McCartney expresses solidarity with postal workers

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed solidarity with the vital role played by postal workers in our society to mark Postal Workers Day today 12thDecember.

raymond mccartney

 

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“Today is Postal Workers Day when we pay tribute to the role postal workers play in our society on a daily basis.

 

“It is particularly important that we stop and recognise the role of postal workers at this time of year, when their workload increases significantly as they make extra deliveries of Christmas cards and parcels.

 

“Postal workers are also a lifeline for older people and those who may be lonely and isolated, particularly in rural areas. Often the role of postal workers goes unnoticed but the fact is they play a key role in all of our daily lives.

 

“I’d like to pay tribute to all of our postal workers for the vital service they provide, not just at Christmas but all year round.”

 

CRIOCH/ENDS

McCartney addresses rally against US decision on Jerusalem

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney addressed a rally in Derry on Thursday night condemning the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Speaking after the rally, Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

“This week, the US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intends to establish a US Embassy there.

“We felt it was important to mobilise the people of Derry on to the streets to highlight our opposition to this decision and to send our ongoing solidarity to the Palestinian people.

“The claim by Israel that Jerusalem is the ‘complete and united’ capital of Israel is in violation of international law and a flagrant breach of the international consensus around a two state solution.
“There is an onus on people and government’s alike to stand up and reject this crass decision.
“The Irish government must send a clear signal and inline with the programme for government, recognise the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS

McCartney urges support for rally against US decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney MLA has condemned the US Government’s reckless decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to begin establishing a US Embassy there.

raymond mccartney

Israel’s claim that Jerusalem is the ‘complete and united’ capital of Israel is in violation of numerous international laws.

He also called on people to support a rally being held in Derry’s Guildhall Sq on Thursday 7th December at 7pm.
Raymond McCartney said:

“I want to add my voice to global condemnation of the reports that US President Donald Trump will today declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is an extremely dangerous, reckless, and worrying move.

“The status of the city of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in the region as East Jerusalem is the future capital of the State of Palestine, but it is illegally occupied by Israel.

“This unilateral move by the US will have grave consequences for the Israel-Palestine peace process, which was already on life support because of Israel’s continued colonisation of Palestine, continued illegal Israeli colonial settlement building, and the apartheid regime that Israel is enforcing in Palestine.

“The international community is rightly united in its rejection of Israel’s jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem. No country currently has its Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and plans to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a very dangerous and reckless step.

“I would urge people to show their support for the Palestinian people and join the rally on Thursday 7th December, 7pm in the Guildhall Square.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS 

Days of using political institutions to show disrespect are over- McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said today that the days of anyone using the political institutions in the north of Ireland to show disrespect, and contempt or to deny rights are over.

The Foyle  MLA was speaking after his party launched a new Sinn Féin booklet entitled ‘No return to the Status Quo’ which analyses the evolution of the peace process since 2010.

Raymond McCartney  said:

raymond mccartney

“The British government and DUP alliance is based upon a unionist agenda defined in terms of support for Brexit, austerity and opposition to a rights-based framework for government.

“They have created the current crisis and, as a result, the entire basis of the Good Friday Agreement is now faced with its most serious threat in the history of the peace process.

“A successful resolution hinges on whether political unionism can accept, and co-exist in partnership, with the Irish cultural tradition, and Irish nationalist and republican identity.

“The only way this can be achieved is through the implementation of the equality based framework of the Good Friday Agreement to guarantee the rights of all citizens and sections of society, regardless of creed, culture, colour, class, political allegiance or sexual orientation.

“The political institutions will either be reestablished and sustained on this basis, or they will not.

“Fifty years on from the Civil Rights campaign the rights and equality agenda must not be short changed. The days of anyone using the political institutions in the north of Ireland to show disrespect, and contempt or to deny rights are over.

“This much is certain, the new momentum for full delivery of rights for all citizens will not be going away.”

Sinn Féin Christmas Post stamp in memory of Martin McGuinness launched

The annual Sinn Féin Christmas Post has been launched in the city.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said 

“This year it was decided by the party membership that the commemorative stamp should be in honour of Martin McGuinness.

Martin has left to us all his memory, the legacy of his activism in our quest for a new Ireland.

The annual Sinn Féin post has been a feature of the Christmas period in Derry now for over thirty years and I would encourage people to make use of it. Christmas cards will be delivered to any part of Derry City for the minimal price of 20p.

The Christmas Post is now operating.Cards can be left at the Sinn Féin Office on the Racecourse Road Shantallow, Ráth Mór office on the New Road and at the Spencer Road and Strand Road offices.

‘A5 announcement will provide construction boost’ – McCartney

Confirmation that work is set to begin on the A5 Derry to Dublin road upgrade will provide a much-needed boost to the construction industry, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA  Raymond McCartney  has said.

The Foyle MLA was commenting after the Department of Infrastructure  published its decision to proceed with the first phase of the project following a lengthy planning process.

raymond mccartney

“The A5 dual carriageway is an essential lifeline for addressing the infrastructural deficit west of the Bann and for connecting the North West region of Ireland to Dublin.

“It will also be a huge benefit to our construction industry, given that this phase of the route, from Newbuildings to Strabane, is a £150million project.

“It also represents the realisation of the commitment within the Fresh Start Agreement to proceed with the A5, funded on an all-Ireland basis by the Executive and the Dublin Government.

“The importance of this project has never been more important given the implications of Brexit.

“The Derry and the North West region needs to reinforce its connections with the capital city through projects such as the A5 rather than the imposition of border tariffs and other financial penalties which Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and others are working on daily to try to counteract by securing Designated Status for the north.”

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Derry meeting hears Loughinisland campaign

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the relatives of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre are entitled to know the truth about the death of their loved ones.

Speaking following a Q+A with the Loughlinisland Campaign held in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on Saturday afternoon., the Foyle MLA said;

raymond mccartney

“On June 18, 1994, loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and indiscriminately opened fire killing six men who were watching Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

“This disgraceful attack not only shocked people in the local area, but throughout Ireland and across the world.

“To compound the awful brutality of the attack, it soon emerged that the UVF gunmen responsible for the murders were linked to British security forces.

“There was clear collusion in the planning and carrying out of the attack. The RUC also attempted to deny justice to the relatives of those killed by destroying evidence and covering up the truth.

“Twenty three years on the families are still campaigning for truth and are still being frustrated.

“The families of those killed at Loughinisland deserve justice and we will continue to support them in their campaign.”

‘Substantial inequalities need tackled’ -McCartney

The latest Multiple Deprivation figures published by NISRA demonstrate the need for an anti-poverty strategy to combat ongoing inequalities, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said.

“Whilst the figures have just been published and need to be carefully studied, it is already evident from them that substantial inequalities still exist between and within communities,” he commented.

“For instance, the highest levels of multiple deprivation are still occurring in the Belfast and Derry/Strabane Council areas.

“These inequalities need to be robustly tackled if we are going to improve the lives of everyone and help them fulfil their true potential.

“It will be imperative that any incoming Executive utilises the most recent data to fully develop an anti-poverty strategy which clearly targets those most in need, setting out the actions and outcomes they plan to achieve alongside a budget for ensuring the work is carried out.

