British Government again snubs Taoiseach’s call for release of Dublin/Monaghan bombs files

British Government again snubs Taoiseach’s call for release of Dublin/Monaghan bombs files

● Talbot Street, Dublin – scene of of one of the bombs

THE Taoiseach has been snubbed by the British Government after he again sought the release of their files and papers relating to the May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Thirty-four people were killed, including an unborn child, and almost 300 injured when three no-warning car-bombs exploded during rush-hour in Dublin and a fourth in Monaghan town on 17 May 1974.

The unionist Ulster Volunteer Force claimed responsibility for the well-co-ordinated attacks, which have all the appearances of being carried out with the assistance of British state forces. No one has been convicted of the attacks.

SF book

Today’s Irish Times reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan pointed out that Taoiseach Enda Kenny, on a recent visit to Belfast, made clear the importance the Irish Government attached to disclosure and co-operation in dealing with the legacy. Despite this, the British have stonewalled a friendly neighbouring government’s important request.

Now the Irish Government is waiting for a new Secretary of State for the North to be appointed after the 7 May Westminster general election before he makes another approach, one of many over several years.

The minister said he would continue to ask the British Government to give them access to an independent international judicial figure and original documents it had relating to the bombings.

Meanwhile, the questions remain to be answered as to why the British authorities are not co-operating, and what will happen if the Tories once again dominate the new government after 7 May?

Military action won’t solve Mediterranean migrant crisis – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said there can be no military solution to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. 

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

Ms Anderson said;

“EU foreign ministers are meeting today to discuss the growing crisis in the Mediterranean that has led to the deaths of thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe.

“Reports that one of the options being considered includes military action against Libya to destroy the boats before they leave is both alarming and foolhardy.

“Military action will not solve the humanitarian crisis where untold numbers of people, desperate to find a new life, are dying in the Mediterranean.

“In fact, it was military action by the British government and others in Libya, Syria and Palestine which has totally destabilised the region and created the conditions where migrants feel they have no other option but to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean.

“Instead of attempting to impose further military action which would further destabilise the region, the international community, and the European Union in particular, must step up its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the survivors of these modern-day coffin ships and prevent further deaths.” Ends/Críoch

Dozen homes targeted in lead theft spree -Cllr P Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has warned residents in the greater Bishop Street /Foyle Road area to be on the alert for lead thefts.Patricia Logue new pic 22

Its follows the thefts of lead from a dozen homes homes in Iona Court and Moore Walk this week.

She said

People would find it hard to believe that when they are in their beds that in the middle of the night there are people taking lead from their properties. But this is exactly what happened in Iona Walk and Moore Walk this week. I know that at least 12 houses were targeted and most of lead was taken from the backs of the houses.

This is just not opportunist small time thefts.

 

There have been a number of stories in the local press over the past few years regarding the theft of lead from homes, businesses and schools in the Derry area.

 

I would urge the PSNI to put in place whatever resources are available to apprehend whoever is behind these thefts, and if the community have any information on who is responsible they should bring it forward.

 

I would also urge scrap merchants in the Derry and Donegal area to be wary of people trying to sell off lead material quickly.

 

Ends

Hassan welcomes start to work on Culmore rivefront

Welcoming the news that work has begun on a new wall along the riverfront at Culmore after a long campaign Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said

I have been campaigning for some time now for the various agencies to look at the problems being faced by residents in the Culmore area. One area that I felt needed special attention was the wall along the river front.

 

I said there was a need for DRD Roads Service  to remove the sections of the railings at the roadside along the riverfront and replace it with a continuous solid stone wall in consultation with local residents and Derry City Council. I even invited Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill  last year to visit Culmore and while not all of the issues relating to flooding fell under the minister’s remit, Minister O’Neill did acknowledge that some of the agencies who have responsibility for flooding related issues are part of her department.

 

We were informed in November of 2014 that TransportNI (formally DRD Road Service)had responsibility for the maintenance of the wall.I also  proposed a motion calling on Derry City Council to contact them  and have the wall repaired as soon as possible.

 

I am pleased to have received news  today that preparation work on the new wall has started.

Jackson condemns trouble in TOH

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned a number of incidents in the Top of the Hill area tonight during which a fire was started outside the home of  a 70 year old women and the PSNI were attacked in a follow up investigation.

Councillor Jackson said Christopher TOH 1

These incidents have to be condemned. This must have been a very frightening experience for this resident.

The police have to be allowed to carry out their work in responding to emergency situations.

I was on the ground tonight with local community workers to try and stop this escalating.

There is a responsibility on parents to know what their children are getting involved in here.

End

‘Right to Know’ Breakfast Campaign Early diagnosis for people with dementia

 

Speaking at the event chair of the Assembly’s Health committee Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said CCn1DhQUwAAh_TS.jpg large

 

As Chairperson of the Committee for Health, I am very pleased to close this important campaign to raise awareness about dementia.  I would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Society for inviting the Committee to sponsor the event, and also the attendees today for showing up and providing their support to this valuable cause.

 

The ageing population throughout the region will unfortunately lead to a continuing increase in numbers of people with dementia.  Dementia is a serious and often misunderstood condition that has a devastating impact on the lives of those affected and on loved ones around them.  The heartbreak of knowing that those affected will never be the same and will slowly deteriorate with time is painful and excruciating; that is why early diagnosis and intervention is key to managing the disease.  Early diagnosis can give families time to cope and plan for the next stages and to ensure that their loved one is properly cared for.

 

 

 

We also heard today the significant impact that a Dementia Support Worker can make post-diagnosis – they can help people with dementia maintain their independence, improve their sense of well-being and take control of their own lives.

Today’s event has greatly helped me to better understand this issue and I give my full support to the work of the Alzheimer’s Society.

 

To finish, I hope that you have found this event interesting and informative and on behalf of myself and the Committee, I’d like to thank all the participants for being here today.

Westminster Election Manifesto 2015

 

 

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Sinn Féin calls for monthly student payments-Logue

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has urged people to support a petition organised by Phil Flanagan MLA calling on the Employment and Learning Minister to make student loan and support payments on a monthly basis.

She said;

“We are extremely concerned at the worsening financial situation facing many students.

“More and more graduates are having to settle for low-paid, part-time or zero-hour contract jobs, reducing the availability of part time employment for current students.

“As a result many students have no financial support and are completely reliant on the income they get from their student loan or support payments.

“These are currently paid in three instalments over the academic year, in October, January and after Easter. This makes it very difficult for students to budget and causes great financial distress to many people. No other section of our society would be expected to budget in such a way.

“The Scottish government has moved away from this policy to what I believe is a much more progressive and student-friendly approach of paying students in ten-monthly instalments.

“We are disappointed that Stephen Farry has refused to implement such a change here despite the student bodies calling for it.

“This petition will allow students to demonstrate to the minister that this proposal has popular support.

“I would encourage people to sign this petition, which can be found at

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/90827-change-the-way-students-receive-their-support-payments.

Cars vandalised in Bogside –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting on the news that a number of cars have been vandalised in the Lone Moor Road area of the Bogside over the last two weekends

Councillor Colly Kelly saidCouncillor Colly Kelly

“There were a number of vandalism attacks on cars in the Lone Moor Road area and several of the side streets over the last two weekends.

It has involved wing mirrors being kicked off and damage to paint work .Replacing a wing mirror on a car now a days can cost over a £100 never mind the cost of repairing damaged paint work.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that this is happen .In the current economic climate it is very hard to afford to keep a car on the road at the best of times and no one needs this extra expense and upset.

I would appeal to anyone who has any information on those responsible to bring it forward.

Ends

McGuinness meets with Christy Walsh

Belfast man Christy Walsh has suffered a miscarriage of justice and should be compensated, Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said.

Mr. McGuinness was speaking after meeting Mr Walsh in Stormont today.

“I met this afternoon with Christy Walsh, who is clearly a victim of injustice,” he commented.

“He spent many years in prison and should be entitled to compensation for his experiences.

“Sinn Féin has raised this case with David Ford and we will continue to support Mr Walsh in his quest for justice.”

10,000-strong petition delivered to Dunnes Stores HQ today

10,000-strong petition delivered to Dunnes Stores HQ today

A PETITION with over 10,000 signatures from members of the public over the past five days was handed into Dunnes Stores HQ on Georges Street in Dublin City Centre at lunchtime on Wednesday in solidarity with staff who claim they have been victimised and even sacked after taking part in a one-day strike on 2 April over working conditions.

The petition, organised by independent campaigning organisaton Uplift, calls on Margaret Heffernan, CEO of Dunnes Stores, to guarantee that Dunnes workers are not intimidated or victimised for trying to secure better working conditions.

Siobhán O’Donoghue, spokesperson for Uplift, said:

“Dunnes Stores cannot afford to ignore public pressure. They know only too well the damage that could be inflicted to the company’s ‘bottom line’ if the public turn against them. Ten thousand people represents a lot of customers.”

Dunnes Strike Mandate

● Sinn Féin solidarity with striking workers

Trade union Mandate said they have received reports from members all over the country who have experienced:

Dunnes Stores strike 2015 Mandate logo

● Dismissals

● Cuts to hours

● Changes in roles

● Changes in shift patterns

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary, said:

“As a very last resort, and with no other option available to them, our members in Dunnes Stores took legitimate and reasonable industrial action.

“All they want is for their company to meaningfully engage with them through their union with the objective of creating decent working conditions.

“Now their employer is blatantly targeting people with the hope of intimidating their own loyal staff and turning them away from any future trade union activities.”

Department of Environment must protect Faughan River – Ó hEára

Sinn Féin Westminster candidate for Foyle, Gearóid O hEára has called on the DOE to withhold permission for any hydro-electric schemes on the river Faughan until comprehensive environmental impact studies into the cumulative effects of five proposed schemes along the river are carried out.IMG_9290

 

Mr O hEara, himself a keen fisherman and a lifelong member of the Faughan Anglers Association, said:

 

“It would seem that the DOE is intent on contradicting their own mission statement, “A Better Environment – a Better Economy” by allowing anti-environmental developments along the river Faughan.”

 

He went on to say:

“The Faughan is designated a Special area of Conservation (SAC) by Europe in respect of the Atlantic salmon and the European otter. Responsibility for its protection lies with the NI Environmental Agency’s Water Management Unit.

“Europe expects the precautionary principle to be applied, in other words if there is a doubt that a proposed project will affect the SAC, then permissions should not be granted.

“The River Faughan Anglers Association (RFAA) a voluntary, cross community and not-for-profit organisation manages the fishing rights of this important salmon river.

 

“With over 900 permit holders, the vast majority from the Derry and Claudy areas and a significant waiting list is an indication of the importance of angling in the area, both in terms of a valuable recreational activity for local people but also indicates the tourism potential for the local economy.

 

“There are five current applications with planners for for the Faughan catchment area, each of which require the abstraction of water, the dewatering of some stretches, along with substantial engineering works and impoundments, which by their very nature will negatively impact on the river.

 

“Each will require a licence from NIEA to abstract water. The application for Ballyarton requires a double abstraction licence for a fish farm, which has operated without one, and for the proposed hydro project.

 

Mr O hEára concluded:

 

“I am calling on NIEA to withhold consideration of these applications until such time as the applicants can demonstrate that the projects will not damage or negatively impact on the SAC

 

“The cumulative effect of five applications for hydros on the Faughan is not being taken into consideration and the department appears unwilling or unable to do so.

“The “competent authority” in this matter – the Loughs Agency – has previously raised concerns on these proposals.

“The Minister and Department of Environment is obliged to gauge the cumulative impact and if there is any doubt regarding the environmental impact on the SAC then approval should be denied.” CRÍOCH/END

Foyle MLA welcomes £200,000 capital grant for rural communities

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement by DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill that £200,000 will be available for Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme with applications opening this week.raymond mccartney

Raymond McCartney said

“The Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme is designed to allow rural community groups to access grants between £500 and £1500 for minor works and the purchase of equipment.

“It is important that we support the many groups that provide a range of activities for the rural community including those providing leisure, educational and health activities.

“These grants will assist these groups in getting access to the latest equipment or having their buildings maintained to the highest standards and allow them to improve their service to the community.

“The Minister has again demonstrated that she is committed to bringing equality to the rural community by announcing this tranche of funding and I would urge interested groups to access the application form on www.dardni.gov.uk/rural-micro-capital-grant-programme-2015.

“Applications are open from this week until 22nd May 2015 so it is important that groups prepare now so that they can access the fund when it comes online.”

Anderson calls for release of imprisoned Palestinian politicians

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for the immediate release of all imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said; BsrQvQMCIAIm5jM.jpg large

“The recent arrest of Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar is the latest in a series of measures by Israel to deny democracy to the Palestinian people.

“She is one of 16 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council currently detained by Israel.

“Khalida Jarrar is a high-profile feminist and advocate for Palestinian prisoners and is Palestine’s representative on the Council of Europe.

“Her arrest comes just months after an Israeli military court attempted to forcibly transfer her from her home in Ramallah to Jericho. She led a high-profile campaign against the move and the order was quashed a month later.

“The arrest of Khalida Jarrar and her colleagues and their transfer from occupied territory into Israel not only violates the Geneva Convention but also international conventions regarding the immunity of elected representatives.

“I have written to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs to urge the institutions of the EU and its member states to call on Israel to release Khalida Jarrar and all other detained members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.”

Amnesty International welcomes Kincora election pledge by British Labour Party

Amnesty International welcomes Kincora election pledge by British Labour Party

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has welcomed today’s announcement that the British Labour Party would include the sexual abuse of boys in the Kincora Belfast children’s home in an existing inquiry if it wins the Westminster general election.

