombing of Gaza

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned the latest Israeli bombing of Gaza and called for international action to support the people of Palestine. 

Martina Anderson said:gaza-bomb 
 
“This latest Israeli bombing of densely populated areas of Gaza is reckless and must be condemned. 
 
“The people of Gaza have had to endure years of oppression, recently they had their electricity supply cut by Israel to under four hours per day.
 
“The situation is dire, hospitals, schools and other vital services are on the verge of collapse. People are trying their best to live normal lives in the most abnormal of contexts.
 
“If action is not taken soon, the already unimaginable suffering will get worse.
 
“There is support all over the world for ending this injustice and achieving a two state solution, what we need now is for that support to turn into action.” Ends/Críoch

McKnight welcomes return of popular £1 Summer initiative

Sinn Féin Councillor for the greater Shantallow and Culmore areas  Caoimhe McKnight has welcomed the news that Derry City and Strabane District Council are giving local young people an extra incentive to get out and active during the school holidays with the return of their popular £1 Summer initiative.

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This  incentive offers a range of activities including swimming, squash, table tennis, badminton, five a side football and basketball for just £1 per session for under-18s in the months of July and August.

She said “The summer holidays is always a very expensive time for parents with children off school and also trying to keep children occupied over a two month period.So this initiative by the Council is a welcome move.

It will also help encourage more children to get out of the house and away from TV and computer screens and take part in healthy exercise ,and that can only be a  good thing.

Public service workers first victims of DUP/Tory deal -McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  said today that the wages of public sector workers in Britain are the first victims of the DUP/Tory austerity deal.

The Foyle MLA said:_dsc8219

“On Wednesday night the DUP voted to continue to cap any rise of wages for emergency and public service workers in Britain to one per cent.

“This is effectively a cut in real terms as wages continue to fall behind inflation in the wake of the Tories disastrous Brexit agenda.

“The wages of public sector workers, including frontline staff in hospitals and schools are the first victims of the DUP/Tory deal.

“Sinn Féin said earlier this week that the price of the DUP-Tory deal is DUP support for continued Tory Austerity and cuts to public services and a blank cheque for a Tory Brexit.

“It’s time to end Tory austerity not to shore it up.”

McCallion urges support for Marriage Equality March

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called for everyone who supports marriage equality and equal rights for all to attend this Saturday’s Marriage Equality March in Belfast.

The Foyle  MP  said:dacdabtwaamkxxx-jpg-large

“Two years ago over 20,000 people attended a marriage equality march in Belfast.

“I am calling on everyone who believes in equality and rights for all to attend this Saturday’s march and make it the biggest ever.

“Sinn Féin members will be taking part in the march as we believe in equality, respect, recognition and rights for all citizens. Equality is at the core of everything we stand for.

“There can be no place for sectarianism, racism, homophobia, sexism, misogyny or any form of discrimination in our society.

“We are committed to seeing the extension of equal marriage across the north, it is a very simple and reasonable request to afford people their rights.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for the LGB and T communities and challenge prejudice wherever it arises.

“Anyone wishing to march with us are asked to assemble at 2pm at the Buoys in Writers Square, the march itself will start at 2.30pm from Writers Square.”

Tory plans for EU citizens will harm north’s economy – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Tory plans about the rights of EU citizens will harm the north’s economy. 

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

 

“Many parts of the economy in the north depend on workers from across the EU, particularly the agri-food, hospitality and health sectors. 

 

“In fact a recent report found that 91 per cent of contract labour demand at peak times is fulfilled by EU nationals in the hospitality industry. 

 

“The registration process proposed by the Tories as part of their scattergun approach to Brexit would restrict the free movement required for these workers and, as a result, have a negative impact on our economy. 

 

“The principle of free movement is key and should apply to all EU nationals across the island of Ireland. 

 

“All EU nationals, including those currently resident here and those who may come in the future, should have all current rights guaranteed post-Brexit. 

 

“Those rights should be enforced by the European Court of Justice and the way the best way to ensure this, and the rights of EU citizens, is for the north to secure designated special status within the EU. 

 

“Given the new axis between the DUP and the Tories at Westminster, the DUP now need to clarify if they will follow the lead of their Tory paymasters or act in the best interests of the north by protecting the rights of EU citizens.” Ends/Críoch

Farmers concerned about impact of Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said farmers in the north are greatly concerned about the impact of the Tory Brexit agenda.

