Attempts to solve Clarence Ave parking wows -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey cooper has welcomed a meeting between himself, representatives of the PSNI and residents of Clarence Avenue to discuss traffic and parking issues in the area.

 

He said the new arrangements now put in place should help residents to report traffic issues which have caused problems for them accessing their properties in the last few years:

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

‘I am pleased that the recent meeting which I organised and attended has seen new reporting mechanisms put in place which will allow local residents to report issues of double parking and other obstructions to the police in a much more effective manner.

 

The area has long been blighted by large volumes of parking by city centre workers and local students which has caused much frustration for residents.

 

The new system will hopefully alleviate these issues in the coming weeks and months.

 

I have already worked with the police and residents to initiate a similar scheme in the Aberfoyle area which has helped to ease some of the issues residents were experiencing and I am confident the same will apply in the Clarence Avenue area,

 

Ends

Marriage equality needs to be extended to North – McCallion

Elisha McCallion has said Sinn Féin is committed to seeing equal marriage extended across the island.dacdabtwaamkxxx-jpg-large

Speaking after attending a marriage equality demonstration wedding at Stormont the Foyle Westminster candidate said:

“It is two years after the historic marriage equality referendum in the south but LGBT citizens in the North are still being denied the opportunity to marry the person they love.

“Today’s demonstration shows once again that there is a growing demand across society to see marriage equality extended across the island.

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

“Sinn Fein will continue to fight for marriage equality and for equal rights for all citizens across the North.”

Tax credit changes and repugnant Rape clause latest attack on women -McCallion

Sinn Féins Elisha McCallion said 
From April this year, child tax credits are limited to the first two children in a family. That it will apply only to new claims makes it no less repugnant.
This decision will have the heaviest impact on low income families and will lead to an increase in child poverty, possibly malnourishment and health problems. It is one of the most short-sighted decisions that any government could contemplate.elisha-head-shot-1
Not satisfied with its onslaught on the disabled, the poor, single parents and young people through austerity policies and previous benefit cuts the Tory government of Theresa May is now targeting families with its two child tax credit cap.
As of April, women who have more than two children will be unable to claim tax credits for third or subsequent children. Not only could this be described as the crudest form of social engineering but the inclusion of an abhorrent rape clause is a repulsive attack on the individual civil and human right to privacy of women.
If a third or subsequent child is the result of rape the woman in order to qualify under the clause exemptions must admit to being raped and prove that the child is the result of that attack in order to receive the financial assistance (Tax credit) that she needs. This is totally unacceptable and Sinn Féin will take our demand that this repulsive proposal is rescinded directly to the British Department for Works and Pensions.
The child tax credit system was designed to ensure that families had a sufficient level of income to meet their needs. The overall cap on welfare benefits imposed as part of the Tory austerity programme, fundamentally distorts these safeguards and a person’s needs and their ability to provide for their family.
This two child tax credit limit is a further attack on the ability to meet family needs. It means that even if a family is assessed to require additional support to provide an acceptable level of living standard, if there are more than two children the additional support will be withheld.
As with 86% of the cuts and changes announced in the last budget this tax credit limit will impact more directly on women than on men – where is the equality in that? If elected your MP on June 8th I will champion the Sinn Féin principles of a rights based, equality based society and that most definitely means the rights of women to be treated as equal members of society in every aspect.

Irish government should demand designated status for the north within EU – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has the Irish government needs to demand designated special status for the north within the EU in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union affairs in Leinster House today alongside MEPs and TDs from across Ireland, Martina Anderson said:
“The British Government has ignored the electorate in the north who voted 56% to remain in the EU.
“We have no faith that Tories in London will in any way be negotiating to protect the interests of the people of this island, north or south.
“All of us on this island need to be working together from the other side of the negotiating table, as part of the EU 27,  to ensure our citizens north and south are protected from this disastrous Tory Brexit agenda.
“Sinn Féin has put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for designated special status for the north within the EU.
“The only ways to protect the best interests of all Irish citizens and prevent the negative impact of Brexit are achieving designated special status for the north within the EU and Irish unity.
“It’s time now for the Irish government to adopt the negotiating position, agreed by a majority in the Dáil and with a clear majority in the northern Assembly for Special Designated status for the north within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

O’Neill expresses condolences after Manchester bombing

Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O’Neill has condemned the Manchester attack and expressed sympathy with the families of those killed and injured.

Michelle O’Neill said: dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“The attack at the Manchester arena which has left 22 dead and injured so many others was horrific and I condemn it.

“I, like many others, watched with shock and horror as the events unfolded overnight and the scale of this terrible attack became known.

“For something like that to happen while young people are out enjoying themselves is unthinkable.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured, as well as the emergency services who attended the scene of this tragedy.

“Sinn Féin has cancelled all election campaigning for the day.”

‘Election will be a barometer on Irish Unity’ – Adams

The Westminster election on June 8th will be a barometer on demand for Irish reunification, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams told a public meeting in Derry last night.dsc_5013
Addressing a crowd of several hundred people in the Waterfoot Hotel, the Louth TD also paid an emotional tribute to Martin McGuinness and recounted how he had watched the Assembly election results unfold from his hospital bed.
He commented: “The doctors were around working with him and he was oblivious of them.
“He was watching, applauding and celebrating your successes – our success – the end of Unionism’s electoral majority and celebrating what was a victory for the progressive parties.
“So now folks we have to do it all again. This time without Martin.”
Urging the people of Foyle to back the party’s Foyle candidate Elisha McCallion, the Sinn Féin President said a strong vote was vital in the context of Brexit.
“If Brexit succeeds in dragging the North out of the European Union then you will see an Irish government actually reinforcing the border once again.
“So we have to send a message to London. We have to send a message to Dublin. And we have to send a message also to Brussels where we have the largest number of MEPs from Ireland in the EU Parliament and they are lobbying every day on Brexit.
“We also have to resume talks with the unionists and the others after this election.
“So your vote will send a very clear message to them also.
“It will also be seen in many ways as a barometer on Irish unity.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson meets Tamil representatives in Derry

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today met a delegation of Tamils in Derry to remember the 2009 massacre of Tamils by the Sri Lankan military.

Martina Anderson said:

“Between January and May 2009 the Sri Lankan military massacred tens of thousands of Tamil civilians in an outrageous war crime. 20170519_122817

“The UN estimates that at least 70,000 Tamils were killed when the Sri Lankan army carried out a brutal attack on an area it had designated a supposedly ‘safe zone’ in the north of the island.

“No one has every been held accountable for this war crime, which Sri Lankans commemorate every May 18 as Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day.

“Today  I met a group of Tamils who are visiting Derry to discuss the legacy of this war crime, which an international tribunal found was carried out with the complicity of the United States and Britain.

“The EU has granted a favourable trading agreement to Sri Lanka despite the human rights abuses against the Tamil people and we will continue to campaign against that in the European Parliament.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Tamil people in their campaign for justice and freedom.” Ends/Críoch

Gerry Adams TD to address public meeting in Derry

Gerry Adams TD to address public meeting in Derrygerry-adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD will address a public meeting on Monday 22 May at 7.30 in the Waterfoot Hotel.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Gerry Adams said:

In the March Assembly election Sinn Féin received our biggest vote ever across the North – 224,245 votes.

“We also achieved our best ever result here In this constituency of Foyle – 16,350 votes with Elisha McCallion topping the poll and Raymond McCartney also comfortably elected.. That was a dramatic and significant accomplishment.

“This election was called to serve narrow right wing English Tory interests. Irish interests – of any kind – unionist or nationalist are of no concern to Theresa May. Her only interest is Brexit. Her only interest is British or English national interests. These are the interests which are being supported and promoted by the DUP and the UUP.

“We know from talking to business leaders, trade unions, farmers and community groups that they are all concerned by Brexit.

“So, this election is an opportunity to put forward Sinn Féin’s alternative to the position of the Democratic Unionist and Ulster Unionist Parties who are ignoring the majority vote of the people of the North in last June’s referendum – their people – our people.

“June’s election provides an opportunity to take our republican vision; our message of hope in the future, of unity, reconciliation and peace out to the electorate. To raise again the right of citizens to equality and parity of esteem and to fundamental human rights.

“Brexit threatens the prosperity of Derry, the Northwest and the entire border region. Foyle is a border constituency. A constituency that relies on the free movement of business, goods and people.

“We believe that the interests of citizens on this island requires that the North be designated a special status within the EU. In this way there will be no EU frontier on the island.

“The outcome of this election in the North will be closely monitored. It will send a clear message to Brussels and London. It will shape the talks to re-establish the Executive. It will be seen as another measure of support for unity.

“There is only a few short weeks left to voting. We have a lot to do in that time. On June 8th I believe we can make history in Foyle and across the North.

“If we replicate the effort in the Assembly election we can make history in Foyle by not only electing the first Sinn Féin MP for Foyle but the first woman MP for Foyle. So, on June 8th, reassert the message from the Assembly election to the DUP and its Tory masters in London – there will be no return to the status quo, and we will not accept the reimposition of a border – hard or soft in Ireland.”

Anderson welcomes introduction of plain packaging

Sinn Féin MEP has welcomed the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products.
Martina Anderson said:

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products from today is a welcome development.
“It means that advertising and branding on cigarettes will be banned from today in a bid to deter people from taking up smoking.
“This is a result of the Tobacco Products Directive which I spearheaded in the European Parliament as the lead MEP on the report.
“We have far too many deaths from smoking and research has shown that plain packaging will help prevent young people taking up this deadly habit and ultimately save lives.
“This legislation, which comes into effect today, shows the importance of the EU and the impact we can have at the European Parliament.” Ends/Críoch

Eastwood supporting Foster and courting unionist support – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said it’s remarkable that less than 24 hours after expressing his concern at a rise in postal and proxy votes from nationalist areas, Colum Eastwood is now appealing for unionist votes.

The Foyle Assembly member was speaking after the SDLP leader publicly urged unionists to support his party in the Westminster election on June 8th.dsc_6528

He commented: “I find it remarkable that the leader of the SDLP is now making this call just a day after he supported Arlene Foster in her concern about the rise in postal and proxy votes at the Assembly election.

“Let’s be clear;  Postal and proxy votes are entirely legitimate and all parties – including the SDLP and DUP – encourage voters to apply for them if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.

“So the source of the SDLP’s concern here isn’t the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote by postal or proxy. It is the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote Sinn Féin which is worrying them.

“What I am concerned about is the fact that 60,000 people were unfairly and undemocratically removed from the electoral register last year and almost 4,000 people were turned away from the polls in March as a result.

“That is a scandalous disenfranchisement of the electorate. Is Colum Eastwood also going to express his concern about that? Or is he quite happy to see nationalist voters disenfranchised while he courts unionist support?” Ends/Críoch

Public want institutions with equality and respect at their core – McCallion

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion said the DUP are in denial over the fact they caused the crisis in the political institutions through their involvement in the RHI scandal and their refusal to treat citizens with equality and respect.