But Amnesty International’s Patrick Corrigan said that justice for victims of abuse should not be reliant on the outcome of an election.

“We call on all parties to make a similar pledge to deliver truth and justice to the Kincora victims,” the Amnesty spokesperson said.

“The claims relating to Kincora are deeply disturbing – that MI5 turned a blind eye to child abuse and actively blocked a police investigation, instead using the paedophile ring for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.”

It would be completely unacceptable for Kincora to be left out of any inquiry, he said.

Files ‘lost’

An Phoblacht reported in July of last year that documents alleging child abuse against MPs and senior public figures in the 1980s (when Margaret Thatcher’s Tory party was in power) are among 114 Home Office files on child sex abuse that have been destroyed, ‘lost’ or ‘gone missing’. It is believed that some of this vital information related to Kincora.

The systematic abuse of young boys in the Kincora Boys’ Home in the 1970s and the part played by British Intelligence organisations to keep the scandal under wraps ensured that one side of the murky world of unionist paramilitarism and its links to the crown forces was kept out of the public domain for years.

It all eventually unravelled in the early 1980s.

Kincora William McGrath

At the centre of the affair was Kincora Housemaster William McGrath (pictured).

McGrath was the head of unionist paramilitary group Tara and a man central to the formation of the loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in 1971.

McGrath was also closely connected to senior figures in both major unionist parties as well as having links to the Orange Order.

McGrath and two other members of staff were jailed in 1981 for sexually assaulting boys in their care.

Choice between equality and austerity is central to Westminster election campaign

Choice between equality and austerity is central to Westminster election campaign

THE Westminster general election is now fully under way in Britain and the Six Counties. Many polls continue to suggest that the next British parliament may be ‘hung’, with the Tories and Labour taking approximately one third of the vote each and the last third being carved out among all other competing parties in England, Wales, Scotland and the North. That includes UKIP and the DUP, the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and Sinn Féin.

Focus on the political economy and how and why the economy and economic policies should function are centre stage.

Gerry Kelly 2015

The Tories have declared that, if re-elected, their plan for reducing the British state’s deficit next time would include an additional £30billion in cutbacks, £12billion of which will come from welfare. They have refused to say what specific new welfare cuts would be implemented. However, given their ideological attack on the welfare state to date, this inevitably means that the disabled, children with special needs and in poverty, the long-term sick, elderly, and care assistants will be targeted.

The ramifications of the Tories’ new plans will be catastrophic.

The British welfare state has already been seriously damaged. There are over 700,000 citizens on zero hours contracts.

The Tories are also committed to a referendum on withdrawal from Europe and this will have its own repercussions.

SNP v Labour 2015

Last month, British Labour Party Shadow Finance Minister Ed Balls admitted his own support for austerity policies, albeit on a smaller scale than the Tories. That signals a future Labour administration has already been compromised by an acceptance of austerity.

So it was significant to hear the trenchant rejection by Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon of austerity during the last fortnight at her party’s spring conference and then on the TV leaders’ debates.

The SNP and Sinn Féin are now the only significant parties in the British state or Ireland giving leadership on anti-austerity politics, and alternative economic and fiscal strategies.

Significantly, the SNP may become the third or fourth largest party in the British parliament after this election.

An unambiguous commitment to equality sets Sinn Féin apart from every other party contesting this election in the North.

All of the unionist parties, including Alliance, have been compromised by the acceptance of austerity. This is why the impasse over implementing the actual agreement on welfare protections remains extant within the Executive.

Ultimately, responsibility rests with the British Government. The political institutions were established to deliver change in the North as it emerged from conflict. Yet the Tories made a decision five years ago to reduce the public expenditure settlement (the block grant), for the Six Counties to support that work by £1.5billion.

Now the Tories have made it clear that they will make even bigger cuts to the block grant, given the chance. That prospect contains very serious economic and social implications for Northern society. The precise intentions of a Labour government are unclear.

When asked about the unionist electoral pact during his visit to Belfast last Tuesday, Tory British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to comment. He had no need. The Tories are standing 16 candidates in the North. They will not contest Fermanagh & South Tyrone or North Belfast. That is an attempt to support the DUP’s Nigel Dodds against Sinn Féin’s surge and to assist the Ulster Unionist Tom Elliot’s challenge against Michelle Gildernew.

Michelle Gildernew 2015

Of course, the Tories have been courting the DUP in particular for some time now. Their focus is on a ‘hung’ parliament and planning for “confidence and supply” arrangements with both UKIP and the DUP.

Ideologically, the DUP and UUP have already bought into the austerity agenda. Their wider electoral pact is a negative, sectarian, and pro-austerity alliance now supported by Cameron’s Tory party. It offers nothing to the unionist working poor, jobless and most deprived, or indeed any section of Northern society.

Simply put, unionism in this election is a byword for no political vision and bad economics – and a proxy to enable even worse Tory austerity in the North.

Caoimhe Archibald 2015

The alternative to the unionist/Tory ‘race to the bottom’ is the type of vision, leadership, and strategy which rejects austerity, supports equality, and is committed to building the alliances across society to bring that about.

That should be the focus of all genuinely progressive parties and organisations in the coming weeks.

St Anne’s works to commence this week –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said upgrade works at St Anne’s primary school are to commence this week.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper last month  organised an onsite meeting with residents and senior representative from the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) to discuss the works and resolve any potential impact it would have on the local community.

Councillor Cooper said “I would just like to inform residents that the planned work around resurfacing of the playground will be commencing this week.

It’s hoped that any disruption will be kept to a minimum and that any changes made to pathways during this process would be restored afterwards.

If any resident has any concerns they should contact me on 028 7137 7551.

 

Ends

Housing Executive should be given borrowing powers -Hassan‏‎

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said the Housing Executive should be given borrowing powers to help address housing need in Derry and across the North . ???????????????????????????????

The Derry Housing spokesperson  said;

“I welcome the call from the Housing Executive to be given borrowing powers to address the significant housing improvements currently required in Derry and across the North but the finances needed to solve the housing problem must go much further.

“Addressing the future shape of housing provision over the coming 20 years needs political vision and a bold initiative and that has been Sinn Féin’s clear position.

“We believe the Housing Executive’s ability to build homes should be restored as a matter of urgency and a programme of new builds be rolled out to tackle the housing crisis.

“Stopping the deterioration of the current public housing stock is certainly one aspect of housing need which must be addressed but we need more homes and it should be the Housing Executive that builds them.”

Fears follow attempted break-in at Grangemore-Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly said

“I was contacted by a resident in Grangemore  who was away for the Easter Holidays and returned to find two men where in her back garden .Only for the vigilance of her neighbour and alert residents who disturbed the men and contacted the police ,this had the potential to be a lot worse .So I would appeal to  people be careful and make sure they take the necessary safety precautions around their  home especially if they are  away on holidays, or even heading out to the park all day or nipping down in a caravan in Donegal.

He went on to say

I would advise all residents to ensure that their doors and windows are closed and locked at night and when people are out during the day. I would also advise that as cars and their contents are being targeted, people should ensure they are not leaving valuables in their cars or where perspective thieves will see them.

Over the summer I would also urge local people to secure all their belongings particularly in garden sheds, outhouses and garages. Which are all easy targets for criminals. And call on any resident who sees anyone acting suspiciously to contact the police straight away.

Fears after Derry gorse fires –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting on a number of gorse fires in the Derry area in recent days including one on  Southway between Creggan and the Brandywell on Friday night .

Cllr Councillor Colly Kelly saidCouncillor Colly Kelly

“Apart from being a risk to life, property and the wider environment, these fires are also tying up resources of the Fire and Rescue Services that could be needed elsewhere in an emergency.

“Gorse fires can prove to be a serious problem and while some of these fires are started accidentally, the majority are believed to be started deliberately.

“Accidental fires in the countryside can be started through discarded rubbish or carelessness when disposing of items like barbecue coals or cigarette ends that have not fully cooled.

“I would encourage people to be extra careful and ensure that they take everything home that they bring out into the countryside. And also appeal to people not to attempt to tackle gorse fires on their own but to ring the emergency services straight away.

“I would particularly emphasise the danger to young people not to be tempted to set fires as this could lead to a tragedy and could devastate the wider community.”

 

Ends

Tobacco companies can’t be allowed to overrule legislation

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said tobacco companies cannot be allowed to overrule anti-smoking legislation in individual countries.

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

Ms Anderson said;

“Countries across the world have introduced legislation to protect citizens from the risks of smoking and to promote healthy lifestyles.

“This has included plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products to cut down the number of young people who take up the deadly habit.

“Tobacco companies have tried to block such moves from becoming law. Now they are attempting to go even further with Philip Morris suing the government of Uruguay over anti-smoking legislation.

“This has been made possible because of the International State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This is why I and other Sinn Féin MEPs have opposed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which contains ISDS.

“We cannot have the situation where Big Tobacco companies can ride roughshod over the legislation of individual countries because they don’t like specific laws.

“The health of citizens is more important than the wealth of tobacco companies.” Ends/Críoch

Latest Derry/Belfast Rail line delay unacceptable – Ó hOisín

Sinn Féin East Derry MLA Cathal Ó hOisín is calling on Minister Danny Kennedy to explain the cause of the latest delay in completing the upgrade of the Derry/Belfast rail link.

Mr Ó hOisín said:1174901_10152240490953642_1298589685_n

“Work on this phase of the line was to have commenced at the beginning of May and be completed by December. In the latest delay in this project we have now been informed that work will not now commence until September with no projected completion date.

“Minister Danny Kennedy is withholding the report on the Project assessment citing ‘commercial  confidentiality’. 

“This is unacceptable and I am calling on Danny Kennedy to make a statement on the cause of these interminable delays to this project.” CRÍOCH/END

Hassan warns over creeper burglaries in Culmore Road area.

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan was speaking after a number of incidents in the Culmore Road this week

Councillor Hassan said

“It’s very concerning that these culprits  seem to have no fear and are preying on the whole community as they sleep in their beds at night and should be shunned by everyone.

Earlier this year I highlighted a number of incidents in the Culmore area in which attempts had been made to break into a number of cars and in other incidents cars had been

vandalised.

It’s important that if anyone sees people acting suspiciously late at night in the area they contact the police straight away,”

Ends

Kelly welcomes Bogside roads improvement scheme

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed an improvement scheme underway in the Bogside area which will see when finished new roadways and footpaths in many of the streets off the Lone Moor Road.COLLY

CouncillorColly  Kelly said “It’s good to see this much needed work taking place. The improvement scheme will see new footpaths and roadways in the many of the streets of the Lone Moor Road .It will also see  new road markings being put in place. This is a very built up area and always busy with pedestrians and traffic.

There has been an element of distribution to the lives of local people whilst this work has been taking place and I have been working to resolve a number of issues raised by residents.

Ends

Investment in digital hubs-Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from Derry City Council that £20,000 has been ring-fenced to deliver multimedia training courses in the new Department Culture Arts and Leisure funded digital hubs being installed in community buildings across Derry and Strabane. He said the funding for both the equipment and training was the culmination of a long negotiation between himself, Derry City Council, DCAL and other partners:

Councillor Cooper said

“ I am delighted that Derry City Council approved funding to allow the delivery of training to users of the new digital equipment which is being installed in community buildings across the North West, including the Rosemount Factory building. The funding will be used to deliver both short beginners classes and enhanced level 2 and 3 accredited training to users of the facilities to allow them to increase their knowledge and experience to allow them to advance to higher level qualifications at the North West Regional College or University of Ulster or indeed to start their own small businesses within their own communities.

 

 

As part of our City of Culture legacy proposals, Sinn Féin made the case to DCAL that we needed digital equipment in our community areas to allow residents to build their digital capacity. As a result DCAL minister Caral Ni Chulain agreed to provide £250,000 for equipment across the Neighbourhood Renewal(NR) areas in the North West.

 

As I pointed out many times in the over the last couple of years, this equipment was vital in building capacity in STEM based subjects and to allow our young people to step up to higher education.

To allow this step up I also proposed to Derry City Council that some support should be made available to provide formal training to those who wished to avail of it. As part of its programme activities for the Year of Science and Innovation, DCC has agreed to provide £20,000 in support.

I would like to thank both DCAL and Oonagh McGillion at DCC for their foresight in providing this support which will undoubtedly increase educational/skills outcomes and employment prospects for residents across the North West. I will also be continuing discussions with partners in ERNACT , the NWRC and the NR areas to identify support for other elements such as informal training and social enterprise support within the digital hubs following the installation of the new equipment over the coming weeks”

 

It is envisaged that the training will commence in the autumn of 2015 following the installation of the equipment in the spring. Further details will be announced by each NR area in due course.

Drink fuelled anti community trouble in Galliagh –Duffy

Councillor Sandra Duffy said DSC_0627

The weather has been great all week as people have been enjoying the Easter break, but as we have found in the past it also has its downside when large groups of young people gather and engage in on street drinking.

On Wednesday night there were a number of incidents in the Galliagh area particularly between Glencaw and Leafair when large groups of young people fuelled by drink got involved in anti-community activity causing great distress to local residents. Community representatives tried their best to quell the incidents but it’s a very hard situation to deal with in such circumstances.

Residents should not have to live with this carry on right on their doorsteps.

Strenuous efforts have been made by elected representatives, residents, community groups and the police over recent times and it’s clear that this has not been successful in finding all the answers to the problems being encountered here.

McLaughlin welcomes progress on North West Gateway Initiative

 

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed a cross-border meeting of ministers to make progress on the north west gateway initiative.

The Foyle MLA said; ?????????????????????????????????

“The North West Gateway Initiative was designed to encourage economic growth in the Derry, Strabane, Limavady and Donegal areas, all of which have suffered from chronic underinvestment in the past.