Martina Anderson said: 

“Farmers in the north are greatly concerned about the impact of Brexit on their future and livelihoods.

“Despite the commitments on future agriculture funding from the British government and DUP as part of their Westminster axis, those concerns remain.

“Fears about the future of the border, access to EU markets, food safety standards and regulations, labelling of produce and other issues have not been allayed.

“Given the fact that previous agreements have still not been implemented in full, some farmers are also concerned about whether this deal will be implemented.

“The best way to allay the fears of our farming and agricultural communities is for the north to secure designated special status within the EU which would allow the industry to continue to grow and prosper.”

Outstanding issues must be agreed if institutions are to be restored – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD responding to this morning’s deal between the DUP and the Tory government said that, “if as they claim in today’s agreement, both the Tories and the DUP will adhere fully to the Good Friday Agreement and its successors, they need to deliver on this for the political institutions can be restored”.

Gerry Adams added; “there is work to be done by the DUP and only limited time to do this.”

The Sinn Féin leader said: gerry-adams

“The price of today’s DUP-Tory deal is DUP support for continued Tory Austerity and cuts to public services.

“It provides a blank cheque for a Tory Brexit which threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

“The DUP have agreed to support the Tory Government on all motions of confidence; and on the Queen’s speech; the Budget; finance bills; money bills, supply and appropriation legislation and estimates and all legislation pertaining to British national security and Brexit.

“The Tory government has slashed more than £1 billion from the block grant over the last seven years.

“The allocation of additional funds could help to ease the enormous pressure on our public services. The devil is in the detail.

“Sinn Féin will continue to prioritise the establishment of a credible, sustainable Executive which deals with all the challenges facing our society, including the failure to implement previous agreements.

“Sinn Féin will vigorously pursue the rights of citizens currently being denied by the DUP and the British government.

“We are committed to equality. Sinn Féin will resolutely oppose any attempt to give preferential treatment to British forces, either in terms of legacy or the provision of public services.

“If as they claim in today’s agreement, both the Tories and the DUP will fully adhere fully to the Good Friday Agreement and its successors, they need to deliver on this for the political institutions can be restored.

“So there is work to be done by the DUP and only limited time to do this. As they return to Ireland to meet with Sinn Féin and the other parties, the DUP should be minded of the words of Edward Carson speaking in 1921 on the Tory intrigues that had led him on a course that would partition Ireland: ‘What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in that political game that was to get the Conservative party into power’.”

Trees to be cut back on busy Northland Road –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that Transport NI is to prioritise the trimming back of trees in an area along the Northland Road close to the AXA building.

 

Councillor Kelly said “I received a number of queries about overgrown trees along the main Northland Road close to the AXA building.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

The area along the Northland Road, from the roundabout right up to the junction the trees are all overgrown and out over the footpath.

 

Pedestrians are being forced to walk right on edge of the kerb or step out onto the road to avoid them.

 

I am glad to receive the news from Transport NI the work is programmed, with a view to making it priority.

 

Hopefully this will improve road safety in this busy area of the city.

Ends

Mullan hails success of Cancer Research Relay for Life event held in Derry

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has congratulated all those involved in the Cancer Research Relay for Life at the weekend in St Columb’s Park.ddk4ai-waae5qpr

Karen Mullan said “I would like to congratulate Sharon Arbuckle, the organising committee and everyone who took part in Cancer Research Relay for Life at the weekend in St Columb’s Park.

This undoubtedly is one of the best events and fundraisers organised in the City, raising already over £115,000.

The massive amount raised by the teams who took part will go towards research into beating cancer.

As a volunteer with the Pink Ladies I have seen at firsthand how generous and supportive people in this City are, and was overwhelmed by the many people who took part and raised this enormous amount.

The event had a carnival atmosphere with a range of local talent taking part keeping spirits high.

Ends

Closure of Brooke Park 3G pitch –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Rosemount area Mickey Cooper has had discussions with Derry City and Strabane District Council in relation to the problems with usage of the new 3G pitch at Brooke Park.

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said  “I have spoken to the Council following concerns after the news that the 3G pitch at Brooke Park is to be  closed for a temporary period. They have told me that this is due to ongoing health and safety issues with balls going over the fence of the 3G pitch area. Council is currently in the process of commissioning works to resolve this with a view to having the facility reopened as soon as possible.

