• Duffy welcomes support for Crisis Intervention Service motion

    Sinn Féin Council Health spokesperson, Cllr Sandra Duffy, has welcomed support for her council motion calling for funding to be made available for the continuation of the Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) in Derry.

    Speaking in support of her motion calling for the Health Minister to fully fund the CCIS, at today’s full council meeting, Cllr Duffy said,

    “We are all aware of the statistics on mental health here in this city and region, and it is due to this that the Community Crisis Intervention Service was set up and piloted here. It came about as a collective effort.

    “The CCIS was developed in conjunction with the Western Trust, Health and Social Care board, Ulster University, Foyle Search and Rescue and Council to provide a low threshold responsive service, addressing issues of crisis, self harm, suicidal ideation and substance misuse, using de-escalation techniques, with support and trained counsellors on hand to ensure the person receives the appropriate help that they need.

    “To date, the Minister has stated that the CCIS project in Derry will not be funded, even though he has accepted that it falls within the remit of the Protect Life 2 Strategy.

    “The Minister has also stated that there are plans to look at the Belfast Crisis Intervention Service, which whilst we appreciate the need for mental health services across the North, this sets out a glaringly obvious omission to the plan, and highlights that some of the focus in the Health Department’s strategy neglects anything West of the Bann.

    “The funding for these projects should be based on objective need, and it cannot be denied that there is objective need for this service in this region.”

  • Duffy calls for Volunteers Pool

    Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has called for a Volunteer Pool of people who will be able to assist in areas of need as we move through the various stages of Covid-19.
    Councillor Duffy said:
    “As we move through this pandemic of Coronavirus in our community we will increasingly come under pressure.
    “Those who contract the virus will have to take time off work to self-isolate while others will require assistance in areas such as childminding or looking after the elderly. 
    “This will be more manageable if you have can work from home, but unfortunately for some professions, this is not possible and these are some of the most important roles as we move forward.
    “These are the caring roles of visiting the elderly or vulnerable in their own homes, bringing them meals, getting them in and out of bed and generally providing them with a friendly face, other roles are those working within homeless hostels and community facilities and those in the service and retail sectors.
    “If those in these sectors have to take time off the services they provide will still need to be performed.

    “That is why I am calling on those in these sectors to start now to identify volunteers and relief workers to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are not left without care.
    “I also appeal to the public if they are fit and healthy with no underlying health issues to consider volunteering for one of these roles. We’re all in this together and with a little consideration we can avoid the worst of this crisis.” CRÍOCH/END

  • Duffy welcomes Culmore road and footpath resurfacing work

    Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the news that the resurfacing of footway and carriageway at Culmore Road is to begin in the coming weeks.

    Cllr Duffy said,

    “It is great to see the progress of resurfacing on the Culmore Road and the much-needed work is set to continue over the last two weekends of March.

    “This work is much needed and will see a massive improvement to the road infrastructure in this part of the city.

    “Between 7pm on Friday 20th March and 7am on Monday 23rd March, and the same between 28th-30th March there will be full road closure, except for Emergency Services, to allow for the contractors to complete the work at hand.

    “Local access will be maintained to properties fronting onto the site, which will also include Thornhill Park.

    “Traffic approaching from Ballynagard Rd, Alder Rd and Springfield Rd will be advised to use Racecourse Rd.

    “There will be diversions in place throughout the duration of the work and I would encourage motorists and pedestrians alike to be aware and allow extra time for any journeys during the work periods.

    “The contractors have advised that bus services will not be running on Culmore Rd, between Culmore Point Rd and the Foyle Hospice during these closures and I have requested a meeting with Translink to discuss alternative arrangements so residents will still have access to public transport during this time”

  • Window Replacement Scheme to go ahead in Spring – Burke

    Sinn Féin Moor Councillor Tina Burke, has welcomed the news from the Housing Executive that the window replacement scheme is to begin in areas of Creggan this Spring.

    Speaking as she sought clarification from  Housing Executive on the start dates for the project, Cllr Burke said,

    “This is a long overdue development for homes in Creggan and is a result of lobbying carried out by my party colleague, former Cllr Kevin Campbell work which I continued on with.