“As such it is vital to the economic regeneration of the wider north west region.

“I asked the deputy First Minister for an update in the progress of the initiative and he has now confirmed that it has been discussed at a recent North South Initiative meeting in Belfast.

“Following discussions between Martin McGuinness, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan TD and Minister Sean Sherlock TD, departmental officials from north and south have been meeting to discuss the views expressed by stakeholders on the way forward for the North West Gateway Initiative.

“Officials have also met the chief executives of the new Derry and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council.

“A meeting between ministers from north and south to decide how the North West Gateway Initiative will proceed is now being planned for May.

“This is welcome progress for an essential component of the regeneration of the north west.” Ends/Críoch

Ó hEára urges voters to reject austerity

The Sinn Féin Westminster Candidate Gearóid Ó hEára has urged voters to send a message to any incoming British government that their austerity cuts agenda is unacceptable.

Mr Ó hEára said:

“The Westminster election on May 7th presents a challenge for the voters in Foyle to send a strong anti-austerity message to the British government.

“The austerity agenda of the Tory led government in London has been a disaster for the North of Ireland.

“It has given us only high unemployment, emigration, poverty, underdevelopment and a fragile economic environment.

“Only last week the Tories pledged further eye-watering cuts to public services and to welfare protections.

“You have the opportunity to send a strong message that there is a better, fairer way to deliver equality and a fair economic recovery through the progressive politics espoused by Sinn Féin.

“Sinn Féin is demanding the transfer of full fiscal powers away from London to the Executive. This is the best way to ensure we have the capability of creating an economy to meet the specific needs of our people.

“With your support Sinn Féin will deliver on the vision of a strong all-island economy.

“Health, education, the environment, inward investment, transport, tourism, energy, agriculture and business development would all benefit from an all island approach.

“Our policies are about putting people first.

“We are committed to defending the core public services of health, education and the welfare system.

“The Sinn Féin vision of equality and national reconciliation challenges the narrow sectarian and conservative agenda the unionist parties are peddling in this election.

“We will continue to provide a strong voice for the vulnerable, challenge sectarianism, racism and homophobia.”

 

McGinley welcomes upgrade of lights in Ballymagroarty

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed upgrading work on a number of street lights in the Ballymagroarty area.

In response to concerns from residents I had requested from Roads Service an assessment of the condition of street lights on the main route through Ballymagroarty.

I received confirmation from the street lighting department acknowledging the rusty condition of the lighting columns and the inclusion of these lights in a future works programme.

I would now take this opportunity to welcome the work which has been carried out in recent days on the street lighting columns which will help to improve the general appearance of the Ballymagroarty area and increase the residents’ sense of security.”

Call for support for Rachel McGettigan appeal

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has urged people to donate to an appeal to help a Derry girl receive pioneering brain surgery in Australia.
Speaking after meeting Rachel McGettigan’s family, Mr Ó hEára said; DSC_2767(1)
“Martina Anderson and I met with the family of Rachel McGettigan in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on Friday to show our support for their fundraising campaign.
“The family need to raise £45,000 for pioneering surgery to treat a cyst on Rachel’s brain. Like any family, they want to do all they can to help Rachel and have asked for the support of local people.
“I was moved by the dedication and determination of Rachel’s family in the face of such challenges.
“The people of Derry are renowned for their generosity and I am appealing to them to dig deep and help Rachel and the McGettigan family at this difficult time so that they can raise the money for this much-needed operation.
“The family have set up an online fundraising campaign and I would encourage people to support them by kindly donating at http://www.gofundme.com/qccjhegg.”

McGinley slams vandalism of Hazelbank Road signs

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has described the destruction of road signs in Hazelbank as an act of senseless vandalism.

Cllr. McGinley said: “On Thursday night a number of road safety signs in the vicinity of the Ringfort Rd / Hillfort Road roundabout were removed and destroyed.   Such acts of vandalism make no sense whatsoever and those responsible are only serving to run down the area and the community who live there.

There is also the expense of replacing this necessary signage which puts additional pressure on Roads Service at a time when budgets are becoming increasingly tight.”

McCartney urges people to claim their vote

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on all those eligible to vote to ensure they are on the Electoral Register and have acceptable identification.

Raymond McCartney  said:City centre walkabout

“On the 7th of May the people of the North have an opportunity to elect a strong Sinn Féin team to stand up to the British government’s austerity policies and cuts to public services and welfare.

“But only people who are registered on the current version of the electoral roll can exercise their right to vote in these elections.

“So if you want to send a message to the British government that their austerity agenda is not acceptable here then you need to register to vote.

“There are thousands of people in Derry and across the North who are entitled to vote but are not on the electoral register.

“The vote in the North was hard-won, people had to take to the streets to demand the right of all to a vote in the face os massive state oppression.

“Therefore as we face into the battle to protect frontline public services and protect adults and children with disabilities, the long-term sick and large families from British Tory cuts, it is vitally important you make your voice heard.

“The only beneficiaries of people being disenfranchised are the Tory cabinet of millionaires and those local parties which support their assault on our public services and the welfare state.

“As was demonstrated most starkly in the last Westminster election every vote counts. One vote made all the difference in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and stopped a Tory/UUP candidate being elected.

“Your vote is important and is the most potent method of registering your disapproval. So make it count – make sure you are able to cast your vote on May 7th.” CRÍOCH/END

 

 

“Equality not austerity is Sinn Féin’s way” Ó hEára

Speaking at the Derry Easter Commemoration in the City Cemetery Sinn Féin Westminster candidate, Gearóid Ó hEára said:10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

“We are here today for a number of reasons – to commemorate the heroes and the heroines of the 1916 rising – and to remember those, from our own city, who have given their lives in the same cause.

 –  and we are here  to rededicate ourselves to the ideals of the Republic as outlined in the Proclamation.

“Easter provides us the space to remember the sacrifice of previous generations and reflect on progress we have made and how we approach the next period of time.

“We owe it to those who came before us and to those who will follow to continue to work to achieve the republic dreamt of by Wolfe Tone and proclaimed on the steps of the GPO in 1916.

“The Republic that they proclaimed has not yet happened and the words and sentiments of the written Proclamation with which they declared it have not been implemented.

“The Proclamation and its principles continue to guide this generation of republicans. Those words have guided us through the thick and thin of the last 40 years.

“This has been a long struggle and the political challenges facing republicans have been many and varied but we, as republicans, have adapted and changed while all the time being mindful of our ultimate objectives and the principles that guide us.

“It is our vision of a republic which extends beyond the economy. We want a united, equal and inclusive Ireland.

“Sinn Féin wants equality not austerity. That is our way. A Republic, “cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious to the differences fostered by an alien government”. In that republic there can be no place for sectarianism, racism or homophobia.

“Presently, Sinn Féin Ministers are fighting to protect frontline public services from the worst of Tory cuts and we will continue to do this.  But the magnitude of these cuts is putting real pressure on public services, on school budgets and on community groups.

“It is clear that austerity is the cost of the union and both have failed. Sinn Féin will continue working to end both.

“When we speak of cherishing all of the children of the nation equally we are also speaking of our fellow country men and women in the protestant, unionist and loyalist community who share this island with us. We offer equality, support and respect for all identities including those who view themselves as British. This will be central to resolving the issues of flags, identities and parades.

“Sinn Féin is for a pluralist Ireland in which all our citizens have rights and are entitled to respect and equality.

“We want them to be part of a new Ireland where ours and their religious, cultural and political freedoms are guaranteed. We want to build a peaceful Ireland where all of our children can live in peace.” CRÍOCH/END

Vandalism on Glenowen walkway needs to stop -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly is worried someone will be injured if vandalism on the walkway between Glenowen and the Creggan Country Park continues.IMG_0118

 

Councillor Kelly said,

 

“I attended the walkway today following complaints from local people to view the vandalism carried out along the path including the removal of a cover on a lamp post exposing bare wires.

 

“If a child interferes with these wires then there is a chance of electrocution causing death or severe injury.

 

“There was also a burned out wheelie bin which was full of rubbish which is now scattered along the footpath posing a hazard for pedestrians especially the elderly of people with prams.

 

“I have been in contact with the relevant agencies in order to have these issues resolved and I would appeal to people to stop destroying their own area through mindless vandalism.”

Ó hEára welcomes Magee teaching block announcement

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has welcomed the announcement that a new £11million teaching block at Magee has been given the green light. DSC_6931

Mr Ó hEara said;

“The announcement that the £11 million teaching block at Magee is to go ahead is a welcome step forward in the campaign for the expansion of Magee.

“It is essential that students at Magee have modern, state-of-the-art facilities in which to study.

“This is another development towards the full expansion of the university at Magee and I welcome the announcement from Stephen Farry that work on the teaching block will begin later this year.

“Everyone is in agreement on the need to expand Magee and providing modern facilities and increasing the student numbers is key to that.

“Minister Farry can now further demonstrate his commitment to the expansion of Magee by lifting the Maximum Student Numbers (MaSN) cap. It is within his gift as minister to do so.

“That would be a further move towards full expansion and, along with the business case which is currently progressing, would assist the overall regeneration of the city.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

McCartney urges people to claim their vote

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on all those eligible to vote to ensure they are on the Electoral Register and have acceptable identification. CBc6W3tXEAAp7_k.jpg large

Raymond McCartney  said:

“On the 7th of May the people of the North have an opportunity to elect a strong Sinn Féin team to stand up to the British government’s austerity policies and cuts to public services and welfare.

“But only people who are registered on the current version of the electoral roll can exercise their right to vote in these elections.

“So if you want to send a message to the British government that their austerity agenda is not acceptable here then you need to register to vote.

“There are thousands of people in Derry and across the North who are entitled to vote but are not on the electoral register.

“The vote in the North was hard-won, people had to take to the streets to demand the right of all to a vote in the face os massive state oppression.

“Therefore as we face into the battle to protect frontline public services and protect adults and children with disabilities, the long-term sick and large families from British Tory cuts, it is vitally important you make your voice heard.

“The only beneficiaries of people being disenfranchised are the Tory cabinet of millionaires and those local parties which support their assault on our public services and the welfare state.

“As was demonstrated most starkly in the last Westminster election every vote counts. One vote made all the difference in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and stopped a Tory/UUP candidate being elected.

“Your vote is important and is the most potent method of registering your disapproval. So make it count – make sure you are able to cast your vote on May 7th.” CRÍOCH/END

 

To check if you are listed on the electoral register you can contact the Electoral Office on 0800 4320 712 or email info@eoni.org.uk with your name, address and date of birth

Anderson welcomes Palestinian membership of ICC

Sinn Féin Martina Anderson has welcomed the beginning of Palestine’s official membership of the International Criminal Court. Martina-2

Speaking as Palestine became a full member today, Ms Anderson, chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;

“Palestine’s membership of the International Criminal Court, which officially began today is a welcome development.

“It means the International Criminal Court, which is based at the Hague, will now have jurisdiction over any and all war crimes committed by anyone on Palestinian territory, without a referral from the UN Security Council.

“In practical terms, this means that Israeli citizens could be tried for actions carried out on Palestinian land.

“The fact that Palestine now have full membership of the International Criminal Court, despite the objections and obstacles from Israel, is an indication of the international community’s attitude towards Palestine.

“This must now be followed by action so that the Palestinian people can avail of the protection of the International Criminal Court.

“Hopefully this development is a further step towards full international recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

Ó hEára to address main Derry Easter Sunday Commemoration

Republicans from across Derry will gather at commemorations throughout the city this coming weekend to mark the 99th anniversary of the 1916 rising and to commemorate all those who have given their lives in pursuit of Irish Freedom.

Encouraging Republicans to take part in local commemorations this Sunday

Raymond McCartney MLA said2

Easter is a very important date in the annual Republican calendar, a time when we not only gather in Derry ,across Ireland and throughout the world to remember those who have died in pursuit of Irish Freedom and Liberty and to stand in continued solidarity with their families, but also a time when we recommit ourselves to the pursuance of our Republican objectives.

In the coming months we will also see the build up to the centenary of the Rising in 1916 with many events planned in the city and across the country .

I would encourage people not only to take part in their local events but also to come along with their families to be part of the main commemoration in Derry this Sunday at 2.00pm,  assemble Westland Street .We are very pleased to announce this year that the main speaker will be Gearóid Ó hEára

Local area commemorations will take place on Sunday at lunchtime at the Republican monuments

1.00pm Shantallow   Monument (Racecourse Road) Waterside (Rose Court)

1.30pm Creggan (Central Drive), Bogside (Lecky Road)

Fears over job losses at B & Q- McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin  has called on management at B & Q to make a statement on its future intentions for their Derry store.MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

His call comes after parent company Kingfisher has announced it is to close 60 stores over the next two years.

Maeve McLaughlin  said

“There is a responsibility on B & Q to make a public statement on its future intentions for their Derry store. We have been contacted by a number of workers who are very worried about their jobs following speculation in the media that the Derry store could be one of the locations earmarked for closure.

“Workers are rightly worried about this development.  In the current climate any fear of job losses is a blow to the workers and their families and increases pressure on attempts to build economic stability.

It’s very important above all that workers’ rights and entitlements are protected.”

Sinn Féin chun tosaigh ar dhílárú jabanna sa tseirbhís shibhialta

Tá sé ina chnámh spairne le fada go bhfuil mórchuid na jabanna sa tseirbhís stáit, go háirithe sna poist ardíoctha, lonnaithe chóir a bheith go hiomlán i mBéal Feirste amháin. Seo mar a bhí an scéal ó bunaíodh an stát ó thuaidh agus le beagnach smacht iomlán na Seirbhíse ag aondachtaithe bhí sé mar chuid den fháth a bhí idirdhealú institiúideach in aghaidh áit ar bith laistir den Bhanna.