 

I have asked council to give user groups a clear timetable of how long the anticipated work to resolve the issues is expected to take so that groups can plan their training programmes and other activities ahead.

 

Council officials have told me that they are   making every effort to accommodate user groups and are currently looking at a range of alternative locations for all clubs and sports organisations over the coming days.

New medical school for the Magee campus – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed a presentation made to Derry City and Strabane District Council by Professors Paddy Nixon and Hugh McKenna from the University of Ulster (UU) regarding the proposed new medical school for the Magee campus. He particularly welcomed the fact that the plans for the opening of the new school by September 2019 remains on course and said it would be one of the first building blocks in the wider development of the campus which Sinn Féin had been aggressively lobbying for over many years:

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

“I was delighted to offer the party’s continued support for the expansion of the campus and welcomed the fact that the University of Ulster has already committed £2 million pounds of funding to develop the medical school in the coming years. I also recognised that continued expansion was dependent on central government support and reassured them that Sinn Féin would continue to lobby our government and statutory  partners to ensure this would be the case.

 

In particular we welcomed the fact that the school of nursing was recently ranked in the top 40 nursing campuses in the world .And expressed hope that the additional niche subjects offered by the new medical school would further enhance the reputation of the campus in offering high quality teaching in subjects which are not offered elsewhere.

 

I also welcomed the UU’s plans to develop a wide range of niche faculties in subjects as diverse as data analytics, Irish Studies, precision medicine and Intelligence Based systems which will provide the Magee campus with a unique academic offer and opportunity to brand itself to a worldwide audience.

These proposals bode well for the future of the campus and we look forward to offering our continued support to make sure that the Magee campus is fit for purpose and an economic driver for the city in the coming years”

 

Ends

Elisha McCallion MP speech Derry Volunteers commemoration 2017

A chairde,

 

Is onóir mór agam a bheith anseo inniú

 

It is an honour and a privilege to address this commemoration here today to remember republicans from every generation who gave their lives for Irish freedom. ddlej3oxuaek1jz

 

In particular I’d like to welcome the families of our fallen comrades here today as we remember with pride the huge contribution they made to our struggle.

 

You have played a key role, together with those who lie in this cemetery, in taking republicanism forward.

 

As we look across this cemetery we see the flags above the graves of so many Irish republicans who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

In every generation, men and women from this city, young and old have stepped forward to work for the reunification of our country and give leadership to our community.

 

They did so at times of great danger and at great personal risk but they did so without thought for themselves.

 

Their dedication, courage and sacrifice is an inspiration to us all and lives on in their legacy.

 

Republicans in the city have been on a long journey – a hard road. We have travelled a long way on that road and we have lost a great many friends and comrades on that journey and we remember them all with pride here today.

 

We remain on that journey today but we still have a distance to go before we reach our destination and realise the society –  the Republic –  for which our brave friends and comrades died.

 

We carry their memory and their inspiration with us each and every step of the way as they continue to guide us.

 

In particular this year we remember our great friend, comrade and leader, Martin McGuinness, who passed away in March.

 

Martin remains an inspiration, not just to each of us here today, but to people in struggle across the world and he will rightly be remembered as a Colussus in the fight for freedom, justice and equality.

 

The huge crowds that attended his funeral reflect the high regard in which he is held, not just by republicans, but by everyone in this city and further afield.

 

And while he is not with us here today, his memory and legacy will be with us always, guiding us and shaping our actions in the future as we complete his vision of a new, united, reconciled and free Ireland.

 

He led the growth and development of republican in this city, guided by the legacy of his friends and comrades we commemorate here today, to the point where this is now recognised as a republican city.

 

That legacy, combined with your energy, was with us at the Assembly elections earlier this year when Sinn Féin became the largest party in this city for the first time and it was with us just weeks ago in the Westminster elections when I was honoured and proud to have been elected as the first Sinn Féin MP in this city for a century and the first woman ever to hold the post.

 

That growth would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and efforts of those republicans we remember here today.

 

But despite our growth and strength, we continue to face challenges. And just as republicans from previous generations never shirked in the face of danger or overwhelming odds, we will meet those challenges head on.

 

There is no doubt of the challenge posed by Brexit and the prospect of a Tory/DUP axis at Westminster, as well as the challenge of delivering political institutions that deliver good government for everyone on the basis of equality, integrity and respect.