    “This window replacement scheme is part of the wider regeneration programme that is taking  place in the Creggan estate. I am delighted to see that this is being progressed by bodies such as the Housing Executive.

    “The areas confirmed to receive the window replacement scheme  are , Aranmore Avenue, Balbane Pass, Benevenagh Gardens, Circular Road, Creggan Heights, Cromore Gardens, High Park, Iniscarn Road, Inveroe Gardens, Linsfort Drive, Ramore Gardens and Rinmore Drive.

    “I have been in contact with the Housing Executive to seek further clarification on confirmed start dates for the projects and I will keep residents notified as I receive this information in the coming days.”

  • Duffy commends council on menopause policy

    Sinn Féin Health spokesperson on Derry City and Strabane District Council Sandra Duffy, has welcomed proposals for the Menopause Policy and Guidance at this week’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee.

    Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Duffy said,

    “Derry City and Strabane District Council are the first council to adopt a policy of this nature and I believe this is something we should be proud of.

    “Menopause is something that all women will face in their life time, and I believe it is important that we support women who suffer through this whilst at work in any way that we can.

    “This policy will help create a positive and inclusive work environment, remove the stigma around menopause and reduce absenteeism due to menopause symptoms.

    “I would like to commend the council and the partners who assisted in developing this policy and look forward to its implementation.”

  • Anderson urges participation in PEACE Plus survey

    Photo: Martina Anderson with Gina McInytre of SEUPB

    Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has urged groups to take part in a consultation process that will help shape the future EU programme ‘PEACE Plus’ that will run from 2021-2027.

    Speaking after the launch of the survey Martina Anderson MEP said, 

    “I would encourage groups to take part in a new survey with the survey and information events which will setting out funding and delivery of new PEACE Plus Programme.

    “Sinn Féin have worked tirelessly in the European Parliament, and elsewhere, to ensure that EU funding streams to the north are protected.

    “In 2016, Sinn Féin convinced 541 MEPs of the need to protect PEACE funding, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

    “The new PEACE Plus programme has the potential to mitigate some of the impact that Brexit and the border has on our border communities, but this fund is not a miracle cure.

    “The reality of Brexit will still mean that the north will be cut off from other vital European funding programmes worth hundreds of millions of euro.

    “On the 31st of January, the north will be dragged out of the EU. Sinn Féin will continue fighting to ensure that the budget for this PEACE Plus Programme, and the regulations, covering it are secured.”

    Full details of the survey and information session can be found here – https://www.seupb.eu/peaceplus

  • Mullan encourages parents to complete school applications

    Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has encouraged parents to complete applications for pre-school places and primary school places for September 2020 in advance of the January 30th deadline.

    “It’s time to apply for pre-school places and primary school places for September 2020.

    “I would encourage all parents to complete their application ahead of deadline which is the 30th of January at 12 noon.”

    Details of the digital registration process as well as further information on the admissions process can be accessed at the following link: https://www.eani.org.uk/parents/admissions 

  • Work begins on new barrier at Strand Road car park – Cooper

    Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that work has begun on a new security barrier in front of Home Bargains and Harry Corry’s on the Strand Road. 

    It comes after intensive lobbying due to the problems created there late at night by car enthusiasts.

    Councillor Cooper said “It’s been well publicised in the local press the problems that have been blighting this area late at night in relation to car enthusiasts gathering in this car park and the resulting noise pollution.

    “A number of additional security measures had been put in place but sadly it wasn’t enough to stop the problems there. 

    “I am pleased that the new a barrier is now being installed at the entrance to the car park, and will be operational in the very near future. And I have also arranged for the police and wardens to visit the area to ensure it remains quiet.

    “If any resident has concerns on this issue, they should feel free to contact me.


  • Duffy calls for safe crossings at Skeoge

    Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has reiterated calls from the residents of Clon Elagh, Fernabbey and Glenabbey for safe crossings at the Skeoge roundabout.

    Speaking following a residents protest, Cllr Duffy said,

    “I have been lobbying the Department for Infrastructure, Roads Service and the PSNI on behalf of local residents for some time regarding the safety of the Skeoge Road.