Nuair a rinneadh anailís ar an tSeirbhís Stáit den chéad uair i dTuarascáil Bain i 2008, mhol Sinn Féin inár n-aighneacht go n-athlonnófaí Ceanncheathrú iomlán Ranna Stáit amach as Béal Feirste. Tá sé sin curtha i gcrích anois trí chinneadh Aire Talmhaíochta Shinn Féin, Michelle O’Neill Ceanncheathrú a Ranna féin a bhogadh chuig an Iarthuaisceart agus 600 jab le bheith ann i dtosach.

Nuair a bhí an tAire ag macnamh air seo, bhí an seanfhreagra ag státseirbhísigh shinsearacha agus go leor polaiteoirí go mbeadh barraíocht costais air seo agus gurbh fhearr cúrsaí a fhágáil mar a bhí. Bhuel ní hí sin an dóigh a dhéanann Sinn Féin é. Ag déanamh an athraithe an rud is tábhachtaí againn.

Ar ndóigh rinne siad siúd a bhí drogallach nó i gcoinne athrú neamhshuim den fhírinne nach rud ar mhaithe le rud é seo ag Sinn Féin ach cinneadh chun éagóir stairiúil a cheartú, éagóir a chuir go mór le tearcfhorbairt laistir den Bhanna agus le séanadh deiseanna fostaíochta sa tseirbhís phoiblí do dhaoine ach go hairithe ón iarthuaisceart. I dtaca leis an Aire agus le Sinn Féin de, ba mhó ceartú na n-éagóirí seo agus na tairbhí fadtéarmacha ná costais ghearrthéarmacha ar bith.

Ar ndóigh, déarfaidh naimhde polaitiúla s’againne go bhfuil jabanna sa tseirbhís stáit laistir den Bhanna – go deimhin tá níos mó ná 400 i nDoire – ach ní hé sin an pointe mar go bhfuil na gráid is airde agus na jabanna uilig atá ag leibhéal níos sinsearaí in mBéal Feirste. Dá bhrí sin, nuair a bhaineann duine leibhéal áirithe amach sa tSeirbhís Stáit ní mór a bheith sásta athlonnú nó taisteal go Béal Feirste chun dul ar aghaidh chuig gráid shinsearacha. Dá thoradh seo, bhuail a lán státseirbhíseach, go háirithe mná a raibh freagrachtaí cúraim acu síleáil ghloine stairiúil agus ni raibh siad in ann deiseanna tuillimh níos airde a thapú.

Tá Sinn Féin ag iarraidh sin uilig a athrú agus tá Aire Talmhaíochta s’againne Michelle O’Neill ag léiriú dea-shampla ceannaireachta trína cheanncheathrú ar fad a bhogadh go Baile Uí Cheallaigh faoi 2017. I dtosach líonfar na 600 post a bhogfar ag meascán d’fhoireann reatha agus státseirbhísigh ó ranna eile a aistreoidh chuig an Roinn Talmhaíochta agus Forbartha Tuaithe.

Amach anseo beidh na jabanna seo ar fáil do níos mó státseirbhísigh ó Dhoire agus ón mhórthuaisceart nach mbeadh an deis acu choíche cur isteach ar phoist shinsearacha mura ndéanfadh an tAire O’Neill an socrú seo. Is cinneadh suntasach ann féin é seo ach tá sé ceannasach agus forásach fosta Ceanncheathrú Rialtais a bhogadh as Béal Feirste chuig áit laistir den Bhanna – níor tharla a leithéid ariamh roimhe.

San am céanna tá an tAire Sinn Féineach ag athlonnú codanna eile dá Roinn chuig áiteacha eile laistir den Bhanna. Tá an tSeirbhís Faraoiseachta ag dul go Fear Manach, an Foras Aibhneacha ag dul chuig an Chorr Chríochach agus an Rannóg Iascaigh ag dul chuig an Dún Theas – samplaí den dóigh beart a dhéanamh de réir do bhriathair maidir le dílárú.

Déanfaidh mé oibriú le mo chomhleacaithe i Westminster, sa Tionól, sa Dáil, sa Pharlaimint Eorpach agus sna mórchomhairlí nua stocaireacht a dhéanamh ar mhaithe le Doire agus leis an Iarthuaisceart agus iad a chur chun cinn mar láthair infheistíochta.

Sinn Fein leading the way on decentralisation of civil service jobs

It has long been a bone of contention that the vast majority of civil service jobs, particularly in the higher paid posts are almost exclusively located in Belfast. This has been the situation since the foundation of the Northern state and with the almost exclusive domination of the Service by unionists was part of the reason behind the institutionalised discrimination against anywhere west of the Bann.

When for the first time an analysis of the Civil Service was carried out in the Bain Report in 2008 Sinn Fein as part of our submission proposed that an entire Government Department Headquarters should be relocated out of Belfast. That has now been achieved with Sinn Féin’s Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s decision to move her Departmental Headquarters to the North West with an initial accompaniment of 600 jobs.

While this was in the consideration stage by the Minister, the stock answer from senior civil servants and most politicians had been that to do this would cost too much and things would be better kept just as they were. Well that’s not the Sinn Féin way! We are about making change happen

Of course those opposed or reluctant to change ignored the fact, that this was not just a cosmetic exercise by Sinn Féin but a decision to correct an historical injustice which contributed greatly to the underdevelopment west of the Bann and the denial of public service job opportunity for people particularly from the north-west. As far as the Minister and Sinn Féin were concerned righting these wrongs and the long-term benefits far outweighed any short-term costs.

Of course our political opponents will point out that there are civil service jobs west of the Bann – indeed there are over 400 in Derry – however this misses the point, as the higher grades and more senior level jobs are all based in Belfast. This meant that in the Civil Service, once you reach a certain level in order to progress to senior grades you must be willing to relocate to or travel to Belfast. The result of this situation was that many, particularly female civil servants with caring responsibilities, hit a historical glass ceiling and were unable to avail of higher earnings opportunities.

Sinn Fein is looking to change all that and our current Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill is leading the way by relocating her entire Headquarters to Ballykelly by 2017. The 600 posts that come with the move will initially be filled by a mixture of existing staff and civil servants from other Departments who will transfer into DARD.

Over time these jobs will be accessible to increasing numbers of civil servants from Derry and the wider north-west who would never have had the opportunity to apply for senior positions if Minister O’Neill had not taken this initiative. While it is a significantly symbolic decision it is also a very bold and progressive decision to move a Government HQ out of Belfast to a location west of the Bann – it has never happened before.

The Sinn Féin Minister in tandem with moving her Department HQ to Ballykelly is also moving other parts of her Department to west of the Bann locations. The Forestry Service is going to Fermanagh, the Rivers Agency going to Cookstown and Fisheries Division going to South Down this shows the way to delivery on de-centralisation. This is leadership against huge resistance. Departments administered by other parties need to follow suit and bring further high quality jobs to the north-west.

I will work with my party colleagues in Westminster, the Assembly the Dáil, European Parliament and the new super councils to lobby for and promote Derry and the North West as the place to invest and locate.

McLaughlin welcomes cystic fibrosis benefit advice service

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed a new dedicated benefit advice service launched by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. ?????????????????????????????????

The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said;

“From April 1 The Cystic Fibrosis Trust will be teaming up with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s Charitable Fund and the Citizens Advice Bureau to offer a dedicated benefits advice service for people with cystic fibrosis.

“As well as patients themselves, the service will also be available for their carers.

“This pilot scheme will last for 12 months and will involve two specially trained Citizens Advice Bureau advisers providing dedicated advice four hours a week.

“The advice will be offered face to face or via Skype for people with cystic fibrosis who have mobility issues to deal with complex benefit issues.

“This is a welcome development and I commend the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for their efforts.” Ends/Críoch

Gearóid O hEára’s Election launch speech

It is a great honour for me to have been selected by my party to represent it in the Foyle constituency in the Westminster election on May 7th.CBc6W3tXEAAp7_k.jpg large

 

As a native of this city I am proud of the role Derry republicans have played in the process of change that transformed the North West from a byword for gerrymander and discrimination to a place where everyone now looks on as an example of inclusiveness and cooperation.

 

We all have to share this small island and need to deal with the past with compassion and understanding; we can’t let our past differences hold us back from creating a future that offers hope to all of our children.

 

With that as my focus in this campaign and beyond my priorities will be about building bridges where differences still exist and seeking out opportunities at home and abroad that will provide jobs for our young people and long-term unemployed.

 

This will require new thinking and new relationships with bodies outside the North West.

 

I welcome the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’s initiative in establishing the Executive’s North West ministerial subgroup, designed to address the historic underinvestment in this region.

 

And I look forward to working with that group as it identifies and drives job creation initiatives in the North West, particularly around the expansion of the university at Magee.

 

The expansion of Magee is absolutely vital to the regeneration of not just this constituency but the entire North West region including Donegal. It is important that everyone working towards expansion for Magee speak with one strong voice. Working together with a unity of purpose we can and will make it happen

 

I was encouraged to hear my colleague, Maeve McLaughlin report from the latest local Strategy Board meeting that progress is being made.

 

While it is encouraging to see the unity of purpose around issues like Magee, unfortunately the same cannot be said around the biggest challenge to our stability and prosperity.

 

The attacks on our ability to reinvigorate our economy, create job opportunities and protect the most vulnerable all comes from the Tory cuts agenda which has already seen £1.5 billion cut from the operating budget of the Executive in addition to the swathe of Welfare cuts being imposed by the British government.

 

With plans to make more massive cuts to public services and to reduce welfare spending by a further  £12bn, it is time for parties opposed to the Tory cuts agenda to stop trying to score political points by attacking each other and put the focus where it belongs – with the Westminster government.

 

Whatever British government is elected after May 7th one thing is for sure and that is that any benefits to the people of the North will not be won sitting on the green benches of the Commons but, as has always been the case in the past, in a strong direct face-to-face challenge to whoever makes up that government.

 

A strong Sinn Féin team after May 7th will ensure a continued robust challenge to attacks from whatever government on our ability to deliver a better standard of living for all the people of the North and especially the North West.

 

Sinn Féin has stood against the Tory assault on public services and the welfare state. We have consistently and publicly declared our determination to protect children and adults with disabilities, the long-term sick and families with children against Tory cuts.

 

That was our position before, during and since the Stormont House Agreement. That will still be our position after the Westminster election whether it is a Tory or Labour-led British government.

 

I look forward to being part of that strong Sinn Féin team leading positive change for all our people.

Pensioners dying unnecessarily from fuel poverty-Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has said she is not surprised by the figures provided by Age Sector Platform that 2,390 pensioners have died as a result of conditions related to fuel poverty over the past four years.Patricia Logue new pic 22

 

Cllr  Patricia Logue said,

 

“Nearly 600 pensioners are dying needlessly each year due to conditions related to fuel poverty yet the Tory Government refused to extend the Warm Home Discount to the North.

 

“This payment of £140 would go a long way to helping pensioners meet the cost of heating their homes during the coldest months of the year.

 

“I have no doubt pensioners are choosing between eating or heating which is adding to their health issues causing early deaths.

 

“We also need to have the supply of natural gas extended to all areas of the North giving pensioners a cheaper option than oil or electricity provide at the minute.

 

“This extension of mains gas should no longer be deferred on the basis that it is not economically valuable to the supplier as everyone should have access to the cheapest fuels available.

 

“I am calling on landlords and on social housing providers to embark on a scheme which will make pensioners’ home energy efficient so they spend less on remaining warm during cold periods.”

Roads service to access state of footpaths on Great James Street

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that DRD Roads Service is to assess complaints that some of the pavements that were laid in Great James Street seem to be uneven and unstable.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

I welcome the news that DRD Roads Service is to take an urgent look at the state of the footpaths in Great James Street. It comes after I received complaints from residents and businesses in the area that some of the pavements that were laid there seem to be uneven and unstable.

I hope that any issues found there can be resolved as soon as possible as this is one of the busiest streets in the city centre.

Ends

President of Ireland motion passed by council -Duffy

“That this council supports the overwhelming vote by the Constitutional Convention in September 2013 in favour of extending the right to vote for the President of Ireland to citizens in the North of Ireland and the Diaspora, and calls on the Irish Government to now set a date for a referendum on the matter during this Dail term.”

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said sandra and martin mcguinness photo 1

The current president, like his immediate predecessors spoke and acted as a President for the whole island and we commend those efforts and look forward to them continuing.

 

The office of the President is regarded as being one for everyone, and that is how it is regarded here in the North also, particularly among Nationalists and Republicans.

 

We have already had the ridiculous situation where a former President, Mary McAlesse, had she still been living in Belfast, would not have been able to vote for herself.

 

This needs to change.

 

Giving people in the North the opportunity to vote in Presidential elections would truly result in a President For All.

 

We are not just seeking voting rights in presidential elections for nationalists in the North, but for people of all communities. Everyone on the island of Ireland deserves the opportunity to be able to vote for the President.

 

But this also goes beyond the rights of people living in the North; Sinn Fein is also seeking the extension of Presidential voting rights to Irish citizens living abroad.

 

As a result of the failed policies of austerity, growing numbers of Irish people have been forced to leave these shores in search of work and opportunities.

 

While we in Sinn Féin are working daily to create a better Ireland, north and south, with opportunities for our young people so they don’t feel that they have to leave, we do not feel that those who are currently in other countries should be disenfranchised.