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion with North Belfast Westminster candidate John Finucane

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion with North Belfast Westminster candidate John Finucane

The Foyle  Westminster candidate said:

“Arlene Foster and the DUP are clearly in denial about the damage done to public confidence in the political institutions by the RHI debacle and other financial scandals linked to the DUP and their arrogance and disrespect towards whole sections of our community.

“In the last election the public came out and voted for political institutions with equality, respect and integrity at their core.

“The public want the institutions to work. Sinn Féin want the political institutions to work but they can only do so if they deliver for all our citizens.

“As Martin McGuinness made clear when he tendered his resignation anyone who believes that the institutions can be restored without equality, integrity and respect at their core are living in a fool’s paradise.

“What we need to see is the implementation of previous agreements, an end to the discrimination and disrespect to sections of our community.

“There also needs to be an end to the financial scandals like Red Sky, Nama and RHI.

“All of this could have been done very quickly during the negotiations but the DUP backed by the Tories continued to set its face against equality and respect for all and continued to renege on commitments on legacy.

“Sinn Féin will return to negotiations after the Westminster elections but Arlene Foster knows that the political institutions can only secure public confidence on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.”

DUP have questions to answer over Brexit ‘dark money’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the DUP need to answer questions over the Brexit ‘dark money’ scandal and other financial matters.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

He  said:

“In the lead up to the Brexit referendum the DUP leadership were well aware of the disaster Brexit would be for our economy, our people, our public services and the Good Friday and other agreements.

“Yet they signed up to the leave campaign and accepted a donation of £425,622 from a previously unheard of shadowy group the Constitutional Research Council.

“This information was dragged out of the DUP on the back of a series of refusals to answer where the money came from, including whether it came from people associated with Saudi intelligence in contravention of the donation rules.

“This is the same approach the DUP has adopted to other financial scandals such as Red Sky, NAMA and RHI.

“The DUP clearly has questions to answer on these scandals in order to demonstrate it is capable of behaving with integrity in government and treating people with equality and respect.

“But instead the DUP is engaging in distractions and avoiding the difficult questions.

“While the DUP continue to avoid questions, the public now has an opportunity to give them an answer.

Revenue border control proposals would be disastrous for business – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit would create huge problems for businesses across Ireland.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“Proposals put forward by the Irish government’s Revenue Commissioner on Brexit and all-Ireland freight haulage highlight the disastrous impact it would have on the industry and the wider economy.

“The idea that eight per cent of freight crossing the border would have to be subject to checks shows the delays – and costs, that hauliers would face.

“3.2 million freight vehicles cross the border each year and stopping and checking eight per cent of those vehicles would result in a loss of up to 117 business hours a day for the sector.

“It costs one pound per minute to operate these lorries so the cost of these delays would add increased pressure to many businesses.

“Losses and delays of that level would be a disaster for the economy as the cost of transporting goods would increase which in turn would lead to higher costs for consumers.

“This is an indication of the hugely negative impact of Brexit on one sector and many other industries and sectors would face the same situation.

“Sinn Féin have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for the north to have designated special status within the EU and that provides the best outcome to hauliers and other industries.”

DUP and SDLP demonising voters – McCartney

The DUP and SDLP should focus their concerns on the thousands of voters denied their democratic right to vote rather than demonising those who applied for postal and proxy votes, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

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“I’m surprised that Arlene Foster and Colum Eastwood have today expressed concern over the rise in the numbers of people from nationalist areas applying for postal and proxy votes at the last election,” he commented.

“Any citizen is perfectly entitled to apply for a postal and proxy vote if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.

“That is their right in any democracy and I would have thought that people exercising that right would be welcomed by political parties. Instead we see both the DUP and the SDLP today raising ‘concerns’ as if these voters have done something wrong.

“They haven’t done anything wrong as has been confirmed by the Electoral Office.

“What is wrong is the fact that 60,000 people were undemocratically and unfairly removed from the electoral register last year. And the fact that almost 3,500 people were turned away from the polling station when they turned up to vote in the Assembly election.

“Perhaps that is where the DUP and the SDLP should be focusing their concerns rather that demonising the electorate for exercising their democratic entitlement.”

Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the EU must ensure it is protected in all its parts. Martina news

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Martina Anderson said:

“The European Council Guidelines on Brexit gave support to the Good Friday Agreement ‘in all its parts’.

“This is a commitment by the EU to not allow for any hardening of the border between the north and the south of Ireland.

“As Irish republicans we do not want to see any border on the island of Ireland and we have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit which would see the north securing designated special status within the EU.

“The guidelines are also a commitment not to allow Irish citizens to be dragged out of the EU against our will.

“Now that we have the guidelines we should be putting some flesh on them to ensure they fully uphold the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is clear that Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the EU need to ensure it is protected. I have raised this directly with the President of the EU Commission, Jean Claude Juncker; President of the Council of Europe, Donald Tusk; and the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, in the last 24 hours.

“There should be no weakening of these commitments in the Negotiating Directives to be adopted on 22nd May.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion expresses condolences to Green and Durkan Family.

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has expressed her condolences to Jackie and Mark Durkan and the extended Green family on the death of Jackie’s sister Pauline.candle-burning-450x299

 

Elisha McCallion said:

“I wish to express my sincerre condolences to Jackie and Mark on the death of Jackie’s sister Pauline. And to the Green family, especially Christy and Angela and to all Pauline’s nephews and nieces and extended family.

“My thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time.”

Revenue border control proposals would be disastrous for business – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit would create huge problems for businesses across Ireland. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Proposals put forward by the Irish government’s Revenue Commissioner on Brexit and all-Ireland freight haulage highlight the disastrous impact it would have on the industry and the wider economy.

“The idea that eight per cent of freight crossing the border would have to be subject to checks shows the delays – and costs, that hauliers would face.

“3.2 million freight vehicles cross the border each year and stopping and checking eight per cent of those vehicles would result in a loss of up to 117 business hours a day for the sector.

“It costs one pound per minute to operate these lorries so the cost of these delays would add increased pressure to many businesses.

“Losses and delays of that level would be a disaster for the economy as the cost of transporting goods would increase which in turn would lead to higher costs for consumers.

“This is an indication of the hugely negative impact of Brexit on one sector and many other industries and sectors would face the same situation.

“Sinn Féin have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for the north to have designated special status within the EU and that provides the best outcome to hauliers and other industries.” Ends/Críoch

No place for sexism – O’Neill

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill has said there can be no place for sexism or any form of discrimination in public life.

Michelle O’Neill said: dsc_5535

“As political leaders we have a duty and a responsibility to lead by example.

“There is a clear need for more women in public life and there is an onus on women in political leadership to empower women to encourage greater participation in public life.

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

“There is no right or wrong way to look and women are in positions of leadership because we belong, representing everyone equally.”

Sinn Féin directly engaging with EU leaders on Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Sinn Féin leaders are directly engaging with EU leaders on the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Today, Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald began a two-day visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to engage directly with EU leaders on Brexit.

“These meetings are part of Sinn Féin’s diplomatic offensive to build support for the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU.

“They will meet with Roberto Gualtieri and Gianna Pittella from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament to outline our opposition to the Tory Brexit agenda and the border.

“They, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will also meet with other MEPs from our own GUE/NGL group to discuss the impact Brexit would have on our economy, our peace process as well as our credible alternative to the Tory Brexit agenda.

“We value the support we have from across Europe and the Sinn Féin leadership team will continue with our meetings in Strasbourg tomorrow.

“We will work to build support for our case for designated special status so that the democratic will of the majority of people in the north to live in a social and more democratic Europe can be realised.” Ends/Críoch

Concerns over not recieving Polling Cards -McCallion


Elisha McCallion  said:5

“Over the weekend we have received a number of concerns about this, with people fearful if they didn’t receive a poll card or have lost it, they would be denied their right to vote.

“I would like to reassure people that these cards are for information purposes only and for speeding up the process of identification at polling stations, you do not need a polling card to vote.

“People without cards should attend their polling stations with proof of their identity where they will be able to cast their vote.

“But anyone who is concerned that they may not be on the electoral register should contact the Electoral office on Queen Street Derry before the Monday 22nd May deadline.

Sinn Féin leadership team to hold key meetings in Strasbourg – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a series of meetings with senior EU figures on Brexit. 

Martina Anderson said; Martina news

“Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a two-day visit to the European Parliament, during which they will meet with senior figures to discuss Brexit. 

“This visit by the Sinn Féin leadership is part of our ongoing diplomatic offensive to build support for our case for designated status for the north within the EU.

“During the visit they, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will hold a series of meetings with members of the European Parliament’s steering group on Brexit, including the Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.

“They will also meet with a number of the presidents of the main political groupings in the Parliament.

“Our meetings will also include an engagement with Agriculture  Commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the impact of the Tories’ plans to take the north out of the EU against our will.

“The Sinn Féin leadership team will also meet with Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly to reiterate the need for the Irish government to stand up for the interests of all Irish citizens, including those living in the North, and to make securing designated special status within the EU its negotiation position.

“We value the ongoing support we have received from Europe in the face of the reckless Brexit agenda of the British Tories and look forward to continuing support so that the will of the people of the north can be realised and that we see our future in a more social and democratically accountable EU.” Ends/Críoch

Appeal for information over Coshquin aggravated burglary

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has urged anyone with information in relation to an aggravated burglary at the home of an elderly man in the Maple Road area of Coshquin on Friday night to bring it forward to the PSNI.Eric new head shot 20144

He said “This must have been a very frightening experience for this man.

The reports that he was threatened with a screwdriver and the intruders demanded his money and  ripped  out the phone line is something no one should ever have to encounter in their lifetime.

It’s vitally important that those responsible are apprehended as soon as possible before this happens to anyone else. I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

Ends

Sinn Féin leadership team to hold key meetings in Strasbourg – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a series of meetings with senior EU figures on Brexit. dsc_4743

Martina Anderson said;

“Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a two-day visit to the European Parliament, during which they will meet with senior figures to discuss Brexit.

“This visit by the Sinn Féin leadership is part of our ongoing diplomatic offensive to build support for our case for designated status for the north within the EU.

“During the visit they, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will hold a series of meetings with members of the European Parliament’s steering group on Brexit, including the Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.

“They will also meet with a number of the presidents of the main political groupings in the Parliament.

“Our meetings will also include an engagement with Agriculture  Commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the impact of the Tories’ plans to take the north out of the EU against our will.

“The Sinn Féin leadership team will also meet with Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly to reiterate the need for the Irish government to stand up for the interests of all Irish citizens, including those living in the North, and to make securing designated special status within the EU its negotiation position.

“We value the ongoing support we have received from Europe in the face of the reckless Brexit agenda of the British Tories and look forward to continuing support so that the will of the people of the north can be realised and that we see our future in a more social and democratically accountable EU.”