 

But we are up for that challenge. And just like the volunteers we remember here today, we will not stint in our efforts.

 

We will continue to oppose austerity, to oppose the Tory Brexit agenda, to oppose borders on this island and to work tirelessly for Irish unity.

 

In that task, I and my colleagues continue to draw inspiration from the commitment of those republicans we commemorate here today. In every meeting, in every engagement, whether in Belfast, London, Dublin or Brussels, their memory is with us as we work to deliver the Ireland they died for and the Ireland our people deserve.

 

Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

£1m funding cut counter to health transformation agenda -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has raised concerns over the decision taken by the Department of Health to cut £1m to funding for training specialist nurses.

He  said:_dsc8219

“The cut to training is counter to the transformation agenda set forth by the Professor Bengoa’s Expert Panel report and my Sinn Féin colleague, former Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill.

“Everyone recognises the clear need to increase the capacity of HSC staff to meet ever-growing demands placed on the health service. Cutting resources for specialist training for nurses goes against this.

“I have particular concerns that the commitments made in Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together plan, namely the allocation of a District Nurse and Health Visitors to every GP practice is being abandoned by the Department of Health. This undermines efforts to deliver multi-disciplinary teams in primary care at a time when GPs are under increasing pressure.

“Furthermore it seems that a central pillar of the transformation process prioritised by Minister O’Neill, which is to involve those who deliver and use HSC services in designing transformation, has been ignored with a decision being made without proper engagement from the department.

“I would encourage the Department of Health to engage meaningfully with nurse and other representative bodies to explore the potential implications before making such a decision.”

Anderson launches Brexit newsletter

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today launched the first in a series of monthly newsletters designed  to keep people here updated on the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at the launch in Newry, Martina Anderson said: ddaralywsaa-3ii

“With the Brexit negotiations now formally underway it is vitally important that people know what is happening.

“These negotiations will shape our future, our relationships on this island and with Europe.

“The British government wanted these negotiations to be conducted in secret but I and my Sinn Féin colleagues worked hard to ensure there would be openness and transparency.

“As part of that commitment to transparency I will be publishing a monthly newsletter on what is happening in the negotiations and how its impact on Ireland.

“The first issue of that newsletter was launched today in Newry where I and my party colleagues Sinead Ennis, Mickey Brady and John O’Dowd gave an update on Brexit and our demand for designated special status for the north within the EU.

“The newsletter can be accessed at http://martinamep.eu/new-monthly-brexit-newsletter/  ” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin welcome Irish Government’s special status commitment – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed confirmation from the Irish Government that it is seeking special status for the North of Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.dsc_3461-copy

Ms. Anderson was speaking after Dublin’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the Irish Government is demanding ‘special status’ for the North after Brexit. The Minister also dismissed ‘language coming from London’ in recent days that technology alone  could bypass the need for border posts.

“It is a very welcome development that the Dublin Government is now coming onto the ground of special status as the only way to prevent a hard border in Ireland in the event of Brexit,” she said.

“Special status within the EU would also give effect to the democratic wishes of the majority in the North who voted to remain so Dublin should join us in making that case.

“Sinn Féin has been lobbying every EU member state on the need for special status and there is a great deal of empathy with our position. if the Dublin Government is now also coming on board it will greatly strengthen our case, particularly in the face of Britain’s increasingly chaotic Brexit agenda.”

Viable explosive device find very worrying –Duffy

Commenting on the news that a suspect device found at Cornshell Fields last night has turned out to be a viable explosive devicedsc_0638

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said

“The actions of those involved in leaving this device are to be “condemned outright”.

We are now into the bright summer nights and Cornshell Fields is an area with a very high young population with a lot of children out playing in the street. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a child had lifted this device and it had exploded.

She went on to say

There is no logic to this act and those behind it need to realise there is no support for this type of action in our city.