“That needs to be a priority and Sinn Féin is  continuing to engage with departmental officials as they prepare proposals for the anti-poverty strategy.”

Sinn Féin back public sector pay campaign

Sinn Féin will vigorously support a major new trade union campaign against the public sector pay gap SF MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

The  Foyle MLA was speaking as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions launched the ‘Better Work, Better Lives’ campaign involving 30 trade unions demanding an end to the 1% cap.

“Sinn Féin fully recognise the detrimental impact of the Tory Pay Cap on public sector staff,” he commented.

“It is our firm position that the pay cap should be scrapped and that the Tory Government should reverse its cuts to the North’s block grant to ensure we can provide proper public services and proper public sector wages.

“Since the Tories imposed austerity in 2010 some £1 billion has been lost in real terms from the Executive’s budget for day-to-day spending. A further 3% cut is planned over the next two years. Austerity has caused unnecessary hardship, contributed to falling real wages, and consolidated inequality. The British Chancellor’s statement tomorrow provides an opportunity to abandon the failed ideology of austerity in favour of an economic stimulus.

“Sinn Féin regularly and routinely engage with the trade union movement so we greatly welcome this campaign and will vigorously support it.

“It is vital that as many voices as possible within wider civic society oppose the Tory austerity agenda which is an ideologically driven assault on frontline public services, workers and the most vulnerable in society.”

Eastwood should name the projects he wants to close’ – McCartney

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has challenged the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood to name which community projects in Derry he wants to shut down.

 

Raymond McCartney was speaking after the SDLP Leader called for the entire Social Investment Fund (SIF) to be brought to a close.

 

He commented: “Sinn Féin has highlighted abuses of state funding in loyalist areas including abuses of SIF funding. Such abuses should be tackled vigorously by the authorities.

 

“However, what Colum Eastwood is now advocating is scrapping the entire programme. If that is now the SDLP’s position, despite the fact they were involved in the SIF allocations, he should state clearly whether that includes the transformative work SIF has carried out in Derry,

 

“Does it, for example, include the SIF funds allocated in partnership with Derry & Strabane Council, to new play facilities and new pitches in the Brandywell and Ballymagroarty?

 

“Does it include the funding of a highly-successful community work programme in cooperation with the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership?

 

“Colum Eastwood should tell the public in Derry who have benefited from these investments why he is so offended by these projects and which he wants to shut down.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

Sinn Féin supports post office workers in campaign on pension right /working week

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has voiced his support for postal workers in their campaign to save  pension rights and a shorter working week.

He said

 “The union has an overwhelming mandate to pursue this action following an 89% vote in favour of it.

“They Post Office  should respect the right of workers to engage in mandated legal action in pursuit of legitimate goals. In this case, the postal workers are opposing changes to their pension scheme which will see members losing up to a third of their retirement benefits.

“In those  circumstances, and even if there is some temporary disruption to services, I am sure the vast majority of the public will support the postal workers in any action they take .”

‘Desperate SDLP covering its own failings’ – McCartney

An increasingly desperate SDLP is attempting to cover up its own failings by constantly attacking others, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

The Foyle MLA was speaking after SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood claimed the Executive had routinely failed to deliver for Derry.

“It’s quite ironic for Colum Eastwood to accuse others of failing Derry when the SDLP was the lead party in this city for decades, during which time the north west was shamefully neglected,” Raymond McCartney commented.

“It is only since Sinn Féin became the biggest party that we have seen real progress on the key strategic issues that need to be developed such as our roads infrastructure, health provision and the expansion of the university.

“We would all love to see more and quicker progress but I think most people accept it will take time to rectify the generations of institutional neglect which happened on the SDLP’s watch.

“But even this progress has come in the face of constant SDLP opposition. They opposed the budget that that provided the funds for the A5 and the A6. They opposed the budget that provided the funds for the initial expansion at Magee. They opposed the budget that provided the funds for the cancer centre at Altnagelvin and regeneration of the Ebrington site.

“Not once did they provide a credible alternative proposal.

“I could go on because the SDLP have opposed every single budget since they lost their status as the largest nationalist party.

“That is not political leadership. That is an abdication of leadership and the SDLP’s constant attacks on everyone else are nothing more than an increasingly desperate attempt to deflect public attention from their own failings over many, many years.

“Even if Colum doesn’t realise that, the electorate clearly do which is why they elected Elisha McCallion as the MP.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

‘Denial of rights preventing power-sharing return’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney has said Sinn Féin remain fully committed to restoring the power sharing institutions on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.

Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“Sinn Féin’s position remains the same. We are fully committed to the power sharing institutions agreed in the Good Friday Agreement and on the principles of equality, respect and integrity this is the only sustainable way government in the North can function.

“Threats to public services are a direct result of Tory austerity policies, policies now backed by the DUP as part of their reckless pact with the Tory government.

“The DUP should focus their attentions on ending their denial of rights which citizens enjoy everywhere else on these islands, so we can get local ministers who are best placed to run local public services and prioritise our own political agenda back in place.

“Unless there is a step change on the part of the DUP and both governments on the issues of rights, it is very unlikely we are going to see any agreement in the next period of time which sees the institutions back in place.

“The issue of rights is not going to go away. The DUP know this. These rights must be satisfactorily dealt with.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

McCartney slams British army immunity plan

Sinn Féin has strongly rejected the latest attempt to rule out any prosecution of British soldiers for crimes committed during the conflict here.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney was speaking after Tory MP Richard Benyon presented a bill in Westminster that would provide a ‘statute of limitations’ on the prosecution of British troops.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

Raymond McCartney said “British forces were directly involved in state sponsored killings and also in a campaign of systemic collusion and state-sanctioned executions through surrogate unionist death squads.

“British soldiers acted with impunity and any attempt to provide immunity to British soldiers and others who either directly, or indirectly through collusion, killed citizens is entirely unacceptable.

“Mechanisms to resolve the past and provide those bereaved with a process of truth recovery were agreed at Stormont House. That agreement is the way forward and it should be implemented

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the families who are being denied truth.”

Ends

McCartney welcome minibus mitigation

Sinn Féin has welcomed confirmation that minibus drivers will be permitted up to six-months to enable them to meet new driving regulations which come into effect today (November 1st)raymond-mccartney2

Raymond McCartney has said concerns remain over the impact of the controversial changes on the future of community and school transport systems but that the six-month extension was a positive step.

The Foyle MLA commented: “Sinn Féin has been in constant engagement with the Department for Infrastructure on their proposed changes to minibus licencing requirements and we welcome confirmation that those drivers who have initiated the licencing process will be allowed up to six months to obtain their documentation.

“This will come as welcome news to many service providers and users who rely heavily on community transport.

“However, concerns remain around the wider impact these changes will have on the ability of transport providers to source drivers and Sinn Féin is continuing to seek further mitigation measures to ensure services are protected.

“We believe there is a particular impact on rural communities, disabled people, schools and youth services who rely heavily on community transport services.

“We have made a strong submission to the department arguing for robust mitigation measures based on their equality obligations to protect vulnerable groups and will continue to press for suitable measures to be put in place.”

