- The Chieftain’s Gaelic Games launched
The Chieftain’s Gaelic Games was launched on Friday 16 March at Celtic Park. The Games have been organised in memory of Martin McGuinness as part of a series of events marking his one year anniversary.One of the organisers Brian O’Donnell said: “It was important to organise Gaelic Games as part of the tribute to Martin McGuinness on his anniversary, Martin was a great friend of Derry GAA in particular and the GAA in general. He was a frequent visitor to Celtic Park to cheer on the county team and it is fitting that the blitz will be held at Celtic Park.”
Around 200 children are expected to take part in the Gaelic games blitz with Under 10 and Under 12 teams from Sean Dolans, Doire Trasna, Doire Colmcille, Steelstown, Ardmore, Culmore, Slaughtmanus, Glack all taking part with the first games due to start at 11am on Saturday 24 March and run to around 3.00pm.
In conclusion Brian O’Donnell added: “I would like to thank all the teams for participating in the blitz. I would like to encourage clubs, parents and GAA supporters to come along in their club colours – show support to all the children taking part and pay tribute to a great Gael Martin McGuinness.” Ends
- Sinn Féin join Dungiven community protest against electoral boundary proposalsSpeaking after the protest, East Derry MLA Caoimhe Archibald said:“We were at the protest today to support the people of Dungiven in their opposition to the electoral boundary proposals which will see the town split into three constituencies.“The implementation of these proposals would see either side of Dungiven’s Main Street located in two different constituencies, Mid Ulster and West Tyrone.“There is also the ridiculous situation where the County Derry GAA centre of excellence at Owenbeg would be situated in the West Tyrone constituency.“Dungiven is a small town with a tight knit community and strong ties with its surrounding areas. There is no doubt that locating Dungiven on the edge of three constituencies would have a negative impact on its future.“The message from today’s protest is clear, Dungiven will not be divided. The Boundary Commission should return to the 2016 boundary proposals which kept Dungiven and its hinterland intact.“We would urge members of the public to make submissions to the Boundary Commission before 26th March and demand fairness in the electoral process.”
- Road safety concerns in Ballinacross Meadows /Nixon’s Corner area
Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has said there is a need for additional road safety measures in the in Ballinacross Meadows /Nixon’s Corner area following concerns from local residents.
Councillor Logue said
I have been contacted by residents over the past few months in relation to several road safety issues in the area which are of great concern.
The main concern is the speed of traffic traveling through the area ,safety of the road junctions at the Letterkenny Road, Mullenan Road and Nixon’s Corner and the impact that is having on local residents whose homes are adjacent to these roads.
I have been in contact with Transport NI (formerly Roads Service) and requested a review of safety at these junctions and called for the introduction of additional road safety measures such as extra signage, road markings and lights as a matter of urgency.
I will keep residents updated on this issue as we move forward.If any resident wishes to contact me they can be so on 07851313583.
- Mullan urges public to respond to SEN consultation
Sinn Féin education spokesperson Karen Mullan has urged the public to respond to a new consultation on the future of special educational needs provision here.
The Foyle MLA was speaking as the Department of Education today opened a consultation process on plans to transform special education nursery provision.
“We welcome this consultation and I would strongly encourage all stakeholders, especially parents to take part,” she commented.
“It is essential that children with special educational needs receive timely and appropriate early intervention, support and protection to ensure they have the best possible life chances.
“This consultation is an opportunity to make the case for that and to stress the importance of properly resourcing special educational needs provision.
“The consultation is open until May 24th and details of the proposals are available on the EA website at www.eani.org.uk/SENearlyyears. You can call EA on 028 7186 4781, email SEN.email@example.com write to Early Years SEN Framework, Maydown House, 1 Maydown Road, Derry. BT47 6UF.”
- Positive with residents and Magee University -Cooper
Sinn Féin Councillor for Foyleside Mickey Cooper has welcomed a meeting he hosted with the management of the Magee campus and residents from the Lower Strand area to discuss how the campus could make its facilities and events accessible to members of the local community. He said he was confident that a number of positive developments would take place as a a result of the engagement:
Councillor Cooper said
‘I was delighted that the residents could meet the Magee management to discuss a range of issues. These included the lack of play provision in the Lower Strand area which has led to a number of short and longer term options being explored. We also discussed how events run by the university such as open days and fun days could be made accessible to the residents of Lower Strand and other residential areas in the vicinity and also how campus facilities such as the library could be opened up for use by the local community.
I will be engaging with the Magee management and the residents in the coming weeks to move some of the proposals to fruition. Their implementation will begin to reinforce the idea that the Magee campus is not just an academic institution sitting in isolation from the areas around it but is instead fully integrated into the life of the local community both today and in the future as it moves towards expansion’
- McCartney welcomes A6 ruling
Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed today’s supreme court decision not to hear an appeal against the A6 Derry to Belfast road project.
The Foyle MLA said:
“The A6 upgrade is a key infrastructural project to help promote regional balance and was significantly moved forward by Chris Hazzard when he was Infrastructure Minister.
“I welcome today’s decision not to hear the appeal against the A6 upgrade of the section between Toome and the Moyola River. This decision clears the way for the work to commence on the scheme and for it to be completed as soon as possible.
