Is mian liom tabhairt faoin dúshlán sin.

Níl aon amhras ann gur cathair í Doire a bhfuil acmhainneacht ollmhór aige.

Tá muid aitheanta timpeall an domhain agus is iomaí duine clúiteach i saol na n-ealaíon, eolaíochta, gnó agus spóirt atá de bhunadh Dhoire.

Tá muintir Dhoire ar na buanna is mó dá bhfuil ag an chathair; tá siad athléimneach, diongbháilte agus déarfach agus níor chaill siad dóchas ariamh.

Mar chathair, is iomaí dúshlán a bhí romhainn leis na blianta.

Anois, áfach, tá muid ag tabhairt aghaidhe ar an todhchaí le meon nua dóchais, mothú gur ré fíorathrú agus deiseanna do Dhoire agus don mhór-iarthuaisceart é seo.

Níor tharla seo de thaisme. Rinneadh an t-uasfás obair chrua le blianta beaga anuas. Tá Sinn Féin i gcroílár na hoibre seo ag stiúradh an phróisis athraithe chun tosaigh.

In ainneoin an dul mhóir chun cinn atá déanta le blianta beaga anuas, tá éagothroime agus dúsláin roimh Dhoire fós.

Tá dífhostaíocht ró-ard fós, níl bonneagar s’againne de réir an chaighdeáin chuí agus tá barraíocht teaghlach ag streachailt maireachtáil.

Tá Doire fós ag streachailt a acmhainneacht a bhaint amach.

Tá go leor físeanna, moltaí agus pleananna againn; is am gníomhaithe anois é.

Níl na fadhbanna seo do-sháraithe, áfach. Má bhíonn an toil pholaitiúil cheart againn agus tiomantas ó gach cuid den sochaí cathartha comhoibriú le chéile thig linn na deacrachtaí seo a shárú.

Tá tuilleadh dul chun cinn de dhíth ar fhorbairt ollscoil na cathrach ag Campas Mhig Aoidh. Ní mór deireadh a chur leis an teorainn ar líon na mac léinn ionas gur fíorchathair ollscoile a bheidh i nDoire.

Is lucht saothair oilte agus deamhúinte a sholáthróidh Mag Aoidh atá méadaithe agus dírithe ar chúrsaí STEM agus ag oibriú i gcomhpháirtíocht le scoileanna agus le coláiste breisoideachais na cathrach.

Spreagfaidh sé fosta spiorad fiontríochta chun an geilleagar áitiúil a fhás agus a fhorbairt. Cuirfidh sé seo réimse iomlán de dheiseanna úra don óige.

Léirigh an chathair cad is féidir nuair a oibríonn muid le chéile, mar a tharla le linn cheiliúradh Chathair an Chultúir i 2013.

Dar liom, léirigh rath mór Fhleadh Cheoil na hÉireann an tionchar a thig as cathair aontaithe. Tháinig gach duine – ó gach pobal – le chéile le cinntiú go raibh sí ar cheann de na himeachtaí is suntasaí dá raibh i nDoire ariamh agus ina seachtain nach ligfear i ndearmad choíche.

Is cathair í Doire a bhfuil go leor déanta aici le bheith bródúil as, agus is amhlaidh do bhunadh na háite – acu siúd a bhfuil an chumhacht an t-athrú a dhéanamh.

Sin é an fáth go bhfuil mé ag seasamh mar iarrthóir Shinn Féin do cheantar an Fheabhail san olltoghchán atá chugainn.

Tá curadh de dhíth ar an chathair seo, duine a labhróidh le glór láidir do gach pobal agus a oibreoidh le gach páirtí leasmhar chun an todhchaí is fearr is féidir a chinntiú do chách i nDoire.

Is mian liom tabhairt faoin dúshlán sin.

 

 

Gearóid Ó hEára – Ráiteas Misin

 

Creidim go mbeadh an FP do Fheabhal ina chrann taca don chathair seo.

Tá fís agam don toghcheantar seo agus don iarthuaisceart a fheicfidh comhphobal uilechuimsitheach ag obair le chéile ar mhaithe le rathúnas an cheantair.

Chuige sin, tá gá le cur chuige bunaithe ar chaoinfhulaingt, mheas agus chomhúinéireacht na cathrach.

Chun forbairt sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta inmharthantha a dhéanamh i gceart, tá bóithre maithe, gréasán maith iarnróid agus aerphort faoi bhláth de dhíth ar an iarthuaisceart.

Tá ionadaíocht tofa agus tionchar ag gach leibhéal den chinnteoireacht ar an oileán seo ag Doire.

Is é ról an FP an chumhacht pholaitiúil uilig sa chathair a tharraingt le chéile chun chomhchuspóir a chruthú ar mhaithe le leas an phobail ar fad a chónaionn anseo.

Bhí mé mar ionadaí don chathair ar Chomhairle Cathrach Dhoire, ar an Bhord Oideachais agus Leabharlainne, ar an Chomhairle Ealaíon agus mar Uachtarán Chomhairle na Mac Léinn ag Mag Aoidh nuair a cruthaíodh Ollscoil Uladh.

Tchím cruthú deiseanna fostaíochta do dhaoine óga mar phríoracht phráinneach do Dhoire.

Agus mé i mo Mhéara i 2004-05, chuir mé tús le Lá Cuimhneacháin ar íospartaigh na gcoimhlintí uilig ón cheantar seo – imeacht a leanadh ag mórchuid na méaraí i mo dhiaidh.

Beidh an fhís agus an diongbháilteacht chéanna agam agus mé mar fheisire parlaiminte do phobal uilig Dhoire.

McCartney welcomes meeting over Bloody Sunday massacre investigation

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney commenting following the news that the  families of those murdered on Bloody Sunday and legal teams met with the PSNI team leading a new murder investigation into the massacre.

Raymond McCartney said “It was important that this meeting with the relatives, their legal representatives and the PSNI team leading the new investigation into the massacre took place.

“Sinn Féin supported the families’ call that this investigation be properly resourced to ensure the relatives get access to justice.

“This will help engender public confidence in the investigation.

“We will continue to support the Bloody Sunday families in their campaign for truth and justice.

“I want to commend the families for their resolute and dignified approach.

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Martin McGuinness’ full speech to Six-County Cúige AGM

What we achieved in the Stormont House Agreement should not be underestimated. The two years leading up to the negotiation were the worst I have known since taking up the post of deputy First Minister.B8HB1dvIAAEKm9u

We faced a disengaged British Government, an openly hostile Dublin Government and a DUP leadership that was being increasingly driven by the wreckers, inside and outside its own ranks.

Add to that the austerity agenda of the Tory administration, their unrelenting attack on the welfare state and the Executive’s block grant and we faced – just a few weeks ago – the imminent prospect of the institutions collapsing under the weight of this perfect storm of political and economic crisis.

Our opponents – and many within the media – felt sure that Sinn Fein would buckle in the face of this perfect storm.

But we didn’t. Against all the odds and against all the forces reined against us, we stood firm.

We stood firm on the need to protect the most vulnerable.

We stood firm on the rights of victims.

We stood firm on our opposition to austerity and the raiding of the block grant.

We stood firm on the primacy of the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Agreements.

And the force of our arguments won out. We succeeded in forcing the negotiation in the first place and then uniting the Executive parties around the need to challenge the British Government.

We succeeded in doing so and we achieved a deal which provides the protections for the most vulnerable that we consistently demanded when, for months, we were told no more was possible.

We secured a significantly enhanced financial settlement when, for months, we were told not a penny more was on the table.

We secured the future of the Coroners Courts – a key requirement for victims of the State. We secured a new way forward on North South arrangements, which provides the potential to significantly increase cross-border cooperation.

We secured all this – and much more – from a defensive negotiation within a process that was all about hammering Sinn Fein.

Well they didn’t hammer Sinn Fein. We emerged from the negotiation in a stronger position. Our approach, our defence of the most vulnerable and our opposition to austerity – whether it is spawned in London or Dublin – was vindicated.

Of course there are many failings in the Stormont House agreement. The Irish Government shamefully acquiesced to the British on unfulfilled commitments, including Acht na Gaelige and an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

But we expected nothing better from them.

Others may wish to forget their commitments. But for us, all outstanding commitments remain as jobs of work to be done, and that work will continue.

This week I had a positive meeting with British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

In the course of the meeting we expressed our sense that the Stormont House Agreement has created the potential for a fresh start for politics.

Obviously the delivery and implementation of that agreement and previous agreements are crucial to ensuring that fresh start.