McCallion calls on Foster to withdraw sexist and disparaging remarks

Sinn Fein MLA Elisha McCallion has called on DUP leader Arlene Foster to withdraw sexist and disparaging remarks made about Michelle O’Neill in a Sunday newspaper.dsc_5535

Elisha McCallion said:

“The sexist and disparaging remarks made by Arlene Foster in relation to Michelle O’Neill are nothing short of disgraceful.

“It is totally unacceptable in the 21st Century for a political leader to characterise another political leader based on the colour of their hair.

“The irony of talking about sexism and misogyny appears to be totally lost on Arlene Foster when she makes such remarks about others.

“For Arlene Foster to talk in such a disparaging manner about someone she supposedly wants to share power with once again highlights the DUP’s lack of acceptance of the principles of equality, integrity and respect.

“It is also clear that she is still in denial about her own disastrous failures as architect of the RHI scheme, its potential to take almost £500m out of public services and the damage RHI and other financial scandals associated with the DUP did to public confidence in the political institutions.

“Arlene Foster and the DUP need to immediately withdraw these offensive remarks which do a disservice to women in politics and to equality and respect.”

McCallion expresses condolences following death of Brendan Duddy

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has expressed his condolences following the death of Derry businessman, Brendan Duddy.

Elisha McCallion said: elishamccallion-sm

“It was with shock and sadness that I learned of the death of Brendan Duddy.

“Brendan was a key figure in the business life of Derry for decades and was widely respected across the city and beyond.

“He also played a significant role in the development of the peace process over many years  and his contribution, together with others, helped end the conflict and promoted reconciliation.

“His firm belief in dialogue also helped resolve parading issues and, through his membership of the Policing Board he helped shape the accountable policing we have today.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the Duddy family at this sad and difficult time.” Ends/Críoch

McGinley welcomes Council’s Health & Communities Service Delivery Plan.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed Council’s Health & Communities Service Delivery Plan.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “The work of the Health & Communities Committee covers a wide range of important areas including community development, health protection, leisure provision and community safety.

In the context of community development council is making significant progress towards the delivery of 6 new community buildings across the district including a brand new facility for the Ballymagroarty / Hazelbank area.

The committee also oversees the work of officers who have responsibility for ensuring the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe is of the highest quality.

The council’s leisure services section ensures we have top class facilities which can deliver a comprehensive list of programmes designed to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of all our citizens.

The Policing & Community Safety Partnership is also instrumental in assisting with the delivery of initiatives which make residents safer in their homes and on our streets.

The Health & Communities Committee has a key role in the delivery of the Service Plan and I would encourage all our citizens to be aware and make use of the services which are in place to benefit all our citizens.”

Repairs to busy Springtown Road underway – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the start of repairs to the roadway through the busy Springtown industrial estate after lobbying Transport NI on the issue.20170508_171556

Councillor Cooper said “Work at the Springtown Road is now underway after a number of delays in recent weeks.

Transports NI are carrying out repairs to Springtown Road in the section going through the Springtown Industrial Estate. Hopefully this will address a number of sections which have become worn down and will help local businesses as well as customers visiting area.

Derry needs new voice to oppose Brexit – McCallion

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said Derry needs a new voice to send a clear message to the Tories that people don’t want borders or Brexit. dsc_3456

Speaking after handing in her nomination papers this morning, Foyle candidate Elisha McCallion said:

“This election provides people with an opportunity to send a clear message to Theresa May and her DUP allies that the majority of people in the north voted against Brexit.

“We don’t want Brexit, we don’t want borders, we don’t want Tory cuts and we want Irish unity.

“Derry needs a new voice to send that message loud and clear to the Tories.

“Momentum has been building behind Sinn Féin in Derry and we want to build on that to ensure Derry’s voice is heard on Brexit and other issues.

“On June 8 you can make you voice heard by voting Sinn Féin.” Ends/Críoch

Other EU nations will be kingmakers, not Theresa May’ – O’Neill

The other EU nations are becoming increasingly concerned at the impact of Brexit on Ireland and are keen to explore Sinn Féin’s proposals for the North to remain within the EU, Michelle O’Neill has said.dsc_5535

The Sinn Féin Northern leader was speaking after she and party Brexit spokesperson John O’Dowd met with the Finnish ambassadors to Ireland and Britain today.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“We had a very positive discussion with the Finnish ambassadors and it is clear they and many other European nations are becoming increasingly concerned at the impact of Brexit on Ireland and particularly the potential for a border.

“Sinn Féin’s team of all-Ireland MEPs have been at the forefront of raising that awareness and we are seeing a real willingness to engage on our proposals for the North to be granted special status to remain within the EU.

“It is a realisable and credible alternative to Brexit and we have already secured support from the majority of parties in the Dáil for our proposals.

“Now that Article 50 has been triggered, we hope to do the same within the EU Parliament and I will be meeting the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier tomorrow when I will again be putting the case for Special Status.

“These engagements are crucial because it is the other European nations who will be kingmakers in the Brexit negotiations, not Theresa May or the Westminster government.”

DUP just don’t get it on equality, yet –McCallion

Elisha McCallion said the DUP just don’t get it when it comes to equality, respect and integrity.

The Foyle Sinn Féin MLA was speaking following comments from several DUP representatives who ruled out an Irish Language Act16806807_10155086259809345_8264599431095304090_n

Elisha McCallion  said:

“The DUP appear to take one step forward and then ten backwards. They are still in denial when it comes to a right-based society.

“The Irish language community is playing catch-up when it comes to having their cultural identity recognised and treated with respect.

“The DUP need to realise that the Orange one-party state is gone for good and the way ahead is to treat their neighbours with respect.

“No longer can they treat those of us who cherish our Irish cultural identity with disdain or deny us our rights.

“Attempts by the DUP to turn the clock back will not work.

“The future for all of us on this island will be richer culturally and socially when diversity is recognised and people’s rights safeguarded in law.

“The DUP are living in denial but reality I believe is seeping through. At some stage in the short-term future they will be forced by the electorate to accept that the only way to move forward together is through respect, equality and integrity.”

Farmers told of credible alternative to Brexit at Balmoral Show – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said farmers should get behind the campaign for the north to have designated status for the north within the EU as the only credible alternative to Brexit. 

Speaking from the Balmoral Show, Martina Anderson said:

“I have met with many farmers and others involved in the agriculture industry at the Balmoral Show today and Brexit is the main issue on their minds.

“There is a genuine fear among many farmers and others in the agri-sector about Tory plans to drag us out of the EU.

“EU funding has helped farmers modernise, diversify and be competitive in the marketplace and that will be lost if Theresa May gets her way.

“EU regulations have also ensured we have the highest standards of food safety and, as a result, the excellent produce from the north is highly valued across Europe. That reputation could be jeopardised by unregulated imports coming in from outside the EU.

“I made it clear to farmers at the Balmoral Show that there is a credible alternative to Brexit and that is for the north to have designated special status within the EU.

“Sinn Féin has been building support for that case and we now need to see the Irish government acting in the interests of all Irish citizens, including those involved in the agriculture industry in the North, by making it a formal demand in the negotiations.” Ends/Críoch

Support in EU for north to have designated status – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is clear there is support in Europe for the north to have designated special status within the EU.

Martina Anderson said: 

“The EU has shown itself to be well aware of the unique challenges we face in the north as a result of the Tories’ determination to drag us out of the EU against our will.

“The latest comments by the European Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt that any Brexit deal could require special status for the north are welcome.

“Designated special status for the north within the EU is the only credible alternative to the Tory Brexit agenda, which would clearly be disastrous for Ireland.

“Sinn Féin has been building support for designated status across Ireland and across the EU and it is now up to the Irish government to stand up for the interests of Irish citizens and make designated status for the north within the EU its negotiating position.”

Weekend trouble at Lecky Road Flyover

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said Councillor Colly Kelly

“I received a number of complaints from motorists caught up in this nonsense on the Lecky Road Flyover.

Around 7pm on Sunday night a small group of young people threw a couple of wooden pallets on the roadway at the narrow section at the bottom of the Flyover and set them on fire.

This meant any traffic travelling down Flyover had to do a u turn and go back up the hill again.

Motorists and local residents are sick sore and tired of this carry-on.

People are out  enjoying the good weather and it is sad a very small minority are intent on wrecking and breaking.

Concern over underage drinking Marianus Glen area -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on parents from throughout the city to ensure that their children are not gathering to drink in the Marianus Glen area.

Cllr. McGinley said: “There have been concerning reports that a number of teenagers – some as young as 13 years of age – have been gathering and drinking in Marianus Glen between the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank estates.eric-1

On one occasion over the weekend residents witnessed a young girl in the field who was highly intoxicated with the potential for a real tragedy all too evident. PSNI have also been called to the area on numerous occasions over the weekend.

Residents have also been in contact with Sinn Féin representatives in the area to report the theft of wheelie bins by young people who then went on to set the bins on fire.

Unfortunately, the good weather has brought with it the temptation to drink alcohol outside and it is a real concern that young teenagers are obtaining access to carry-outs.

I would appeal to parents to ensure that they are fully aware of their children’s whereabouts and to warn these young teenagers of the many dangers which exist when consuming alcohol.

I would also caution adults who may be approached to purchase alcohol on behalf of children not to contribute to this serious problem.”

McCallion hails progress on Magee Medical school

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion has welcomed the news that the University of Ulster has started the search for the Foundation Dean of Medicine based at the  Magee  Medical School

 5

She said “Its very a  positive development  that the  University of Ulster has started the search for the Foundation Dean of Medicine based at the  Magee  Medical School.

In February I and Raymond McCartney were delighted to accept Professor Paddy Nixon’s request to meet with him and senior management to discuss their ongoing work to expand the Magee campus. Our discussions focused on a range of issues including the UU’s plans for the development of a medical school at Magee.

In the time ahead we need to ensure that Magee’s potential is realised.

Anderson condemns treatment of Palestinian prisoners

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned the treatment of Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“More than 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, and they have now been joined by leading Palestinian activist, Leila Khaled.

“Various human rights organisations have stated that the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, violates international law.

“Prisoners have been denied access to legal representation, many have been locked in solitary confinement, access to vital medical services is not adequate and family visits are only permitted twice a month.

“The international community must take action to put pressure on Israel to grant the demands of the Palestinian hunger strikers. If action is not taken as soon as possible, to put an end to the injustices faced by these prisoners, more people will die on hunger strike.

“The EU should now move to suspend the EU – Israel Association Agreement act while Israel continues to violate the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Derry solidarity vigil in support of Palestinian hunger strikers

Sinn Féin held a solidarity vigil in Derry on Friday afternoon in support of the 1600 Palestinian prisoners who are currently on hunger strike against brutal treatment in Israeli jails.

The vigil took place at the H Block Monument on Rossville Street to coincide with the 36th anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death on Hunger Strike.