“The A6 project is key to enhancing connectivity, improving journey times from Derry to Belfast and unlocking the economic potential of the north west region. The Derry to Belfast journey is one which is taken by thousands of motorists daily.
“The A6 upgrade represents significant investment in the region and has long been a key priority for Sinn Féin.Ends
- Business leaders need to challenge British government over Brexit – Anderson
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said business leaders across the north need to challenge the British government to honour the agreements it made in December and sign up to the protocol which give legal effect to the Brexit trade solutions put forward by the EU.
Speaking after addressing a meeting the Chamber of Commerce in the north which brought together key business leaders, Martina Anderson said:
“Today I addressed representatives of the business community from across the north as part of a Chamber of Commerce event on the impact of Brexit.
“I updated them on the importance of the resolution passed in the European Parliament this week which welcomed the ‘backstop’ option which would see the north remain in the customs union and elements of the single market.
“I made it clear that we have now secured the support of the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission for a position which takes us very close to special status for the north within the EU and we will continue to work to ensure there is no diminution of rights.
“The business community will no doubt welcome the legal certainty that the backstop option provides.
“I also proposed that in order to ensure trade is allowed to continue unhindered post-Brexit that a system of green and red channels be established to deal with east-west trade.
“Goods moving between the north of Ireland and Britain would use the green channel which would not be subject to any constraints and goods coming from Britain to the island of Ireland would move through a red channel which would involve the necessary checks to protect the integrity of the single market.
“I also called on the business community to make their voices heard and let the British government know that they agreed this in December and should sign off on the solutions put forward by the EU27 based on the agreed Joint Report which now need to be made legally enforceable so that trade can be protected.” Ends/Críoch
- Need for more social housing in Creggan area
Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called for a specific focus to be put on the building of new houses in the greater Creggan area.
He was making his comment following figures from the Housing Executive show that in Waterloo Place area there are currently over 1200 people on the housing application list with just 178 allocations in 2016 -2017 and requests for transfers sitting at 363 with just 72 allocations.
Councillor Campbell said “We have seen in recent years the building of the Ballymagown and Magowan Park .Which gave many families on the waiting list for this area a new modern home.
But I was shocked to read recently that there are still over 1200 people on the housing list for Waterloo Place district which includes this area with over 360 on the transfer list.
I believe it’s of paramount importance that the Housing Executive and Housing Associations continue to look for all available lands on the boundaries of Creggan that could possibly be used for new housing projects.
In those projects I believe that there should be a good mix of different types of housing provision with the building of bungalows.
In many instances there are older members of the Creggan community who are living in three and four bedroom houses, they want to move into bungalows but can’t do so because the accommodation is simply not there. These houses could be freed up for young families on the waiting lists.
- Health workforce shortage must be addressed -Logue
Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has called for workforce shortages to be addressed following news of a backlog in child annual reviews in the Western Trust.
“It is very concerning that due to a shortage of Health Visitors almost 700 one and two year olds across the Western Trust have not had their annual review.”
“Health Visitors play a very important role in delivering better health and wellbeing outcomes through early intervention.”
“They provide excellent support and advice to parents, particularly to first-time parents, and in working with families they can identify health and development problems with young children.”
“In that context it is really important that every child gets their annual review from their Health Visitor.”
“The backlog in annual reviews shows the need for effective recruitment and retention of Health Visitors in the short term and a workforce strategy to ensure the sustainability of the service moving forward.”
“Health Visitors, and Health and Social Care staff generally, are the Health Service’s greatest asset and they must be properly supported to continue to deliver a high standard of care to the community.”
- There can be no return to gerrymandering’ – McCallion
Thousands of nationalist voters will be left without any representation if controversial electoral boundary changes are not stopped, Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has said.
The Foyle MP was speaking as Sinn Féin submitted a formal submission to the Boundary Commission consultation on the proposed new electoral boundaries.
“These boundary proposals have been branded a gerrymander for the 21st century and it’s easy to see why people have come to that conclusion,” she said.
“If they go ahead, at least four Assembly constituencies will be left without any nationalist representation whatsoever. The views of thousands of nationalist voters will effectively count for nothing and electoral boundaries at every level will be manipulated to give maximum advantage to the DUP.
“That is completely unacceptable. There can be no justification for it and the Boundary Commission have failed to produce any justification for it.”
The origins of the latest proposals are also a source of major concern, Elisha McCallion added.
She commented: “The Boundary Commission was established in 2016 with a remit to reduce the number of constituencies from 18 to 17 and to distribute the electorate in a fair and equitable way across the new constituencies.
“They published proposals in 2017 which went some way to achieving that. However, these were radically revised in the face of DUP opposition and nobody could argue that the new plan represents fairness, given that it so blatantly advantages the DUP at the expense of the nationalist electorate.
“The Boundary Commission deny that a deliberate gerrymander is taking place at the behest of the DUP but they have failed to explain or justify the changes which will have such a negative impact on democracy and which fly in the face of their own remit.
“Sinn Féin has today submitted our proposals to the Commission which set out a fair and equitable way forward in line with accepted good practice and the Commission’s own remit. We would urge members of the public to also make submissions and demand fairness in the electoral process.
“There can be no return to the gerrymandering of the past. All votes should be equal and all citizens should be entitled to democratic representation.”