Whoever becomes the next British prime minister must also adopt a fresh approach to the North and live up to their responsibilities and duties as co-guarantors of the agreements made over the last 15 years.

Stormont House was the best possible outcome in the circumstances that we faced. But like all agreements, it is the implementation, which will tell the story.

History was made too with the election of my friend and colleague Mitchel McLaughlin as the first Republican Speaker of the Assembly, the first Republican Speaker since the formation of the state.

Mitchell and I have been friends for 40 years. I know his ability, dedication and thoughtfulness of his approach to political life.

Mitchel has a long record in politics going back to the Civil Rights era and he will bring all his experience to his new role.

I also welcome the fact the DUP has now honoured its agreement on the election of the speaker. I hope this will be a new beginning in the relationships between the parties in going forward.

We have made a good start and I want to recognise the positive leadership of Peter Robinson in making and adhering to the agreement.

The coming weeks and months will be crucial. We have already seen some parties begin to indulge in party politicking and we can expect more in the time ahead.

The best thing that we as republicans can do to counteract that is to build our own political strength.

Over the coming period, we have the opportunity to do just that in three crucial elections at Westminster, the Assembly and the Dail.

Those elections come as millions of people around the world prepare to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Sinn Fein will of course play a leading role in many of those events and we have our own programme planned to ensure a fitting tribute is paid to our patriot dead.

But the most fitting tribute we can pay is to realise the Republic envisaged in 1916. We are the only party with the ability and the desire to do that.

It is who we are and it is why we do what we do.

And our goal is within our grasp.

These elections give us the opportunity to take more huge strides towards it, to put our struggle onto a new trajectory where the unity of our country and the establishment of the 1916 Republic becomes inevitable.

It is you, the people in this room, who will make that happen. The referendum in Scotland showed what can happen when committed activists bring dynamism, energy and a heartfelt belief in a better future to the political process. They can inspire a people. They can create a nation.

The decision to extend the vote to 16 year-olds in the referendum injected a fresh impetus into the debate. We strongly believe and advocate that 16 year-olds should be given the opportunity to vote and participate in the political process.

And I have absolutely no doubt that Scotland is now on that inevitable trajectory to freedom.

The challenge to us is to put our own struggle onto the same trajectory.

To that end I have appealed for an alliance of progressive parties in the coming Westminster and Assembly elections to maximize the representation of pro-Agreement parties.

I believe that the SDLP’s rejection of my call is a serious political mistake and represents a lost opportunity.

It demonstrates a lack of strategic vision on the part of the SDLP leadership and is further evidence that they are out of step with the voters and with the grassroots.

I am calling on them once again to seize the opportunity to send out a clear message of support for progressive politics, the Good Friday Agreement and genuine power sharing and partnership government.

In my view the conditions have never been better for the republican ideal to take root in Ireland. Every day more and more people across the island are endorsing our vision of a better future and a new nation founded on genuine fairness and equality.

We have the means to achieve that. We have the opportunity. And we have – in all of you – the people to make it a reality.

Now we have to go out and achieve it

Community campaign for lights at Bradley Pass pays off-Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Greater Shantallow area Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that after a long campaign going back many years  traffic lights are to be installed at Bradleys Pass.100_3339

Cllr Hassan said,


The Glengalliagh Road is a very busy road for both motorists and pedestrians. Over the last number of years there have been a lot of accidents at its junction with Bradley’s Pass.

Calls to have traffic lights installed there have been ongoing for as long as I have been in Derry City Council. The campaign for the lights to be installed has involved all political parties’, community groups, residents and it has been very well covered in both the local print and broadcast media.

So it’s great to see this happening after all those years.

Ends

McLaughlin calls on health minister to save The Cottages

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the health minister to use additional money from the January monitoring round to save the children’s respite facility, The Cottages. MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said;

“Plans to reduce services at The Cottages have caused considerable concern in Derry, particularly among parents of children who use this respite facility.

“I welcome the fact the health minister has now instructed the Western Health and Social Care Trust to halt the proposals until he meets with Trust staff.

“In the January monitoring round, the health department has been allocated an additional £10 to ease the pressure on Trusts and I am calling on the health minister to use this money to save The Cottages.

“Exactly how this money will be spent will be discussed at the health committee but I will be making the case that it should be used to keep this much-needed facility open.” 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Protection of Education budget welcomed-Logue

Protection of Education budget welcomed-Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the £63m allocated to Education Department in the final budget.

Councillor Patricia Logue said,

“Sinn Féin has argued that the Education budget needs to be protected so the announcement that the Department is to gain another £63m vindicates that position.

“This funding coupled with other changes made by the Department since draft Budget will see £80million going back into the schools budget and will ensure there is no reduction in this important area.

“This additional money will go a long way in helping to protect frontline services such as the jobs of teaching and non teaching staff.

“Not only will this money allow the schools budget to be protected but it will also allow funding for ELB youth services and pre school provision to be reinstated.

“I would also like to  recognise the important part the unions, schools, teachers played in helping to secure this funding through contributions to the consultation.

“The education of our children is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow on any generation so it is essential that we ensure to make the funds available to provide this.

“Sinn Féin will continue to fight for adequate funding for education so that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential on an equal basis.”

 

Ends

Logue welcomes £5.4m investment in IT for schools

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said that the newly announced £5.4m capital investment in IT will benefit schools in the years ahead.

Councillor Patricia Logue  stated,

“As technology advances at an alarming pace it is important that teachers are kept apace with the latest gadgets that add value to their ability to educate our children.

“This capital investment of £5.4 million will provide teachers with the latest up to date laptops which will assist in the education of our children.

“The laptops will allow teachers to access the C2K Education Cloud that holds information needed to allow teachers to do a better job in a modern environment.

“I have no doubt that this investment will show improved results in our school system in the months and years ahead.”

Ends

Sinn Féin Continue To Campaign For Full Broadband Provision To Rural Communities

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said that it was essential that the lack of Broadband accessibility to rural communities was highlighted on a regular basis until all rural homes and businesses had access to the essential technology.

Councillor Fleming said,

“Access to good quality broadband in rural areas is now an essential basic service that assists both householders in everyday life and helps rural businesses to grow, develop and prosper.

“While initiatives like the investment of £5 million towards the provision of rural broadband announced by Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill will help address the problem more needs to be done.

“My party colleague Cathal Boylan MLA has met with BT to discuss tackling ‘Not Spots’ at various locations in the north  and to look at the current roll out of work by the telecommunications company.

“Sinn Féin has also written to Minister of Enterprise Trade and Development Arlene Foster for an update on the current scheme of works to improve and extend rural broadband.

“It is important that we continue to scrutinise broadband roll out to ensure that all rural communities get access to the fastest broadband available so rural dwellers can use technology to develop their communities in the same way as urban dwellers.”

 

ENDS

Hassan welcomes news on street light repairs‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that work is to start straight away to repair thousands of broken street lights in Derry .

Its comes following  news that the Department for Regional Development will receive over  £5million for street lighting and roads maintenance as part of January monitoring round.

Councillor Tony Hassan said

“I am glad to learn that work on repairing road and street lights will begin straight away  .A few weeks ago i revealed that there was over 2,500 street/road lights out of order in the Derry City Council area. It will be a massive task to be get  all those repairs carried but this is at least a start.

Ends

McCartney welcomes water dispute agreement

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the agreement reached on the NI water dispute.

Speaking today Raymond McCartney  said: water-supply-



“I welcome the agreement that has been reached on the water dispute between unions and NI Water.

“It will come as a relief I am sure to those who have been affected directly.

“We must now strive to ensure that full service is restored to all water supplies in the quickest possible time frame.”

Ends

Ó hEára welcomes Derry jobs announcement

Sinn Féin spokesperson, Gearóid Ó hEára has welcomed the announcement of 65 jobs across seven Derry companies. 

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

 

Speaking following the announcement, Mr Ó hEára said; 

 

“This is welcome news. The fact that almost all of the firms involved in this announcement are well-established local companies demonstrates the entrepreneurial skills and ambitions of the local business community.

 

 “The fact these jobs are being created across such a diverse range of industries also identifies the wealth and variety of skills available in the local workforce.

 

“I congratulate all seven companies on their ambition and confidence in their local community shown by this investment.

 

“Sinn Féin believes if we are to transform the economic environment in the north west we must become a more resilient and self-reliant economy, while simultaneously creating the environment to attract inward investment. 

“Today’s announcement shows that, that spirit is alive and well within the local business community.” CRÍOCH/END

DoE Minister Durkan fails to meet with new Council over new rates .