The event closed with the singing of a song associated with the 1980 -1981 Hunger Strikes the  ballad of Joe McDonnell.20170505_163721

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “There have been a number of these  vigils held across Ireland to send a message of solidarity to all those Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails and those who are on hunger strike.

It’s very poignant that they  took place on the 36th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has urged the Israeli government to abandon its apartheid policies and enter into a meaningful process of peace talks. It urgently needs to defuse the prison crisis by releasing all of those held under internment orders and implement a prison regime that respects the rights of prisoners.

He has also written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to communicate to the Israeli government our concern at the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

Ends

Sinn Féin 6 Counties Westminster campaign launch

Full text of Michelle O’Neill’s speech in Newry

It is fantastic to see such a great gathering of republicans here this evening to officially launch our party’s general election campaign.c_aghcixkae2fab-jpg-large

If ever there was any doubt that we are party on the rise – a party on the cusp of transforming politics and outcomes right across this island, they only have to take a look around this room tonight.

This gathering is testimony to the strength of Sinn Féin as a 32-county party with representation, support and ambitions in every corner of Ireland.

I want to thank all you who put yourselves forward for selection across the constituencies to date, and congratulate those of you who have been selected to contest this election on behalf of the Sinn Féin party.

It is inspiring to see such an impressive panel of candidates going forward to contest this election and I have no doubt that you will all do us proud on June 8th.

This election was called by the British Prime Minister Theresa May for all the wrong reasons.  It is only in the self-interests of the Tory party who have no regard whatsoever for the people of the North, our interests or our future.

But it is again another opportunity for the people to have their say.

An opportunity to reject Brexit.

To reject a hard border.

To reject the freedom of movement.

To reject barriers to agriculture and trade.

To reject Tory cuts.

This is an opportunity to reject Theresa May and her local allies in the DUP and the UUP who want to hold this society back.

It is possible for the north to stay in the EU through designated special status and our senior leadership have been on a diplomatic offensive arguing this case among the EU27 who will determine the British exit terms from the EU.

We can make it absolutely clear that we want unity and prosperity on this island with no borders – hard or soft.

We made history together in the March Assembly election because we rallied the people and they responded to our call.

This can be another ground-breaking election for Sinn Féin.

And it is the people in this room who will make it happen.

The recent Assembly election has activated a transformation unimaginable to the founders of the Northern state.

We must keep the momentum going.

Irish unity is now firmly on the agenda and rights and equality having been put at the top of the political agenda.

It is of critical importance that Sinn Féin actively seeks to win social, economic and cultural rights for everyone.

The best way to do that is to work in tandem with those who are denied those rights. So, that’s what we are doing.

I am confident that as the consequences of Brexit become clearer more and more people from a unionist background will be open to the idea of exploring new relationships on this island.

We need to be intelligently putting the argument for unity and for a referendum as set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

We go in to this election determined to win additional seats including the historic Fermanagh South Tyrone constituency whose people elected Bobby Sands and North Belfast with a fantastic candidate in John Finucane.

Fáilte romhat John!

So, we will stand against Brexit, stand against a hard border and against Tory cuts.

We will stand up for equality, for rights and for Irish unity.

And we will send a clear message to Theresa May and her Tory cabinet of millionaires that they have no mandate in Ireland – that they do not speak for us.

They want to ignore the result of the Assembly election just as they are ignoring the result of the EU referendum.

Fixty-six percent of the people here voted to remain in Europe but Theresa May and Arlene Foster want to drag us out of the EU against our will.

They can’t be allowed to succeed because Brexit will be a disaster for our economy. It will be a disaster for local business, for farmers and the wider agri-food industry, for the health service, for workers’ rights and border communities like this one here in Newry/Dundalk.

So let’s get out there and fight back.

We are entering a new political era.

The opportunities for real change are within our grasp.

The old certainties are gone.

The perpetual unionist majority has ended.

Europe is in a state of flux.

Now is the time for real change and the onus is on us to shape and organise that change.

As a party we are the strongest we have ever been.

If we lower our expectations or limit our vision then we are not playing to our own strengths.

If you think our local political opponents are going to win; or if you think you cannot win, then without doubt that is what will happen.

You won’t win.

However, if you go out to win, if you believe you can win, if we organise and invite others to get on board with us, then we will win.

We made history on March 2nd.

On June 8th, let’s get out and do it again.

Míle buíochas

Go raibh maith agaibh go leor

All change at Skeoge new road /new houses -Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the start of the new road system at the Skeogelands that started this week, the new road will allow more development of social homes in the area.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

Cllr Hassan said.

This new road which is called the Spine Road will stretch through the present Apex development to the second roundabout on Skeoge Road. And also access onto the Lower Galliagh Road to allow residents in the Woodbrook area to access the Skeoge road.

Cllr, Hassan also said.

Another 350 social homes are planned for the area over the next year and just this week Derry and Strabane Council planning committee have approved 115 new social homes in the area. This is a good news story for social housing provision in Derry and for the hundreds of people on the homeless waiting list.

The number of people waiting for a home in the city has increased dramatically over the past few years and these new homes will go some way to alleviating that problem. I will continue that lobby at every opportunity to ensure that the need for new social housing schemes is kept firmly on the agenda in the city.

 

Ends.

High profile Mental Health awareness campaign required – McCallion

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion has called for a Mental Health awareness campaign similar to the ‘SeeChange’ project in the 26 Counties.

Elisha McCallion said:5

“Sinn Féin TD and National Mental Health spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald this week launched a major Sinn Féin campaign on mental health to coincide with the ‘SeeChange’ Green Ribbon project in the 26 Counties aimed at raising awareness of Mental Health issues.

“I believe that there is a lot we could learn from this campaign that could be applied here in the North also. Mental Health like other health issues knows no borders. The ‘SeeChange’ campaign is designed to remove the stigma surrounding mental health through education, increasing awareness and through the message that it’s OK not to be OK.

“We need to encourage those who have concerns about mental health or suicide to raise these concerns openly and not feel marginalised.

“This encouragement will include meeting, listening to and working with those involved in the mental health sector and campaigning on the issues that they identify.

“Sinn Féin is committed to developing policies and fighting for legislation which will enhance mental health services and reduce suicide. We must be relentless in our aim to promote attitudes and practices which support wellbeing.

 “Sinn Féin in the coming months will be engaged in a series of events, conferences, and the publication of proposals which if adopted will promote wellbeing and help close the glaring gaps in existing mental health services.

“Sinn Féin TDs, Senators, MPs, MEPs, MLAs and councillors will use every forum available to us in the time ahead to demonstrate our support for destigmatising mental health and promote wellbeing throughout Ireland north and south.

“During my term as Mayor of DCSDC I brought together statutory and community agencies to advance proposals for Crisis Intervention Services to address the gap which exists in this constituency for those feeling isolated and in crisis.

“I am pleased that that project is progressing and should be operational in the near future. Mental Health remains one of my priority issues and I will continue to raise its awareness at every opportunity.” CRÍOCH/END

Adams extends condolences on death of Palestinian hunger striker

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his “profound sadness at the death of Palestinian hunger striker Mazan al-Magrebi”.

an phoblacht

an phoblacht

The Sinn Féin leader has extended his “condolences to his family and friends, the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian Authority”.

Gerry Adams said:

“I want to express my profound sadness at the death of Palestinian hunger striker Mazan al-Magrebi and to extend my condolences to his family and friends, the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian Authority.

“On Friday we remember the death on hunger strike of Bobby Sands; the first of ten republican prisoners to die. Irish people are very mindful of the experience of hunger strike in our own history and on their behalf I want to extend my solidarity to the 1600 Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike.

“The mistreatment of prisoners by the Israeli government must be condemned. The brazen violations of the human rights of Palestinian prisoners is a breach of international law.

“The Irish government has a responsibility to challenge the Israeli government on its penal policy, as well as the wider denial of rights to the Palestinian people.

“I would urge the Israeli government to abandon its apartheid policies and enter into a meaningful process of peace talks. It urgently needs to defuse the prison crisis by releasing all of those held under internment orders and implement a prison regime that respects the rights of prisoners.

“Yesterday I wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to communicate to the Israeli government our concern at the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

Tories must be challenged on disregard for human rights – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has stated that the Irish government need to challenge the Tories over their disregard for human rights protections.

Speaking ahead of the 3rd Universal Periodic Review of the British Government by the United Nations, Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“The Universal Periodic Review of human rights standards in Britain and the north could not have come at a better time. The Brexit agenda of the Tories will have serious human rights implications for the north. The Tory plan to scrap the 1998 Human Rights Act is adding insult to injury.

“It is clear the Tories don’t care about human rights protections or the people of the north.

“The Irish Government, as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, has an obligation to stand up and challenge the British government on its attitude to human rights.

“Brexit directly threatens the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Féin will continue to pursue a designated special status for the north to remain within the EU to guarantee human and workers’ rights protections.

“Both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights have stood up for the rights of persons with disabilities, for women, for workers, for victims of conflict, for cultural expression and for minorities.

“The Irish Government now needs to show some resolve and act in the best interests of all Irish citizens by challenging the British government.” Ends/Críoch

Tories have their heads in the sand over Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Tories have not yet grasped the realities of Brexit and are putting their heads in the sand.

Martina Anderson said: 

“It is clear that David Davis and the British Tories are still trying to have their cake and eat it over Brexit with his comments that Britain will not pay the divorce bill for leaving the EU.

“Almost a year on from the referendum and following the agreeing of the EU’s guidelines on Brexit negotiations, the Tories are still oblivious to the facts and are making it up as they go along.

“The only certainty of the Tory Brexit agenda is the disastrous impact that dragging us out of the EU against our will would have on the north and the entire island of Ireland.

“The Tories can put their heads in the sand and try to ignore the realities if they like but for our part Sinn Féin has put forward a credible alternative to Brexit and that is for the north to secure designated special status for the north within the EU.

“We have been building support for that across Ireland and across Europe and there is now a responsibility on the Irish government to make securing designated special status for the north within the EU its negotiating position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.”

Appeal for information after Bennett Street arson attack -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue commenting on the news that a family in Lower Bennet Street just off Foyle Road had a lucky escape after a pillow was placed against a gas main outside their home and set on fire just after 1am this morning.Patricia Logue new pic 22

Sinn Féin Councillor for the area Patricia Logue said

“This must have been a very frightening experience for this family.

It doesn’t bear thinking about had this fire taken hold.

I would appeal to anyone who has any information on those responsible to bring it forward to the police immediately.

Ends

McGinley welcomes launch of new London/Stanstead route

eric-1

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the first BMi flights to Stanstead from City of Derry Airport.

Cllr. McGinley said: “As a Council representative on the City of Derry Airport Board I was in attendance at the launch of the first BMi flights to and from Derry and Stansted.

The introduction of the double daily flights will offer travellers plenty of travel options and is the result of much hard work over the course of recent months by Council and CoDA.