 

The Irish abroad, whether they have been gone a matter of months in search of work, or whether they have been living abroad for 40 years, maintain a deeply rooted connection to Ireland and want to play a part in the life of the country.

 

The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that take place in virtually every country in the world prove this.

 

Organisations working with the Irish communities overseas are actively campaigning for voting rights.

 

Allowing people overseas to vote in elections in their own countries is not a new idea. More than 120 countries have already legislated to allow their citizens living outside the state to vote – we need to do the same.

 

Sinn Féin believes in extending the vote to allow more people to participate in the democratic process. We want voting rights extended to people living in the North, to Irish communities living abroad, and to 16 year olds.

 

 

Therefore, I ask this council to support the motion in calling for the Irish Government to finally set a date for the referendum on this matter, during this Dail term.

 

We as Irish Citizens demand our voice to be heard and we demand the right to vote in the next presidential election.

 

McLaughlin welcomes progress on Magee business case

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed progress on the business case for the expansion of the university at Magee. 

Speaking after a meeting of the Strategy Board, the Foyle MLA said; 

“At the latest Strategy Board meeting we were given an update on the progress of the business case for the expansion of Magee.

“The business case was presented to employment and learning minister Stephen Farry in December and is currently under consideration.

“I met with departmental officials to discuss the business case and I believe things are moving in the right direction.

“A number of points remain to be addressed but none of these are insurmountable.

“The business case presents a robust case for the expansion of the university and makes it clear that the city is speaking with one voice in calling for the expansion of Magee and I urge the minister to take this on board and progress this vital project for the city.” Ends/Críoch

Major events planned for centenary of 1916 Rising in Derry

Sinn Féin’s Barney O’Hagan has announced the setting up of a committee to commemorate the events surrounding the Easter Rising of 1916.

 

Mr O’Hagan said,

photo -an phoblacht-

photo -an phoblacht-

 

“The Derry 1916 – 2016 Commemoration Committee is planning to host a series of commemoration lectures, exhibitions and other events to commemorate the impact of the Easter Rising in the Derry area.

 

The Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic is a time of huge significance for the people of Ireland.

 

This is a time for Commemoration of those who worked, fought and died for Irish freedom.

It is a time for Celebration of the spirit of freedom and the progressive vision that motivated them.

It is a time for renewed Commitment to the values of the Proclamation: the sovereignty of the Irish people; the unity and independence of Ireland; equal rights and equal opportunities for all the people who share our island.

 

“The 1916 Proclamation is a declaration of social and economic intent for a rights-based society in which the people are sovereign.

 

“It is a freedom charter for this whole island and all the people who live here.

 

“However we understand that there are different narratives of the period whether that was Republican, Nationalist or Unionist. We intend to explore the period of the Rising from all political opinions not only from the republican perspective

 

“We would like to invite people from all communities to engage with us in order to paint an authentic picture how the Rising impacted upon the entire city of Derry

 

“These events will be dignified and aimed at exploring local history while at the same time seeing how this dovetailed into national Irish history.

 

With these commemorative events we invite people to join with us – not alone in remembering the past but in shaping the New Ireland

 

 

“Anyone who would like to participate or input into the commemorations should contact Barney O’Hagan at 71377551.”

New councils must stand up for equality at all times – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said new councils must stand up for equality and seek progressive alliances at all times.

Speaking at a Sinn Féin councillors’ seminar in DerryDerry Meeting, Mr McGuinness said;

“The 11 new councils which will come on line on April 1st present an opportunity to do things better.

“Councils in which Sinn Fein are a significant influence must become models of equality, inclusivity and partnership. They must be exemplars of justice and fairness.

“The new structures must become pillars tolerance, diversity and inclusion, reconciling and accommodating not just orange and green but all the other political, social and cultural colours that make up our society in the 21st century.

“They must reach out and embrace minorities and the marginalised. They must set an example in the challenging task of reconciliation and provide an alternative to the triumphalism and domination which characterised unionist domination in local government in this state for so long.

“So we must at stand for equality and seek out progressive alliances at all times.

“That is how we will block the DUP’s attempt to legalise anti-gay discrimination in the Assembly. The DUP sponsored Bill is going no-where.

“The referendum in the south on marriage equality will move us further towards equality and inclusion on this island. We need to continue on that journey. As a society, north and south, we must realise equality for all our citizens.”

‘Ireland: One Island, No Borders’ – photographic record with words by Gerry Adams

Elizabeth Billups and Gerry Adams with the book

THE VISION of an Ireland as one island with no borders is the concept for a book just published by Irish-American photographer Elizabeth Billups.

The US citizen travelled to Ireland over a 12-year period beginning in 1996 and recorded in photographs scenes and images that encapsulated Ireland in all its natural beauty as well as its people.

In the North, in particular, her photographs captured that period in history as society moved through the transition from war to peace.

And as her project unfolded, after two years, she approached Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and convinced him to supply the text to her pictorial record.

The result, Ireland: One Island, No Borders, was launched in a series of events throughout the country during March with its Belfast launch on Saturday 14 March in Cultúrlann MacAdam Ó Fiaich as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.

In her introduction to the book, Elizabeth says:

“At first I photographed the striking landscape but I quickly learned that, like every country, Ireland has environmental problems and serious political and social issues.

“I soon became immersed in the struggle for a united Ireland and my photographs became a visual record and reflection of the contradictions and paradoxes contained on such a small island divided by the imposed British border.”

She met the Sinn Féin President when she returned to Ireland as part of an Irish Northern Aid tour in 1999.

For his part, Gerry Adams, writing the epilogue, presents a historical and political overview that gives the project its context while at the same time summing up the aspirations of republicans for a united Ireland.

He writes:

“We now have the opportunity to reimagine Ireland, an Ireland where conflict and violence are in the past, an Ireland that reflects our genius and diversity, our dignity and our strengths – one island without borders.”

Ireland: One Island, No Borders is published by George F. Thompson Publishing.

Goldman Sachs – Cheerleaders for austerity want to set the Irish political agenda

GOLDMAN SACHS’S senior European economist produced a howler last week with the assertion that the bank no longer views mortgage arrears as representing the largest domestic risk to the Irish economy. 

Tell that to the 30,000-plus Irish families North and South who are immediately at risk of eviction because of mortgage arrears.

The Goldman Sachs report said: “The biggest risk now in our view is provided by political developments.”

Yes, you’ve guessed it – for “political developments” read ‘growth in support for Sinn Féin’.

Goldman Sachs Mail front page

There’s a breath-taking arrogance to Goldman Sachs’s conclusion, not least because it represents the interests of the international financial and banking elites which were directly responsible for the global banking crisis.

The unspoken implication is that those same interests will prefer some combination of the current Fine Gael/Labour Coalition and Fianna Fáil to become the next government.

The corollary of this thinking is that austerity should continue in the 26 Counties.

That’s exactly what the Tory-led Coalition Budget in Britain also announced last week, including a threat to cut a further £12billion from the welfare state.

The Block Grant allocated to the Northern Executive now faces another massive reduction.

Austerity is not an aberration. It is a fiscal and economic strategy for ‘recovery’ based upon dismantling welfare protections, reduced public services, fully marketising the economy, and producing the opposite of a fair economic and social recovery.

Enforced austerity is the solution proposed to reduce the structural deficits across Western economies by the very financial institutions which caused the international banking crisis in the first place.

Austerity isn’t meant to be a fair recovery strategy. It is a socialised debt reduction plan which demands absolute conformity from those in society expected to pay and take the pain.

In fact, austerity is a trap.

Its only consequence is to drive all of society into an inexorable economic and political race to the bottom.

The result is increasing breakdown in social cohesion and community solidarity, conflict between public and private sectors, sectional disagreements over Budget priorities and expenditure – and (in the North) to fight among ourselves over the public expenditure nightmare imposed upon the Executive by the British Government.

Water Protest, Dublin, 21 Mar 2015

Goldman Sachs and others are cheerleaders for ‘race to the bottom’ economics and politics.

Obviously, Goldman Sachs now wants to be part of setting the Irish political agenda as an ideological ‘player’ during the next three elections between this May and May 2016.

There will be plenty of others doing the same in the coming period to secure maximum social conformity from citizens, North and South.

We can stop that happening by looking outwards, not inwards, and challenging the political narrative which legitimises the austerity agenda of the economic and financial elites.

That is what the Westminster general election on 7 May needs to be about.

Kelly welcomes commitment on defibrillator training

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly as welcomed a commitment from Education Minister John O’Dowd to work with the health department on a strategy to train pupils in the use of defibrillators. COLLY

He said;

“I have been campaigning for a number of years to have lifesaving defibrillators in as many locations in Derry as possible, including schools, sports clubs and community facilities.

 

“As well as having the defibrillators in place, it is vitally important that people know how to use them to save lives in the case of an emergency.

 

“My party colleague Oliver McMullan asked Education Minister John O’Dowd what training is in schools to deal with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and peripheral artery disease awareness.

 

“John O’Dowd responded to say he will be working with the Department of Health to take forward the implementation of the Community Resuscitation Strategy and this will include the use of CPR training resources.

 

“I welcome the minister’s response look forward to the roll out of this training so that more lives can be saved in the future.”

Annual launch of the Easter Lily in Derry

 

DSCF5213
Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy  said

“The Easter Lily is an emblem of unity between the different traditions within the nation as well as the heroism of those who sacrificed so much in 1916. The lily has always had strong symbolic value, though its meaning and symbolism have changed through the ages. Today in 2015 it symbolises the possibility of unity, equality and prosperity for all the peoples of the island.The Easter Lily was designed in 1925 by Cumann na mBan.
The annual distribution of the lilies will take place in the lead up to Easter weekend .A limited numbers of metal pin badges are also available at our Ráth Mór office on the New Road,Shantallow/Culmore office  and Peadar O Donnell’s Waterloo Street.

Easter Sunday is on the 5th April   this year further details  will be released in the Derry press shortly.

End in sight for Rock Terrace gating -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that there has been no objections to calls for the installations of gates at Rock Terrace and that it will come before Derry City Council for consideration this week.DSC_0107

This comes after Councillor Cooper being involved in a process over two years calling for the gates, liaising with residents ,DRD Roads service and Derry City Council

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

The plight of residents in Rock Terrace has been well covered in the local press over the years, particularly the problems they encounter at night time from large crowds of revellers.

Residents have been calling for the installation of gates on the street to try and resolve some of these night time issues. They want to feel safe in their homes, they want to know their cars are not going to get damaged and they certainly don’t want large groups of people entering their street late at night. We are now one more step on the road to these aims being met.

In 2013 I called on DRD Roads Service to work with residents of Rock Terrace to fast-track their calls for the installation of gates on the street.

I am pleased to have received correspondence this week to say there haven’t been any objections to gates and a paper is going to the Council this week to consider the gating order.

I will now work with residents and businesses to secure funding which will hopefully bring the long running problems there to an end.

Ends

Anderson welcomes moves to strengthen animal health regulations

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed European Parliament moves to strengthen animal health regulations.

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

Ms Anderson said;

“At a meeting of the European Parliament’s AGRI committee this week members received an update on plans to strengthen animal health regulations across Europe.

“The proposed regulations will help improve animal health measures across the European Union, which is an issue that has been of concern to farming and agricultural communities.

“Improved regulations, agreed in co-operation with farming communities will assist farmers.

“The committee held that the proposed regulations will be flexible and will focus on outcomes rather than the process and will be based on risk and on evidence.

“This is an opportunity to simplify and strengthen animal health regulations and should be seized.” ENDs/CRÍOCH

McLaughlin welcomes inclusion of addiction treatment in health plan‏

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the fact that plans to deal with substance misuse are in the health department’s commissioning plan for 2015/16. ?????????????????????????????????

The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said; 

“The problems associated with substance misuse and addiction impact on all of our communities and must be addressed by the health minister.

“I raised concerns about the fact that plans to deal with addiction were not initially included in the the minister’s commissioning plan for 2015/16.

“Following my concerns and in response to a question I asked the minister in the Assembly, Jim Wells has confirmed that substance misuse and addiction measures will now be included in that plan.

“But it raises the question of why they were not included in the first place? It calls the minister’s seriousness in dealing with this important issue into question.

“Jim Wells, through his actions, must now demonstrate his commitment to dealing with the problems of addiction by implementing this plan.”

Anderson calls for EU sanctions against Israel

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel over its refusal to live up to its obligations to the peace process over the last 20 years. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;

“Twenty years has passed from the historic handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House Law.

“It has also been 20 years since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the formal start of the Palestinian/Israeli peace process.

“It is also clear, however, that this year marks 20 years of shattered hopes and unfulfilled obligations in that process as a result of the obstructive behaviour of the Israelis.

“I witnessed this at first hand during my three visits to Palestine in the last year when I was refused entry to Gaza on each occasion.

“It was also highlighted in the run-up to the recent Israeli election when Benjamin Netanyahu exposed the 20-year pretence that Israel is a genuine partner for peace when he stated there would never be a Palestinian state.

“The international community have a responsibility to challenge Israel on its repeated failures to progress the peace process.

“The EU in particular can send a clear message to Israel and the wider international community by imposing sanctions against Israel.

“Jerusalem is more divided today than at any time since the Israeli occupation began in 1967 and the international community have a duty to act.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson challenges DUP to explain position on EU

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the DUP need to explain its position on the North’s place within the European Union. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Ms Anderson said;

“Now that the DUP and UKIP appear to be getting into bed together the DUP need to get explain exactly what their attitude to Europe is.

“On one hand we have DUP ministers on trade missions to the US selling the North to businesses as a gateway to Europe.

“On the other hand they are presenting themselves as champions of the EU membership referendum debate and their MEP has gone as far to say that they would definitely pull out of Europe.

