- ‘No good Brexit for further and higher education’ –Mullan
Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said any Brexit outcome that does not maintain the benefits of EU membership will be damaging for the education and research sectors.
She said “The benefits of EU membership cannot be underestimated and any outcome to Brexit which does not maintain the benefits of EU membership will be damaging, particularly to the education and research sectors.
“Loss of vital EU funding, not just research funding, but also the structural funds which have been an enabler for research and innovation will have a detrimental impact.
“Researchers are already being impacted by the Brexit uncertainty in terms of accessing collaborative programmes and also for EU researchers considering their future.
“Mobility of staff and students and potential immigration requirements and access to the Erasmus plus programme are issues of concern.
“Another key concern centres on the rights of Irish citizens residing in the north and the potential for northern students to be treated as international students to attend universities in EU states including south of the border.
“Many students north and the south cross the border to attend further education colleges and universities, any barriers to this would be damaging to institutions and limit the opportunities of students on both sides of the border.
“Sinn Féin will continue to highlight all these issues and keep the rights of citizens here centre stage in the Brexit process
- Our thoughts are with those caught up in Strasbourg shooting – Anderson
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has expressed sympathy for those caught up in a shooting incident at a Christmas market in Strasbourg.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Martina Anderson said:
“Tonight’s shooting incident at the Christmas markets at Place Kleber in Strasbourg has shocked the city.
“I was in the city centre at the time and heard the gunfire and people, including young children, running away in panic.
“This incident has caused panic in the area with crowds of people out enjoying the Christmas markets.
“Details of the incident are still emerging but my thoughts are with those injured and all of those caught up in this incident.” Ends/Críoch
- Celebration of 100th anniversary of Countess Markievicz election
Countess Markievicz Historical Society will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Election of Markievicz as the first women in these islands to be elected to Parliament.
Speaking prior to a reception in the Shantallow Community Centre at 2pm this Friday 14th December, Councillor Sandra Duffy said:
“It is very appropriate given the launch earlier this year of the Countess Markievicz Cumann to serve the Culmore area that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this Suffragette, revolutionary and one of the iconic figures of the 1916 Uprising.
“On behalf of the Countess Markievicz Historical Society, I would like to invite as many residents as possible to join us for what will be an interesting talk on the life and times of the first female Sinn Féin MP and the first women elected to Parliament in these islands and on entering the first Dáil the first woman Cabinet Minister in Europe.
“Refreshments will be served in the Shantallow Community Centre at 1.45pm and the event will begin at 2pm sharp.
“Following the talk a mural of Countess Markievicz will be unveiled at the Racecourse Road opposite the Republican Monument at 3.15pm.
“So come along and join us on Friday. Everybody welcome.
- ‘Department living in denial over Universal Credit impact’ – McCartney
The offensive decision to order cakes celebrating the roll-out of Universal Credit shows the Department for Communities is living in denial over its impact of benefit cuts on vulnerable people, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.
The Foyle MLA was commenting after his party officially complained to the department after it spent over £1000 on 40 cakes to celebrate the introduction of Universal Credit.
He said: “I consider this action as evidence the department has little understanding how offensive this ‘celebration’ will be to those who have suffered hardship with the introduction of Universal Credit.
“Real people are suffering real consequences as a result of Universal Credit and other benefit changes.
“That is not something to be celebrated, it is something to be challenged and amended. That is the message which we have been consistently taking to the department but decisions such as this show they are living in denial as to the impact of welfare cuts on vulnerable people.”
- ‘Bloody Sunday was a massacre of innocents’ – McCartney
Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has slammed comments from a former British soldier, who has been arrested over Bloody Sunday, in which he described the massacre as a ‘job well done’.
The Foyle MLA who is a member of the Bloody Sunday Trust, said the comments in a BBC Radio Four programme had caused renewed hurt to the families and betrayed an ongoing attitude within the British establishment ‘which seeks to blame victims for their own murder’.
“These comments are offensive and extremely hurtful to the families of those who died on Bloody Sunday,” Raymond McCartney commented.
“They also fly in the face of the findings from the Saville Inquiry which clearly demonstrated how the victims had been murdered by the British Army. This was not a job well done. It was a massacre of innocents.
“The very fact that someone who was involved in the events of that day, and has been arrested by the PSNI team investigating Bloody Sunday, should feel justified in making these comments also goes a long way to explaining the kind of attitudes that still exist within the British military and establishment.
“They want to blame victims for their own murder rather than accept British culpability for crimes committed in Ireland. This is an attitude which has been actively promoted at the highest levels of the British Government – including by the British Prime Minister – through false claims that legacy investigations are skewed against former state forces.
“Those lies cannot go unchallenged and there can be no immunity or impunity for British soldiers guilty of murdering Irish civilians.”