The service will help to maintain the Airport as a viable infrastructural entity for the North West and offers the opportunity to explore the possibility of bringing other routes into this locality.”

Ends

John Finucane personification of what our Party stands for – O’Neill

It is hugely inspiring to see the energy and enthusiasm in this room tonight.

It’s as clear a signal as any that Sinn Féin is determined, willing and able to take this seat for the first-time in our history.

And in John, we have an exceptional candidate. 33283707170_b7c6376416_k

Someone who is the personification of what our Party stands for.

His family has struggled for justice for many years and despite all they have gone through, John spoke eloquently and passionately here tonight about his determination to continue to reach out the hand of friendship. To seek reconciliation on our island and to build on the work and legacy of Martin McGuinness.

To defend those who need defended and to oppose the destructive policies of the British Government in Ireland, particularly Brexit.

We can build a better future. Our own future.

And I have no doubt that a generation of republicans epitomised by people like John will be at the forefront of that.

I also want to pay tribute to Gerry and Caral who have represented North Belfast with such distinction for many years and will continue to do so in the time ahead.

Together with John as MP, they will make an even more formidable team as we seek to build on the progress and opportunities created by the Assembly election.

That election result fundamentally changed the political landscape. The perpetual unionist majority is gone. Irish unity is now firmly on the agenda and rights and equality have been put centre-stage of the political process.

We must defend those achievements in the Westminster election.

We defend them by winning seats like North Belfast.

And make no mistake, we can win it.

This can be another ground-breaking election for Sinn Féin. And it is the people in this room who will make it happen.

So as John has said, let’s do it.

Let’s go out and make history.

Concern over anti community activity –Cllr Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has appealed for anti-community activity in the Meenan Square and Lower Westland Street areas to stop.

She made her appeal after a number of incidents in the area.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Logue said “There have been a number of incidents in the last few days. The fence around the old shops complex was damaged and a number of resident’s wheelie bins were kicked over.

I would ask those responsible for this anti community activity to stop.

We have had a few good days of weather and a lot of people are out and about and the last thing local residents should  have to put up  with is this carryon on their doorsteps.

We should be building communities not destroying them.

Tory party delusional over impact of Brexit – McCallion

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Elisha McCallion  has said the Irish government must work with all the parties and secure the interests of Ireland.

She  said:

“The EU Couelisha-head-shot-1ncil have laid out negotiations positions which places a priority on the need to safeguard the Good Friday agreement, the rights of Irish citizens in the north and the impact across Ireland of Brexit.

“We believe this position does not go far enough and that the Taoiseach failed to fully harness the good will to Ireland, North and South from the other EU members.

“What is now clear, following the leaks from the meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May is the Tory party and Brexit supporters are delusional about the negotiations and impact of Brexit.

“The coming election is about the Tory Party consolidating its power. It is an opportunity for voters to stand against the Tories and the parties that support Brexit.

“Theresa May will not be able to dismiss again the views of the majority of voters, when they are articulated at the EU parliament by Sinn Féin and at the Dáil.

“The safeguards and flexibility that the north and all of Ireland requires will be secured by the EU side and not the British government.

“The Taoiseach must up his game, work with all the parties and secure the interests of Ireland, North and South.”

Concern over anti community activity –Cllr Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has appealed for anti-community activity in the Meenan Square and Lower Westland Street areas to stop.

She made her appeal after a number of incidents in the area.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Logue said “There have been a number of incidents in the last few days. The fence around the old shops complex was damaged and a number of resident’s wheelie bins were kicked over.

I would ask those responsible for this anti community activity to stop.

We have had a few good days of weather and a lot of people are out and about and the last thing local residents should  have to put up  with is this carryon on their doorsteps.

We should be building communities not destroying them.

McCallion welcomes start of A6 Dualling Project

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion has welcomed the announcement that work on the A6 dualling project will begin on the Randalstown/Toome and Moyala/Castledawson sections in the coming weeks.

Elisha McCallion said:elisha-head-shot-1

 “The A6 upgrade represents an investment of over £160m and has long been a key priority for Sinn Féin.

“It is a key infrastructural project to help redress regional imbalance which was significantly progressed when given the green light by then Sinn Féin Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard.

“Today’s announcement is an endorsement of the former Minister’s focus on developing the North West’s infrastructure. The way is now clear for this essential project to finally be delivered.

“When the project is completed in 2019, it will greatly reduce travel times between Derry and Belfast, a development which will be greatly welcomed by the many thousands who use this road daily.

“It will also add to the attractiveness of the North West as a location for inward investment and job creation.

CRÍOCH/END

Enforcement officers to move on Rosemount illegal dumpers –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said Council enforcement officers are to move on illegal dumpers in the Rosemount area and that a new initiative is to be launched in the next few weeks to tackle illegal dumping.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “I have highlighted the continued problem of illegal dumping in the general Rosemount area for some time now.  And have been working directly with Council officials to explore all avenues to tackle this issue.

They have told me that they have been gathering evidence of those involved and that they will be moving on the culprits.

It’s hoped that the rubbish left in recent days in a number of locations will be cleared in the next twenty-four hours.

Concluding he said

I am also working with the Council on a new initiative that is to be launched in the next few weeks to tackle the blight of  illegal dumping.

 

Ends

Sinn Féin to attend Tony Taylor parole hearing – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA will attend a parole hearing in Belfast today for Derry man Tony Taylor.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, Mr Kearney said:16819161_1306065849449476_7277101871423416578_o

“Tony Taylor was arrested in March 2016 and jailed in Maghaberry Prison on the word of the British Secretary of State.

“In the time since, no charges have been brought nor evidence produced to justify Mr Taylor’s imprisonment.

“In these circumstances Sinn Féin has consistently called for Tony Taylor’s release.

“I will attend today’s hearing to observe and to restate our view that Mr Taylor’s imprisonment is unjust and brings the justice system into disrepute.

“Tony Taylor should be released immediately.”

Onus on political leaders to create a free, equal and just society – O’Neill

Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O’Neill  MLA has said there is an onus on all political leaders to create a free, equal and just society.

Speaking at a commemoration in Cappagh to remember eight republicans shot dead by the British army in Loughgall, Michelle O’Neill said: c3rymkpwcaasoae-jpg-small

“Victims and survivors of the conflict, who seek justice and truth, must be given our strongest possible support and assistance.

“While much of our history has been marked by sadness and tragedy, we now have a unique opportunity to be the authors of a new, peaceful, and democratic future.

“This does not mean we forget our past. Everyone has a legitimate right to remember their dead, tell their side of the story and share their experiences, and hurt, of that time, without being demonised.

“I challenge our opponents to stop fighting a war which is now over.

“There is an onus on all of us to move forward to create a free, just and equal society – together.

“When the Westminster election campaign was announced I took the initiative to invite other party leaders to explore the possibilities of a progressive pact to maximise the anti-Brexit, anti Tory vote and pro rights and pro equality vote.

“I am disappointed that parties which are opposed to Brexit and which are pro equality have not been able to agree a progressive alliance to contest the Westminster election.

“Sinn Féin remains committed to the maximising the anti-Brexit vote in this election.

“We will stand against Brexit, stand against a hard border and against Tory cuts. We will stand up for equality, for rights and for Irish unity.”

New phase for Culmore Park – Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that additional funding has been proposed  to progress with Culmore Park (Phase 2) design development costing and planning to support future community engagement, business case/s and funding applications.

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Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said

This is addressing a long standing need where there are no facilities .The local community has been campaigning for such a facility now for many years.

It is welcome progress on the road to achieving the goal of having a new community facility that can be used by young people and local groups in the area.

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EU has key role in assisting transformation to Irish unity – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the European Union has a key role to play in assisting the transformation to Irish unity. 

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“There is growing support for Irish unity across Ireland and the prospect of Brexit and a hard border has led many more people to realise that unity makes sense.

“I welcome the fact that Irish unity is now being discussed like never before both at home in Ireland and across Europe.

“Reports that the issue of the north automatically joining the EU in the event of a successful unity referendum will be raised at tomorrow’s European Council meeting are welcome. 

“We want to see the entire island of Ireland within the EU and it is clear many others now share that view.

“Sinn Féin has also put forward a case for the north to secure designated special status within the EU in the event of Brexit.

“Sinn Féin is calling on the Taoiseach and the Irish government to make this case at the European Council meeting.” Ends/Críoch

Stone throwers smash window on HGV lorry – Duffy

Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy said Councillor Sandra Duffy

These incidents have occurred sporadically on the Madams Bank Road over the past few weeks however on Friday night a brick was thrown at a HGV lorry smashing the window.

This could have caused a serious accident or worse resulted in a fatality. You can only imagine if a large lorry weighing many tonnes went out of control on this road.

We all know that this is a busy thoroughfare for the city with  thousands of vehicles travelling on it every day.

I would appeal to the young people involved to please reflect on your actions and stop throwing stones/ bricks at passing vehicles before a serious accident occurs.

Ends

New phase for Culmore Park – Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that additional funding has been proposed  to progress with Culmore Park (Phase 2) design development costing and planning to support future community engagement, business case/s and funding applications.

Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said  lg_tony_hassan_copy2

This is addressing a long standing need where there are no facilities .The local community has been campaigning for such a facility now for many years.

It is welcome progress on the road to achieving the goal of having a new community facility that can be used by young people and local groups in the area.

Ends

Progress on much needed facilities in Galliagh and Shantallow– Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy welcoming progress of Council’s proposed Community Centre development programme and approval of continued engagement with the Department for Communities to secure additional funding for the Galliagh Community Centre and Shantallow Community centre.

She saidSandra Duffy pic

News on the Galliagh Community Centre is welcome progress with the facility providing much needed space for local community groups who are currently operating out of Housing Executive flats throughout the area.

Work on the Shantallow Community Centre is a long overdue redevelopment but we need to caution against any reductions in the building as it may result in the building not meeting the identified need.

Shantallow is not simply a community centre it is also a sports facility and is used widely as such by the local community and we would therefore not want to impact on this.

Sinn Féin MEPs remember Martin McGuinness in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEPs have marked the late Martin McGuinness’ month’s mind at the European Parliament in Brussels. 17424724_1337286382994089_6075757283179062776_n

Martina Anderson said:

“It has been a month since we lost our friend, comrade and iconic republican leader Martin McGuinness.

“Just as people across Ireland mourned his immense loss, so too did people throughout Europe and across the world.

“Tonight at the European Parliament in Brussels the Sinn Féin MEP team, together with friends and supporters from right across Europe gathered to pay tribute to Martin while his Month’s Mind mass was being celebrated at home.

“Martin was a regular visitor to the European Parliament and valued the continuing support from Europe for the peace process and our campaign to secure designated special status for the north within the EU.

“It was important that we remembered Martin here tonight as we send our condolences to Bernie and all the family.” Ends/Críoch

Next stage Brandywell play park/Daisyfield projects -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the proposal for Derry City and Strabane District Council to help provide funding to complete a new play park in the Brandywell  and also the Daisyfield project.