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion said there are serious concerns that there could be a disproportionate increase for Derry and Strabane ratepayers if the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and the DOE Minister Mark Durkan don’t resolve issues around setting the rates in the transition period from the old to new council structures.

Councillor McCallion saidDSC_0615 “With the change over to the new council structures in a few months time we are now in a  period of transition. One of the major changes is the formula on how the annual rates bill is worked out.

Council has been trying to get clarity from DFP and the DOE Minister Mark Durkan around the new processes and what safeguards are in place to lessen the financial impact the convergence of the two councils will have on rate payers – both domestic and non-domestic – during this period.   It is particularly frustrating that the DoE minister has thus far failed to engage with council officers despite repeated attempts to arrange meetings.

There is a growing concern that if these issues are not resolved satisfactorily rate payers in both Derry and Strabane could be hit hardest of any area across the north. We are committed  to ensuring this does not happen.”

Ends

 

 

Digital equipment for the Rosemount factory to achieve accreditation’s in STEM subjects.

Sinn Féin councillor for Rosemount and party spokesperson on City of Culture Legacy Mickey Cooper has welcomed progress on the purchase of £20,000 of digital equipment for the Rosemount factory to allow residents of the Outer West area (including the Glen, Rosemount, Hazelbank and Ballymagroarty) to access state of the art digital equipment to build their capacity and achieve accreditation’s in STEM subjects.

He said it was the first milestone in two years of work involving himself, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) ,the Nerve Centre and the local Neighbourhood Renewal boards to establish digital cultural hubs:

He said

“I am delighted that we are now at the stage where the equipment for the Rosemount factory is being purchased on behalf of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).Two years ago, when discussions on legacy began, I identified the need for more digital equipment and training to be delivered in community areas, including neighbourhoods like Rosemount, the Glen, Hazelbank and Ballymagroarty in the Outer West area where no such facilities existed.

 

As a result of extensive work with DCAL, the Nerve Centre and the NR boards over £200,000 has been earmarked to purchase equipment across the NR areas in the North West.  £20,000 of this money has been allocated to the Outerwest area to install an Apple Mac suite of 5 workstations  with Adobe Photoshop software, a video Editing suite with camera equipment and a Music Production studio fully equipped with musical equipment and recording facilities to allow local musicians and bands to record their own material. A further £5,000 will be allocated for the installation of the equipment within the Rosemount factory building.

 

The equipment is scheduled for installation by the spring/summer of 2015. As well as timetabling the use of the hub to allow general, diversionary and recreational use by local residents, I am also working with a range of partners to explore the roll out of accredited IT courses to build capacity and also give residents the opportunity to get back on the educational ladder and increase their employment prospects.

In the meantime, I look forward to residents availing of the equipment and to bring life back to the historic Rosemount factory building which has lain semi-dormant for many years. Once opened in the summer this project, combined with the Creggan Burn Park, Brooke Park and Glen regeneration will be transformational for the Glen and Rosemount areas

 

Ends

Mission Statement – Foyle 2015

I believe that the MP for Foyle should be a champion for this city.

My vision for the Foyle Constituency and the greater North West is of an inclusive community working collectively to enhance the prosperity of this area. This requires an approach based on tolerance and acceptance and a genuinely shared ownership of the city.

Sustainable social and economic development requires good roads, a good rail system and a thriving airport.

This city has elected representation and influence at every level of decision making on this island and beyond. And I believe that the role of the MP should be to bring together all of the political power in the city and harness it into a genuine unity of purpose and action by all who wish to see a better future for everyone who resides here.

I have represented this city on Derry City Council, on the Education and Library board, on the Port and Harbour Board, on the Arts Council and as Student President at Magee during the merger which created The University of Ulster.

I have been keenly involved with the young people of this city for many years both as a member of the Youth Committee of WELB and as a founding member of the Off The Streets Initiative and I see the creation of employment opportunities and hope for young people of this city as an immediate priority.
As Mayor of the city in 2004/05 I chaired a number of influential Committees and initiated the Day of Remembrance for victims of all conflicts from this Region – an event that has been continued by most subsequent Mayors.

I will bring the same inclusive unity of purpose, vision and determination to serving the people of Derry as their MP.

Heavy snow blankets event to honour Derry POW who died in Long Kesh

DESPITE atrocious weather conditions, a large crowd gathered at the Republican Monument on the Lecky Road in Derry City at lunchtime on Tuesday to mark to 40th anniversary of Óglach James Moyne.

Stephanie English, sister of IRA Volunteer Charles English, chaired the commemoration. Stephanie said:

“We are here today to remember with dignity and pride the memory of our comrade who died whilst incarcerated in Long Kesh on 13 January 1975.

“Today’s commemoration is the first of 2015 organised by the local monument committees and Derry Republican Graves Association.

“We see these commemorations as very important to ensure that the memories of our Volunteers are remembered with dignity and pride. This month also marks the anniversary of Fian Gerard Donaghey.”

40th anniversary of Óglach James Moyne 2

Ex-prisoners group Tar Abhaile provided a guard of honour with James Moyne’s portrait.

Martin McGilloway read a  biography of Volunteer James Moyne and Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly read the roll of honour of POWs who died whilst held in British and Irish jails since 1969.

A number of former internees/POWs  laid flowers on behalf of the Bogside and Brandywell monument committee, republican comrades and in memory of all those prisoners whileincarcerated in British and Irish jails.

Gerard McCartney read a poem closely associated with the prison struggle, The Rhythm of Time, by Bobby Sands.

As heavy snow fell, Dannika Breslin brought proceedings to an end with a rendition of Something Inside So Strong.

Racist attacks resume after Christmas lull

Racist attacks resume after Christmas lull

Police have blamed loyalists for much of the racist violence

THE ‘season of goodwill and peace to all’ came to an abrupt halt for 65-year-old Adu Kyeremateng when his home on the Shankill Road came under attack from racist thugs in the first week of January.

Paint was splashed over the front door and windows of the house on Upper Townsend Street some time between 4am and 7am on Monday 4 January.

Now the Ghanaian native says he is too scared to live in the house he moved into last September.

“I feel shocked. I feel threatened and I want to get out” he said.

Unfortunately the Shankill attack was just the first in a series of attacks carried out by loyalist thugs since the New Year.

The following week saw a series of racist incidents carried out in the loyalist Village area of South Belfast with the most serious incident being a petrol bomb attack on the home of a young Chinese woman and her baby in Ebor Street on Tuesday 13 January.

Luckily the device, which the assailant used to break in the front window of the house, failed to explode.

Also in the early hours of Tuesday morning three windows were smashed while the front door of a house in Monarch Parade had graffiti reading “locals only” daubed on it.

Earlier in the week, on Sunday 11 January, in Lower Rockfield Street more graffiti reading “locals only” was daubed on the door of a vacant house believed to have been let to a migrant family.

The latest in this series of racist attacks was directed at two Pakistani brothers living in the loyalist enclave on the Blacks Road area in West Belfast who were targeted with graffiti saying ‘F*** Allah’ painted on the door of their Donegore Gardens home.

Adil and Asim Sadar reported the incident to the PSNI on Saturday 17 January and confirmed the incident is the latest attack on their home. In the past their car windows have been smashed.

Graffiti was also scrawled on a house on Tildarg Avenue, also on the Blacks Road estate.

West Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Matt Garrett said those behind the “despicable and cowardly attack should hang their heads in shame”:

“This attack is in no way reflective of the great people who live along Blacks Road and surrounding communities. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of people from this area are totally disgusted at this attack as I am.”

He added:

“I would appeal to anyone with even the smallest bit information to contact the PSNI.”

UDA accused over Ardoyne attacks

UDA accused over Ardoyne attacks

PSNI on patrol at the Twaddell loyalist camp

“UNIONIST paramilitaries involved in the Twaddell Avenue camp are deliberately stoking-up tensions in the area”, said Sinn Féin Councillor Gerard McCabe.

The Ardoyne councillor was reacting to what he described as “the latest attacks on the homes of nationalists situated close to the Twaddell interface”.

In the latest incidents, which took place on Friday, a gang of loyalists attacked two homes along the Crumlin Road with paint bombs.

A window was broken in one of the homes where a 67-year-old woman lives alone.

According to the pensioner the loyalists kept battering on the window, which is made of reinforced glass until it shattered.

The woman said that this is not the first time her home has been targeted.

In the second attack on a neighbouring house occupied by a couple in their fifties, the attackers bombarded the property with lemonade bottles filled with paint causing damage to the house and the family’s car.