- Campbell welcomes UNESCO Cultural Heritage status for Gaelic Games
Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed news that UNESCO have granted Cultural Heritage status to Gaelic Games, Camógie and Hurling.
The party’s Culture, Arts and Sports spokesperson said:
“I am delighted that UNESCO have given Gaelic Games, Hurling and Camógie the international recognition they deserve.
“Hurling and Camógie are unique sports, they are currently unmatched anywhere in the world. It is only fitting that they are given this prestigious recognition.
“Gaelic Games are at the heart of Irish culture and currently thrive across the island of Ireland – particularly among our young people.
“This is an excellent showcase for Irish culture and further demonstrates the surge in participation in Gaelic Games, which has over 250,000 members in the north alone.
“I want to pay tribute to all the coaches, players and all involved in the games on achieving this unique recognition.”
- Cooper hails success of initiative which has upskilled 100s of residents form the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain Areas
Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has hailed the success of a joint project between the North West Regional College (NWRC) and the Urban Villages initiative which has upskilled hundreds of residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain Areas in I.T. It has also directly led to many residents achieving accredited qualifications which has helped them to move into employment or continue to pursue their academic career.
He said “As a former governor at the NWRC, I was particularly keen to encourage further collaboration between the college and local community organisations in working class communities who would not normally have pursued their academic studies due to a range of factors.
“In late 2017 I initiated discussions between the NWRC and Urban Villages whose remit includes the upskilling of residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain areas to improve their chances of securing employment and to encourage residents to move into further and higher education.
“These discussions led to Urban Villages funding a range of courses in IT and multi-media. This was a deliberate approach given that the I.T. sector provides some of the greatest chances to secure well paid employment and that many of the residents of the Urban Villages area did not have qualifications in this area.
“As a direct result of the course 31 participants achieved level 2 accreditation from the NWRC. As a direct result some have moved into employment within the I.T. sector and others have pursued further qualifications in I.T. In addition the project engaged hundreds of school pupils from across the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain in I.T. sessions which has further increased their interest in pursuing a career in the field.
“As pilot projects go the initiative has been a tremendous success. As a result I have begun new discussions with the NWRC and Urban Villages to explore the delivery of additional courses over the coming year and we hope to announce further details in the coming weeks.
“I would like to thank the NWRC, Urban Villages and the community organisations across the Urban Villages area for their support and dedication which has hopefully changed the lives of many residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain areas”
- Annual Derry Sinn Féin Christmas post dedicated to Constance Markievicz
Speaking at the launch of the annual Derry Sinn Féin Christmas post Councillor Sandra Duffy said
“It is very appropriate given that we are Celebrating 100 years of Women in Leadership that this year’s stamp should be dedicated to one of the iconic figures of the 1916 Uprising, Constance Markievicz.
“She was a revolutionary, a feminist, a socialist and an abstentionist Irish MP.
“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 Offices throughout the city.
“The last post is Wednesday 19th with a 1.00 pm cut off time.
- ‘Denial of rights a matter of disgrace’ -Mellon
Citizens in the north should be entitled to the same rights as people everywhere else on these islands, Sinn Féin Councillor Aileen Mellon has said.
Speaking on World Human Rights Day she commented:
“On World Human Rights Day, it’s important to remember that the disgraceful denial of rights to citizens in the north continues.
“The LGBTQ community, women, victims’ and Gaeilgeoirí are not second class citizens. They are entitled to the same rights as people everywhere else on these islands.
“It’s a matter of disgrace that the British government – who are supposed to be impartial – stand over this as a result of their toxic pact with the DUP.
“Similarly, on Brexit, the DUP have aligned themselves with the right-wing of the Tory party and have set their face against the wishes of the majority of the people of the north who voted to remain in the EU.
“They don’t speak for the people of the north on Brexit and continue to show a blatant disregard for the needs and interests of our economy, our business, community and agri-food sectors.
“It’s important that the Backstop – as included within the Withdrawal Agreement – remains the bottom line to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and minimise the damage on our economy.”
- Duffy welcomes Victoria Hall FundingSinn Féin Cllr Sandra Duffy has welcomed the news that all the funding is now secured for the refurbishment of Victoria Hall in Culmore.Cllr Duffy stated:“Culmore is an area of significant growth and whilst we are working on a number of community projects for the area, including a new Community Ccentre to be sited on the grounds of the Culmore Country Park there is still a deficit in facilities in the area.“I believe the refurbishment of the Victoria Hall will go along way to provide much needed community space in the area.“It is hoped that when complete the Hall will provide community advice, craft facilities and a space for the residents of the area to come together.“I very much welcome this news and thank all those involved in bringing the building back to life. I now look forward to work commencing on the facility early in the new year.”