- ‘Review must mark beginning of justice reform’ – McCartney
A review of how rape and sexual offences trials are handled must mark the first step in the significant reform that is required within the justice system here, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said.
The Sinn Fein Justice spokesperson was commenting after a preliminary report made more than 200 recommendations for change. The review, being conducted by a retired judge, will now seek public responses through a consultation process running until January 15.
Raymond McCartney commented: “We very much welcome the preliminary report and hope that it will mark the first major step in the significant reform that is clearly needed in terms of how rape and sexual violence cases are handled and prosecuted.
“There are very serious concerns as to how these cases involving rape are dealt with, particularly around the invasive and combative cross-examination of witnesses, the impact of media coverage of such cases and the way some in society view women.
“Rape and sexual assault cases are always going to be traumatic and difficult but there are additional measures that can be taken such as clearing of the public gallery and barring any reporting on such cases until the conclusion of the trial.
“We also support the call from Women’s Aid and NEXUS for funding to provide and develop a professional, rape crisis service for the north to support victims of rape and sexual assault.
“Sinn Féin will study all of the recommendations in the interim report in detail before responding to the consultation. We would encourage all other stakeholders to do so as well.”
- Duffy encourages victims of historical institutional abuse to respond to consultation
Sinn Féin group leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Sandra Duffy has said it is vital the voices of the victims of historical abuse are heard.
She was speaking after a public consultation was launched into historical institutional abuse.
Councillor Duddy said:
“I would encourage victims of historical institutional abuse to respond to the consultation.
“Some Victims and Survivors Groups have made it clear that Anthony Hart’s recommendations do not meet the needs of victims and survivors so it is essential they respond to the consultation and that regard is given to those responses.
“It is vital this consultation process is carried out in a manner that allows for the greatest opportunity for as many victims and survivors to respond and addresses the needs of the victims of historical institutional abuse and that it is victim centred.
“Michelle O’Neill has written to the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley to ask what plans she has in place to progress the legislation post consultation.
“As a party Sinn Féin will continue to support the victims of victims of historical institutional abuse.”
- McLaughlin urges caution in Road Safety WeekSinn Féin Waterside representative Sharon McLaughlin said “Today marks the beginning of Road Safety Week and I would urge all road users, motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to be cautious on the road.
“While we are seeing a small decline in the amount of fatalities over the past number of years one death on our roads is one too many.
“We all need to work collectively to ensure we are promoting good practice and always promoting road safety.
“Excessive speed is still the main factor in most accidents. So I am appealing for drivers to slow down during road safety week and beyond and take all the necessary steps to put their own safety and the safety of others to the forefront.”
- “Concern”over Lonemoor Road Safety
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan
“I received a number of calls on Sunday afternoon from local residents to say there was an accident on the Lonemoor Road and I went to the scene straight away.
“It must have been a very frightening experience for the everyone involved and I hope anyone injured makes a quick recovery.
She went on to say “Just this week myself and Councillor Sharon Duddy met with Transport NI and one of the concerns we raised with them was complaints about this stretch of road .We will be asking them to revisit those issues raised at our meeting as a matter of urgency.
- Concern over delay in removing untaxed and uninsured cars from the streets of Derry.Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell has said he has serious concerns about the time lapse it is now taking to remove untaxed and uninsured cars from the streets of Derry.He made his commented after an incident in Creggan where a car was left for ten days before it was removed.Councillor Campbell “I am very concerned to learn the time it is now taking to remove abandoned cars or run arounds across the city.“It used to be that if a car or run around used by joy riders was abandoned in an estate or if it wasn’t taxed it would be lifted immediately and taken to a pound to be claimed.“Now the Council have to put an abandon notice on the vehicle for a full week and only after this period of days will the vehicle be lifted .“An example of this is when an abandoned car was left in an area of Creggan with the side windows smashed. It lay for ten days with a notice on it before it was removed.“Leaving any car for that length of time gives the so called joy riders the opportunity to come back and retrieve it and drive mad around the estate again putting children and the entire community at risk. It also places vehicles parked beside these abandoned ones in danger of being set on fire.“It’s very clear that simply putting a sticker on a car and leaving it for a week is not working .If there is no tax and no MOT then the vehicle is not road worthy and on the grounds of health and safety they should be removed.“I will be raising this issue with senior members of Council.