The 56-year-old occupant who didn’t want to be named said his home had been petrol bombed in 2005 and the sitting room was gutted. Other incidents has seen their car damaged with screwdrivers.

He said the assailants “came up the road with gloves on and they came up with a load of lemonade bottles filled with paint. They are intent on raising tensions in this area”.

Reinforcing this point Sinn Féin’s Gerard McCabe added:

“The continuing illegal protest at Twaddell is doing nothing to resolve the issues around parading. All it is doing is ratcheting up tension at an already volatile interface”

Cooper welcomes go ahead for £5.6m regeneration of Brooke Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news  that Derry City Council has appointed Woodvale Construction to deliver the Regeneration of Brooke Park.

Councillor Mickey Cooper  said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

“I am delighted that Derry City Council has appointed contractors to carry out the £5.6 regeneration  of Brooke Park, with work expected to begin within weeks

 

The investment in Brooke Park will include much needed sport facilities and an upgrade to the entire park including the reinstatement of the pond which  will bring this famous green space back to life and be right in the heart of the local community.  Also included are new facilities such as a state of the art play park for children which is badly needed for the area.

 

 

Ends

Action needed over water distruption -McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has urged the regional development minister to take urgent action to resolve the ongoing dispute, which has left 9,000 people without water. water-supply-

The Foyle  MLA said;

“Thousands of people across counties Derry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh have been left without water as a result of the ongoing dispute between trade unions and NI Water.

“My party colleague Declan McAleer met  with regional development minister Danny Kennedy yesterday to discuss this issue and urged him to recognise the urgency of this situation.

“He impressed on the minister the need for this matter to be resolved as soon as possible. And also requested that a special meeting of the regional development committee be held with a specific focus on the disruption to water supply.

Ends

McLaughlin welcomes ministerial sub-group on North-West

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin today welcomed the recent announcement by Martin McGuinness of a ministerial taskforce to focus on redressing economic disparities in the North West. The Foyle MLA was addressing the Assembly.

 

Maeve McLaughlin said:

 

“I welcome this initiative by Martin McGuinness in targeting regional disparities affecting the North West as an area requiring a policy priority position across all departments.

 

“While Derry took centre stage in 2013 as a place to be and a city that can deliver major events it remains a region requiring a focus in terms of skills and job creation.

 

“The city also came together in identifying the main catalyst programmes in the One Plan which are key to regeneration.

 

“But it remains the case that three out of four council areas with the highest levels of unemployment are in the North West.

 

“Our economic misfortune isn’t just a consequence of the current economic recession. Nor is it all the fault of the Executive. 

 

“These economic disparities are the out-workings of decades of discrimination and systemic underinvestment by previous regimes and British direct rule ministers. 

 

“Sinn Féin believes that if we are to break that cycle we must become a more resilient and more self-reliant economy while creating the environment to attract inward investment.

 

“Sinn Féin has challenged Invest NI arguing that it must promote Derry and the Northwest more robustly.

 

“This work is beginning to pay off with Invest NI agreeing to fund the development of Derry’s Unique Selling Point and Integrated Economic Strategy. This will provide a comprehensive tool to market the region to foreign investors.

 

“I also welcome INI commitment to the ministerial taskforce announced by Martin McGuinness.

 

“As well as promoting and marketing our Unique Selling Point with a major focus on Derry’s Digital offering we also need to concentrate on developing our indigenous businesses through creation of a cross-border enterprise zone.” CRÍOCH/END

Don’t delay Irish passport applications –Cllr Colly Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed  to people in Derry getting ready to book summer holidays to ensure that their passports are up to date.COLLY

He warned people local  to act now rather than leave it too late .He said in recent years the party locally  has dealt with  a number of cases on behalf of people whose passports had run out of date close to the departure which subsequently caused distribution to their holiday plans.

Councillor Kelly said

 

“I would appeal to anyone from Derry planning to go away on holidays over the next few months  to check that their passport is valid .Our constituency office  in previous years has   worked on behalf of a number of people in Derry  who  ran into difficulties  after they discovered that their passports  were out of date.

 

We will shortly be coming into the busiest time of the year for passport renewals and it can take several weeks to get passport issues resolved .People may have to end up going to Dublin with documentation to ensure that they get their passport in time to travel .And there may be occasions that people will simply lose out on their holiday as there is no time to process the passport application.

 

Ends

Anderson and Ó hEára to attend Comhaltas award presentation

Sinn Féin’s MEP Martina Anderson will be among the hosts at an awards ceremony on Saturday where the European Citizen’s Prize will be presented to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Ms Anderson said; IMG_0649

“I was proud to have nominated Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for the prestigious European Citizen’s Prize for its commitment to reconciliation.

“I am also deeply honoured to be co-hosting this Saturday’s award ceremony in Cashel alongside my fellow Sinn Féin MEPs as well as Comhaltas director general, Labhrás Ó Murchú, and Francis Jacobs from the European Parliament’s information office in Ireland.

“Comhaltas is a fantastic organisation and thoroughly deserves this award for its promotion of the Irish traditional music throughout the world.

“This particular accolade recognises groups who have particularly distinguished themselves in strengthening integration, openness to others and the development of mutual understanding.

“Comhaltas certainly meets those requirements, particularly during the historic Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry in 2013 which brought all communities in the city together.”

Gearóid Ó hEára, co-ordinator of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013, said; 

“I am looking forward to attending the presentation ceremony on Cashel to see Comhaltas receive the European Citizen’s Award.

“I congratulate my colleague Martina Anderson for nominating Comhaltas for this award and for her ongoing support and encouragement of the organisation.

“Everyone who attended Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry in 2013 will know the fantastic work Comhaltas does and I will continue to work with Comhaltas to bring the Fleadh back to the city.” Ends/Críoch

Start date for transformation of Brandywell welcomed-McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that the regeneration of the Brandywell site as part of the Foyle Valley Gateway will begin on May 28th.M4034S-4208

Mr McCartney said,

“The news that the demolition of the Glentoran Stand on May 28th will mark the beginning of the transformation of the Brandywell area is to be welcomed.

“Not only will Derry City FC get a deserved new stadium but we it will see the Showgrounds and Daisy Field sites undergo a massive redevelopment that will benefit the entire community.

“The money from Derry City Council coupled by the money committed to the Foyle Valley Gateway from DCAL and OFM/dFM will ensure that this project can now be fulfilled over the months and years ahead.

“This project will have a massive impact in terms of promoting social inclusion, tackling health and social inequalities, building sporting excellence and maximising participation.

“I look forward to seeing this transformation of the Brandywell area and watching Derry City in a new modern stadium.”

McLaughlin meets DEL Minister on Magee

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin met with the DEL Minister Stephen Farry today to discuss the future of Magee University.

 

The Foyle MLA said:MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

 

“Folowing my meeting with the DEL minister today I am delighted to be able to confirm the £11m investment in the Teaching Block at Magee will go ahead in the June Monitoring Round.

 

“I also take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of new Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon. I look forward to hearing how he intends advancing the Magee expansion plans.

 

“I note the additional allocation in the 2015/’16 budget to DEL and hope the minister uses this to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment in relation to the Magee expansion. 

 

“A key commitment is to develop the ‘One Plan’ for the regeneration of Derry. Magee expansion is a critical catalyst project within that plan.

 

“So let’s clear up any confusion! There is a commitment to the One Plan – this is the same commitment we applied to City of Culture, Foyle Valley Gateway, Brandywell and early intervention city status.

 

“With the One Plan there are clear targets for Magee. The final business case is now with the DEL Minister. It makes a very strong policy case for the expansion in terms of the PFG, economic strategy, regional development strategy and DEL skills strategy.

 

“Importantly the case details a GVA target of £40m across the north and £28m in Derry.

 

“It is critical the DEL Minister backs this business case and agrees the expansion of Magee as a departmental priority.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Green light for Green Gym at Leafair-Cllr Tony Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that the go ahead has been given by Derry City Council to appoint a contractor for a new Green outdoor gym at Leafair.

Councillor Hassan said “It good news that this outdoor Green Gym has been given the go ahead.

The new facility at Leafair has been chosen as a pilot project.

It will go some way to help improve the health and fitness of its users.

And add to other facilities already there such as the 3G pitch.

 

Ends

Shots fired in incident at bar in Creggan area of Derry

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell commenting after it’s reported a number of masked men entered a bar at Central Drive Creggan around 6pm tonight and fired shots.3895995549

Councillor Campbell said

“We are very lucky no one was injured in this incident”

“Those responsible represent no one but themselves.

“They have no place in our community; guns have no place in our community. And they need to stop these actions immediately.