Tony Taylor incarceration approaches 600 days –McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has called for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor as he approaches 600 days of imprisonment.

Speaking after meeting Tony Taylor this week the Foyle MLA 20746862_10210587880314866_390639123_o

“As we approach 600 days of his incarceration I repeat Sinn Féin’s call for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor. I visited him just last week in Maghaberry

and he should either be released immediately or brought before a court and given due process.

We have long campaigned for Tony’s release. His arrest and imprisonment without recourse to due process is a practice that is totally unacceptable and needs to end immediately.

The continued use of unjust powers by the British government to revoke a person’s license without producing any evidence of wrongdoing is an affront to human rights and natural justice.

Ends

Free Derry Corner lit up for Catalonia

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney speaking at Free Derry Wall on Sunday night at a solidarity rally held to coincide with similar rallies in Belfast and Dublin to show support with the people of Catalan following their historic declaration of independence this week.22814298_519035728454315_1967007844407975413_n

He said “The democratically elected Parliament of Catalonia this week made a declaration of Independence. It is a historic step towards Catalan statehood.

“The right to self-determination is a corner stone of international law and this declaration must be respected.

“We want to express our solidarity with the people of Catalonia from the people of Derry on this historic week.

McCartney welcomes court judgement in Hooded Men case

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney, has welcomed a court judgement to reopen an investigation into the torture of 14 citizens in 1971, known as the ‘Hooded Men’.

He said:raymond-mccartney2

“Today’s crucial High Court decision is a welcome development in the Hooded Men’s long campaign for truth and justice.

“The 14 men had been tortured over seven days by British Army and the RUC Special Branch using brutal in-depth interrogation techniques.

“The decision of the PSNI to prematurely end the investigation into the torture and hideous physical and mental abuse of these men was unacceptable and completely wrong.

“We agree with the High Court in their decision that a new ‘decision process must begin’. This must happen immediately, followed by a fresh police investigation.

“The Hooded Men are some of many citizens still seeking truth and justice over 40 years after their ordeal. The British government and its agencies must release all information it holds about the torture, human rights abuses and state killings it carried out during the course of the conflict.”

Sinn Féin repeat call for end to Maghaberry strip searches

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney has reiterated calls for an end to strip searching in Maghaberry Prison after a judge warned it may amount to ‘inhuman and degrading’ treatment.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The Foyle MLA was speaking after a Dublin High Court judge has delayed extradition a man facing charges in relation to the death of prison officer David Black. Judge Aileen Donnelly said she was satisfied Damien McLaughlin could ‘inhuman and degrading conditions’ in Maghaberry.

Raymond McCartney said:

“The observation made by Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly in the extradition case against Damien McLaughlin should prompt the Prison Service and the Department of Justice to stop the practice of strip searching and find a technological alternative. The judge was very clear in her concerns around the strip searching procedures which she warned presented a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment.

“The need for an end to strip searching was one of the key findings and recommendations of the Ann Owers Prison Review report six years ago.

“This ruling by the judge outlines that strip searching is out of step with any semblance of human rights standards necessary in 2017 and should be ended immediately.”

Transformation of the Brandywell -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney speaking after he led a party delegation of Karen Mullan MLA and local Councillor Patricia Logue on visit to the Brandywell Stadium to view progress on the work at the Stadium, dog track and new state of the art play park facilities.

Raymond McCartney said “It’s amazing to see the transformation of this site.Raymond Brandywell Head shot

I think when people see it coming to fruition they will get a full sense of the intentions of Derry City and Strabane District Council backed up with a big commitment from the Social Investment Fund (ISF)to this area, to this stadium. We hope with the increased seating capacity it will be a boost to the local football club and obviously the greyhound fraternity. And also the opening of a state of the art play park for the children of this area.

It was great to see the progress on all three projects gather pace. Once this stage of the work is completed it will bring these facilities into the 21st Century and act as a catalyst for these sports in our city for generations to come.

We are very pleased at the role we have played in this over the years .Along the way there was naysayers, we always said keep focused it can be delivered and when you come and visit the site you can clearly see we are on the cusp of delivery.

I look forward to seeing it when it opens and the club flourish now they are in Europe next year.

McCartney welcomes progress on DAERA headquarters

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed an announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that an initial 240 civil servants will relocate to new headquarters in Ballykelly by March 2018.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

The Foyle MLA said:

“News that 240 staff members will move to the £20m facility in the first phase of relocation is to be welcomed.

“The move by my party leader Michelle O’Neill as former Agriculture Minister to decentralise the DARD headquarters to Ballykelly was a positive step for the North West and employment in the area.”

Ends

Taoiseach should be defending GFA right to majority vote’- McCartney

The overwhelming majority of people on this island support Irish reunification. The Irish Government should reflect that and defend the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, including the right of a majority to vote for a United Ireland, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.raymond-mccartney2

He was speaking after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the BBC that he wouldn’t like to see constitutional change ‘on a 50% plus one basis’.

Raymond McCartney commented: “The Good Friday Agreement is absolutely clear in enshrining the right of the Irish people to self-determination through referenda, north and south.

“If a simple majority vote in favour of reunification, both governments are then obliged to legislate for it.

“The Good Friday Agreement is the legal and internationally-biding position.

“There is an onus on the Irish government to plan for unity. To become a persuader for unity. To build the maximum agreement and to secure and win a referendum on unity.

“As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Taoiseach should be seeking to defend the agreement in all its parts, not seeking to undermine it.”

Don’t suffer in silence’- McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has urged people suffering from mental health issues to speak out because help is available.dlxwrhfx4aa86o0

The Foyle MLA was speaking as a number of events took place to mark World Mental Health Day.

“Often poor mental health is avoided or not talked about so today is a welcome opportunity to promote positive mental health,” he commented.

“When someone is feeling depressed or anxious they don’t get the visitors and friends calling over to see if they are okay in the same way that someone does when suffering with a physical illness.

“There is still a huge degree of stigma around mental health but events like today help to break some of that down.

“And I would urge anyone who is dealing with a mental health issue not to suffer in silence. There is help available and the best thing you can do is reach out and talk to someone.

Now is the time for referendum on Presidential Voting Rights –McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed suggestions that the Irish government are to hold a referendum on extending Presidential Voting Rights to citizen’s in the North and amongst the diaspora.

Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“Sinn Féin has long campaigned for the extension of this franchise and we look forward to the opportunity to campaign on a referendum.

“An Taoiseach must ensure there is no further delay in bringing that referendum forward, he must act in the interest of all those who are Irish citizens and seek to engage with the democratic life of Ireland.

“A basic tenet of any democracy is the right of citizens to vote.

“At a time when we face increased uncertainty as a result of a reckless Tory Brexit agenda anything that binds our country together and creates equality among citizens across Ireland and indeed across our Global Diaspora is a good thing.

“Last week during Guy Verhofstadt’s visit to Ireland my party colleague Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile put it to him that our EU citizenship must not be partial and he agreed, this must also apply to our Irish citizenship in Ireland.

“We must have our full rights and equality.”

End

McCartney disappointed by RHI delay

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

Commenting on the delay Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

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

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

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

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

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

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

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

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

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

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

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

Threats against probation workers should be lifted immediately –McCartney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

Visit to the La Dolce Vita project in Derry.