“They have not, however, explained what the impact of leaving the EU would be for people here.

“The reality is the North benefits greatly from EU membership and those benefits would be lost if we were to leave the EU.

“For example, the loss of the Common Agricultural Policy would have a hugely detrimental impact on our farming community, particularly large farmers, but also small farmers who depend on the Single Farm Payment.

“The European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund would also be lost to the hundreds of groups across the north who have benefited from this funding.

“This is the scenario the DUP wants for a range of groups across the North. Not content with supporting cuts to the block grant they now want to pull out of the EU and cut all those funding opportunities.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Meeting over St Anne’s works –Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “The school has been awarded end of year funding to carry out much needed repairs to their lower playground. As a result there will likely be some short term disruption in the area due to building materials being brought into the site . Therefore I have asked the project funders at WELB to meet residents to answer any queries they have before the work starts and to provide assurances that disruption will be kept to a minimum .

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

Residents are seeking reassurances that their streets would not be left with any residual debris as a result of the building materials being brought into the site. And also that any changes made to pathways during this process would be restored afterwards.
The meeting will take place with senior representatives from WELB on Monday 23rd March at 2pm. Those attending should go to the main entrance of the school in the first instance.

 

For any information on the meeting they should contact me on 028 7137 7551.

 

Ends

Support Blood donation “A negative” appeal- Councillor Colly Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged people in Derry to support an appeal by NI Blood Transfusion Service for “A negative” type blood after the service said stocks are low.

 Councillor Colly Kelly said “I would urge as many people as possible to support this appeal for “A negative” type blood, after the service said stocks are currently low.

You always think of patients needing blood transfusions in the event of road accidents but rarely do we think of people with medical conditions needing treatment all year around.

There is always a lot of pressure place on the Blood Transfusion service. The need for blood is constant, with 500 patients in the north needing transfusions each week

I would urge anyone who can help to go along to the next donation session in Derry  which takes place on  Friday 27th March Waterside Methodist Church 36 Clooney Terrace Session Times: 13.30 to 1600 & 1715 to 2000.

 

Ends

Columbs Hall Ard Fheis exhibition major success

Whilst a lot of attention was going on with what was taking place in the Millennium Forum last  weekend with the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis hundreds of other were attending a major exhibition next door in St Columbs Hall .

 coordinator Mickey McCrossan said “We were pleasantly surprised with the number of people who attended the exhibitions and the feedback we received. Throughout Saturday afternoon we had hundreds of people through the doors of St Columbs Hall. WP_20150307_13_11_47_Pro

It was a major undertaking as we have never done an exhibition on this scale in the city before taking us from the lead up to the Easter Rising in 1916 right through to the present day.

There were stalls from counties right across Ireland telling their local history and it was important that we had the likes of the Ballymurphy Massacre campaign amongst others there.

A lot of people commented on many of the artefacts on display and particularly the Relatives for Justice Remembering Quilt.The quilt is a project for people who have lost someone as a result of the conflict in Ireland. The quilt is made up of squares which have been dedicated to individuals who have died as a result of the conflict.

These squares are designed and made by family members and friends who wish to remember their loved ones in a creative and positive way.

Campbell questions use of police resources in Creggan raid

Sinn Féin Creggan Councillor Kevin Campbell has questioned the use of police resources in Creggan last night when the local community claim that up to a dozen PSNI jeeps, two bomb disposal squads and a helicopter were deployed.

Councillor Campbell said:3895995549

“I have been contacted by residents of Ballymagowan Gardens complaining about the saturation of their area during a police operation last night.

“I have to say that deployment of such large numbers of police and bomb squads to carry out what seems to have been the search of one house does not demonstrate prudent use of finite police resources.

“At a time of fiscal restraint in every other area of public service the PSNI should also be required to justify the cost of such operations particularly where the results are minimal.

“While the PSNI may claim that these activities are intelligence led, this unproductive type of large scale operation not only brings into question the cost of the operation but the quality of the so-called intelligence which informed the decision to carry it out in the first place.

“It also does not go unnoticed in the community that there is no limit to the resources available the PSNI when investigating anti -State activities but severely restricted when it comes to drug dealers, criminal elements and anti community activities.

“The manner in which these searches are carried out results in an unacceptable level of disruption and inconvenience to the local community including the elderly and ill. It also undermines confidence in community policing which we have invested so much in over recent years.”

Irish and British governments must support Palestine – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the Irish and British governments to implement resolutions recognising the state of Palestine. 16668633288_d737778edb_o

Speaking during a visit to Palestine, Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;

“I met this morning with the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, to discuss the latest developments in the peace process, including the wholly unhelpful comments from Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Any move away from a two-state solution in the peace process is unacceptable and must be resisted.

“The EU and other countries worldwide have a role to play in ensuring the two-state solution is supported and promoted.

“The Irish and British governments in particular can send a clear message to the Israelis that they support the demands of Palestine by implementing the resolutions passed to recognise Palestinian statehood.

“The international community has a responsibility to demonstrate that the Israeli occupation is wrong, that the settlements are a violation of international law, and that a two-state solution is vital to securing lasting peace in the region.”

McLaughlin to spend day working with children in care group

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin will spend a day working with young people in care and those who support them in Derry on Friday. ?????????????????????????????????
Speaking ahead of spending a day working with VOYPIC (Voice of Young People in Care), the Foyle MLA said;
“It is vital that the voices of young people in care are heard and listened to and that is why the work of VOYPIC is so important.
“As part of the Assembly’s Community Connect programme MLAs have the opportunity to get practical experience of group’s in the community and I chose VOYPIC because of the great work they do.
“Working with VOYPIC will provide an insight and experience of the services they provide to children in care and those leaving care.
“With increasing numbers of children and young people in care it is crucial that there is greater public awareness of the experience of those children.
“It will also provide an opportunity to engage directly with the staff to listen to their experiences and take what I hear back to the Assembly and to the health committee.”

Farmers should apply for Single Farm Payment online-Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has appealed to all farmers to use the online system to apply for the Single Farm Payment so that farmers can access their money as early as possible.

He said,

“The application forms for Single Farm Payments will be released from today and must be returned by the 15th May.

 

“I would encourage farmers to get their form early and fill it online as they are many advantages over filling in the form manually.

 

“Online is fast and easy to use, contains the latest up to date field information and gives out alerts if you don’t fill a section properly.  It also issues you with a receipt and a summary of your claim.

 

“Last year 91% of farmers received their payment in early December due to an increase of online submissions so it is clear that if you apply online you get paid earlier.

 

“The system is set up to save information as it is imputed so even in areas where there is a bad broadband connection farmers can apply online knowing that if the network goes all down the information will have already been saved.

 

“If a farmer has not got the confidence to fill the form online they should seek assistance by contacting their local DARD office.”

European Delegation denied access to Gaza for the second time – Anderson‏

After being held in Tel Aviv airport for questioning for over two hours yesterday, Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson, has been informed by Israeli authorities that the European Delegation which she has led to Jerusalem, with the hope of visiting Gaza, will once again be denied access.

Ms Anderson also led GUE/NGL group delegation to Palestine in September 2014 that were also not permitted access to Gaza.Palestine Plenary Protest 2

Speaking from East Jerusalem this morning, she said;

“I vehemently condemn the Israeli authorities decision to deny this delegation access to Gaza for the second time. For me personally, this my third attempt.”

“It is unacceptable that an official EU delegation to Palestine are refused entry to inspect the humanitarian situation and the destruction in Gaza given that the EU is largest donor of finance to Palestinians. This has to stop!”

“Despite stating clearly that the remit of this delegation was to  identify areas in dire need of vital public services such as schools, health centres and food distribution centres, with a purely social, economic and humanitarian focus, we continue to be blocked”

“These blatant attempts to deter us from our mission will bear little fruit, we will take this opportunity to visit East Jerusalem which has been experiencing a lot of tension over the last year particularly over illegal settlements, house demolitions and access to the Al Aqsa compound. As well as meeting with UNRWA representatives.”

“I have also secured a crucially Important meeting with the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. who will brief us about the way forward and the role of the international community.”

“The Israeli Government continue to oppress the Palestinian people by attacking them in the economic, cultural and political sphere’s, yet we remain resolute in our will to bring this to the attention of the rest of the world, which is precisely, why MEPs are being denied the opportunity to witness for themselves the genocide that was committed in Gaza.”

Kelly makes appeal over parking at Atnagelvin Hospital

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed to visitors to the New South wing at Atnagelvin Hospital to respect the parking restrictions along the roadway in and out of it .

Councillor Kelly said “Currently there is a major building programme taking place at the North Wing of the hospital on what was once  a car park which had a couple of hundred parking spaces.

This is leading to problems particularly around visiting times during the day with parking space at a premium.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents to highlight an ongoing problem at the road in and out of the South Wing. They have complained that motorists are parking along the exit road and have reduced it to one way traffic at times. Others have told me they had difficulty reversing out of the disabled bays as cars were parked directly behind them.

Barriers have been erected and yellow traffic cones put down but people are simply ignoring them and in some cases lifting the cones and throwing them on the grass verge. This is unacceptable unless in the case of an emergency situation.

Going to the hospital can be a stressful time and everyone is under pressure these days with time but people should leave that bit earlier to get a parking space and take heed of the hospitals appeal.

Duffy welcomes Woodbook road improvements

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed road improvement work that is taking place in the Woodbrook area.DSC_0627

She said “Residents will be glad to see this work taking place. We carried out a number of surveys in the area and one of the main complaints has been the condition of the roads in and out of the area.

I have been in ongoing contact with DRD Roads Service to try and get this work started. The roads are very busy in the locality so hopefully now it will go some way to help improve the road surfaces in the area.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

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Warning over Creggan attempted “Walk in” burglary’s

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has warned people living in Creggan to be alert after a number of reported attempted “Walk in” burglary’s and trying car doors in area on Saturday night.COLLY

Councillor Kelly said “I was contacted on Saturday night by a number of residents in the area looking for me to put out to an alert to people after several incidents took place in the vicinity  of Melmore Gardens, Westway and Aranmore.

Thieves have no respect for you or your property; helping to catch them is the best way of safeguarding your own property and your neighbours.

I would also appeal to anyone with information or who may have seen anything in their area to pass this to the PSNI. People like this cannot be allowed to prey on our community.

Derry “Acht Na Gaeilge”day of action

Members of Ógra Shinn Féin held a day of action in Derry and across the north on Saturday calling for the introduction of Acht Na Gaeilge. They collected hundreds of signatures outside the Millennium Forum in the city centre .

Chairperson in Derry Caolán McGinley said DSC_0100

We are very pleased at how the day of action went in Derry on Saturday .Hundreds of people signed the petition calling for the introduction of Acht Na Gaeilge and took away information on the campaign.

There are hundreds of children going to schools in the city learning through the medium of Irish and hundreds of people of all ages attending night classes and hundreds taking part in cultural musical and sporting activities .This was magnified tenfold when Derry hosted the Fleadh in 2013.

The Irish language is a threat to no one and people should embrace diversity by engaging with the current consultation which is ongoing.

Ends

Attack on Dundalk FC supporter’s bus at Foyle Road

Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

 

“I would urge anyone with even the smallest piece of information on those involved in this attack to bring it forward straight away.

I hope that visiting supporters will not be put off by this attack and know that those who carried it out are not representative of the vast ,vast majority of the young people in the area.

Ends

Two men beaten in Galliagh attack

Commenting on the news   that two men were badly beaten in a so called punishment attack in the Galliagh area of Derry on Sunday night.

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy saidCouncillor Sandra Duffy

“There is no place whatsoever for these attacks in our society.

“Those responsible do not come forward to provide any level of justification for these acts to the community.

“There are clearly other ways to deal with the issues affecting us all, both with the community and with the PSNI. I would urge anyone who has any information on this attack to bring it to the police.”

Ends

Brandywell showground’s “preferred option” for new play park

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the news that the preferred option of a new state of the art play park is to be located within the Brandywell Showground’s.

This comes after a meeting with TRIAX , Council Officials and interested parties.Patricia Logue new pic 22

As part of the Social Investment Fund ‘Invest in Play’ Project, Derry City Council has secured £423,750 for play provision the Brandywell area.

Councillor Logue said

“I am very pleased that the preferred option to come before Derry City Council shortly for a new state of the play park will be in the Showground’s. This is another piece of that overall jigsaw of the  Foyle Valley Gateway plans.

The plans for the redevelopment of the Brandywell, the Showground’s and the Daisyfield have been a long time coming but it’s brilliant that things are moving in the right direction over the last few months.

It will transform the entire area and have a positive impact on the lives of family’s right across the locality. Residents have been asking every time we are on the doorstep doing community surveys for children’s play facilities.

Ends

PSNI must take action to recruit more women – McCallion

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion has called on the PSNI chief constable to take action to increase the number of women police officers.

 

She said;DSC_0615

 

“At this month’s meeting of the Policing Board, on the eve of International Women’s Day, Caitríona Ruane challenged the chief constable on the number of women in the PSNI.

 

“The fact that she raised our concerns to an all-male panel at the Policing Board highlights the extent of the problem.

 

“Assistant chief constable Alastair Finlay claimed there was a problem attracting female recruits because too few women are passing the fitness test.

 

“Not only is that insulting to women, it could also put off potential recruits, particularly young women.

 

“Until there are more women in the PSNI, young women will not have positive role models in policing and will be reluctant to join.

 

“The chief constable needs to take come up with an action plan to address the imbalance and make policing more attractive to women and take proactive steps on recruitment.”

Ends/Críoch

Rural Transport Fund Voucher Scheme will be missed -Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has expressed his  disappointment that the Department for Regional Development has announced the end of the Rural Transport Fund Voucher Scheme.