Ends

Hazard of surface water/flooding in Ballyarnett area-Duffy

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said DSC_0627

I was contacted by a number of motorists this afternoon concerned about flooding and surface water on  several roads in the Ballyarnett area, particularly in and around the Racecourse and  Alder Roads.

They have asked me to put out an appeal in the local media to alert drivers of these hazards, to slow down and take care whilst travelling through the area.

With more bad weather forecast in the next few days the likes of surface water can be very dangerous on a dark country road.

Ends

Call for retired officers to cooperate with Ombudsman inquiries welcome – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire’s call for retired police officers to be compelled to cooperate with investigations being carried out by his office.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

He said

“I welcome and endorse the opinion of the Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire that retired police officers should be compelled to cooperate with his investigations.

“There can be no doubt that the refusal of retired police officers to cooperate in investigations is a major obstacle to the resolution of legacy cases and achieving justice for families.

“Refusal to cooperate by retired officers only adds to the belief of many families that the British state colluded in the deaths of their loved ones.

“Retired officers should cooperate with these investigations and if they refuse to do so they should be compelled to give evidence and produce all relevant documentation in their possession pertinent to the investigation.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Action cancer bus visits Creggan -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has said it’s important that people take up the opportunity of a free health check when the Action Cancer big bus comes to your local area.

He was speaking after attending the Action Cancer big bus on a visit to Creggan Cancer bus creggan 1

Colly Kelly said “I came along here today to get the free health check .When I heard the bus was coming to Creggan I  made the appointment .This morning some of the things I had was the  likes of my cholesterol and blood pressure taken along with a health and lifestyle awareness programme”

The BIG BUS enables Action Cancer to provide a more effective & accessible regional service across the north . Each day the bus travels to different locations to provide it’s services to community groups and work places. On a typical BIG BUS service day there are 3 different services available. Each service runs simultaneously from 10am to 3pm.

Councillor Kelly went on to say “I would urge people to go and use its services when it’s in their area. It is great to see such a facility being made available to people right in the heart of our communities. Sometimes people are put off going to the hospital or even their own doctor for a check-up. If this service helps sign post anyone to go to their doctor or to go and get an appointment in the hospital then it is worth it”

 

 

MOT Health Check’s

 

Health checks are offered to both males and females aged 16+ years.  These appointments last 20 minutes with 20 appointments per day where each person can select from a menu of options available the particular services of interest to them including lung function, blood pressure,  cholesterol, facial skin scanner analysis, body composition analysis, general health, lifestyle & cancer awareness. 

Campbell welcomes launch of consultation on Irish Language Act

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín’s announcement that a consultation on a draft Irish Language Act will be launched next month.

He said;

“I welcome the fact that Carál Ní Chuilín has now announced a consultation on a draft Acht na Gaeilge.

“An Irish language act is a key outstanding commitment of the St Andrew’s Agreement.

“Irish speakers will welcome the long-awaited progress on this important issue.

“The rights of Irish speakers need to be afforded official protection in legislation.

“This consultation will also show those who have been opposed to Acht na Gaeilge in the past that the Irish language belongs to all our people and threatens no one.

“It will give everyone the opportunity to see just what an Irish language act contains and debunk any myths which have surrounded over recent times.

“Gaelic speakers in  Scotland, Wales and in the rest of this island are already afforded the protection of language acts.

“We are looking for the same protection and rights for Irish speakers in the North of Ireland.

“I look forward to the consultation process and encourage everyone with an interest in the Irish language to have their say.” 

Major step forward in plans for new play park/ pitch Ballymagroarty-McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the Letter of Offer received by Derry City Council for the construction of a new play park and pitch and for the refurbishment of the Ballymagroarty Community Centre.

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “This Letter of Offer will now enable Derry City Council to make the necessary preparations for the work to commence as quickly as possible and I will be working with Council Officers to ensure there are no delays to the completion of the project.

 

I would take this opportunity to thank the Outer West Partnership Board for its ongoing efforts towards identifying projects such as this within the area and to the S.I.F. Derry City Steering Group for agreeing to prioritise the application.

 

The Social Investment Fund is an initiative supported by Martin McGuinness in his role as Deputy First Minister to bring much needed resources to areas of greatest need.   The new play park and pitch has been long awaited by the Ballymagroarty community and I look forward to this development being delivered in the very near future.”

Call for retired officers to cooperate with Ombudsman inquiries welcome – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire’s call for retired police officers to be compelled to cooperate with investigations being carried out by his office.raymond mccartney

He said

“I welcome and endorse the opinion of the Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire that retired police officers should be compelled to cooperate with his investigations.

“There can be no doubt that the refusal of retired police officers to cooperate in investigations is a major obstacle to the resolution of legacy cases and achieving justice for families.

“Refusal to cooperate by retired officers only adds to the belief of many families that the British state colluded in the deaths of their loved ones.

“Retired officers should cooperate with these investigations and if they refuse to do so they should be compelled to give evidence and produce all relevant documentation in their possession pertinent to the investigation.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

 

Root and branch review of Health and Social Care system needed – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said the health minister needs to initiate a root and branch review of the Health and Social Care system. 

Speaking during a debate on the budget in the Assembly, the Foyle MLA said; MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

“Health has been protected with an additional £200m for 2015/’16 and in the £80m in the monitoring rounds.  

“The elephant in the room is whether the current spend is going in the right directions to ensure effective health provision and maximum health outcomes. 

“On two separate occasions the Finance Minister referred to concerns around the management of the current health budget.  

“It is poor leadership when we are told the minister wants to protect frontline services but then admits there is no definition of frontline. How will the minister protect these services if he does not know what they are?

“Is it any wonder that our Emergency Departments are in crisis when we have not invested in alternative models of preventative care.

“The minister has been deafening in his silence in recent days. He needs to step up to the plate. 

“A robust root and branch review of the Health and Social care system is needed. There is over administration, duplication of commissioning and a lack of transparency and accountability in decision making.

“Health cannot stagger from crisis to crisis. The Minister has the opportunity to provide leadership and take tough decisions; he needs to do just that.”

Anderson calls for European Parliament cyber bullying study

 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for a European Parliament study into cyber bullying.

Ms Anderson said;

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The spread of modern technology has opened up the huge opportunities and possibilities of the internet to millions of young people.

“While this is an excellent educational and social resource, it can create real problems.

“Cyber bulling and online abuse is a growing problem across Europe, particularly for young people.

“It can have a devastating impact on the lives of young people and is just as cruel and real as more traditional forms of bullying.

“Often it happens behind closed doors and as a result is largely invisible but it can destroy people’s lives.

“We need to raise awareness of cyber bullying so that parents and guardians can be aware of the signs and talk to young people about their online activity.

“Social media companies and website provider also have a responsibility to ensure that users of their sites, particularly young people, are protected online.

“I am calling on the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament to initiate a study into cyber bullying to shed more light on what can often be a hidden problem.”

 

 

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Elect Gearóid Ó hEára


There is no doubt that Derry is a city of huge potential. We are known around the world and have produced internationally recognised figures in the arts, science, business and sport. The people of Derry are one of the greatest assets the city has; they are resilient, determined and optimistic and have never stopped hoping.

As a city, we have faced many challenges over the years. Now, however, we are facing the future with a new sense of possibility, a feeling that this is a time of real change and opportunities for Derry and the wider north west region. This did not happen by accident. It took a great deal of hard work over a number of years. Sinn Féin is at the heart of that, driving the process of change forward.

Despite the huge progress that has been made in recent years, Derry is still facing inequalities and challenges. Unemployment is still too high, our infrastructure is not up to standard and too many families are waiting struggling to get by. Derry is still struggling to realise its true potential.

We have had so many visions, proposals and plans; now it is time for action. None of these problems are insurmountable. With a clear political will and a commitment from all sections of civic society to work together we can overcome these difficulties.

More progress is needed on the expansion of the city’s university at Magee. We need to see the cap on student numbers lifted so that Derry can truly become a university city. An expanded Magee, with a focus on STEM courses and working in partnership with schools and the city’s further education college will provide a skilled and well educated workforce. It will also help foster a spirit of entrepreneurship to grow and develop the local economy. This will open up a whole range go fresh opportunities for our young people.

Derry has demonstrated what can be achieved when we all work together, particularly during the City of Culture celebrations in 2013. For me, the huge success of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann showed the impact a united city can have. Everyone in the city – from all communities – got together to ensure that it was one of the most remarkable events in the history of Derry and a week we will never forget.