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

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

Speaking after the visit Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney :

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

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

Ends

Deportations a result of Brexit xenophobia’ – McCartney

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

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

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

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

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

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

Ends

Derry delegation to visit Tony Taylor on Friday

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

tony taylor

tony taylor

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

‘British must honour Legacy obligations’ – McCartney

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

Raymond McCartney said:raymond-mccartney2

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

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

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

“That is wrong and unacceptable.

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

McCartney slams ‘untrue’ SDLP health claims

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

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS/CRÍOCH

McCartney condemns Derry security alert

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

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The Foyle MLA said:

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

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

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

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

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

McCartney welcomes court decision on Showband Massacre

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

Raymond McCartney said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinn Féin call for Universal Credit postponement amid passport concerns

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

He said

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

Sinn Féin slam SDLP hypocrisy on welfare

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

The Foyle MLA commented:raymond-mccartney2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinn Féin Ard Fheis to take place in November – Raymond McCartney MLA

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has confirmed today that the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis will take place on Friday and Saturday 17th and 18th of November in the RDS, Dublin.16118403984_76d6676d5e_o

The Foyle MLA said;

“Since the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis last met politics on this island has changed dramatically. Brexit, and its impact on Ireland, dominates the news headlines and Irish Unity is now firmly on the national and international political agenda.

“Sinn Féin believes there is now an unprecedented opportunity to begin a strategic discussion on the transition to a new, agreed, united Ireland built upon reconciliation and equality.

“In the North Sinn Féin has fought two elections, increasing our support in both. Our focus is now firmly on getting the institutions back up and running on the basis of equality, respect and integrity. A rights based society with anti-sectarianism at its heart is the only credible and sustainable way forward for politics in the North.

“In the South the new Fine Gael led Government, supported by Fianna Fáil, has actually allowed the health and housing crises to escalate further.

“While the new Taoiseach, Mr Varadkar, presents a hip new image to the public, the reality is that more families are facing homelessness and more patients are waiting longer to be treated. There is also an urgent need for comprehensive reform of the political system and public institutions such as An Garda Síochána.

“Sinn Féin is holding this government to account and we will contest any future general election seeking a mandate to be in government and implement policies to resolve these crises.

“All of these issues will be debated at our upcoming Ard Fheis which will be held in the RDS in Dublin on Friday and Saturday 17th and 18th of November.

“This year we also lost our much loved comrade and leader Martin McGuinness, and thousands of Party members and supporters will take the opportunity at this Ard Fheis to pay tribute to his huge legacy.”

DUP remains in denial about collapse of institutions – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said today that the DUP remains in denial about its association with a series of financial scandals and the arrogance and disrespect, which led to the collapse of the political institutions.raymond-mccartney2

Raymond McCartney was responding to comments made by DUP MLA Gordon Lyons.

He said:

“Sinn Féin wants an Ireland that is defined by hope, prosperity and opportunity for all citizens irrespective of their age, gender, religious persuasion, cultural identity, political affiliation, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

“It will surprise no one that Sinn Féin as an Irish Republican party is calling on the leadership of Irish nationalism across this island to come together to plan for Irish unity.

“The DUP’s faux outrage at this fact demonstrates that the DUP remains in denial about its arrogance and disrespect which led to the collapse of the political institutions in the north.

“Sinn Féin is committed to getting the political institutions in the north back up and running on the basis of implementing previous agreements, an end to the series of financial scandals associated with the DUP in government and equality and respect for all.

“That requires an end to the DUP’s denial of rights, supported by the Tory government, such as marriage equality, language rights and the right to a coroner’s inquest, which are enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on these islands.

“The DUP/Tory deal has given the Tory government a blank cheque for further austerity cuts and a disastrous Brexit despite the people of the north voting to Remain in the EU.

“If the DUP wants to put Sinn Féin’s credentials to the test then it could engage immediately in talks to implement agreements and end its support for discrimination.”

McCartney speaks at National Hunger Strike event in Ballina

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney who spent 53 days on Hunger Strike in 1980 joined an international panel discussion at a weekend of events in Ballina Co Mayo to coincide with the National Hunger Strike commemoration taking place there.

ballina-1

Thousands of people from all parts of Ireland and beyond gathered in Ballina to mark the 36th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten young men died in H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

The Commemoration also marked the sacrifice of Mayo Hunger Strikers Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, who died in English prisons in the 1970s, as well as that of another Mayo man Seán ‘Jack’ McNeela and Tony D’arcy from Co. Galway, both of whom died on Hunger Strike in 1940.

Raymond McCartney reflected the prison protests in Long Kesh and Armagh Gaol in the 1980s. George Stagg brother of Hunger striker Frank Stagg spoke emotionally of his memories of the funeral of his brother being hijacked and thanked people for their continued support in remembering all the Hunger strikers. There were also speakers from Palestine.

Breaches in ambulance hygiene standards need addressed – Foyle MLA

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said breaches of infection control measures in the Ambulance Service need to be addressed for the health and safety of patients and staff.raymond mccartney

Speaking on the news that the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) had discovered breaches in hygiene standards Raymond McCartney said:

“It is important in delivering health and social care services to the public that the safety of patients is paramount. Breaches in hygiene standards increase the risk of infection in patients, and indeed staff delivering ambulance services, and they must be addressed.

“Ambulance staff provide a vital service to the public, being first to the scene of emergencies and helping people when they are at their most vulnerable.

“It is clear they are under increasing pressure to deliver what is often a life-saving service, due to increasing demand.

“We need to support ambulance staff to continue to deliver a high standard of service. Part of that is the delivery of a comprehensive HSC workforce strategy that takes into consideration, and provides for, the current and future demand on the Ambulance Service.”

McCartney welcomes Taoiseach’s commitment to A5

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the stated commitment from the Taoiseach on the development of the A5 project.raymond-mccartney2

The Foyle MLA was speaking after Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff questioned the Taoiseach at Queen’s University, Belfast as part of Taoiseach’s first official visit to the north.

Raymond McCartney said:

“West Tyrone MP Barry McEluff asked the Taoiseach directly to reaffirm his personal commitment and the Irish government’s political and financial commitments to ensuring that the A5 Transport Corridor is developed as soon as possible.

“The development of the A5 is absolutely critical for Derry, Donegal and Tyrone and it is vital to redressing the infrastructure deficit in the North West.

“The A5 dual carriageway will provide opportunities to the North West in terms of attracting inward investment and tourism, reducing travel times and transport costs to make this region more economically competitive.

“It will also prove vital in improving road safety along the entire route given the many lives that have been sadly lost because of the inadequacy of the single carriageway.

“Sinn Féin have written to the Taoiseach to meet so we can discuss the detail of the £75 million commitment he made on Friday .”

McCartney brands Campbell’s comments as crass, offensive and lacking in respect

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that Gregory Campbell’s latest remarks on the Irish language, a community festival in Derry and Martin McGuinness are crass, offensive and completely lacking in respect.

Raymond McCartney said: _dsc8219

“These comments are another example of the DUP’s Gregory Campbell’s total and utter disrespect for the Irish language with his offensive comments about the Gasyard Féile.