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Councillor Logue said “Its very important that these two projects are completed. This is another piece of the overall jigsaw in plans for the area.

“I have campaigned for many years to see the Brandywell, Showgrounds and Daisyfield developed and it is great to see this coming to fruition.

The need for a play park in the locality has been a key issue for the residents and Sinn Féin for a considerable period of time.

Ends

£1.5Million community centre development moving forward -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the recommendation to provide £80,000 towards design costs for a new community centre for the Hazelbank / Ballymagroarty areas.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “A recommendation will be put forward to Council that £80,000 is committed towards the design costs for a new state of the art community centre on the Ringfort Road.

This is a significant step forward for a project which will bring an investment of over £1.5m into the area and provide much needed facilities for thousands of families.

The Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Partnership is currently leading on consultations with residents on what services should be provided and how the new facility will look and the design costs will greatly assist in this process.

This funding is a very positive step forward for the Hazelbank and Ballymagroarty communities.”

Cooper welcomes funding to complete disabled facilities at Brooke Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the announcement made by DCSDC that funding is being proposed  to complete a wheelchair adaptable swing at Brooke Park.A development which will help families whose children are affected by access issues to standard play equipment.

He said:

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

‘I am pleased that the council has agreed to propose  additional support for disabled facilities in the new Brooke Park. This will allow the development to be completed. Unfortunately when the original consultations on Brooke Park took place the issue of a wheelchair adaptable swing was not identified which meant it was not included in the designs or budget for the park.

I would like to congratulate everyone involved in helping make this now happen and addressing this issue. It will obviously be a massive boost to the families of people with disabilities who can now avail of the facilities that council support will provide.

Ends

Good Friday Agreement should be protected in full – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is vital that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in full during the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament has established a steering group on this and I am the representative on the body for the GUE/NGL group of 52 MEPs to which Sinn Féin belongs.

“The group is chaired by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit and includes representatives of all the major groups in the European Parliament.

“We have been working to inform the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations which will be adopted at a Special European Council meeting on Saturday.

“I have been focused, in particular, on making the other members of the steering group aware of the unique position of the north, the fact that the majority of people voted to remain in the EU, and the disastrous impact Brexit would have on the island of Ireland.

“The European Parliament has already passed a joint resolution which calls for no hardening of the border, recognises the unique situation of the north and, crucially, calls for the protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.

“Through the Conference of Presidents steering group I have been building support for the Good Friday Agreement, particularly in the face of the attempts to dismantle and undermine the Agreement by the British government and DUP, as well as garnering support for Sinn Féin’s case for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.

“The European Council now needs to recognise the importance of protecting the Good Friday Agreement.”

Everyone must be equal before the law – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has said everyone must be equal before the law and there can be no immunity for people who have murdered Irish citizens.

The Foyle  said: dsc_6528

“The recommendation of this report by the British parliament’s defence committee that there should be a statute of limitations to prevent former members of the British armed forces being convicted of historic offences is an insult to victims and survivors.

“There can be no immunity for people who have murdered Irish citizens.

“Everyone should be equal before the law and no one should be above the law.”

Ends

Cultúrlanna in north of vital importance – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said we must stand up for the two Cultúrlanna in the north. 

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

He was speaking after Foras na Gaeilge announced there will be a public consultation relating to a new scheme for Irish Language centres.

  Councillor Kevin Campbell said,

“The two Cultúrlanna are of vital importance and have been for some time.

“Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and Cultúrlann Mhac Adaim Ó Fiaich have a central role in the development of the Irish language not just in Derry and Belfast, but across the north.”

He continued:

“Undoubtedly, there is a need to develop the Irish Language in many areas across the country; this does not mean it must be to the detriment of two projects of great success. If there is to be a strategic way forward, options should be explored which do not remove funding from the Cultúrlanna.

“I would ask everyone to take part in this consultation and to make their voice heard for the two Cultúrlanna.”

The consultation process will continue until the 22 June 2017. ENDS/CRÍOCH

O’Neill urges parties to reconsider progressive alliance

Sinn Féin leader in the North Michelle O’Neill said today the failure of parties to agree a progressive alliance to fight the Westminster election may gift seats to pro-Brexit, pro-Tory and anti-equality hardliners.c3rymkpwcaasoae-jpg-small

Michelle O’Neill said:

“I am disappointed that parties which are opposed to Brexit and Tory cuts and which are pro equality have not been able to agree a progressive alliance to contest the Westminster election.

“This will almost certainly gift seats to some of the most pro Brexit hardliners.

“I would urge those parties to reconsider.

“Sinn Féin remains committed to maximising the anti-Brexit vote in this election.”

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Sinn Féin set out path to achieve designated special status for the north within the EU -McCallion

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion has said Sinn Féin has laid out a clear path to secure designated special status for the north within the EU.

Speaking after  the launch of a Sinn Féin Brexit document Elisha McCallion said: c-rfxtbwaaey98i-jpg-large

“Today Sinn Féin launched its second position paper on Brexit, with a specific focus on this Saturday’s special meeting of the European Council of 27 member states where the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations will be adopted.

“The guidelines will establish the framework for negotiations and set out the overall EU positions and principles during negotiations.

“Sinn Féin is opposed to Brexit, the border and this reckless Tory agenda, which will have devastating effects for the island of Ireland and our people, businesses, farmers, workers and communities.

“The people of Derry and  the North voted to Remain because it is in their best interests politically and economically.

“Since that time Sinn Féin has argued that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated a special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.

“As the European Council meet on Saturday Sinn Féin is arguing for a declaration from the European Council that it will argue for designated special status for the north within the EU.

“This would involve seeking continued access to the Single Market, Common Travel Area, EU funding streams and institutions.

“The Taoiseach Enda Kenny must enter any forthcoming negotiations to defend the democratic mandate of the people to remain within the EU and act in Ireland’s national interest.

“This means that the Irish Government must now formally adopt the negotiating policy position of designated special status within the and for the North so that the whole island of Ireland can remain within the EU together.

http://www.sinnfein.ie/brexit

DUP out of touch on marriage equality -McCallion

Sinn Fein MLA Elisha McCallion  has said the DUP are out of touch with the people on marriage equality.

She  said: dsc_4127

“Comments from Jim Wells that the DUP could split if there is equal marriage in the north highlights the attitude of that party to equality.

“His remarks show just how out of touch he and his party are with the views of the general public.

“And it shows once again that the DUP is placing its party self interest above the need for equality for all.

“They have clearly learned nothing from the recent election where the majority of people voted for equality and respect for all.

“Marriage equality is an issue where the people are ahead of many politicians.

“It’s long past the time that equal marriage should be extended throughout the island.”

Human rights protections need strengthened – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA, Raymond McCartney  has said that designated special status within the European Union is the only guarantee that everyone on the north will have their human rights protected.

The Foyle  MLA was speaking after the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the North’s Human Rights Commission stated they “are concerned that there will be a reduction in current human rights protection once we leave the EU.”

Raymond McCartney  said:

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“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.

“The British government has failed to implement United Nations human rights standards. We cannot depend on them therefore offering even the most basic protections to all in our society.

“An assessment of the British government’s human rights record will be made next month as part of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process.

“All three commissions have submitted reports to the UN making it clear that the British government has more work to do in regards to issues such as access to justice, welfare reform and gender equality.

“The people of the north know all to well the lengths that British government will go to avoid being held accountable for their actions and inactions.

“The only way we can ensure that human rights are strengthened not weakened is by ensuring that we remain part of Europe, have access to the European Court of Justice and have our own Bill of Rights as was set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

“The denial of a Bill of Rights reflects the mind set of those who are opposed to equality and Human Rights.

“The north must have Designated Special Status within the EU, it is only by this process we can guarantee that everyone will have their human rights protected.”

McCallion concerned at proposed cuts to Supporting People Programmes

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion has voiced concern at proposed cuts to Supporting People Programmes.

Ms McCallion said:elisha-head-shot-1

“Supporting People Programmes provide support to assist people to live independently in the community in a residential setting. This includes help and support to people with disabilities, older people and young vulnerable people to name a few.

“I have been contacted by Programme providers who are anxious about the future of the service.

“They have informed me that the Housing Executive has recently been advised by the Department for Communities (DfC) to plan for a 5% overall reduction in its funding for the 2017/18 financial year.

“Providers understand that the Housing Executive have decided to defer the cuts initially but reduce funding to projects such as Supporting People Programmes by 6.5% in the near future.

“I am calling on the Housing Executive to reconsider its proposals and to live up to its responsibility to support community projects.

 “Supporting People Programmes is one of the most successful community projects’ serving communities. I believe that the HE if minded to do so could find the required finance through efficiencies in other areas of its structures that does not directly impact on essential community programmes.”

Sinn Féin leaders in London for Brexit meetings

Sinn Féin leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has said there is growing support across Europe for Ireland and the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU.c972v1uxuaaipqc

She was speaking from London where she and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and Francie Molloy MP are involved in a series of engagements today.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“Today Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, Francie Molloy MP and I are involved in a series of engagements in London to discuss Brexit and its impact in the North.

“At these meetings we are making it clear that the majority of people in the north voted to remain in the EU and will take the opportunity to again reject the Tory Brexit agenda during the general election on 8 June.

“It is clear there is a recognition across Europe of the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland and in particular the severe consequences of a hard economic border which will be a major setback for our peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and the progress of the past 20 years.

“There is now an onus on the Irish government who will be part of the EU negotiations to act in the national interests of all citizens, north and south, and to persuade their EU partners of the political and economic merits of designated special status for the north within the EU.

“This will ensure that the whole island of Ireland remains within the EU together.”

Anderson calls for release of Palestinian hunger strikers at Derry rally

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for the release of Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails. 12314440_10154409357183642_3026089180583858071_o

Speaking at a Palestinian solidarity vigil in Derry’s Bogside on Friday night , Martina Anderson said:

“Sinn Féin sends international solidarity to all Palestinian prisoners, their famiies and the wider community.

“Palestinian prisoners and internees are suffering torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and other privations in Israeli prisons.

“There are currently close to 1,500 Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti.

“Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions.

“The international community cannot stand idly by and look on.

“People across the world can show solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and people by supporting the BDS campaign and boycotting Israeli goods.”