    “This road is a dual carriageway running through two new housing developments with hundreds of houses and young families. The road needs to be crossed by children going to school and accessing local shops.

    “There have already been a number of accidents on this road, and there is a high level of concern at the dangers presented by the lack of road safety measures.

    “I have met with the Roads Service to discuss road safety measures and they have committed to carrying out a survey to establish the best options.

    “We would like to see safe pelican crossings at two points along the road, and traffic lights close to the entrance of Fernabbey.

    “This issue needs addressed as a matter of urgency, before someone is seriously hurt or worse on this road.”



    Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle, Karen Mullan, has called on the Department for Communities to act immediately on Residual Rent arrears policy that is being implemented by the Housing Executive across the North.

    Speaking following a meeting with senior staff at the department, alongside party colleague Alex Maskey MLA, Karen Mullan said,

    “Several constituents contacted me during the summer to raise concerns that they were in arrears due to being changed over to Universal Credit, through no fault of their own. They had discovered this when applying for the redecoration grant after maintenance work which was being carried out by Housing Executive.

    Housing Executive tenants who have switched or been transferred over to Universal Credit automatically go into rental arrears for the first 12 months.

    To date, the response we have received from the Department for Communities  has been very dissatisfactory.

    This policy must be changed as tenants are being punished due to these arrears

    “Tenants have found that they are not entitled to the Home Decoration Allowance, which is putting them under financial hardship when getting much needed maintenance schemes carried at their homes by the Housing Executive”

    “We will be responding to the Department outlining our dissatisfaction and will continue to call for this policy is changed.”

  • Kingsfort to get new street lighting and road resurfacing scheme – Cooper

    Sinn Féin Foyleside Councillor Michael Cooper has welcomed the news that a new street lighting scheme is to take place in Kingsfort Park and surrounding areas, including Lisnarea Avenue and Ardnarea Crescent.

    Speaking after he received confirmation of the development, Cllr Cooper said,

    “Following a long lobby by myself to improve the lighting in this area, I am delighted that the installation of the street lighting scheme has started in Kingsfort Park and the surrounding streets.

    “The streets lights in the area are dated and not in great condition so it is long overdue that they are  now being upgraded.

    “I am also pleased to announce that following an extensive lobby that I have received confirmation of resurfacing of the roads in this area in the next financial year (April ‘20 – March ’21).

    “This has been a long process and knowing that we are starting to see these improvements here for the residents is most welcome.”  ENDS/CRÍOC

  • ‘It’s time to end violence against women’ – McCallion

    Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has there can be no place in society for violence against women. 

    Speaking on ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’ the Foyle candidate said:

    “Women across the world are facing sexual, mental and physical violence.

    “Sexual violence affects women and their families in terms of health, welfare, finance, and legal standing.

    “We need to move to a position of zero tolerance within society where all incidents of domestic abuse are reported and the perpetrator brought before the courts.

    “I would encourage everyone to get involved in the 16 days of activism and attend as many of the events as possible so that we can highlight the injustices against women not only in Ireland but across the globe.

    “It is also vitally important that anyone suffering from abuse whether physical or emotional knows that there are organisations, who are just a phone call away and ready to help. No one should suffer in silence.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

  • McCallion challenges Secretary of State over power sharing and Magee medical school

    Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has challenged the British government’s secretary of the state for the north to work constructively to see a genuine power sharing Executive established and on the need for approval for the medical school at Magee. 

    The Foyle candidate said: 

    “Today, Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O’Neill and I met with the British government’s secretary of state for the north along with other members of the Sinn Féin leadership team to discuss the need for a genuine power sharing Executive. 

    “The current impasse is unacceptable. I made it clear to Julian Smith that we are committed to seeing a fully functioning Executive, in line with the Good Friday Agreement, in place and delivering for all. 

    “I also challenged him on the need for approval for the medical school at Magee. It cannot be delayed or put on the long finger any longer. It is time for urgent action. 

    “I am determined to see a graduate entry medical school established at Magee as soon as possible and will continue to fight for it.”