“The Gasyard Féile is a hugely successful and inclusive community festival, now in its 25th year, which promotes community health and wellbeing, international awareness and human rights and enables dialogue and discussion.

“Sadly, this is not the first time Gregory Campbell has insulted the Irish language community with his offensive anti-Irish mockery.

“His arrogant and ill-informed comments are ironic as the Féile also includes an event with Linda Ervine looking at the relationship between the Irish language and the Protestant, unionist and loyalist communities.

“His disgraceful comments and mockery are also at odds with recent comments made by the DUP leadership following meetings with sections of the Irish language community.

“Gregory Campbell also showed a lack of respect for others with his crass and offensive comments about the late Martin McGuinness and clearly at odds with his party leader’s attendance at Martin’s funeral.”

Ends

Air Ambulance will provide life-saving service -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, also known as the Air Ambulance, has become operational today._97162916_airambulancepacemaker

Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:

“I welcome the news that the north’s first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service will become operational today.

“This saving valuable time in responding to a casualty with the ability of the air ambulance to reach anywhere in the north within 25 minutes.

“This news follows an earlier decision by my colleague, former Health Minister Michelle O’Neill, to proceed with the Air Ambulance service based on a doctor led model. This means the service will operate with a doctor and paramedic on board.

“Today’s news is a proud day for all the people who have campaigned and worked for the introduction of this service, including the late Dr John Hinds.”

McCartney welcomes driving disqualification move

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said recognising driving disqualifications across the island of Ireland will ensure greater road safety for all users.

He said:raymond-mccartney2

“Any move which improves road safety on the island of Ireland is to be welcomed.

“The mutual recognition of driving disqualifications will prove an important road safety measure as it aims to target dangerous drivers on our roads.

“This move will help to reduce road injuries and ultimately save lives.”

McCartney condemns gun attack on Derry home

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned a gun attack on a house in Derry tonight.

Mr McCartney said: dsc_6528

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

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

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

Court ruling on Glenanne Gang collusion killings welcome -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney welcomed a judgement in the High Court in Belfast on Friday that the PSNI had failed to conduct a thorough investigation into collusion between the British state and the loyalist Glenanne Gang.raymond-mccartney2

He was speaking after Justice Seamus Treacy delivered his judgement on a judicial review taken by the brother of 13-year-old Patrick Barnard, who was killed in the bombing of the Hillcrest Bar in Dungannon in 1976.

Raymond McCartney said:

“I welcome the judgement by Justice Seamus Treacy in Belfast that the PSNI had failed to conduct a thorough investigation of wholesale British state collusion with the notorious loyalist Glenanne gang.

“Justice Treacy found that changes made by the PSNI to how it investigated historic cases were ‘fundamentally inconsistent’ with its obligations in the European Convention on Human Rights.

“He found that the HET had examined individual murders committed by the Glenanne gang but had not undertaken an overarching thematic review of the allegations of collusion with the state.

“The judgement confirms what families and others have known for decades that there was collusion between the British state and the loyalist murder gang which was made up of serving RUC, UDR, British army personnel and loyalists.

“The Glenanne gang was responsible for more than 100 murders, mostly of nationalist civilians, in Armagh and Tyrone, as well as being involved in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

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

“This continuous refusal to take responsibility for its actions is unacceptable and adds to the pain and suffering of the victims.

“Justice Treacy has placed an onus on the PSNI to return to the courts in a fortnight’s time to offer an ‘appropriate form of relief’ that would address the family’s concerns.

“I am calling on the PSNI to comply with the judgement and provide the necessary resources so that the families can get access to truth and justice.”

McCartney announces venue for National Hunger Strike Commemoration

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA and Former Hunger Striker Raymond McCartney has announced that the annual National Hunger Strike commemoration will take next month in Ballina Co Mayo on Sunday 13th August.

The Foyle MLA said he was delighted that this year’s event was taking place in the home county of Hunger Strikers Seán McNeela, Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg.

Raymond McCartney said raymond-mccartney2

“The prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s were without any doubt a key moment in the Irish struggle for freedom and justice. And within that period the Hunger Strike of 1981 is of course the defining moment.

Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg died on hunger strike in English jails in the 1970s, while another Mayo republican, Seán McNeela, also died on hunger strike in 1940 along with his friend and comrade Tony D’arcy from neighbouring Co. Galway.

The National commemoration in Ballina is one of the biggest events on the Republican calendar and I appeal to the wider Republican community in Derry, to the people of Ireland and international sympathisers to mobilise and show support for the ideals for which the Hunger Strikers gave their all.

Notes

There will be a number of buses travelling down from Derry , for seats call 02871 377551.

The Commemoration march and rally will take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo on Sunday, 13 August beginning at 3pm.

Every effort must be made to reopen Altnagelvin beds’ – McCartney

Every effort must be made to quickly reopen 25 beds closed due to a vomiting bug and staff shortages at Altnagelvin Hospital, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said._dsc8219

“These temporary closures will cause distress to those patients who were due to have important medical procedures carried out in Altnagelvin but who will now face an additional wait,” he commented.

“While I appreciate the important clinical reasons for the temporary closure in order to protect patients from a vomiting bug, it is vital that these beds are reopened as soon as possible.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that happens.

“Issues regarding staff shortages in Altnagelvin need to be addressed immediately.

“The department needs to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy covering all aspects of the Health and Social Care Service which they were tasked with doing by former Sinn Féin Health Minister Michelle O’Neill in her transformation plan, Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together.

“It is important that staff are supported to continue to deliver the top-class services they are trained to do.”

Raymond McCartney MLA welcomes Finucane court decision

Sinn Féin MLA and Justice spokesperson, Raymond McCartney, has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court Justices to grant leave to appeal to the Finucane family challenging the decision of former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s reneging on a Public Inquiry into the murder of Human Right’s solicitor Pat Finucane.

Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:raymond-mccartney2

“Geraldine Finucane and her family should be commended for pursuing this case through the courts and for showing continued determination in their search for justice.

“The family have been involved in a long battle with the British state over the circumstances of Pat Finucane’s death and the role of the British state and of its agents in carrying out that murder.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Finucane family in their search for truth.”

Tony Taylor should be released –Raymond McCartney MLA

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said called for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor.

tony taylor

tony taylor

He was speaking as hundreds of people turned out on Sunday afternoon for a march and rally in Derry calling for Tony Taylor’s release.

The Foyle MLA “I was pleased to see such a large turnout from across the city and district at Sundays march and rally.

“Sinn Féin has long campaigned for Tony’s release. The continued use of unjust powers by the British government to revoke a person’s license without producing any evidence of wrongdoing is an affront to human rights and natural justice. He should either be released immediately or brought before a court and given due process.

Ends

Progress on Brandywell gathers pace -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney speaking after he led a party delegation on visit to the Brandywell Stadium to view progress on the work at the Stadium, dog track and new state of the art play park facilities.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

Raymond McCartney said “It was great to see the progress on all three projects gather pace. Once this stage of the work is completed it will bring these facilities into the 21st Century and act as a catalyst for these sports in our city for generations to come.

It will also provide a safe place for families and children from this area to enjoy the new park which is something Councillor Patricia Logue and residents have been campaigning on for many years.