Paul Fleming  said,

“The Rural Transport Voucher Scheme was initiated to help groups situated in rural areas meet transport costs when groups of 17 or more were attending events.

“Whether it was sporting clubs or groups like the scouts or guides or simply community based groups organising excursions for the elderly this funding was essential in covering transport costs.

“With cut backs to the timetable of public transport in rural areas also under threat and the fact that most major events are held in urban areas I am worried that many groups will now be unable to travel out of rural areas to compete or take part in other activities and therefore fold.

“I am asking the Minister of Regional Development Danny Kennedy to reconsider his decision so groups in rural groups can afford to meet transport costs and participate in events across Ireland.

Ends

McGinley welcomes consultation on Springtown housing development

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the public consultation on a housing development planned for the Springtown Road.

Cllr. McGinley said: “The public consultation took place in St. Eithne’s Primary School on Wednesday night and allowed the local community an opportunity to view the plans and raise any issues.

As part of this engagement I encouraged the developers to give serious consideration to the provision of turning facilities for public transport which could service this new development as well as the Hawthorn Estate further along the Springtown Road.

These public consultations are an important part of the planning process and I am hopeful that any concerns around this housing development can be properly addressed.”

Extension of smoking ban at hospitals welcomed – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA and Chairperson of the Health Committee Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the news that smoking is to be banned from all hospitals and health facilities across the North.

 Ms. McLaughlin said,?????????????????????????????????

“Smoking is responsible for many illnesses including cancer and heart disease so anything that is done to encourage people to stop has to be welcomed.

“The news announced today on No Smoking Day is welcome news for people attending medical facilities across the North in that they will no longer be exposed to passive smoking.

“I would appeal to smokers to adhere to the ban and work with the staff to ensure a smoke free environment for patients, staff and visitors alike.

“I would also urge people to use No Smoking Day in order to quit the habit to improve their health and lessen the risk of a premature death.”

Ends

British government crucifying Executive – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement would resolve the current difficulties on the Welfare Reform Bill. gerry-and-martin1

Speaking ahead of a meeting with British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, Mr McGuinness said;

“The current difficulties facing the Executive are a result of the British government’s Thatcherite policies, which are designed to attack the poor and the most vulnerable in our society.

“Theresa Villiers is not a neutral broker in the current dispute and the cuts agenda of the Tory-led British government is effectively crucifying the Stormont Executive.

“We have been very clear from the start that the protection of children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities, the long-term sick and families with children was the basis on which Sinn Féin endorsed the Welfare Bill.

“Nowhere were these protections qualified until 19th February.

“Since then we have been trying to get a resolution to this issue and we remain committed to that goal.

“In my view resolution is possible, and that resolution is the full implementation of the agreement.” Ends/Críoch

EU must do more to support Palestine – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the European Union has to do more to support the people of Palestine. BwslcXqIEAAIfo2.jpg large

Speaking after chairing a meeting of the EU’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ms Anderson said;

“At today’s meeting we were presented with a report on EU cooperation with Palestine carried out by Professor Joseph Saba, a professor at Georgetown University and former Middle East director at the World Bank.

“It found that the EU is the largest contributor to Palestinian welfare.

“But there is no grounds for complacency as the EU should be doing so much more to support the people of Palestine.

“The lack of a coherent approach to dealing with Palestine from the EU member states is hampering efforts to support the welfare of the Palestinian people.

“The report pointed up the fact that the EU has failed to show leadership in promoting strategic dialogue in the Middle East.

“I welcome the report’s call for the adoption of a strategy to facilitate dialogue between the EU, Israel and the Palestinian authorities.

“The European Commission has the power to take such an initiative; what’s lacking is the political will. This must change if it is to genuinely support the people of Palestine.”

Withdrawal of welfare bill the right decision –Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said the withdrawal of the Welfare Reform Bill was the right thing to do.

The DUP Minister for Social Development withdrew the bill after Sinn Féin made it clear this morning that it would not support its passage through the Assembly.

Raymond McCartney said; City centre walkabout

“The withdrawal of the Welfare Reform Bill was the right thing to do.

“For Sinn Féin the key issue is ensuring protections for children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities, the long term sick and large families and that remains our priority.

“The way to resolve this issue is for the Minister for Social Development to bring forward schemes for agreement which gives effect to the intent of the Stormont House Agreement by providing full protection for all claimants.

“We will not be part of any agenda that punishes the most vulnerable in our society.”

Ends

Hassan appeals for stoning of vehicles on Racecourse Road to stop

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has appealed for stone and egg attacks on cars in the vicinity of the traveller’s site on a rural section of  the Racecourse Road to stop.

Councillor Tony Hassan said

“I have been contacted by a number of motorists whose cars have been attacked by stone throwers  along a section of the Racecourse Road which has resulted in their cars being damaged.

Others have told me their cars were attacked with eggs which is an awful mess to try and get cleaned .

For anyone to have their car attacked either by stones or eggs it can be a very frightening experience, this is a rural section of the road and is the last thing anyone would expect.

I am appealing for these attacks to stop and if anyone has information on those responsible to contact the PSNI ,elected representatives or local community workers.

Ends

Anderson welcomes major agriculture event

Sinn Féin MEP has welcomed the announcement that a major international farming conference will be held in the North later this year.

Ms Anderson said; ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“The announcement that the North American – European Union Agriculture Policy Congress 2015 will be held in the North in October is welcome.

“This prestigious conference is one of the largest of its kind in the world and brings together farmers, policy makers and leading figures in the agricultural industry from across the European Union and North America.

“They will discuss a range of issues such as sustainability, new markets and innovations in the industry.

“The fact that it is being held in the North is a recognition of the high regard the Irish agricultural sector is held internationally.

“It will also provide an opportunity for the agricultural sector in the North to showcase its world-class produce to an international audience, with the potential of opening up new markets.

“There are major issues facing the farming community at an international level, not least the International State Dispute Mechanism (IDSM) of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This event will allow representatives of the local farming and agricultural committee to voice their opposition to this proposed legislation.” Ends/Críoch

Presidential Speech of Gerry Adams at Ard Fheis Derry 2015‏

Go raibh maith agat Michelle.  Thanks for all your work, especially with Micheal Colreavy and Martina Anderson in opposing fracking.16549238749_4e0c5f784d_k

A chairde agus a chomráidithe, Tá failte romhaibh uilig chuig Ard Fhéis Shinn Féin.

A special Céad Míle Fáilte to Jim Cullen and Alan McConnell of Friends of Sinn Féin in the USA and Canada; and to our comrades from Australia, from South Africa, Cuba, the Basque country, Greece, Britain and to all our foreign dignitaries, including the Palestinian Ambassador.

Tonight, I call on the Irish government to act on the Sinn Féin motion adopted unanimously by the Dáil and to recognise the state of Palestine.

 Mar a déarfadh Bobby, “It’s good to be back home in Derry”.

Taoiseach, if you’re watching – Dia duit – greetings from the north.

Taoiseach, mar eolas duit, this is not a foreign country.

This is Ireland.

Derry is a special place.

The attack on the Civil Rights march at Duke Street 1968, the Battle of the Bogside, and Bloody Sunday are key events in the history of modern Ireland.

Comhghairdeas daoibhse agus buíochas do mhuintir Doire Cholmcille; and in particular to the representatives of Bloody Sunday families who are with us this evening.

I extend best wishes also to the representatives from the Londonderry Bands Forum. You are also very welcome at this Ard Fheis.

The accommodation on loyal order parades here stands out as an example of what can be achieved when citizens have the will to solve problems.

Let’s see the same approach to contentious parades in Belfast and elsewhere.

Best wishes also to another son of Derry, John Hume who was central to the peace process.

To Mitchel McLaughlin who recently became Ceann Comhairle of the Assembly.

And to Martin McGuinness for his continued courageous and visionary leadership.

These qualities were demonstrated again during the negotiations that led to the Stormont House Agreement.

Despite the negative approach of the British and Irish governments, and a reluctance by some of the local parties, progress was made. And agreement was achieved.

I want to commend the hard work and dedication of Sinn Féin’s Executive Ministers and our MLAs and Assembly team.

Tá an-áthas orm go bhfuil moltaí faoi choinne Acht na Gaeilge foilsithe ag Caral Ní Chuilin, go bhfuil Michelle O’Neill ar chamchuairt faoin tuath ag buaileadh le muintir na feirme, go bhfuil John O’Dowd fós ag athchóiriú scoileanna, agus go bhfuil Jennifer McCann ag cosaint cearta daonna agus cearta leanaí.

During the Stormont House talks this party put in place additional protections for children and adults with severe disabilities, and the long term sick.

We succeeded in protecting those on benefits.

We negotiated that there will be no reductions to any benefits under the control of the Executive.

That is fundamental to this Agreement and Sinn Féin will hold to that and hold other parties to that commitment.

Progress was also made on the issues of Parades, Flags and Emblems and the Past.

Dealing with the past is very difficult.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Gibraltar killings.

Today is Sam Marshall’s anniversary.

Every day marks an anniversary for someone, for some family, for some community.

I hope the Stormont House Agreement will bring closure to victims. That is the intention.

I want to extend solidarity to all of the victims groups campaigning for truth and justice.

I welcome to this Ard Fheis the representatives of the Ballymurphy Massacre families.

Failte fosta roimh Liam Shannon, one of the Hooded Men.

There are those who attack the Stormont House Agreement.

They attack Sinn Féin.

Let us be clear that Agreement did not resolve the issue of British Tory cuts to the block grant.

Over one and a half billion pounds has been stripped away by London.

Those who opportunistically attack us should focus on that.

Why should a British government of millionaires have the authority to impose economic punishment on citizens here.

Sinn Féin will continue to oppose austerity – north and south.

Those who argue that power should be handed back to London need to get real.

That would be the road to disaster.

Instead there needs to be an island wide campaign to promote progressive policies and Sinn Féin will build a positive alliance with everyone who has this position, including other parties, the community and voluntary sector and the trade unions.

Austerity is not the solution.

It is part of the problem.

Sinn Féin is not the problem.

We are part of the solution.

Beidh muid ag obair as lámh a chéile le daoine eile i ngach cearn den oileán seo chun bealach eile a chur chun tosaigh seachas an déine.

Supporting austerity in the north is a logical extension of Fine Gael and Labour’s policies.

Their budgets have been among the most regressive in the State’s history.

There has been a huge growth in social inequality.

A third of our children now live in consistent poverty.

Public money which should be used to end the scandal of patients lying on trolleys; to house our citizens; and to create jobs is being used to repay private bank debt.

That’s Labour’s Way.

That’s Fine Gael’s way.

That’s Frankfurt’s way.

That’s not the Sinn Féin way.

During the boom Sinn Féin called for the wealth to be invested in public services. We called for the wealth to be socialised. We were accused by the establishment parties of ‘fairy tale’ economics.

They have delivered nightmare economics. They refused to socialise the wealth. But they have no problem socialising the debt.

Fianna Fáil wrecked the economy, drove hundreds of thousands out of work, and forced many of our young people to emigrate.

Fine Gael and Labour made things worse by delivering Fianna Fáil policies.

They made working people, senior citizens, patients and children pay the price for private banking greed.

To add insult to injury, hard-pressed citizens were told that the crash happened because “we all partied”.

The Taoiseach said people went mad.

Raiméis atá ann.

191 individuals held €62 billion of the banking debt. 50% of the Irish loan book of Anglo Irish bank was held by just 20 greedy people.

Bankers and their political cronies are the golden circle.  It is corrupt bankers and corrupt politicians who should be in jail, and not water charge protestors.

When I suggested to the Taoiseach on numerous occasions that he should stand up for Irish people at EU summits he said, “We will not have the word defaulter stamped on our forehead”.

He refused to negotiate on bank debt.

Neither the Taoiseach nor the Minister for Finance have ever asked for retrospective recapitalisation of the pillar banks.

If and when Sinn Féin have the mandate we will work with others across the EU to find a sustainable long-term solution to the Eurozone debt crisis.

It took the government of Greece to break the conservative pretense that austerity is the only way.

Failte romhat Euclid Tsakalotos of Syriza, the Greek Minister for International and Economic Relations.

Venceremos.

Sinn Féin is the effective voice of opposition in Leinster House. We offer constructive and sustainable solutions and have held the Government to account.

The Government claims that a recovery is underway.

If there is, it’s an unequal and unfair two tier recovery.

Sinn Féin wants to deliver a fair recovery.

The cost of the recession has been borne by those who played no part in the economic disaster and who are least able to pay.

The economy should serve the people – not the other way around.

Sinn Féin is pro enterprise. We believe in a strong, competitive economy which creates real jobs with decent pay and conditions.

A strong economy is required to pay for public services and a living wage for workers.

To combat poverty, and to support those with disabilities.

For that reason Sinn Féin advocates a model of fair and progressive taxation and stable public finances where everyone pays their fair share.

And where wealth is used to fund social equality. That means that in government Sinn Féin will abolish water charges.

We will scrap the Property Tax.

Sinn Féin will introduce a Wealth Tax.

We will bring in a third rate of income tax for those individuals earning over one hundred thousand euro; that’s seven cents on every euro over One Hundred Thousand Euro.

And Sinn Féin will take a further Two Hundred Thousand people out of the Universal Social Charge.

A fair recovery must be built on real investment in real jobs.

Foreign direct investment is an important part of the economic mix for the island of Ireland.

So are the arts – so is the social economy.

But the biggest employers on this island are Small and Medium enterprises.

They are the greatest source of future job growth.

Tá Sinn Féin tiomanta do na daoine seo a chuidiú.

