- Sinn Féin raise pay rates divergence for Strabane based Council workers -Duffy
Sinn Féin group leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Sandra Duffy met with senior officials of Derry City and Strabane District Council on Monday to discuss party concerns about the continued divergence in pay rates between Derry and Strabane based Council Environment Section workers and to press for urgent priority to be given to complete the harmonisation of these pays rates across the District.
Speaking following the meeting she said,
“The continuing divergence in pay rates has once again been highlighted in recent advertisements for Refuse Collection Operatives with renumeration of £9.49 an hour for advertised for Derry based posts while for Strabane based posts it was only £9.01 an hour.
“While we can understand that this divergence in pay rates originate from the terms and conditions for these posts as established in the legacy councils in Derry and Strabane, we also understand that this process can be lengthy due to sensitive negotiations between staff and the Unions .But we feel that it is unfair that Strabane based workers are still paid less over three years into the new Derry City and Strabane District Council and this needs to be addressed urgently.
“On behalf of the party grouping, I met with senior council officials today to express our dissatisfaction that Strabane based Environmental Section workers continue to be financially disadvantaged and to press for urgent priority to be given to complete the harmonisation of the sections pays rates across the District.
“Council have been working their way through all employees over the past few years to bring about harmonisation in contracts. Council have completed this for office workers and leisure staff and I have been assured today that the process has now moved onto Environmental Services .And that a working group has been set up, which includes staff and the unions, to bring this process to completion, I was assured that the Unions were satisfied with the current progress.
“At this meeting, I have also been assured that this is a priority for Council and they hope to have this process completed by the end of this year and we will be monitoring progress on the process to ensure there is no unnecessary delays .
- Clear strategy needed to create community awareness of other cultures -Mullan
Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said more funding and a clearer strategy is needed in order to educate people and help create community awareness of other cultures.
The Foyle MLA was speaking after concerns were raised over funding for ethnic minority groups in the North, Karen Mullan said:
“I want to commend everyone for the good work that has been done through the ethnic minority groups across the north.
“Unfortunately, ethnic minority groups and organisations have seen their funding cut from £75,000 to £45,000 this year.
“This has left a lot of groups in a very vulnerable position struggling to cope and unable to continue the good work they do on a daily basis for supporting ethnic minority groups and individuals.
“With many fears and concerns around Brexit and in recent times a rise in racist attacks on individuals and homes now is the time for more resource funding to enable ethnic minority groups and organisations to continue the work they do to help eradicate racial discrimination within our society and provide support and advice.
“Sinn Fein have met with David Sterling on this funding crisis and we will continue to raise this with him.
“It is our belief that that ethnic minority groups and organisations need to be adequately funded and a clearer strategy drawn up in order to educate people and help create community awareness of other cultures.”
- Duffy welcomes news on Thornhill development
Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the news that new plans have been lodged for the redevelopment of the large redundant Thornhill School site.
Councillor Duffy said “It’s good to see that these plans have now been formally lodged for this site.
“At present the Thornhill site is a terrible eyesore situated on a key gateway into our city.
“These proposals to convert this site into a modern retirement village will I believe transform this entire area.
“Many believe that this may be an ideal way to address the problem and at the same time provide much needed retirement accommodation for older people in our community.We need to start the conversation now around all this.
“This development could help regenerate the greater Culmore area along with all the other ongoing projects such as the new community centre, the new country park at Coney road and the 3G pitch that are happening.
- McCartney calls on RTÉ to take northern concerns on board
Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said RTÉ must take the concerns and growing frustration among northern viewers on board when negotiating deals with satellite providers.
He was responding to an article in the Gaelic Life by RTÉ’s new Head of Sport.
Raymond McCartney said:
“I welcome acknowledgement by RTÉ of the growing frustration among people in the north at the constant blockage of sports programmes on satellite TV.
“I recognise there is complexity in licensing and broadcasting rights, but there is a responsibility on RTÉ to address these matters.
“RTÉ negotiate deals with satellite providers such as SKY, therefore they are in a position to renegotiate the terms to meet the needs of northern viewers.
“We recently launched the ‘Fair Play For Ulster Gaels’ campaign to ensure that the quarter of a million Gaels in the north would no longer be left behind when it comes to viewing rights.