Ends

Sinn Féin challenge DUP over Irish language Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymond McCartney said:

tony taylor

tony taylor

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

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

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

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

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

CRÍOCH/ENDS

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

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

Raymond McCartney said

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

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

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

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

Foyle MLA congratulates Smyth on World Championship gold medal

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

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

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

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

Ends

McCartney welcomes reports Dublin to recommit €465million A5 funding

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

Raymond McCartney said:_dsc8219

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRÍOCH/END

Sinn Féin welcome human rights findings -McCartney

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

He said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_dsc8219

Sinn Féin call for youth justice reform – Foyle MLA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DUP continue to fail to recognise Irish identity – McCartney

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

Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ongoing incident Glengalliagh Road

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

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

It’s senseless and serves no purpose except disrupting the lives of local people.
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‘Decision time for DUP on equality’ – McCartney

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That isn’t acceptable or sustainable.

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

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

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

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

The Foyle MLA said:_dsc8219

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He  said:_dsc8219

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

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

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

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

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

Time running out for Stormont talks – McCartney

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

Raymond McCartney  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCartney welcomes Equality Commission investigation into Líofa decision

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed confirmation that the Equality Commission is to formally investigate controversial decisions within a DUP-controlled department, which helped fuel the collapse of the power-sharing institutions.

The Foyle representative was speaking after the Commission confirmed the probe into the decision to axe the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme and the Community Halls Pilot Programme, which heavily benefitted Orange Halls.

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Raymond McCartney  said:

“My party colleague Michelle Gildernew MP had written to the Equality Commission to express concerns about the decision to axe the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme and about how funding was provided for the Community Halls Pilot Programme.

“I welcome the Equality Commission’s decision to investigate the handling of these schemes, both of which were located within the Department of Communities under DUP Minister Paul Givan.

“The scrapping of the Líofa scheme was an appalling decision and contributed significantly towards the collapse of power-sharing as it was widely seen within the nationalist community as a blatant sectarian and cynical act.

“Similarly, the operation of the £1.9m Community Halls scheme has raised widespread public concern, given that the vast majority of the beneficiaries were from the unionist tradition.

“Sinn Féin have previously addressed this matter and pointed at real concerns which exist regarding the practice of institutionalised bigotry directing public policy and disbursal of public funds.

“There needs to be integrity in government.

“The public needs to have confidence that public money is allocated fairly and on the basis of need not creed.

“It is essential that public policy and the direction of funds and resources are based upon objective need criteria. This investigation is a very important process to ensure transparency and accountability are brought to bear on how these decisions have been made.”

Ends

McCartney opposed to attempts to privatise fire service

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said Sinn Féin will oppose any attempts to privatise the Fire and Rescue Service.

Raymond McCartney said;

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“I have been contacted by members of the Fire and Rescue Service who are concerned about attempts to privatise the service.

“Recruitment ads have been posted online to recruit staff for the Fire and Rescue Service but when people ring the telephone number included they are told the recruits would be used for contingency arrangements, including strikes.

“This is causing considerable concern among firefighters and trade unionists who see this as an attempt at privatisation.

“I will be in contact with the Fire and Rescue Service to discuss this and raise our concerns about any attempt to privatise this vital service.”

Foster can’t dictate on unity referendum – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has  said Arlene Foster and the DUP can’t dictate when the people have their say on an Irish unity referendum.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

The Foyle MLA was  responding to Arlene Foster’s comments at her party’s Election Manifesto launch today.

He said:

“Arlene Foster and the DUP are running scared of public opinion on an Irish unity referendum.

“Arlene Foster and the DUP can’t wish away the right of the people to have their say on Irish unity.

“Her comments today are another example of the arrogance and contempt the DUP have for the electorate.

“The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be put to the side by the DUP.

“Sinn Féin has called for a referendum on unity to be held within the next five years and support for that position is growing.”

Raymond McCartney welcomes agreement that ends Palestinian hunger strike

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney today welcomed the agreement between the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners movement, led by Marwan Barghouti, and the Israeli administration at Ahskelon prison after a 41 day hunger strike.

Raymond McCartney  stated:

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“Sinn Féin have received direct communication from the Palestinian ‘Commission of Detainees & Ex Detainees’ (CDA) in Ramallah outlining the agreement which was reached between the leadership of the Palestinian hunger strikers, Marwan Barghouti and the Israeli administration.

“Sinn Féin welcomes this agreement and the conclusion of the 41 day hunger strike by over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

“The agreement deals with many important issues on the treatment of Palestinian prisoners including human right violations, family contact and facilities, and the provision of proper medical care.

“It has also been agreed to continue negotiations on issues that remain unresolved.

“It is clear this is a crucial development for the prisoners and one which we totally support. However, it is equally important that the Israeli administration implements in full the Ahskelon agreement and positively concludes negotiations on the outstanding issues.

“Sinn Féin commends the resolve and commitment of the Palestinian hunger strikers, and their families, and wishes them a speedy return to full health.

“There is a responsibility on the international community to ensure the Israeli administration ends all human right violations in the Middle East.

“Neither the illegal building of Israeli settlements nor the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners will resolve the conflict. Israel needs to be held to account for their actions.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners and the legitimate demand of their people to nationhood and freedom based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Foster running scared of public opinion on unity referendum – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said DUP leader Arlene Foster is running scared on the issue of a referendum on Irish unity.

And he said that her recent comments  on a unity referendum was yet another display of the DUP’s arrogance and contempt for the democratic process.

The Foyle MLA  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“Arlene Foster is running scared of public opinion on an Irish unity referendum.

“A recent Lucidtalk opinion poll showed that a majority of people in the north are in favour of holding a referendum on Irish unity.

“The Tory government’s attempt to drag us out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the majority of people in the north has put the debate on Irish unity front and centre in the political agenda.

“The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be swept aside by Arlene Foster or anyone else.

“It is not in the DUP’s gift to determine when the people can have their say on Irish unity. Her comments are another example of the arrogance of the DUP.

“Sinn Féin has called for a referendum on unity to be held within the next five years and we are building support for that.”

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.

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.”

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 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.”

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

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.”

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

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.

British goverment blocking progress -McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has said it is rich for James Brokenshire to talk about his concern for public services while his government is blocking progress in the talks
The Foyle MLA said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“If James Brokenshire wants to ensure public services run smoothly in the north then it’s time he and his government lived up to their responsibilities to implement previous agreements.

“The British Secretary of State knows what he needs to do to make progress and to date he and his government have not focused on the key issues.

“Many people will also find James Brokenshire’s concern for public services a bit rich.

“Relentless Tory cuts and austerity policies have taken hundreds of millions of pounds out of public services over the last seven years and the Tories are also pursuing a pro-Brexit agenda which will be disastrous for the people of this island.

“For our part, Sinn Féin want to see an Executive in place based on equality, integrity and respect, delivering for all.”

PSNI performance should be measured on impact on people’s lives – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said PSNI performance should be measured on the impact it has on people’s daily lives. raymond-mccartney-450x301

He  said:

“The publication of this report by the Controller and Auditor General into continuous improvement arrangements in policing raises a number of issues.