Ends

Mullan condemns Marlborough /Oakfield car thefts

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA  Karen Mullan has called on local residents to be vigilant after a number of car thefts and attempted break ins ,  in  the Marlborough and Oakfield areas of the city.
Karen Mullan said:19420689_1481744315202119_2558256730074034732_n
“I am aware of a number of incidents of car crime and attempted burglaries in the Oakfield and Marlborough areas in recent weeks and would appeal to residents to be extra vigilant following more incidents this week.
“I have been contacted by a number of local residents and community workers who are concerned at the problem.
“I have also met with local Neighbourhood Watch representatives in the area who appealed for vigilance.
“I would advise residents to ensure that their doors and windows are closed and locked at night and when people are out during the day. I would also advise people to ensure they are not leaving valuables in cars, as this seems to be a key target for thieves.
“There is no place for this type of behaviour in our society and I would call on anyone with information on these incidents to bring it forward to the PSNI.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS

Irish Government must open passport facility in the North –Kelly

Commenting on figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs to thejournal.ie today that there are currently 65,916 passport applications awaiting processing, Councillor Colly Kelly has reiterated his call for the Irish Government to invest to meet the rising demand for Irish passports.And for a passport office to be opened  in the North.

Councillor Colly Kelly said;

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

“Today’s figures are startling but not entirely surprising when we consider the detrimental impact Brexit is having on Ireland and Irish people who wish to reaffirm and retain their Irish and EU citizenship.

“The figures released to thejournal.ie show yet again, the upward trend in passport applications, which Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile and others have been flagging to the Irish Government since the vote on Brexit took place last June.

“There is no question that Passport Office staff have been working diligently, under unprecedented demand and pressures since the Brexit vote and our sincerest thanks goes to them. Our constituency offices in Derry have been very busy over recent weeks dealing with passport queries.

“What the Irish Government can no longer deny however is the ever increasing demand being placed on staff within the Passport Office as a result of this huge increase in applications. The Government must urgently review their resourcing of this office in order to support staff and meet the identifiable need that will continue to rise.

“Given the fact that over ten thousand of the current applications awaiting processing are coming from the North, it makes absolute sense for the Minister to look at my long-standing appeal to his predecessor, that his Department open a dedicated Passport Office facility in the North that can meet the demand there as well as act as a further support for the applications coming from the rest of Ireland and Britain.  I have been constant in calling for an office to be opened up here in Derry.

“Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile will be seeking a meeting with Minister Coveney to discuss this matter as soon as possible, as well raising it with wider Government on the floor of the Seanad once again.”

Logue welcomes news on Lone Moor Road safety measures

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue commenting on the news that Conor Loughrey, TransportNI’s Western Divisional Roads Manager told  a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee this week that the implementation of traffic calming on the Lone Moor Road later this year will improve road safety and motoring in the Bogside, Brandywell.

Councillor Patricia Logue saidPatricia Logue new pic 22

“Last year I welcomed the news that the section of Lone Moor Road in the vicinity of the Showgrounds area had been deemed suitable for traffic calming measures.

“Lone Moor Road was assessed for traffic calming during 2016 and as a result was placed at number one in Transport NI priority list.


“It good news that Transport NI have now  said that the work will be carried out before the end of this year.

Ends

Time running out for Stormont talks – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said today that the British government’s attempt to get the DUP to shore up Theresa May’s administration was making it increasingly difficult to get a resolution in the talks at Stormont.

Raymond McCartney  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“The British government set Thursday 29th June as a statutory deadline to the talks.

“Then they arrested any potential progress by calling an election in the self interest of the Tory Party.

“Since that initiative dramatically backfired they have engaged in negotiations for the past two weeks with the DUP.

“Media speculation suggests the conclusion to this will not be revealed until Thursday 29th June.

“Yesterday the two governments said that the actual deadline for the talks is Tuesday June 27th.

“The British government is content to go through the motions at Stormont but their main focus is elsewhere.

“Given the lack of progress in the Stormont Talks and the lack of knowledge about the impact of any Tory/DUP deal on our public services, on agreements and on the political institutions, Sinn Féin is concerned that time is running out.”

Suspect device found at Cornshell Fields

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy commenting on the news that a suspect device has been found at the entrance of Cornshell Fields.

She said “Once again we have disruption caused to a local community due to  a suspect device.Sandra Duffy Head shot 1

It’s very upsetting for local residents caught up with all this disruption.

Whoever is responsible for leaving this device needs to get off the backs of this community.

Ends

New Sinn Féin MLAs first day at Stormont:

 

dcws6dwxgaeofptNew Foyle MLA Karen Mullan with the  Sinn Féin leader in the North Michelle ONeill ,MLAs Emma Rogan , Catherine Kelly and  Colm Gildernew

Sec pic with Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Hundreds expected at annual Volunteers Sunday commemoration in Derry

This coming weekend hundreds of republicans in the city will gather for their annual Volunteers Sunday where they will remember their patriot dead.