Sinn Féin Republican Youth urge support for Derry rally in support of Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Chairperson of Sinn Féin Republican Youth in Derry, Caolán McGinley, has called on the people of Derry to attend a rally in solidarity with over 1000 Palestinian political prisoners who are currently on a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons.12314440_10154409357183642_3026089180583858071_o
Caolán McGinley said:
“Over 1000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons embarked on a hunger strike on Monday evening, they are protesting in opposition to the inhumane and degrading treatment in which they suffer on a daily basis. The prisoners often endure torture at the hands of prison staff.
“The prisoners’ are demanding that they are allowed to communicate with their families, through the restoration of bi-monthly visits and also by telephone call. They are also calling for an end to administrative detention, a tactic used to imprison Palestinians without trial or due process.
“The Israeli authorities must abide by international law and end the policy of administrative detention against the Palestinian people.
“Sinn Féin Republican Youth sends solidarity to all Palestinian political prisoners including those currently on Hunger Strike. We call on the people of Derry to join the rally taking place at 7pm on Friday 21 April at the Hunger Strike memorial, Rossville Street in solidarity with the prisoners and the Palestinian people. Martina Anderson MEP will be the main speaker.”
ENDS/CRÍOCH

McCartney urges those denied vote to get back on electoral register

Sinn Féin MLA  Raymond McCartney has called on people denied their vote in the recent election as a result of a decision by the Electoral Office to remove them from the electoral register to ensure they get re-register now.raymond-mccartney-450x301

Mr McCartney said:

“Before the election some 60,000 people were taken off the electoral register by the Electoral Office.

“Despite the hard work to get people back on the register there are still thousands of people effectively being denied their right to vote.

“The right to vote was hard won through the campaign and sacrifice of the Civil Rights Movement so I would once again urge people to get re-registered.

“Anyone in Derry who requires more information on how to register to vote should contact their local Sinn Féin office or the electoral office on 0800 432 0712 or online http://www.eoni.org.uk.

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Westminster election opportunity to build further towards united Ireland – McCallion

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion  has said that Theresa May’s announcement  to call a snap Westminster General Election is further evidence, if it was needed, that the concerns and needs of people in the North of Ireland do not register on the British Government agenda.elisha-head-shot-1

She added however, that Irish republicans must seize the opportunity, provided by the election, to further to build political progress towards a referendum on Irish unity.

Elisha McCallion  said:

“The  announcement by the British Prime Minister Teresa May  to call a snap Westminster General Election is further evidence, if it was needed, that the concerns and needs of people in the North of Ireland do not register on the British Government agenda.

“Sinn Féin said at the weekend that the British Government will always put its own interests above any others and, at this time, that means the concerns of a very reactionary Tory Right Wing.

“Brexit has highlighted, in stark terms, the undemocratic, unnatural and unjust nature of Partition.

“Brexit and the recent Assembly election which saw the end of a permanent unionist political majority, have changed the context of the argument for a United Ireland.

“Despite the narrow political motivation behind the calling of a Westminster election, Irish republicans must seize the opportunity to further to build political progress towards a referendum on Irish unity.

“It is an opportunity to reject the Tory political agenda, to re-assert the North’s vote to remain within the EU, and to advance the cause of a shared inclusive and United Ireland.”

The time to prepare for Irish reunification is now – Mary Lou McDonald TD

During the course of her speech Teachta McDonald said Irish Republicans need to prepare for Irish reunification now and that an honest conversation about a new Ireland should take place.

 

Teachta McDonald said;mary-lou

 

“Ireland is in a time of great challenge and change.

 

“We need to prepare for Irish reunification now. We need a debate, honest conversations about a new Ireland.

 

“We need to listen, to understand, to accommodate all of our people, in all our diversity in the new Ireland.

 

“An Ireland that is Orange and Green, black and white, settled and traveller, Gay and straight.

 

“An Ireland that protects the many and not just the privileged few.

 

“An Ireland that remembers and celebrates the past – the history made at the General Post Office in Dublin or on the banks of the Boyne – an Ireland that courageously, fearlessly faces the future.

 

“Our strength is in unity, in making common cause with everyone who believes in a new political order in Ireland, grounded in equality.”Ends/Críoch

 

 

 

Full text of Teachta McDonald’s speech follows:

 

Táim fíor-bhródúil a bheith anseo i nDoire agus muid ag céiliúradh Éirí amach na Cásca 1916.

 

Is cúis bhróid ollmhór é domsa a bheith anseo mar phoblachtach agus gabhaimse mo bhuíochas leis na laochra a throid ar son na saoirse.

 

Táim bródúil chomh maith as ucht na cairde agus na comrádaithe atá againn sa chathair seo.

 

Easter is a very special time for Irish Republicans. It is a time to remember, commemorate and celebrate the heroism and vision of generations of Republican women and men.

 

More than a hundred years on the Rising against the British Empire remains a testimony to the triumph of human hope over oppression.

 

That those men and women took on, against all the odds, the might of what was called the greatest empire the world had ever seen; 

 

That those women and men stood prepared to sacrifice all to win freedom; 

 

That those same visionaries took a stand knowing they faced battle, imprisonment and death; 

 

That these things happened, and that we are the inheritors of such a brave tradition is our profound fortune and honour. 

 

It is often said that we stand on the shoulders of giants.  We do.

 

And from that privileged position, as successors to, inheritors of the dream of a free and equal Ireland, we proclaim the message of liberation and love, of freedom and fraternity this Easter Sunday here in the proud city of Derry.

 

Unrepentant Fenians, irredeemable believers in the cause of Ireland and in the equality of our people.

 

Our great leader and friend lies here now.

 

Martin McGuinness, whose heart came alive and kept faith with the Bogside.

 

Martin McGuinnes, a faithful son of Ireland.

 

Martin McGuinness who fought, who made peace and who will never be forgotten.

 

Martin lead from the front, he took risks for freedom and risks to build the peace.

 

We are stronger because of him, braver because of him, closer to reconciliation and freedom. 

 

The only fitting tribute to his great leadership is for us to lead on, to mobilise, to organise, to take a chance, to stretch ourselves and to match our dreams with ambition. 

 

We can live in a united, free Ireland. We can live in a socially just, equal Ireland.

 

I believe we will.  Martin believed we would.  We will prove him right.

 

We promise to meet the challenges of our time with the grit and graciousness that were the mark of our Martin.

 

We stand in solidarity with Bernie and his beloved clann as we lament his passing and honour his life and legacy.

 

Irish unity has never been so openly and widely considered as it is now.

 

The constitutional earthquake of Brexit has forced the debate to new levels and with a new urgency.

 

The people of the North of Ireland voted to remain in the EU. The people have not consented to Brexit.

 

Ireland will not be the collateral damage in a Tory power play. We will not accept the disruption of our social and economic life or the sabotaging of the Good Friday Agreement.

 

We will not tolerate a ‘hard border’ on our island.

 

We do not accept any border in Ireland.

 

Our respect for our unionist brothers and sisters, for our loyalist citizens, for those who cherish their British identity is matched by our absolute rejection of the British jurisdiction in Ireland, which has blighted our past and threatens our future.

 

The Tories, Theresa May et al, must realise that their writ does not run in Ireland.

 

This is not Finchley.

 

They have no support in Ireland, in any community.

 

They are hostile to Ireland. They have inflicted austerity, poverty and marginalisation on the people of the North of Ireland.

 

James Brokenshire’s recent visit to Daisy Hill hospital only served to remind us of the fact.

 

We take no lectures from him or any Tory on the protection of public services. 

 

They are wholly indifferent to the welfare of our people – Orange or Green.

 

Their agenda threatens to pauperise our farmers, our communities, our businesses and is rejected by our people, Orange and Green and every shade between. 

 

The Taoiseach and the Dublin Government must represent all of Ireland, all of our people. 

 

They have a responsibility to the people of Creggan and the Fountain just as surely as they do to people of Cabra and Fermoy.

 

We have argued for special status for the North within the EU. That position has the support of the Dáil. It has the support of the majority of members elected to the Assembly. 

 

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny must argue for and secure that special status.

 

He must stand up and be counted, he cannot stand idly by. 

 

We have fought two elections since we met last Easter. The political landscape is changed profoundly in the wake of the last election. Unionism has lost its majority at Stormont for the first time.

 

Electoral fortunes, as we know, rise and fall, but the loss of that majority position is significant.

 

It ends the generations old assumption of who held power and exercised power, since partition.

 

The insider, old guard, class has been challenged and chastened.

 

There is a new majority for social and economic progress, for a new political dispensation with respect, equality and integrity at its core.

 

I want to commend everyone who campaigned in that election. We are very proud to have returned Elisha McCallion and Raymond McCartney to represent the people of Foyle. 

 

I want also to acknowledge the leadership of Michele O’Neill in that campaign, she is a woman of substance and determination.  

 

One of us, mná na hÉireann, the most unmanageable of revolutionaries!!

 

The combination of the RHI scandal and the refusal of the DUP and the two Governments to honour agreements made conspired to bring down the Executive and triggered the election in March.

 

That same combination of negative politics has kept agreement beyond our reach and the institutions down.

 

That is very disappointing and unacceptable.

 

Those who hanker for the past, who cannot remove their sectarian blinkers, who have no vision or ambition for our future, cannot prevail.

 

It must be understood that we stand firm – that we are resolute, that we shall overcome the negative, discriminatory tactics of those parties who cannot accept that the past and second-class citizenship are gone, never to return. 

 

The issues at the heart of the talks are not Orange or Green. We have not come forward with a Sinn Féin shopping list of demands.

 

We insist only that agreements made are implemented.

 

We insist simply that the rights of citizens are respected, that civil liberties and respect for identity are not suppressed or withheld on the say so of any party.

 

We will not tolerate discrimination against any section of our people; we will stand up and fight for all. What we win we will win for everyone.

 

The right to marry is a fundamental human right.  It cannot be denied. It will not be denied. Our LGBTQ citizens are not second class. They will not sit at the back of the bus.

 

The Irish language and identity will not be demeaned or disrespected. 

 

The Irish language is not a political weapon. An Ghaeilge belongs to every person who wishes to speak it, to live through it, to rejoice in its lyricism, its poetry, its music.

 

Arlene Foster should meet with Gaeilgeoirí. When she does she should make clear that she and the DUP will support and deliver Acht na Gaeilge. That would be a good day’s work and an act of real leadership.

 

Tá scéal mhuintir na hÉireann fite fuaite leis an nGaeilge. Insíonn sí dúinn cé muid, cad as a tháinig muid agus cá bhfuil ár dtriall. Is fearrde muid an Gheailge. Ná bíodh eagla ar aon duine roimh chultúr na nGael atá oscailte agus fáiltiúil do gach aon duine eile. Tá súil agam go bhfuil tuiscint níos fearr ag an phobal Aontachtach ar an nGaeilge anois. Gabhaim buíochas leis na daoine ar fad a sheas an fód ar son na Gaeilge go háirithe an Dream Dearg – bhí sé iontach na daoine óga a fheiceáil ag éileamh a gceart. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí amach ar na sráideanna!

 

The past, the suffering and loss in the course of our conflict is not a political football or the plaything of those who wish to score points against another.

 

Manus Deery, at 15 years old, lost his life to the bullet of a British soldier on the streets of Derry.  He was an innocent victim. He died in 1972. His family waited for 45 years for a new inquest. Forty-five years to have his innocence vindicated.