“While there are some welcome indicators, the report still identifies some long-standing concerns over the relationship between the PSNI and the Policing Board on how performance is monitored.

“It is clear that some of the reporting mechanisms in place need to change in order to properly judge the PSNI’s performance.

“We need to ensure that communities can see policing make a real difference in their daily lives and for that to happen we need to see PSNI performance measured for the impact it has.

Ends

O Neill /Doherty to speak at major community engagement meeting in Derry

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said 20170128_154209

“Sinn Féin are organising a series of Community Engagement Meetings across the north, led by the Sinn Féin Leadership.

These are public meetings, open to everyone and the maximum effort needs to be put in to mobilise for each of them.  No other party presents themselves in front of the public like this.

Our new party leader in the North Michelle O’Neill and Pearse Doherty TD will be the main speakers at the Derry meeting which will be held this  Thursday night in the City Hotel at 7.30pm”

Ends

Talks must be about implementation of agreements – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has said political talks at Stormont must be about the implementation of previous agreements.
Raymond McCartney said: dsc_6528
“Public confidence in the political institutions was damaged by the DUP’s handling of the RHI scandal, the allegations of corruption associated with the scheme, and the DUP’s disrespect for whole sections of the community.
“That’s why Martin McGuinness called time on the DUP’s arrogance and disrespect.
“Martin McGuinness made it clear there would be no return to the status quo and that position was endorsed by the people in the recent election.
“There is a need to restore public confidence by securing political institutions based on equality, respect and integrity and delivering for everyone.
“That requires the British government and the DUP to commit to implementing the outstanding commitments of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements. The Irish government is a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and it must hold the British government to account.
“That will be Sinn Féin’s focus in the talks.”

McCartney pays tribute to Derry City captain Ryan McBride

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed his sympathies following the death of Derry City FC captain Ryan McBride. mcbride

The Foyle MLA said:

“There is widespread shock across the city and beyond following the sudden death of Derry City FC captain, Ryan McBride.

“Ryan was an excellent player, a great leader on and off the field and an inspiration to many.

“I send my condolences and those of the party to the McBride family and everyone who knew Ryan.

“I have no doubt the community across the city will rally round to support them at this sad and difficult time.”

Sinn Féin committed to Acht Gaeilge – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney has said the party remain committed to an Irish Language Act which delivers rights, along with recognition and respect. dsc_6528

His comments come after the publication of a discussion document regarding an Acht Gaeilge was published today by Conradh na Gaeilge.

He  said:

“Sinn Féin remain absolutely committed to Acht Gaeilge and to the delivery of rights and respect for the Irish Language and for Irish speakers.

“I welcome Conradh na Gaeilge’s publication today, which once again highlights the need for legislation.

“An Irish Language Act is well over due. Now is the time for legislation that shows respect and recognition, and delivers rights.”

McCartney welcomes return of Clipper round-the-world yacht race

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that the Clipper round-the-world yacht race is to return to Derry in 2018.Its comes following the approval of the £250k plan by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

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Raymond McCartney said “It’s good news that the Clipper round the world yacht race is to return to Derry in 2018.

Bringing the race back will be of immense benefit to the North West economy and offers global media exposure money simply can’t buy.

The last Maritime Festival was a very exciting week for the thousands of people of all ages who thronged the quayside walkway from Bay Road right up to the Peace Bridge. For years the people of Derry have been crying out to see the riverfront location fully utilised.

Brexit damaging to Irish economy north and south – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  said Brexit is damaging to the economy across Ireland with the people of the North being hit the hardest.

The Foyle  said:dsc_6528

“Brexit is damaging to the economy across the island.

“News that the economic activity is expected to slow will hit customers hard. The reality is that the people of the North are already paying the price of a proposed Brexit.

“It is impacting on their everyday lives and the rising cost of living, fuel and household goods is proof of this.

“Last week the British Minister Philip Hammond unveiled his budget which will see further austerity measures being implemented in the North. This will also pose a threat to the economy in the North.

“The people of the North voted to remain in the European Union, the people of North and South are better off in the EU, in the Single Market and no hard border.

“The Irish government need to stand up for the island of Ireland when they are negotiating with the British Government and the EU and secure special designated status for the North within the EU.”

Brexit damaging to Irish economy north and south – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  said Brexit is damaging to the economy across Ireland with the people of the North being hit the hardest.c48uh31wiaahbe_

The Foyle  MLA said:

“Brexit is damaging to the economy across the island.

“News that the economic activity is expected to slow will hit customers hard. The reality is that the people of the North are already paying the price of a proposed Brexit.

“It is impacting on their everyday lives and the rising cost of living, fuel and household goods is proof of this.

“Last week the British Minister Philip Hammond unveiled his budget which will see further austerity measures being implemented in the North. This will also pose a threat to the economy in the North.

“The people of the North voted to remain in the European Union, the people of North and South are better off in the EU, in the Single Market and no hard border.

“The Irish government need to stand up for the island of Ireland when they are negotiating with the British Government and the EU and secure special designated status for the North within the EU.”

1st Anniversary – Release Derry man Tony Taylor -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

On the first anniversary  of his incarceration  I repeat Sinn Féin’s call for the release of Derry man Tony Taylor.16819161_1306065849449476_7277101871423416578_o

 

Tony was sent to prison on the word of the James Brokenshire’s predecessor without bringing forward any evidence.

 

In October past Martin McGuinness raised this directly with James Brokenshire  and told him the continued detention of Tony Taylor is unacceptable and made it clear that , in the absence of due process, he should be released immediately.”

Ends

EU Report again shows British government failing Irish Language rights – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said that the latest report from the Council of Europe, regarding the protection of national minorities, once again highlights the British Government’s failures to the Irish Language community.

Raymond McCartney  said:12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

“The British Government have once again been internationally criticised for their neglect of the Irish Language and for their lack of action to secure the rights of Irish speakers.

“The report rightly points out the British Government’s shortcomings on issues of legislation, strategy and  provision.

“We support the call in this report, and from the Irish Language Community, that the British Government must take immediate action.

“The British government made a commitment to bring forward an Irish Language Act and has failed so far to honour its agreement.

“This failure was compounded by the DUP blocking an Irish Language Act at the Executive and an Irish Language Strategy, a Programme for Government commitment.

“If the current political talks are to have any value then agreements need to be implemented.

“Legislation for an Irish Language Act should be brought forward now.”

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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.

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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 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

DUP need to come clean over relationship with Brexit funding group -McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney  has said the DUP need to come clean and the nature of its relationship with the mysterious group, which funded its Brexit campaign.

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“Every piece of information in recent weeks has had to be wrought from the DUP, whether over RHI or the latest revelations over donations to its Brexit campaign.

“We know that the DUP received £425,000 from a mysterious group of British right wing business and corporate interests but the DUP have yet to explain the nature of their relationship with this group.

“There are serious questions that need to be answered. How long have the DUP had links to the Constitutional Research Council? Is this shadowy group still funding any DUP campaigns?

“It’s past time the DUP came clean on this and explained its links to this group to the public and they should do so ahead of Thursday’s poll.”