  • ‘GAA in Derry is entering a new era’ – McCallion

    Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said the GAA in Derry is entering a new era as it continues to go from strength to strength.

    The Foyle election candidate said:

    “I met today with representatives of GAA clubs from across the city to discuss the plans for the growth of the association in Derry.

    “A phenomenal amount of work is done across this city by clubs and coaches and it’s great to see so many young people, particularly girls and young women, getting involved in and playing Gaelic Games.

    “We looked at the strategy for the continued development of GAA in the city and district and while there are challenges in terms of availability of pitches, facilities and coaches, it is clear there is a vision for the future growth of the association.

    “The GAA plays a key role in our society, not just in terms of promoting health, fitness and wellbeing but also celebrating our culture and heritage.

    “The role of Gaelic Games in boosting our local economy is often overlooked and there are huge opportunities to develop that.

    “The GAA and the city and district is entering a new era which will see it continue to grow from strength to strength and I will do all that I can to support it in the future.”

  • Ballymagroarty, Hazelbank & Coshquin to get bulky lift – Cllr Cooper

    Sinn Féin Foyleside Councillor Mickey Cooper has announced that he has arranged a bulky lift scheme in conjunction with the Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Partnership, which will take place across a large area stretching from the Ballymagroarty to Coshquin area over three days next week. 

    Councillor Cooper said he hoped the initiative would help to reduce incidents of fly tipping and increase recycling rates in the area.

    Councillor Cooper said,

     “I would encourage residents in these areas to avail of this scheme and dispose of any  unwanted furniture, household items and electrical items.

    “The collection is focused on white goods and other items. There is a standard list of items which are not included  in these bulky lifts and can I emphasise that black bin rubbish will not be collected.

    “ If anyone has any queries they can contact me on 07743175709”


    Tuesday 19th November

    Ballymagroarty area:

    O’Nuallain Crescent/Yeats Court/Joyce Court/Synge Court/Drumlaheen Crescent/Sheelin Park/Corrib Court/Dunluce Court/Stephens Court/Mangan Court/Charlton Court/Kavanagh Court/O’Donnell Avenue/O’Connor Court/Shaw Court/Goldsmith Court/O’Casey Court/Swift Court/Ennis Place/O’Riada Court/John Field Place/Harty Court/Rafferty Court/Macniece Court/Macgill Court/Allingham Close/Merriman Court/Gogarty Close/Friel Close

    Wednesday 20th November:

    Hazelbank Area

    Beallachmór Lower/ Beallachmór/Drummard Park/Drummard Close/Rosskeen Park/Hillfort Road/Farland Way/Barr’s Lane/Inchview/Shanreagh Park/Marianus Park

    Thursday 21st November

    Hazelbank & Coshquin Area

    Springtown Close/Springtown Court/Hawthorne Grove/Hawthorne Drive/Hawthorn Way/Derrymore/Sherriff’s Glen/St Eithne’s Park/Benview Road and Estate

  • Mayor welcomes Sinn Féin Ard Fheis to Derry 

    Sinn Féin Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Michaela Boyle has welcomed the 2019 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis to Derry. 

    Speaking after hosting an event in Derry’s Guildhall to welcome Ard Fheis 2019 to the city, the Mayor said:

    “I am delighted to welcome the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2019, which will take place on November 15 and 16 in the Millennium Forum, to Derry. 

    “This is a major event and will attract thousands of delegates from every part of Ireland as well as international guests from across the world. 
    “It is great to see the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis returning to the city having previously been hosted here in 2015. 

    “It is an excellent showcase for the city and is yet another major conference coming here, furthering Derry’s reputation as a premier conference venue. 

    “Not only will this attract many visitors to the city, it will also provide a welcome boost to the economy as many will be staying in local hotels. 
    “I look forward to welcoming the delegates to the city when they arrive next weekend for what is sure to be a successful event.” Ends/Críoch

  • ‘Flags at new Drumahoe development  must be addressed’ – Fleming

    Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has raised concerns about flags that have been erected at a new housing development in Drumahoe.