- Remain vote in the North “must be respected” – Mary Lou McDonald TD
Speaking this evening regarding Brexit, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said:
“Today has been a calamitous day in Westminster.
“The arguments being played out in the Tory party about Brexit are ones which citizens on the island of Ireland will pay a high price for generations, if a suitable deal is not agreed between Britain and the EU27 over the coming weeks.
“The people of the North voted to remain in the EU. Since that vote, we in Sinn Féin have campaigned for that vote to be respected and the unique circumstances of Ireland to be reflected in any Withdrawal Agreement.
“We have stood with the Irish government and parties in the north to secure a deal that safeguards the rights of citizens, our Agreements, our economic interests and one that averts a hard border.
“There is no such thing as a good Brexit.
“What is on the table is an agreement that, if implemented, will merely mitigate against the worst aspects of Brexit.
“It will not stop it. Brexit is still bad for everyone – on this island, in Britain and in the EU.
“It is disappointing that the DUP have sought to take the side of the Tory Brexiteers over the needs of the people of the north
“Over the past day we have been in contact with British Prime Minister, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste as we face onto the next phase of the Brexit process.
“Sinn Féin will continue to advocate in the interests of all our people and our economy with the governments in Dublin and London, and with the EU.” CRÍOCH/ENDS
- Lights at pathway between Westway and Glenowen fall victim to constant vandalism
Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called for a long term solution to resolve problems to a constant outage of lights on a busy walkway that links Westway in Creggan and Glenowen.
Councillor Campbell said “I have received a number of complaints this week that the lights on the walkway which links Westway and Glenowen are out again.
“This is an ongoing problem with lights along this walkway as it seems vandals have found a way of knocking these lights out very easily.
“As it’s the main walkway between both developments through an area that is very dark and isolated it’s important that these lights are working particularly through the winter months.
“I have been in contact with the Council to try get the repairs done as a matter of urgency but we can’t keep coming back to this so it is very important that we find a lasting solution.
- Department must proceed with A5 -McCallion
Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called on the Department of Infrastructure to proceed on the construction on the A5 road.
The Foyle MP was commenting after the Department decided not to contest a legal challenge which set out to halt construction.
Elisha McCallion said:
“Today’s move by the Department of Infrastructure not to contest the legal challenge against the A5 is sensible and pragmatic.
“I would call on the Department of Infrastructure to proceed on the construction on the A5 as soon as possible.
“Any further delay is frustrating but the priority is that this groundbreaking piece of infrastructure for the wider North West finally gets underway.”
- Moves to tackle fly tipping in the Rosemount and Glenview areas of the city
Sinn Féin representatives Mickey Cooper and Hayleigh Fleming have welcomed moves by the Council to tackle the scourge of Fly Tipping in the Rosemount and Glenview areas of the city.
They said “As representatives for the area we have been able to service requests for the removal of rubbish from the mews lanes by the Council despite the fact that private mews lanes are not under councils remit.
“We are aware that much of the fly tipping of furniture has been done by landlords who are refurbishing houses before new tenants move in. And aware that much of the household rubbish is due to many rental properties not having adequate numbers of bins or bins not being emptied by the Council as they contain the wrong items.
“After much lobbying by Sinn Féin the Council has now agreed to visit the Rosemount/Glenview area in the New Year to provide residents with detailed information about the recycling of household waste. During the visits staff will also conduct an audit of properties which do not have the adequate numbers of bins and contact the landlords of these properties to remind them of their responsibility to resolve this. They will also be seeking to identify the landlords of properties which have been identified as the source of regular fly-tipping and dumping and take appropriate action.
“We hope this proactive approach will reduce the incidents of dumping and improve the general appearance of the area. If any residents have further queries please feel free to contact us at any time.
- Mullan encourages submissions to youth funding consultation
Sinn Féin education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has urged stakeholders to participate in and make submissions to the Education Authority’s consultation on youth funding.
The Foyle MLA said:
“The EA is considering proposals to change the way youth organisations apply for and receive funding.
‘In any consultation process it is vital that the views of those most likely to be impacted are heard and listened to. With this in mind I am urging as many youth groups as possible to take part in this consultation process and make submissions.
“There are a number of regional workshops taking place over the course of the consultation period, details of which can be found on the EA website.
“Sinn Féin will be making a submission of our own and welcomes the opportunity to engage with youth groups throughout the consultation period which will run until February 5th, 2019.” CRÍOCH/ENDS