Ahead of the Annual Volunteers Sunday commemoration a spokesperson for the Derry Republican Graves Association said

“Like every commemoration or event we do, we always try to ensure that as much planning goes into them as possible and that they are carried out with dignity and respect. Apart from Easter this weekend would be the next biggest event outside of our annual dinner and local commemorations.

I would encourage people to assemble at Central Drive Creggan at 2.30pm before proceeding to the City Cemetery.

The main speaker this year will be the new Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion.

The spokesperson went  on to explain some of the work the Derry Graves Association does

“The association would tend to the Republican plot in the city cemetery; it’s a massive undertaken on an annual basis .But it’s vital that it’s kept in pristine condition.

Our primary objective is to honour the memory of all those who have given their lives for Irish Freedom. Their selfless dedication and courage is an inspiration to us all and it’s very important that their memories are passed onto the next generation. We are  heartened to see the amount of young people who have been become involved in the past few years with the association and are working away in their areas.

Everyone’s rights must be respected and protected – McCallion MP

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has said that the rights of all those living here must be respected and protected if there is to be progress on establishing a new Executive.elisha-head-shot-1

Speaking prior to travelling to London today, the Sinn Féin MP commented:

“This week we seen three important events relating to the reestablishment of the Executive and the beginning of Brexit negotiations. On Monday talks in Stormont between the parties and the two governments resumed, the Brexit negotiations between the British government and the EU began in Brussels and the new Taoiseach met with the British Prime Minister in Downing Street.

“Amidst all of this Sinn Féin’s focus and priority remains the establishment of a credible and sustainable Executive delivering quality public services for all of society.  

“Sinn Féin is engaged and working for an agreement. We want to see an executive which can deliver first-class services on the basis of equality, respect and integrity up and running.

“Resolution is possible but implementation of previous agreements is pivotal if people are to have confidence in the institutions.

“The Stormont talks are taking place against the backdrop of the DUP-Tory Party negotiations and the Brexit talks, both of which have the potential to negatively impact on the process.

“Therefore we are going to need more than assurances from Arlene Foster and Theresa May that any deal between them won’t undermine the process of re-establishing the Assembly and Executive or the Good Friday Agreement.

“We want to see an Executive in place which is dealing with health, education, housing and the economy, delivering for all because that is what people want and are entitled to.

“But they are also entitled to see their individual and collective rights respected and protected. That includes language and marriage equality rights, as well as their rights as European citizens to remain within the EU structures.

“Therefore we need to see the detail of any deal considering it was the Tories who undermined the Executive in the first place by pandering to the DUP’s actions in government and slashing over £1 billion from the Block Grant.

“So there needs to be a change in attitude towards how government is conducted here. Sinn Féin is up for that but it remains to be seen if the DUP is ready to embrace a rights based system of government.

“There is also an obligation on the new Taoiseach and his government to step up to the plate to assert their role as co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is fundamentally wrong that Irish citizens in the north should be denied the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

International community must do more to help refugees – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the international community must take action to tackle the growing refugee crisis.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking today on World Refugee Day, Martina Anderson said:

“This year more than ever we need the international community to take real action to solve the growing refugee and humanitarian crisis.

“Every minute, 24 people are displaced by war, persecution and terror. The United Nations Agency for Refugees estimates that there are over 22 million refugees worldwide. There are a further 40 million people internally displaced in their own countries.

“Last year, over 75,000 unaccompanied or separated children sought asylum as refugees. This record of shame is not just statistics; they are people.

“We cannot stand idly by and just let this humanitarian crisis unfold before our eyes. The Irish people share a common history with those escaping conflict and hunger.

“Today, on World Refugee Day, I am calling on the Irish government and the governments of Europe to do more.

“They must safely relocate and resettle more refugees, end Direct Provision, and invest in sufficient housing and public services for everyone.

“The international community must also do more to stop the conflicts, and protect those who come desperately seeking shelter from persecution.” Ends/Críoch

Housing report demonstrates need for prioritising equality’ – Hassan

The latest evidence of persistent inequalities in housing are further proof of the need to enshrine equality within all areas of public policy, Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan  has said.