This city has so much to be proud of, particularly its people, and its the people of Derry who have the power to make the change. That is why I am standing as the Sinn Féin candidate for Foyle in the upcoming general election. Foyle needs a champion who will speak with a strong voice for all communities and work with all interested parties to secure the best future possible for everyone in Derry.

I want to be that champion.

McCartney welcomes appointment of first-ever republican Speaker

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the appointment of Mitchel McLaughlin as the first-ever Nationalist/Republican Speaker of the Assembly.

The Foyle MLA:10906473_807095382679861_4247632866099087706_n

 “I would like to congratulate Mitchel McLaughlin on his election as Speaker of the Assembly.

 “Mitchel McLaughlin has a long record in politics going back to the Civil Rights era and I am sure he will bring all his experience to his new role.

 “This is an historic day in that it’s the first time that a Nationalist or Republican has held the role since the formation of the state.

 “As Principal Deputy Speaker Mitchel secured the trust of the Assembly in debates and in his other duties by the fair and even-handed manner in which he carried out his duties.

 “I also welcome the fact the DUP has now honoured its agreement on the election of the speaker. I hope this will be a new beginning in the relationships between the parties in going forward.

“It was disappointing however, that the SDLP refused to support his nomination. 

 “It is important the Assembly delivers for the electorate and I hope today’s vote signals that the political will is now there to implement remaining commitments in the agreed Programme for Government.” 

Minister needs to engage over future plans for the Cottages facility

chair of the Assembly’s Health committee Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

“The Minister needs to engage directly with the Western Trust, families and those working in the Cottages facility here in Derry ,many of whom  who fear for their futures.

He must reflect on the views of the families about any decisions around the Cottages which will impact on the must vulnerable in our community. There is clearly a need for such a facility in Derry and many of the families have told me they are fearful their child may end up having to take a seventy mile round trip to avail of any new facility.

Back in December I challenged the health minister, Jim Wells, in the Assembly over the plans to reduce services at ‘The Cottages.’

The proposals have caused a great deal of concern in the city, particularly among parents of children who use this valuable and much-needed facility.

I am renewing my call on the Minister to halt  any plans that may be under consideration to reduce or relocate the services at ‘The Cottages.’

Cooper welcomes start of work at Creggan Burn

Welcoming the start of work on the Creggan Burn project Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said

“We are very glad to see this project started. It has come about due to a culmination of positive work over a  long period of time which has involved  consultation with residents, Derry City Council , local community and elected representatives .

This  work will transform the Lowrys Lane,By-wash/upper Glen Road area and will complement the pending project at the lower end of Glen Road and Glenview which will see a new community centre, housing and landscaping in close proximity to Creggan Burn project.

Aim to find long solution at busy Derry road junction-Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed news that DRD Roads Service is to carry out a traffic flow survey at the junction of Beechwood Avenue and Laburnum Terrace.

And that a new yellow box junction may be introduced to free up traffic flow particularly at peak times of the day.

He said

“Myself and Councillor Patricia Logue have been working on this issue for a number of years .The problems with the traffic congestion at the junctions of Beechwood Avenue and Marlborough /Laburnum Terrace are very well known .

As far as back as 2011 a number of ways of trying to deal with the traffic at this junction including the feasibility of one way system or restrict parking along this stretch of road. Both these options were explored at the time by the Road Service but they found neither option was found satisfactory.

There was fear that increased traffic on Marlborough Street and Creggan Road ,which in turn would have had an adverse effect on the Air Quality Monitoring Area at Creggan cross roads with the exhaust emissions. Car exhausts contain a range of toxic substances that can have a serious impact on health.

I welcome the news that DRD Road service is to assess traffic flows through the area at peak times to see if a yellow box junction can be introduced.

Ends

Call for domestic abuse law to be extended – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue  has stated that a new law applying in England and Wales with regards to controlling and coercive behaviour in abusive relationships should be examined and extended to the North of Ireland.



Councillor Logue  said:



“There is very much a hidden dimension to the ways in which abuse occurs in domestic relationships. The fact is one partner may excerpt controlling or coercive behaviour over the other which can have a hugely detrimental impact on the victim.



“Controlling movement, friendships, associations, work commitments or even right down to what time a person can eat or use the toilet is unfortunately for some a terrible reality.



“The new law in England and Wales can strengthen laws on domestic abuse and should be examined and extended to the North in order to make our legislation more robust when dealing with this everyday issue.



“I will be speaking to my colleagues on the Justice committee and my party will be raising this with the Justice Minister to see what provisions can be made in the future for this.”

Ó hEára hails Derry schools at Young Scientist Exhibition‏

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has congratulated pupils from Derry schools who took part in the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in Dublin. 
Mr Ó hEára said; gerry o'hara
“The Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition held in the RDS in Dublin over recent days is a hugely respected competition which attracted students from across Ireland. 
“It provides our young people with an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience and to exchange ideas with their peers. 
“Once again this year several Derry schools qualified for the prestigious event in Dublin and I congratulate them on their remarkable achievement. 
“Pupils from Oakgrove Integrated College, St Mary’s College and St Columb’s College represented the city and did us all proud with their exhibits and projects. 
“They are a credit to their schools, their families and the entire city. 
“It once again showcases the huge wealth of talent we have in this city, particularly in the all-important STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths. 
“These young people will go on to be experts in their fields in the years ahead and will continue to be great ambassadors for the city.” Ends/Críoch

“There is no such thing as gay blood, it’s just blood.” – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on new Health Minister Jim Wells to abandon legal challenges against the donation of blood by gay men.MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

This follows yet another court ruling which is again critical of the former Health Minister Edwin Poots who has continued to impose such a ban despite it being lifted in Britain.

The Foyle MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said:

“This ruling is yet more proof of the irrational and discriminatory nature of the ban on gay men giving blood.

“It is ever more evident given this further ruling against Edwin Poots and by extension the department of health that this decision was wrong.

“Over the past number of years there have been several court rulings, which have been critical of the former health minister’s stance on this issue.

“The new minister, Jim Wells should now scrap this ban and stop wasting vital public money appealing these court decisions.

“There is no such thing as gay blood, it’s just blood.

“It seems that for elements of political unionism that their apparent allegiance to all things British stops short of adopting progressive equality legislation whether it be the donation of blood, marriage equality or adoption rights.”

McCartney welcomes Bloody Sunday investigation restart

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed news that an adequately resourced murder investigation into the Bloody Sunday massacre will restart next week. raymond mccartney

The Foyle MLA said; 

“I welcome the fact the Bloody Sunday murder probe will restart on Monday, January 12. The new investigation will be staffed by 12 detectives. 

“We called on the PSNI to honour the commitments given to the Bloody Sunday families in 2012 that a full and proper investigation would be carried out. 

“Sinn Féin supported the families’ call that this investigation be properly resourced to ensure the relatives get access to justice. 

“This will help engender public confidence in the investigation. 

“We will continue to support the Bloody Sunday families in their campaign for truth and justice.” 

Anderson sends condolences to victims of Paris shootings

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has expressed her condolences to the victims of the gun attack at the office of the Paris satirical newspaper, Charlie Hedbo. MartinaAndersonMEP

Ms Anderson said; 

“Like millions of others across the world I was shocked and appalled by the scenes from the attack on the Charlie Hedbo office in Paris. 

“The scale of the attack and loss of life has shocked everyone and my sympathies go out to the relatives and friends of all those who were killed. 

“The impact of the attack is still unfolding today with reports of further shootings. 

“This is clearly an attack on democracy and the freedom of the press and must be condemned. 

“Freedom of expression and thoughts are indestructible rights and we will continue to promote these rights in the European Parliament. 

“I would hope in the days ahead there will be a calm and measured response to this tragedy which does not inflame tensions or lead to further violence.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

National tragedy should not be used for comedy –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said An Gorta Mór should not be used as a vehicle for comedy.

Speaking after it was announced that Channel 4 have commissioned a comedy series based on the Irish Famine, the Creggan councillor said;

“An Gorta Mór was one of the greatest tragedies experienced in Ireland and its impact can be felt to the present day.

“This decision to commission a so-called comedy series based around the famine has sparked anger in Ireland and among Irish communities across the world. I have spoken to many people in our city since this was announced and they are in total disbelief that anyone would contemplate going ahead with this project.

“It has generated severe criticism on social media and petitions have been launched calling on the authorities at Channel 4 to reconsider.

“More than one million people died during the period of the famine and many more were forced to leave Ireland in one of the largest mass emigration movements ever seen.

“Such a national tragedy is hardly an appropriate vehicle for comedy, regardless of where or when it happened.”