We are also for the exploitation of our natural resources for the common good and not merely the profits of multi-nationals.

The economic crisis and austerity policies of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have forced half a million of our people to leave.

It’s time to bring our emigrants home.

But emigrants should not be denied a voice in our democracy.

Next week Sinn Féin will introduce legislation to extend the right to vote in Presidential elections to Irish citizens in the north and overseas as recommended by the Constitutional Convention.

Impím go láidir ar gach ball den Oireachtas tacaíocht a thabhairt don Bhille seo.

The Fine Gael/Labour Government has been a disaster for rural Ireland.

Rural Ireland needs a new deal.

A new deal that will create and retain jobs in rural communities, protect rural schools and services, ensure access to health services and maximise support for hard pressed Gaeltacht and island communities.

That’s the thing about rights.

You have rights no matter where you live.

These have to include the right to a health service, to an education system, to quality childcare, to a home, to a job, to a clean environment and to civil and religious liberties.

Sinn Féin will invest in local authority housing and introduce rent controls to help stem the rising tide of homelessness.

Families in mortgage distress need to be able to remain in the family home.

Last year Sinn Féin introduced legislation to curb repossessions and to give other protections to families in mortgage distress.

The Government rejected our proposals.

Instead they gave the banks a veto.

Sinn Féin will end that veto.

Ní féidir le gach bean, gach fear agus gach páiste barr a gcumais a bhaint amach, ach amháin i bpobal atá cothrom.

All citizens whether they live in the Bogside or Baile Mhuirne, or on the Shankill or Southhill are entitled to equality before the law, regardless of background, sexual orientation or gender.

That is why Sinn Féin supports marriage equality for LGBT citizens.

Most people know a family member, work colleague or a neighbour who is gay, and we love them for who they are.

Tá na saoránaigh seo i gceart Chothrom na Féinne.

On May 22nd I am calling for a resounding YES vote.

The centenary of events from 1912 to 1922 – from the signing of the Ulster Covenant to the Civil War – provides a unique opportunity for all our people, north and south, nationalist and unionist, to critically examine our past.

The fact is that the revolutionary period was followed by a counter revolution.

That’s why Ireland is partitioned.

Two conservative states with narrow minded, mean spirited elites were created.

Our people suffered, emigrated and died as a result.

Our potential is stunted – our communities divided.

It’s little wonder that the response of the Irish Government to these centenaries has lacked ambition and substance.

It is little wonder they don’t want to celebrate the Proclamation.

For their part they are embarrassed by its relevance for Ireland today.

For our part the 1916 Proclamation remains the mission statement of modern Irish republicanism.

The Government’s failure to protect the National Monument in Moore Street has also been shameful.

“Mór mo náire. Mo chlann féin a dhíol a mháthair”.

In the year ahead, Sinn Féin will celebrate at home and abroad the courage and vision of those who participated in the Easter Rising.

Sinn Féin’s goal, like theirs is to build a real Republic.

But Sinn Féin cannot transform politics or the social and economic conditions on our own.

There are strong elements in both parts of the island who are against positive change.

These include unionists who see no alternative to the union; but there are others who are not so sure.

They too have been politicised by recent developments.

In particular the peace process.

They are also learning that austerity is the price of the union.

Republicans have to listen and pay heed to constructive criticism of our alternative.

The Unionist parties say they are against Irish unity but will support measures that are to the mutual advantage of both sections of our people.

That’s welcome and sensible.

We have to build and hold them to that.

Politics in both parts of this island is in flux.

Many people now realise that that it makes no sense to have two economies, two education systems, two health systems, two tax codes, two currencies on one small island.

The sense of one island, one Ireland can work for everyone.

I believe we need a national conversation on all of this.

A conversation about the future.

I believe all genuine progressive social and political forces across this island, including unionists and working class loyalists, should develop a common platform for political progress.

A new Citizens’ Charter, encapsulating fundamental principles could take us towards a citizen-centred, rights-based society.

It could be a new departure in Irish politics.

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

The people of this island, whether urban or rural, from whatever background or tradition, share a common history and our futures are bound together.

We need reminded again and again that our flag is Orange.

Orange as well as green.

Orange is part of what we are.

That is our potential.

And our challenge.

To unite Orange and Green in equality and mutual respect.

The immediate period ahead will see elections to the Dáil, Westminster, the Assembly and a by-election in Carlow/ Kilkenny.

Is í Kathleen Funchion ár n-iarrathóir.

Caithfidh mé a bheith soiléir.

Tá muid ag lorg bua le Kathleen.

So let’s be ambitious not just for ourselves but for our people.

On May 7th the people of the north will go to the polls.

Good luck to all our candidates here.

The imposition of an unfair water charge has been the final straw for many families in the south.

The huge demonstrations are proof of that.

The water charge protestors should be released.

Sinn Féin has seen unprecedented growth in the last European and local government elections thanks to the work of our activists and especially our voters.

Mo bhuíochas lenár n-iarrathóirí agus go háirithe leis na daoine a thug votaí dúinn.

I especially commend our MPs, our TDs, Seanadoirí, MLAs all of our Councillors and our MEPs Martina, Matt, Liadh, Lynn.

Happy international Women’s day Matt.

As our political strength increases our opponents have become more strident. There has been a tsunami of untruth and smears against us.

It didn’t work.

It didn’t work because of you.

Because people listened to the lies and they looked at you, their neighbours and family members, their work colleagues and they said, the Shinner I know isn’t like the one depicted in the Independent group of newspapers and by our political opponents.

So thank you for your steadfastness.

Your diligence. And your work.

Little wonder that Enda and Joan are worried.

They and their cronies will be even more strident in the run in to the election – so brace yourselves.

They know the people want change.

Sinn Féin wants a mandate for government.

I believe we can win that mandate.

Sinn Féin will not prop up either a Fine Gael or a Fianna Fáil government.

Sinn Féin wants to lead the next Government.

I am confident that when it comes to making a choice, the people will make the change.

The future hasn’t been written yet.

Let’s write it together.

Let’s make it happen!

Make the change.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.

A new society requires genuine reconciliation – Ó hEára‏

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid O’hEára has said the creation of a new society requires a process of genuine reconciliation. 10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

Speaking at the opening of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2015 in Derry’s Millennium Forum, Mr Ó hEára said; 

“It is a great honour for Derry republicans that Sinn Féin has decided to host the 2015 Ard Fheis here in our city. It indicates the growth and confidence of the party locally and our ability to deliver on such a major event.

“Derry was at the epicentre of a system of inequality and injustice that pertained across the North for 50 years.

“The abolition of the old Stormont parliament in 1972 marked the beginning of the end for unionist misrule. Today following the Good Friday and other agreements we are well along the road to the transition of this society from inequality and injustice to a fairer society for all.

“As a native of this city I am proud of the role that Derry republicans have played in that process of transformation which has brought us to where we are today.

“As part of our journey towards a fair and just society we need to concentrate on the economy and job creation but we also have to address the mindset that created the divisions of the past. This is about reconciliation and peace-building.

“Republicans in this city and across Ireland take this responsibility seriously and are striving to create a society which is inclusive and based on respect and equality.

“This involves reaching out to our fellow citizens in the unionist community and convincing them that we are serious about tackling the differences that exist between us.

“I’m not talking about tolerance – I’m talking about acceptance of cultural, political and religious differences and of people who espouse these differences.

“I’m talking about acceptance, which, within the bounds of equality of treatment, means almost unconditional acceptance of the other.

“We all have to share this small island and need to deal with the past with compassion and understanding; we can’t let our past differences hold us back from creating a future that offers hope to our children.”

Action on minimum wage required – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said the proposal from the British government’s Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage be increased by 3% falls far short of what is required to lift people out of poverty.COLLY

Councillor Kelly said:

“The Low Pay Commission proposed increases to the minimum wage for people over 21 by 3% to £6.70, for 18-20 years by 3.3% to £5.30 and by 2.2% to £3.87 for workers aged 16 & 17. These are totally inadequate to lift people out of poverty and provide increased disposable income to boost the economy.

“There are now more people in work and living in poverty than those out of work. This proposed 3% increase for someone paid the minimum wage represents a derisory 20p per hour increase. While 3% might well be a decent increase for someone earning large salaries, it is a pittance for people earning well short of what is required to lift them out of poverty.

“It is clear the interests of working-class people here are not being served by a Tory government in Westminster.

“Sinn Féin want to see the introduction of a range of progressive measures to deal with the issues of zero hour contracts, subsistence wages and worker exploitation.

“We believe that all workers should be paid a living wage.

“The findings that some employers continue to pay workers below the minimum wage further reinforces the need for comprehensive legislation to both protect and improve workers’ rights.

“The proposals by the Low Pay Commission will not only fail to achieve this but it also proposes the perpetuation of inequality between workers under 21 and those over this age. All workers, regardless of age or gender are entitled to equal pay for equal work.”

CRÍOCH/END

Madam’s Bank Road Alert- McCallion

Councillor Elisha McCallion said DSC_0615

“This is the second such incident in the area in less than a month. Whoever is behind these incidents they should explain to local residents and the wider Derry public what they have achieved by all this.

“The local community want to get on with their lives and trying to improve the future for their children without elements causing distress and inconvenience.”

Duffy welcomes funding for facilities at Na Magha Hurling and Camogie Club

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the news the Department for Social Development has announced a funding contribution of £507,000 for the construction of a clubhouse, changing rooms and associated facilities for Na Magha Hurling and Camogie Club, with a further £100,000 being contributed by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the City Council.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said DSC_0627

“This is good news for the club and all those who have worked on this project over many years. I also would like to thank my party colleague Mickey Cooper who has been involved in helping with the club working through funding aspects for this project. It’s important that we maximise every opportunity to improve and enhance our sporting facilities in Derry and encourage more young boys and girls to take up sport. It’s great to be getting more sporting facilities into the greater Shantallow /Culmore areas.

The GAA is the envy of sporting and community organisations the world over, their commitment to their sport, communities, clubs and county is tremendous. I wish Na Magha GAC every success in the future.

Sinn Féin to oppose passage of welfare bill – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has accused the DUP of acting in bad faith on welfare protections and has said that Sinn Féin will oppose the passage of the welfare bill in the assembly.

And the Deputy First Minister said that the DUP had reneged on its commitments in the Stormont House Agreement to protect the most vulnerable people in society.gerry-and-martin1

Martin McGuinness said:

“Since the turn of the year Sinn Féin has engaged proactively and positively with the Party Leaders’ group to ensure the full implementation of the Stormont House agreement.

“We have honoured our commitments and have worked constructively to put in place the welfare protections agreed last December.

“This package protects children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities, the long-term sick and children in large families.  We have been clear that the enactment of these protections is a red line issue for Sinn Féin.

“We have faithfully supported the implementation of the agreement on the floor of the Assembly.

“At Stormont House the five parties agreed a series of measures to protect the vulnerable and safeguard current and future welfare claimants under the control of the executive.

“However, the DUP have acted in bad faith and are now reneging on their commitments to protect the most vulnerable. It is their intention to provide only partial protection to current recipients of benefit and no protection whatsoever for future claimants.

“That is totally unacceptable. If the DUP want to strip benefits from children with disabilities, from adults with severe disabilities, the long-term sick; or push children further into poverty, then they need to explain and justify that. Sinn Féin certainly will not accept that approach.

“Until such times as the minister can produce a scheme for agreement which gives effect to the intent of the Stormont House Agreement by providing full protection for current and future claimants, Sinn Féin will not be in a position to support the Welfare Bill going through the Assembly.

“We are now pursuing a Petition of Concern.

“The DUP have attempted to effect Tory welfare cuts by subterfuge but at the heart of this crisis is the ideologically driven attack on the welfare state by the Tory-led government in London.

“As we have repeatedly stated publicly Sinn Féin will not be part of any agenda that punishes the most vulnerable in our society.”

McGuinness welcomes progress on A5/A6 projects

Sinn Fein MLA Martin McGuinness has welcomed confirmation from Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy of progress on both the A5 and A6 road projects.

Mr. McGuinness was speaking after the Executive subgroup on regional opportunities heard that draft orders for the A5 will be published within weeks while the A6 was almost at a ‘shovel ready’ position.gerry and martin

He commented: “I am very pleased at the outcome of today’s meeting which again demonstrates the importance of the ministerial subgroup in terms of bringing a cross departmental focus to the north-west.

“This should be seen as a very clear signal that ministers on the group take very seriously the challenges we face in terms of the development of the north-west.

“Infrastructure links such as the A5 and A6 are vital and today’s confirmation from the Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy is a welcome move which we need to build on in the time ahead.”

Anderson hosts human rights delegation in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels to look at how the Europe can assist the promotion of human rights across Ireland. 

Ms Anderson said; ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“Sinn Féin is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights across Ireland.

“As an MEP I have worked with a range of groups in Europe to assist agencies and bodies across Ireland working in the field of human rights promotion.

“This week I brought a delegation of human rights groups to the European Parliament in Brussels to explore opportunities where Europe can provide practical help and guidance.

“The delegation included groups representing children and young people, older people’s groups, women’s groups, gay advocacy groups, victims’ representatives, students, Irish language activists and Travellers groups.

“The groups included the Children’s Law Centre, Age NI, Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Rainbow Project, CAJ, and the Human Rights Consortium.

“We took part in a range of discussions and workshops around the role of human rights in the European Union with a particular focus on the rights of children and young people and age discrimination.

“The delegation also included representatives of Conradh na Gaeilge and we heard about the experiences from other parts of Europe and how they dealt with language rights.

“This was a constructive and positive delegation and the groups involved made useful contacts.

“I will continue to work with all groups to promote human rights across Ireland.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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