 

Shame on those who allowed his family to suffer. 

 

Shame on those who allow so, many other families to suffer, to wait and wait.

 

The Chief Justice has called for resources, for money to be made available for Coroner’s courts and inquests. 

 

Those monies must be released without delay – no preconditions, no excuses, no more waiting. 

 

British claims of ‘national security’ concerns are simply excuses to exonerate the British state from facing the past, collusion and Britain’s dirty war in Ireland.

 

The truth won’t go away. The victims and survivors won’t go away. 

 

The past and truth recovery will test all of us.

 

We are ready for the challenge. Others now need to step up, stop frustrating progress and implement the agreed mechanisms. 

 

Victims and survivors deserve nothing less. 

 

We have engaged extensively and in good faith in talks with all of the political parties and the two Governments since the election. 

 

We will continue to meet, to talk, to seek resolutions. 

 

We want to find agreement. We will work hard to reach agreement.

 

If that does not prove possible then we will return to the people in a fresh election.

 

Direct rule is not an option. 

 

The people are in charge, they have delivered an unmistakable mandate for progress and change, for good government and for the implementation of longstanding commitments.

 

Let none imagine that the people can be faced down or frustrated in those aims. 

 

Ireland is in a time of great challenge and change.

 

We need to prepare for Irish reunification now. We need a debate, honest conversations about a new Ireland.

 

We need to listen, to understand, to accommodate all of our people, in all our diversity in the new Ireland.

 

An Ireland that is Orange and Green, black and white, settled and traveller, Gay and straight.

 

An Ireland that protects the many and not just the privileged few.

 

That remembers and celebrates the past – the history made at the General Post Office in Dublin or on the banks of the Boyne – an Ireland that courageously, fearlessly faces the future.

 

Our strength is in unity, in making common cause with everyone who believes in a new political order in Ireland, grounded in equality.

 

Mar sin a chairde imeoimid as an áit seo lán le muinín, misneach agus neart. Tá a lán fós le déanamh. Táimid ag faire ar an todhchaí chun sin a dhéanamh caithfimid breathnú siar agus a chinntiú nach ndéanfar na rudaí céanna arís – an éagóir, an ghéarchúis agus an chríochdheighilt. Beidh Sinn Féin i mbun cainteanna ar bhur son – ar son na saoirse, cearta daonna agus meas ar gach duine. 

 

Our patriot dead, the heroes of 1916 and of every generation made history with a clarity of purpose and a determination to succeed.

 

Today at the gravesides of our patriot dead, we pledge again to keep faith, to honour them, to finish the journey, to end partition. 

 

That is the task.

 

Now it is our turn, our time to write the next chapter. 

 

We cannot be found wanting. 

 

We will not be found wanting.

 

Bígí linn agus feicfimid éirí na gealaí.

Headstone unveiled for Derry Republican Dale Moore

A ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon in the City to remember Derry Republican and former Sinn Féin press officer Dale Moore with the unveiling of a new headstone at his graveside in the lower section of the City Cemetery.17966818_10156080758913642_5299365784996654132_o-1

The headstone was unveiled by Martina Anderson MEP and Dominic Doherty with  family and friends in attendance.

30th Anniversary of local IRA Volunteer Gerard “Bogie” Logue remembered

Several hundred people attended an Easter Sunday morning commemoration in the Waterside to mark the 30th Anniversary of the death of local IRA Volunteer Gerard “Bogie” Logue.20170416_114335

The event was to have taken place last month but was postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Martin McGuinness.

A wreath laying ceremony took place at the Waterside Republican memorial garden. Local Republican Archie Fleming who spoke at the event thanked everyone for making it a fitting tribute to the memory of Gerard Logue.

Ends

Unveiling of headstone for Martin McGuinness

Sinn Féin in Derry  have announced that tomorrow (Sunday) a new headstone will be unveiled at the grave of Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness.

It will be unveiled at the Republican plot as part of the annual Easter commemoration.17424724_1337286382994089_6075757283179062776_n

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “Today a headstone was unveiled at the grave of well known Derry Republican Dale Moore.

On Sunday as part of the annual Easter commemoration a new headstone will be unveiled for our leader Martin McGuinness who passed away just a few short weeks ago.

The loss of Dale and Martin within a very short of space of time was a big blow for Sinn Féin in Derry.

But they both will continue to inspire and encourage us in the time ahead. They believed that a better Ireland, a genuinely new Ireland is possible.

Unveiling of headstone for Derry Republican Dale Moore

A ceremony will take place this Saturday at 2pm in the City Cemetery to remember a Derry Republican who passed away in December of last year.dale-moore

Dale Moore will be remembered with the unveiling of a new headstone at his graveside in the new lower section of the Cemetery.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said “Dale was well-known and respected throughout Ireland.

He was inspiration to many of us, despite his failing health he didn’t complain, he got on with what needed done.

In his graveside oration, Sinn Féin stalwart Mitchel McLaughlin said that Dale, like many of his peers, when needed stood up with courage and determination for what they believed in.

He was a dedicated, good-natured, lifelong republican activist. And that’s how we will always remember him. I would urge all those who knew him to come along on Saturday for the unveiling of his new headstone at 2pm.

Easter Lily campaign launched at Stormont – McCallion

Speaking from the launch local Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion said:33863948401_93f336f61d_k

“Easter is a very special time for Irish Republicans. It is a time not only when we commemorate the heroic acts that took place in Dublin in 1916 but it is also a time when we remember all the brave men and women from across the country who sacrificed their lives in pursuit of creating a united and better Ireland.

“The Easter Lily symbolises unity, equality and prosperity for all the people of Ireland and it is with this in mind that we launch our campaign here today.

“I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to attend their local commemoration, check the local press for the times  and wear their Easter Lily with pride.”

Notes

Main Sunday Easter parade in Derry will assemble on Westland Street at 2pm

Local area commemorations will take place on Sunday at the following Republican monuments.

11.00am Waterside (Rose Court)

1.00pm Shantallow   Monument (Racecourse Road)

1.30pm Creggan (Central Drive), Bogside Brandywell (Lecky Road)

No prospect of political agreement unless British government and DUP address issues – O’Neill

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill has said there is no prospect of political agreement unless the British government and DUP address the fundamental issues in the current talks.

Michelle O’Neill said: 33283707170_b7c6376416_k

“We have been here five weeks during which time Sinn Féin has been fully engaged. We believe in the institutions and we have been working to restore them and to rebuild public confidence in them.

“However, to date there has been no measurable progress. And at this critical period there is no prospect of a political agreement unless the British government and the DUP tackle the fundamental issues, which Martin McGuinness addressed in his letter of resignation.

“There can be no return to petty-minded and bigoted ministerial decisions; no return to the treatment of any group of people as second-class citizens; no return to the arrogant disregard for the squandering of public money; and no return to the short-sighted dismissal of the need for genuine reconciliation and peace-building.

“Those are the issues which need to be dealt with if we are to take this opportunity to fix what is broken and to move society forward on the basis of equal partnership government and rights for all.

“But time is running out. We are now in a critical period and there needs to be substantial movement from both the British Government and the DUP over the coming days. If they again fail to do so then the people should have their say.”

£2,000 of damage at Shantallow Republican monument

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has appealed for information about those involved in a vandalism attack on the Shantallow Republican Monument on the Racecourse Road late on Friday night.

It is believed a small group of teenagers were responsible for the incident .

Councillor Hassan saidlg_tony_hassan_copy2

“There is anger in the local community on hearing this news.”

“A lot of damage was caused to the Centenary display which was unveiled just last year as part of the 1916 celebrations. In all the time since it has never been touched.

“It’s a lovely display which has the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation and the names and photographs of local Volunteers who died during the conflict.

“Preparations would have been taking place this week in advance of Easter Sunday, and this is the last thing we want to see happening.

“It’s believed a small group of teenagers were behind this and I would appeal for anyone who knows anything about this to bring that information forward.”

Cllr Hassan added:

We would like to speak to the parents of these teenagers to find why they carried out this vandalism. Six display panels of the 1916 signatories and our local volunteers were badly damaged at a cost of £2,000.

I would also like to thank local people who have been trying to help fix the damage done to the monument.”

ENDS.

Concerns over the state of the roadway in large Derry developments -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has raised the concerns over the state of the roadway, road markings in the Grangemore –Ardgrange area with Transport NI.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

These are two very large developments with hundreds of homes connected with main one access road.

 

Councillor Kelly said

 

“The Grangemore and Ardgrange areas have grown considerably in recent years and with many young families.

 

I was contacted by a number of local residents and met with them this week to discuss concerns they have over the speed, the volume of traffic travelling through the area and lack of road markings there.

 

I have now written to Transport NI requesting an onsite meeting looking to go through the various aspects concerning residents.  

 

These are two very large developments with several hundred homes, so it always very busy with traffic anytime of the day or night .I would urge motorists to slow down whilst travelling through the area and to adhere to the speed limits in place in a built up area.

McCartney welcomes Deery ruling

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the findings from the Coroner that Derry schoolboy Manus Deery was ‘totally innocent’ when he was shot dead by the British Army in the Bogside almost 45 years ago.152293135

A British soldier who shot dead Manus Deery was unjustified in discharging the fatal round, a coroner has ruled.

Raymond McCartney said:

“I welcome today’s findings.

“This was a 15-year-old boy who was shot dead by British soldiers as he chatted with friends.

“The Deery family are entitled to the truth about the killing of Manus and hopefully today’s decision will help them in their quest for justice in setting the truth free.”

Step change required from British government and DUP – O’Neill

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill has said a step change is required from the British government and DUP to make progress in the talks.

Speaking ahead of a public meeting held in Derry on Thursday night Michelle O’Neill said: 20170128_154209

“The recent election was a watershed moment for the people of the North.

“The people understood the importance of the election. There can be no tolerance of incompetence and financial scandals such as Red Sky, NAMA, RHI or arrogance or bigotry in public office.

“We cannot be part of institutions which are being corrupted.

“To date there has been little progress on the key political issues. The next week is critical in the political talks. The political stakes are high.

“Getting the political institutions back in place will be a challenge given the DUP’s stated position on an Irish Language Act, a Bill of Rights and other fundamental requirements, and the British government’s obstructive approach to legacy issues and other matters.

“Over recent weeks Sinn Féin has been meeting all the Assembly parties and the British and Irish Governments and setting out our plan for getting out of this mess – for getting the power sharing institutions back up and running and for securing the place of the North within the EU.

“The reality is that the British Government has abjectly failed to honour its commitments on equality and rights. They must now step up and deliver on their commitments otherwise restoring the institutions is in serious doubt.

“The institutions will not be restored without movement on these key issues. The northern Executive is not sustainable unless it delivers and respects basic equality and human rights for all our citizens.

“Our absolute commitment is to the agreements we have made and their implementation. If others including the two governments do likewise then it is game on.”

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