 

Ends/Críoch

Ministerial intervention needed to address hospital problems – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said health minister Jim Wells needs to intervene to address problems in hospitals across the North. 

Speaking after all five health trusts cancelled some non-elective surgeries, the chair of the Assembly’s health committee; 

“What we are currently seeing in emergency departments in hospitals across the North is only the shop window of the problems in the system. 

“Everyone is aware that at certain times the system experiences increased pressure and plans need to be put in place to deal with that. 

“Investment in community and primary care is key to addressing the problems in emergency departments. 

“Properly resourced alternatives to accident and emergency departments must be put in place to ease the pressures and ensure all patients get the care they deserve. 

“This is not just our view; the College of Emergency Medicine have also called for this. 

“Health minister Jim Wells needs to intervene as a matter of urgency to address the problems in the system so that we do not see a repeat of what is happening at present.”

Adams condemns Paris attack

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has condemned the attack on the offices of a magazine in Paris, which has resulted in the murder of 12 people.Gerry_A_1

Gerry Adams said:

“The attack on the Charlie Hedbo office in Paris and the murder of 12 people is to be condemned outright.

“No grievance, no matter how strongly felt, can justify such action and no cause is served by it.

“My thoughts are with those murdered or injured and their families at this sad time.”

McLaughlin welcomes all-Ireland health meeting

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the decision to hold a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on health and children. MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

Ms McLaughlin, the chair of the Assembly’s health committee said; 

“The health committee has agreed to hold a meeting with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children to discuss a range of important issues. 

“We felt it was important to raise key health issues on an all-Ireland basis and I welcome the fact the committee has now agreed to meet with our counterparts in Dublin. 

“Among the issues that will be discussed at the meeting will be children’s heart surgery, the radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin, deep brain stimulation treatment, air ambulance provision and an addiction strategy. 

“Their issues are not confined to any jurisdiction so it is important that they are addressed on an all-Ireland basis. 

“The meeting will be held on February 10 and I look forward to working with members of both committees to address these important issues.” 

Anderson calls on MEPs to back suspension of Israel trade agreement

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has written to MEPs asking them to sign a letter calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. 

Councillor Bridget Meehan and MEP Martina Anderson

Councillor Bridget Meehan and MEP Martina Anderson

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

“The international community, including the European Union, have a key role to play in supporting the people of Palestine. 

“One practical step towards this would be the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which allows largely unrestricted trade between Europe and Israel. 

“It also allows Israel to take part in more EU programs and projects than almost any other non-European country. 

“I have asked MEPs to sign up to a letter calling on the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, to suspend the agreement. 

“Suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement would be a strong indication of support for the Palestinian people and for Israel to be held to account for its violations of international law.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Hassan condemns Shantallow attack

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has condemned an incident in Shantallow  when a car was damaged outside a house in Drumleck Drive. Windows in the car were smashed and a flammable liquid thrown inside it.

The family have been targeted on a number of occasions in recent years.

Councillor Hassan said

“This attack was wrong and shouldn’t have happened.

The vast majority of the people of the Shantallow area want to move our community forward without this type of incident happening.

This family should be allowed to live in peace and quiet.

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Seek help for New Year debt –Logue

Praising those working at the coalface at Dove House, Colr. Logue said:

January is a particularly difficult time of year for many families and single people in Derry due to financial pressures in the weeks and months after Christmas and the New Year. More and more people in Derry are finding themselves in debt that they have no realistic chance of repaying, due to the current economic downtown, and therefore finding it hard to pay basic household bills.

I would also advise anyone who finds themselves in such situations to seek help with debt advisers straight away no matter how big or small their problem is, and to contact their local Credit Union.

Unlike the impersonal nature of many banking institutions the Credit Union has always been community based and welcoming of all irrespective of financial situation. For this reason communities embraced the Credit Unions as the ‘People’s Bank’. Credit Unions are now part of the social fabric of most communities.

It is important that people who are overwhelmed by debt are given an opportunity to find a way out of their misery and get their lives back on track.

I am calling on those who are burdened by debt to get advice immediately so that help can be applied on getting them into a situation where they are able to manage the problem without causing themselves severe economic hardship.

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Sinn Féin comment on situation at First Source

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said the protection of workers’ rights and the long term sustainability of employment at First Source in Derry is key .DIGITAL CAMERA

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “There are a number of issues in relation to the current situation in First Source which the party is actively pursuing.

We have spoken with a number of employees and will meet with Trade Union representatives and senior management at First Source.

Our focus will be the protection of workers’ rights and the long term sustainability of employment at First Source in Derry.

Cooper welcomes nearly £300,000 investment for Strand Road facelift

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that the Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey  has announced an investment of £292,307 for a public realm scheme for a section of  the Strand Road in Derry.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

The project will see the installation of new and improved street and feature lighting high quality granite paving,  new granite benches, bins and planters and the resurfacing of the roadway .

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

 It’s great to see such a substantial investment along this section of the Lower Strand Road .It will hopefully complement the work that has taken place in the Guildhall Square and along Queens Quay over recent years . And increase the footfall of people going through the area and give a boost to the many businesses there.

Hassan to seek clarity on Derry homeless figures

Speaking ahead of the Regional Services meeting at Derry City  Council meeting with the Housing Executive  on Tuesday  Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson  Councillor  Tony Hassan has renewed his call on the Housing Executive  and the  Department of Social Development to publicly state the number of people on the waiting list for social homes  in the Derry City Council area. 

Councillor Hassan said???????????????????????????????

“Current figures are showing that per head of the population the west bank of the city has the highest numbers of people on the  waiting list for social homes  with over 3,400 people looking for a home of their own, and that number is growing each day.

It is totally unacceptable that the number of new builds of social housing in this city is not enough to stop the extent of the housing crisis here.Over 400 people are in temporary accommodation, some in private accommodation and others living in overcrowded conditions.

Everyone who works with the homeless, including the statutory housing agencies, knows that the number of new builds that are planned for the city is not enough to tackle the overgrowing problem. 

 

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Don’t ignore debt problems – Ó hEára

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has encouraged anyone experiencing financial difficulties to seek independent expert help as soon as possible. gerry o'hara
The Sinn Féin candidate in the upcoming Westminster election said; 
“January can be very stressful time for many people who are experiencing financial difficulties. 
“At times the pressure can seem very great and can extend to all aspects of a person’s life.” 
“But no matter how great the pressure, there is always help available. 
“I would encourage anyone struggling with debt or other financial pressures to seek help before the problems get too immense. 
“There area a range of services available at community level providing free expert independent financial advice to those in need.
“Locally, Dove House and the Citizens Advice Bureau are among the groups which offer an excellent range of advice services for those dealing with debt at a number of venues across the city. 
“Financial worries will not go away on their own and I would appeal to anyone in this situation not to ignore the problems but to avail of these services and seek help as soon as possible in order to find a solution.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson criticises Israel over withholding taxes

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised Israel’s decision to withhold taxes from the Palestinian Authority after it applied to join the International Criminal Court.

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

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

“Following the decision of the Palestinian Authority to apply to join the International Criminal Court, Israel has now decided to withhold taxes from the Authority, which it collects on its behalf.

“This is a counterproductive move by Israel and will only serve to increase tensions in the region.

“The Palestinian Authority, as the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, has the right to join the International Criminal Court.

“Israel fears what the International Criminal Court will uncover about its actions during last year’s onslaught in Gaza and that’s what has prompted this retrograde step.

“This is yet another example of the Israelis attacking the Palestinian Authority for pursuing a political route to address the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

“This money raised through taxes belongs to the Palestinian people and should be handed over immediately.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

PSNI must honour commitments given over Bloody Sunday murder investigation –McCartney

The Vice chairperson of the Justice Committee Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

 

“Irrespective of which department the Bloody Sunday murder investigation team  is placed, there is a responsibility on the PSNI to honour the commitments made to the families in the City Hotel in December 2012.

 

These commitments were made by the then Deputy Chief Constable (DCC)Judith Gillespie and the present DCC Drew Harris.

 

 

I share in the concerns raised by the families that any scaling down of those commitments will result in confidence in the investigation being undermined.

 

Sinn Féin has outlined those concerns at both the Policing Board and the Justice Committee.

 

We will continue to work with the families and their legal representatives to ensure that these commitments are honoured and that the murder investigation is carried forward in a manner that is demanded of what took place on Bloody Sunday.

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January outcome for the Cottages facility-Health Chair McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the news that the consultation on the future of the Cottages facility in the Waterside was extended over the Christmas period and those users of the facility and staff will know the outcome of that in early January.
 