“We will be meeting with RTÉ’s new Head of Sport in the coming days and I would call on them to put measures in place to end the disenfranchisement of sports fans in the north.”
- Farmers must be protected in Brexit deal -Fleming
Sinn Féin Councilor Paul Fleming has said that farmers’ incomes must be considered and protected in the final Brexit deal.
“There is widespread concern in the farming and agriculture sector over the disastrous impact the Tory Brexit agenda will have on their livelihoods.
“It is very clear that there is an internal push from elements of the Tories for a hard Brexit which would have catastrophic economic impacts on our farmers.
“The concerns of the farming community must be adequately addressed in the increasingly chaotic Brexit process.”
- Jackson condemns Irish Street security alertSinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned those behind a security alert in the Irish Street area of Derry.Cllr. Jackson said:“The security alert in Bann Drive has caused significant disruption to local residents this morning with many homes being evacuated and the street closed.“Those responsible for this disruption have shown complete disregard for the people of the Waterside.“Attacks such as this must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.“There can be no justification for this type of activity and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the police.” CRÍOCH/ENDS
- McCallion sends condolences following Malin Head tragedy
Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has expressed condolences following the death of a 16-year old boy and a man in his 60s in a boating tragedy in Donegal.
The Foyle MP said:
“The city is shocked and saddened to learn that a 16-year-old boy from Derry has died along with a man in his 60s in this tragedy at Malin.
“This is terrible news for any family to receive and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“It must also have been a traumatic experience for those holidaymakers who saw the boat get into difficulty and raised the alarm.
“I want to commend the action of the lifeboat crews involved in the rescue effort and hope those injured can make a full recovery.
“Our sympathies and condolences go to those bereaved by this tragedy and I’m sure the communities in both Derry and Donegal will support them in the time ahead.” Ends/Críoch
- Kasrils to launch new book as part of Féile -Campbell
Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has encouraged people in the city to attend the launch of a new book on Thursday night titled ‘A Simple Man – Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma’,by former ANC Minister Ronnie Kasrils
The book launch is part of the Gasyard Wall Féile , Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney will chair the event.
Councillor Kevin Campbell said “I would encourage people to come along on Thursday night to the launch and hear at firsthand Ronnie’s account of former South African President Jacob Zuma’s rise to power and effect on the South African government.
“Ronnie has visited Derry on a number of occasions over the years and it is always fascinating to hear his experiences on how he became a political activist fighting on the side of the oppressed against an apartheid regime that knew no bounds of inhumanity or cruelty.
“Radicalised by the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, he joined the African National Congress before becoming a member of the South African Communist Party. He was attracted to the SACP by its analysis of the South African working class and its strong trades union organisation.
“He served in the government from 1994 through to his resignation as Minister for Intelligence in 2008.”
Ronnie will read from his new book and be interviewed at the launch as well as signing copies of his book.
The event begins at 7.30pm. All are welcome to attend. Admission: Free.
- Concern over dog fouling at the busy Bull Park /John Ug Clifford Park.
Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has made an appeal to users of parks in Derry to put their litter in the bins provided and dog walkers to be responsible and use the dog fouling waste bins.
He was responding to complaints that a small number of people were dropping litter and letting their dogs foul in Bull Park /John Ug Clifford Park.
Councillor Kelly said “This park always looks really well particularly on summers day like today. And is used widely by residents from the greater Bogside and Marlborough areas.
“A lot of work by the council goes into keeping it in such a good condition .But sadly a small number of people are leaving their litter behind them and more worryingly pet owners not using the designated dog fouling bins.
“It’s apparent that they have no regard for the community or the children who use the park .They are letting their dogs foul and don’t bother to clean up after them.
“I have been in contact with Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environmental department ,they have assured me that they are taking the matter seriously. There will be a fixed penalty of £80 for dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs and if it is forced to court the penalty could be £1,000.
“So I am appealing to dog owners not only using this park but parks across the city to act responsibility and have respect for the community and clean up after your dog.
- Robbery of shop at Strathfoyle
Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming commenting on the robbery of a shop at Temple Road in Strathfoyle just after 9.20pm on Saturday night said
“This must have been a very frightening experience for the members of staff caught up in all this as it’s reported one was struck on head and threatened at knife point during the robbery.
“I would urge anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately.”