    Speaking after he raised the issue with the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), alongside party colleague Raymond McCartney MLA he said,

    “Many residents have raised concerns about flags that have been erected at a new housing development in Drumahoe. This is a new build, and no one should be erecting flags to try to mark out territory.

    “It is intimidating for residents within the area, and having visited the site and seeing the flags which include UDA flags I feel that it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

    “I have raised this with the PCSP and would urge them to ensure that it is addressed in the coming days.

    “No one should feel intimidated in their own home or indeed the area they live. We should all be working together to build and develop a shared city that is welcoming for all”


  • Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Cooper has expressed his disappointment that in the SDLP over date for Unity poll.

    Sinn Féin councillor Michael Cooper has said it is disappointing the SDLP have not caught up with the mood of the people on the need for a date to be set for a referendum on Irish unity. 

    Councillor Cooper said: 

    “Whilst I welcome the fact that the SDLP believe that a Unity poll offers the best solution for the people of Ireland post Brexit, I am disappointed that they do not want to set a date for it to take place.

    “To suggest that ‘now is not the time’ is nonsensical as the conversation, the planning and preparing for Irish Unity is already well underway. It’s time the SDLP caught up with the people and realised that now is the time to be calling  for a date to be set so we can prepare and plan responsibly for the debate on Irish unity.

    “In the context of Brexit, the North of Ireland will be decimated by the worst impact of a Tory exit from the European Union.

    “The European Council has stated in April 2017, that in the event of a successful referendum on Irish unity, the North would be able to re-join the European Union as a reunified All-Ireland member state.

    “Given that we are being dragged out of the EU against our democratically expressed wishes, and the provision for a unity referendum has been outlined in the Good Friday Agreement, the people of Ireland should be given a democratic vote on their future.” Ends/Críoch

  • ‘Unanimous support for motion regarding Domestic Violence Awareness is welcome’ – Duffy

    Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the unanimous backing of her motion at this evening’s council meeting raising awareness of domestic violence in the city and region.

    Speaking following the passing of the motion, Councillor Duffy said,

    “It’s welcome that the full council has tonight voted in favour of the motion that we tabled calling for the recognition of the concerning rise in the number of reports of domestic violence in the district.

    “I would also commend the work undertaken by La Dolce Vita in raising not only awareness of domestic violence and parental alienation, but also in supporting victims of such crimes.

    “There can be no place for domestic violence in our society and everyone, including council, has a role to play in preventing it.” 

  • Solutions need to end gender pay gap –Ferguson

    Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has expressed frustration at the continuation of the gender pay gap in the north, despite wages having increased over the last year.

    The Foyle MLA  said:

    “While it’s positive to see a rise in wages, I’m disappointed that the gender pay gap still exists as women in part time jobs consistently earn less than men in the same roles. 

    Sinn Féin are committed to tackling the gender pay gap, that’s why we are  bringing a bill to the Assembly which places a responsibility on employers to highlight gender pay gaps and begin to address them.

    Just this week , Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced a grant to support low-income families by covering the cost of childcare during the first month of work in an attempt to remove barriers to employment facing parents.”

  • Sinn Féin propose workplace mental health first aid training

    Training will be provided to ensure dedicated mental health first aiders are available in local workplaces, if a Sinn Féin motion before Derry City and Strabane District Council is successful.

    Commenting on the proposal, Sinn Féin Councillor Emma McGinley urged all parties to back the plan.

    Cllr. McGinley said: “Providing mental health first aid training will be a vital resource to help people spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and to have the confidence to step in and the knowledge to help.

    “If passed, my motion will commit the council to sourcing training in order to have a mental health first aider in each workplace to support staff and promote mental well being.

    “Council will work with local businesses across the city and district towards this goal and I would hope that all parties could support this initiative.

    “There isn’t a family in this city that hasn’t been touched in some way by mental health related issues so we need to make this a priority for the council and wider government, particularly as we emerge from a pandemic that will only exacerbate the mental health problems that many people face.”

  • Duffy welcomes Rapid Testing scheme

    Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the announcement that Rapid Testing kits will be available at local pharmacies.