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Brexit donation makes mockery of DUP claims on transparency – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCratney  has said the fact the DUP received £425,000 from a shadowy group of British corporate business interests to fund its Brexit campaign makes a mockery of its manifesto commitment to transparency.

He said:

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“There have been consistent calls for the DUP to come clean on donations to the party for their Brexit campaign.

“Just as we saw with the drip feed of information about the DUP’s handling of the RHI scandal, the DUP have been brought to the point of disclosing some information.

“However, it is still not clear who is in the group that gave the DUP £425,000, and what the group got in return for this huge donation.

“Instead we have the name of a secretive body, no list of members and donors. This makes a mockery of their manifesto claim of transparency.

“It now appears that the DUP spent at least £370,000 on newspaper advertisements and campaign materials in Britain where they don’t stand for election. This raises serious questions about transparency.

“The public is entitled to expect integrity in the political process.

“These are key issues of accountability and transparency and the public have a right to know so they can make up their mind before they go to the polls next week.”

Sinn Féin raises Derry/Dublin Bus Service with Ministers

Sinn Féin Assembly Candidate for Foyle, Raymond McCartney has said that  Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Imelda Munster TD has raised the Derry/Dublin bus service in Dáil Éireann and Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has committed to raising the  issue with his southern counterpart Minister Shane Ross TD.dsc_6528

Mr McCartney said:

“I have been in touch with our Transport Spokesperson in the Dáil, Imelda Munster TD who has raised the issue of the Derry/Dublin bus service in the Oireachtas Transport Committee with the CEO of the National Transport Authority .

I have also spoken to Minister Chris Hazzard who has assured me that he will spare no effort to assure that a first class service is maintained between Derry and Dublin.

“The Sinn Féin Infrastructure Minister is in contact with his Southern counterpart Shane Ross TD to ensure the continuance of this essential link between the North West and the National capital.”

SF welcomes PSO investment for direct Derry /Stansted flight

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney  has welcomed the news that the City Of Derry Airport has been awarded Public Service Obligation (PSO) for a direct flight to Stansted.ctc9bzzxeaadwx7-jpg-large

BMI regional has been selected as the preferred operator for the route between Stansted and the City of Derry Airport .

He said “I welcome the news that City of Derry Airport has been awarded Public Service Obligation (PSO) for a direct flight to Stansted.

This news will be welcomed by regular commuters to London for business, employment and those in the tourism sector in the North West region.

It will allow the airport to build for the future.

PSO funding from the British government follows on from the  Executive funding of £7m for route and aviation development.

The move by the Executive to put in place a package of support for City of Derry Airport was vital in helping to secure the future of this much needed facility.

“We need to see the airport continue to develop and grow in the future in order to support and stimulate the economy of the wider North West.

Sinn Féin raises Derry/Dublin Bus Service with Ministers

Sinn Féin Assembly Candidate for Foyle, Raymond McCartney has said that  Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Imelda Munster TD has raised the Derry/Dublin bus service in Dáil Éireann and Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has committed to raising the  issue with his southern counterpart Minister Shane Ross TD.

Mr McCartney said:

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“I have been in touch with our Transport Spokesperson in the Dáil, Imelda Munster TD who has raised the issue of the Derry/Dublin bus service in the Oireachtas Transport Committee with the CEO of the National Transport Authority .

I have also spoken to Minister Chris Hazzard who has assured me that he will spare no effort to assure that a first class service is maintained between Derry and Dublin.

“The Sinn Féin Infrastructure Minister is in contact with his Southern counterpart Shane Ross TD to ensure the continuance of this essential link between the North West and the National capital.”

Sinn Féin committed to securing Irish language act – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney has said Sinn Féin is committed to securing an Irish language act.

He  said: dsc_6528

“Sinn Féin commends and supports Irish speakers in the long fight to secure the rights of the Irish language community. We are proud of the contribution and the efforts that our Party and our Ministers have made to promote the Irish language, and the rights of Irish speakers.

“Sinn Féin supports entirely the implementation of an Acht na Gaeilge.

“Our ministers have delivered unprecedented investment in the Irish Language in the north. Investment that has positively impacted the development of the Irish Language in our communities and in our schools.

“We have fought against bigotry in the Executive and put forward proposals and drafts for legislation on Acht na Gaeilge and for an Irish Language Strategy. We launched the first ever state-sponsored programme to attract new learners of Irish – ‘Líofa’. None of this has ever before been done before in the history of the 6 county state.

“We understand the importance of the inclusion of pobal na Gaeilge and have provided platforms in the political institutions for Irish Language organisations to be heard and to make an impact.

“There will be no retreat by Sinn Féin in terms of any of this progress.

“Campaign focus and lobbying efforts must continue to be aimed at those who oppose Acht na Gaeilge and language rights.

“Sinn Féin fully recognise that there must be a change in how the DUP in particular treat the Irish Language and Irish identity.

“No political institutions can be reformed without the fulfilment of previously agreed commitments.

“We are committed to ensuring that there will not be a return to the status quo.

Sinn Féin will continue to support Finucane family – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney  has said the party will continue to support the family of Pat Finucane in their campaign for truth and justice.

Raymond McCartney  said; 12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

“Today’s decision in the Court of Appeal in Belfast is yet another attempt to deny the Finucane family access to truth about the murder of Pat Finucane.

“The Finucane family have campaigned long and hard, in a dignified manner despite having continual obstacles being placed in front of them by the British government.

“The fact is the British government agreed to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and it has reneged on that commitment.

“The British government has failed the Finucane family and the families of so many other victims.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Finucane family in their campaign for truth and justice.”

McCartney calls on DUP to clarify on who funded lavish pro-Brexit campaign

Sinn Féins Raymond McCartney has called on the DUP to clarify who funded its lavish pro-Brexit advertising campaign. dsc_6528

Raymond McCartney  said;

“Revelations that the DUP received huge amounts of money from England to fund its lavish pro-Brexit advertising campaign raise serious questions.

“The DUP took hugely expensive newspaper ads in a London newspaper which is not circulated in the North and DUP campaign material was also used in other British cities where they do not stand for election.

“The DUP need to come clean and clarify who gave them the money and how much they received.

“It is vitally important in the wake of other scandals that the DUP clarify this in order to ensure integrity in the political process.

“There are strict rules around corporate sponsorship and there can be no place for anyone attempting to get around those rules.”

POC necessary safeguard to protect minorities – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney  said recent comments about scrapping the Petition of Concern are a further attempt by the DUP to deflect attention from the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

He  said:

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“These comments are the latest attempt by the DUP to divert attention from the RHI scandal, the potential waste of half a billion pounds of public money and allegations of corruption.

“The Petition of Concern was put in place to protect minorities following decades of unionist misrule and discrimination.

“The DUP abused the POC to undermine the rights of minorities and used it to block for example all attempts to bring forward legislation on marriage equality.

“Their approach was unsustainable and reflected their disrespect and arrogance for whole sections of our society.

“It comes as no surprise that they want to end these protections.

“The POC is a necessary safeguard required to prevent the kind of discrimination and excesses we have seen from unionism.

“We are content to address this in any negotiations.

“What is required is an end to the abuse of the POC system and full equality and respect granted to all sections of society regardless of race, religion, sexuality or gender.”

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