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The Derry Housing spokesperson was reacting to the Equality Commission’s latest assessment of inequalities and experiences of the housing system faced by people from different backgrounds.

He said:

“The report again demonstrates the persistent inequalities that exist in relation to housing and I very much welcome the work the Equality Commission has done on this important issue.

“The report details the longer waiting lists faced by Catholic applicants, attacks and the threat of attack on newcomer and LGBT communities, lack of accommodation for Travellers and substandard accommodation for migrant workers and those living with disabilities.

“All of that underscores the need for equality to be enshrined at every level of government and public policy. Housing accommodation – like all public spending – should be allocated on the basis of objective need.

“More should also be done to ringfence protection for the vulnerable groups identified in this report. That is a case which my party has been making for some time and it’s unfortunate that some of these key protections were removed by the then SDLP Minister in 2010.”

Rights must be respected and protected – O’Neill

The rights of citizens must be respected and protected if there is to be any deal to form a new Executive, Sinn Féin’s Northern Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

Speaking from the Stormont talks today, the Mid-Ulster MLA commented:dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“There are three important discussions taking place today – here in Stormont between the parties and the two governments, the Brexit talks in Europe and the Taoiseach meeting with the British Prime Minister later.

“Sinn Féin’s priority remains the establishment of a credible and sustainable Executive delivering quality public services for all citizens.

“We want to see an Executive in place which is dealing with health, education, housing, the economy and delivering for all citizens because that is what people are entitled to.

“They are also entitled to see their rights respected and protected. That includes language rights, marriage equality and their rights as European citizens.

“So there needs to be a step-change in how government is done here. Sinn Féin is up for that.

“There is also a particular onus on the new Taoiseach to step up and assert his government’s role as co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is fundamentally wrong that Irish citizens in the north should be denied the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island.”

Concern over repeated attack at former Thornhill College –Hassan

Speaking after another attack on the former Thornhill College school site on the Culmore Road last night

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan saidlg_tony_hassan_copy2

 

The former Thornhill College on the Culmore Road was the subject of yet another break-in last night by vandals who came prepared with equipment to pull off shutters and then go on a wrecking spree within the buildings.

 

This former school complex has been a magnet for anti-social activity and thieves over the past few months.

 

It has been subjected to numerous arson attempts and the latest attack last night saw materials piled together to prepare for a fire but by sheer good luck it either didn’t take hold or the culprits were disturbed.

 

There have been reports that youths are being dropped off in cars to congregate on this area, this behaviour and use of this redundant school complex is a huge concern for residents and the local community.

 

Sinn Féin would urge parents to know where their children are and advise them to stay away from this precarious site. These buildings and lands are in a very dangerous state and are not a playground or safe place to congregate.

Anderson to attend Brexit hearings in Brussels

Anderson to attend Brexit hearings in Brussels 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said a series of hearings on the impact of Brexit will take place in the European Parliament in Brussels this week.

Martina Anderson said:

“This week, as the formal Brexit

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

negotiations begin, a series of hearings will be taking place in the European Parliament to look at the impact of Brexit.

“There is widespread concern about the Tory Brexit agenda and the total lack of direction coming from the British government about its approach.

“The hearings will look at various implications of Brexit, including the constitutional challenges and implications, the impact on fisheries, culture and many other aspects of Brexit.

“They will be addressed by a range of experts and I and other members of the Sinn Féin European Parliament team will be in attendance to make sure the views of people in Ireland are heard.

“Given the disastrous impact Brexit will have on the island of Ireland, it is more important than ever now that the formal Brexit negotiation process has started that we secure designated special status for the North within the EU and that the Irish government joins in the efforts to secure that.”  Ends/Críoch

Derry rally for marriage equality -Kelly

inn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly speaking after Sinn Féin Youth held a rally in support of equal marriage being extended to the North of Ireland.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said19149412_1351236084983566_7789435055301525078_n

“I would like to thank Sinn Féin Youth for organising the event and everyone who showed their support for the rally on Saturday afternoon in Derry City centre.

Citizens living in Derry and across the North should have the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island, including marriage equality.

We need to see progressive politics here and equal marriage threatens no one.

Sinn Féin is committed to seeing it extended across the island and to opposing homophobia, sectarianism, sexism and all other forms of discrimination wherever they occur.

We want pluralist rights based society as set out in numerous agreements, not a return to the status quo.”

Ends

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