    The local  health spokesperson  said:

    “Rapid testing is an important tool in preventing the transmission of the COVID – 19 virus.

    “This coming winter we are faced with significant pressures across the entire health and social care system. 

    “Our community pharmacies have played a significant role during the COVID-19 pandemic and especially in the vaccination roll-out and now in the Rapid Test scheme.

    ”I urge everyone to avail of the Rapid Testing kits that are available from your local pharmacy and to test regularly for the virus through the winter months. 

    ”If we are to suppress this virus we all have a role to play by continuing to observe public health guidance.”

    ”Testing yourself and your family members regularly has been made easier through this scheme.”


  • O’Neill pays tribute to frontline staff and calls for workers’ rights to be strengthened

    Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill MLA today paid tribute to the ‘courage and professionalism’ of healthcare and frontline workers in taking us through the pandemic.

    Addressing the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) conference in Belfast the Joint Head of Government also said she is meeting with David Frost today to emphasise the need for stability and certainty for local businesses and workers through the Protocol.

    Michelle O’Neill said:

    “I thank and pay tribute to our doctors, nurses, carers, auxiliaries, cleaners, cooks, and also our shop workers, teachers, youth workers, delivery workers.

    “In the face of this frightening deadly virus they had the courage and professionalism to take us through the horrendous public health emergency – and they continue to do so.

    “Our health workers have worked so hard and gone above and beyond the call of duty during this pandemic and we need to build a health service fit for workers and patients.

    “The forthcoming multi-year budget will see health prioritised by the Executive as its number one priority and this must include tackling waiting lists.”

    Michelle O’Neill said that Sinn Féin is committed to workers’ rights but warned that the Tory government “does not care about workers’ pay or rights”.

    “As we move forward, we need to deliver for people, and that can’t just be about getting things done, it will be about getting things done right.

    “Sinn Féin is fully committed to strengthening workers’ rights; we want to end precarious work, to tackle low pay and strengthen trade unions recognition and collective bargaining rights.

    “Sinn Féin is committed to tackling other issues that affect workers whether that is rising energy and food prices or persistent gender inequalities in the workplace.”

    She told Congress she will be meeting with the British government’s negotiator with the EU David Frost later today. Michelle O’Neill said:

    “Next week will see political talks intensify between the European Union and the British Government around the Brexit Protocol. I will meet with David Frost this afternoon and I will be emphasising the point that business, workers and society here want certainty and stability.

    “Jobs and livelihoods must be safeguarded, and the all-Ireland economy strengthened.

    “The Irish Protocol represents that special status for the north and there is no credible alternative.

    “It is international law and must be respected.” 

  • Cllr McGinley sends well wishes to Sean Dolans GAC ahead of Saturday’s final

    Sinn Féin Councillor for the Moor Ward, Emma McGinley, has extended well wishes to Sean Dolans GAC ahead of their clash with Desertmartin in the weekend’s Championship final.

    Speaking ahead of the match Cllr McGinley said,

    “I want to wish the senior team at Sean Dolans GAC all the best ahead of this weekend’s Championship final against Desertmartin.

    “Sean Dolans GAC has really risen from the ashes since the fire at the clubhouse almost 10 years ago, and the commitment to developing the local community is astounding.

    “It’s been an exciting number of years for the club, as teams are growing and going from strength to strength.

    “I’m looking forward to the match on Saturday and would encourage everyone to get behind the boys and come support them at Celtic Park, and hopefully we will see them lift the cup.

    “Throw in at 2.30pm and tickets for the game are available through the MyTicket App”

  • Ferguson welcomes childcare support for families

    Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has welcomed a plan by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to support low-income families with upfront childcare costs.

    The Foyle MLA said:

    “A new scheme announced by Minister Deirdre Hargey will help get people into work by covering the cost of childcare for the first month.

    “It’s vital that parents and families have access to high-quality, affordable childcare.

    “Starting a new job can be challenging for low-income parents as wages are paid in arrears, while childcare fees are paid upfront.

    “Minister Hargey’s scheme will remove that barrier to employment and put money in the pockets of workers and low-income families.

    “Applications open today and I would encourage those who may be eligible for this scheme to apply.” Críoch/Ends

  • Delargy expresses concern at failure to register teachers

    Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has expressed concern following reports that the General Teaching Council is still failing to register many newly qualified teachers eight weeks into term.

    The Foyle MLA  said:

    “Reports that many newly qualified teachers still haven’t been registered by the General Teaching Council (GTC) are deeply concerning. 

    “Evidence of dysfunctionality and governance issues have been presented to the Education Committee on a number of occasions, but the GTC’s latest failure threatens the livelihoods of many young workers. 

    “My party colleague Pat Sheehan MLA  wrote  to the Education Minister in August on these issues. I am deeply concerned that this issue still hasn’t been resolved. 

    “Our newly qualified teachers need clarity and this needs to be resolved as quickly as possible to allow them to take up their jobs.

    “Some schools are struggling for teachers to cover shifts due to the ongoing impact of Covid19 and it’s unacceptable that the Minister is presiding over a situation where teachers are sitting on the sidelines.

    “Sinn Féin will continue to seek an urgent resolution to this issue from the Education Minister.”

  • Sinn Féin committed to transforming housing across Ireland – Foyle MLA Ciara Ferguson

    “Delivering more social and affordable homes is a priority for Sinn Féin in Foyle  and across the island of Ireland. 

    We need to fix a broken housing system and bring about change that makes a real difference in people’s lives. 

    That means not only building even more homes, but also improving existing homes.

    Housing is a human right — everyone should be able to feel safe in the knowledge that they have a secure and stable home.

    That’s why Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is delivering the biggest shake up in public housing for over 40 years by giving the Housing Executive the power to begin building homes again. 

    It’s about having a housing policy which sees public housing going to those who need it most. 

    In recent weeks, Minister Hargey has invested an extra £15 million to help with the building of homes and tackling rising costs of building supplies. 

    Over the course of the last 18 months, Sinn Féin Ministers have stepped up to protect renters by delivering legislation to protect people from eviction until May 2022. 

    More housing in rural areas is a major issue, that’s why we have called for new planning rules introduced by the Infrastructure Minister which makes it harder to build homes in rural areas to be scrapped.

    Sinn Féin in government are working to transform housing in the North and across the island by creating a level playing field so that workers and families can get a break.


  • Plea to take up local offer of Flu Jab -Duffy

    Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Sandra Duffy  has called on people in Derry entitled to get the Flu vaccine to ensure that they take up the offer in the next few weeks as local medical practices undertake the annual vaccine campaign.

    Councillor Sandra Duffy  said

    “In the next few weeks local medical practices in Derry will be offering patients the opportunity to get the annual Flu vaccine .I would appeal to as many people as possible to make sure that they take up the offer of the vaccine.

    “Every winter the flu comes around, but the virus is always changing. Even if you’ve had flu or the vaccine last year it won’t protect you this year .It’s important for patients to get their vaccination in October or early November to be ready to fight off any infection and not to wait until there is an outbreak of flu.

    “This year there will be added pressures on medical practices across the city dealing with COVID.
    “There have been strenuous efforts put into various awareness programmes to increase the number of people in the uptake of the Flu vaccine and we should not let that good work go to waste”

  • Energy price increase will hit those already least able to afford it –Ferguson

    Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has said huge increases in energy prices will hit hardest on those already least able to afford it.

    She  was commenting after the Utility Regulator warned that gas bills could increase by further 50% in December, with electricity prices set to increase by up to 20% in January. 

    The Foyle  MLA  said: 

    “News that energy prices are set to increase again is another huge blow for already hard-pressed families. 

    “Many families, workers and pensioners here are still reeling from the British government’s attack on their livelihoods by increasing national Insurance contributions, ditching pension protections and cutting Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit. 

    “These hikes in energy costs will hit hardest on those already least able to afford it. 

    “It’s particularly concerning that this latest hike comes at the beginning of winter when the demand for fuel will increase significantly.

    “The British government must recognise the scale of the cost-of-living crisis and make additional funding available to support workers and families, and to help businesses and protect jobs.”