The chair of the Assemblys Health  committee said
 
“In recent weeks since I first highlighted  concerns over the plans to reduce services at ‘The Cottage I have raised it directly with the Minister Jim Wells, in the Assembly. And I have also met with officials from the Western Trust who told me these proposals would only achieve savings of up to £40,000, yet the value of this service far excels that figure.
 
The proposals have caused a great deal of concern in the city, particularly among parents of children who use this valuable and much-needed facility.
I called on the minister to halt the plans to reduce the service at ‘The Cottages.
 
I have now received correspondence from the Western Trust to say the staff consultation was extended right up until Christmas Eve and that they will consider any responses received over the next week or so.
 
They have also told me that they hope to advise staff and families of the way forward in and around the 2nd week in January 2015 .
 
We need to ensure that any of these proposals coming forward are fully impact assessed – I do not believe that this proposal was subject to assessment as to make sure those who are most vulnerable are not negatively impacted on.
We saw a similar approach in the Belfast Trust over the Christmas period when they were forced to reverse a decision to remove home care from hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people.

New Year appeal –“Family waited 6 years for bungalow provision in Derry” –Hassan

In a New Year appeal Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has called on the Department of Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey to allow Housing Associations to build more Bungalow type accommodation in all new builds of social Housing.

His call comes after a family was allocated a new bungalow at Racecourse Drive after waiting six years for accommodation that meet the family’s needs.

 Councillor Tony Hassan said,

“I am pleased that building work on three sites in the city will provide another  300 new social homes  in the Creggan and Skeoge areas of the city ,homes that are much needed for the over 2000 people in housing stress and homeless in this city.

Whilst I welcome the building of these social homes I have very serious concerns about the provision for bungalow type accommodation.

There is a need for bungalow type accommodation for the older members of our community and for people with disabilities. If you need  bungalow type accommodation on health grounds or if you are  disabled you have to be referred by an Occupational Therapist to the Housing Executive.

In the Derry City Council area there are a number of family’s waiting for bungalow type accommodation. Let’s hope they don’t have to wait for years which has been the case in some instances.

If we are to move forward and have a better mix of our housing stock it’s clear that there needs to be a higher percentage of bungalow type accommodation and that this should be a priority for the DSD Minister.

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Frustration over Hollymount lighting problems –Jackson

Waterside Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

 

 

I have been contacted by a number of residents in Hollymount regarding the recent street lighting upgrade in the area.

 

There are serious concerns about the removal of the two streetlights that lit up each of the back squares in Hollymount. Making residents feel vulnerable in their own homes and making it almost impossible for them to get their bin to the collection point at night.

 

I have contacted Transport NI (formally DRD Roads Service) a number of times on this issue, highlighting the anger felt by residents that the lights had been removed without consultation. After numerous phone calls, letters and a site visit I have received a response from Transport NI.

 

Transport NI states that these lights were removed according to current policy, and confirming that no plans are in place to replace them in the near future.

 

I share residents  frustration on this issue and can assure them I will continue to campaign to get these lights reinstated. I have written to the DRD minister requesting him to review the current policy and I will keep them updated on any developments.    

 

In the meantime if any resident   feels particularly vulnerable as a result of these lights being removed, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss any measures that can be put in place to help you feel more secure in your home.

 

2015 offers choice between failed politics of past or genuine republican alternative – Adams

In a New Year message for 2015, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said:Gerry_A_1

“The Fine Gael/Labour coalition has lost its mandate and now clings to power, imposing policies that are alienating huge numbers of citizens, as it stumbles from one political crisis to another.

“May’s Local and European election results were a clear message that the government needed to change political direction but they refused to listen.

“The over-riding theme of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition has been a deeply unfair economic policy.

“It has imposed destructive austerity measures on struggling families and vulnerable citizens. Its budgets have been among the most regressive in the state’s history.

“The imposition of domestic water charges in the face of huge public opposition is the final straw for many.

“In the year ahead, Sinn Féin will continue to fight the water charges until they are scrapped.

“As we head into 2015, Irish society faces a choice between the failed politics of the conservative parties who have ruled the 26-County State since the 1920s – or a genuine republican alternative that offers the prospect of radical political change.

“In the North, the most vulnerable have been protected against Tory welfare and budget cuts. Progress has also been made with regard to the issues of flags, the past and parading.

“But much more needs to be done. The British and Irish Governments have failed to deliver on commitments such as a Bill of Rights, Acht na Gaeilge, and an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane and other matters.

“However, the Stormont House Agreement demonstrates that with the five main parties acting together, significant progress can be made to safeguard the most vulnerable and rebuild the reputation of the political institutions.

“As we look forward to a new year Sinn Féin will continue to work towards a United Ireland and a new republic which cherishes all identities and puts the interests of citizens first.

“For now, I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

”Bliain úr faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.”

Renewed appeal over Bogside Youth club burglary -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has made an renewed plea for anyone who has information about a break-in at the Youth First project in Bogside on Christmas Eve to bring it forward


She said
“The break-in at the club on Christmas Eve was a blow to both staff who work there and users of the facility. It’s terrible that people would target a facility in an area, like the Bogside, which has so few.

Because it took place over the holidays and many people may not even know it has even happened I am making a renewed appeal for the return of the stolen items which included a laptop, a number of Apple Macs and games consoles.

I would call on anyone who knows where these goods are to bring the information forward so that they can be returned to the youth club immediately. The equipment allows the youth club to provide an invaluable service to the young people of the area and should be returned immediately,”

McLaughlin urges “New Year’s resolution” register for organ donation

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has encouraged people to register to become organ donor as a New Year’s resolution.

The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said;  Donor_Card_1115586c

“It’s a good time of the year  to remind people  of the need  to sign up and register to become organ donors.

 

“Each year too many people die on organ transplant waiting lists simply because there are not enough donors.

 

“While the campaign to encourage people to become donors has increased in recent times, more than 80 per cent of people remain unregistered.

 

“And on occasion those who have registered have not talked their decision over with their families and  as a result, their loved ones are unaware of their decision.

 

“Organs can only be harvested with the permission of a person’s relatives. So it is vitally important that family members are aware of someone’s decision to become an organ donor.

 

“So as well as signing up to become an organ donor I would encourage people to have a discussion about organ donation with their loved ones.

 

” I would encourage as many people as possible to make it their New Year’s resolution to register to become donors and give the gift of life to someone else.”

New Year message from Martina Anderson MEP

Investment needed to boost economy – AndersonMartina-2

Since 2007 our world has been turning in the wrong direction.

The economic crisis, brought about by the greed of bankers has created misery for millions of people while those who created it escaped unscathed.

Ordinary people have been made to pay for the mistakes of an elite few who have been sheltered from the harsh economic realities.

And if the Tory-led British government’s plans austerity policies are implemented here, the situation will only get worse.

Cuts are not the not the answer to the economic problems we face.

We in Sinn Féin believe that investment is the only way out of the crisis. And those who can pay must pick up the tab for the mess they created.

It’s not too late to start investing and we need to invest in a range of sectors to kick start the economy.

We need to see investment in all levels of education to equip our young people with the right skills; in renewable power to meet our energy needs in an affordable and sustainable manner; in our infrastructure network and in our environment.

All of these things could be afforded for if big companies paid the level of tax they should. The current culture of tax evasion an avoidance is wrong and must be tackled.

I recently took a delegation of representatives of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) from across the North to the European Parliament to explore opportunities for growth.

All of these companies struggle to pay tax and wage bills while providing the backbone of our economy. At the same time major multinational companies pay less than one per cent in taxes.

As a result of tax evasion and fraud governments across Europe lose €1 trillion each year – that’s €2,000 annually for every EU citizen.

Just imagine what could be done with this money. We could invest in road projects such as the A5 and A6; fund schools and hospitals across Ireland; and support our entrepreneurs by investing in start-up businesses.

Money that the Executive needs to create new jobs and opportunities is instead lining the pockets of a select few.

It is time to challenge this scandal. Instead of being made to pay for the mess created by greed, people need to challenge the austerity agenda of the Tory-led government.

This government, made up of a cabinet of millionaires, is intent on dismantling the welfare state, claiming they can’t pay for it, while at the same time ignoring the fact that since the start of the banking crisis around €7 trillion have flowed into the vaults of the rich and powerful through tax evasion and avoidance.

The right wing governments in London, Dublin and across Europe do not want to draw your attention to that.

The expanded Sinn Féin team at the European parliament, which now includes four MEPs from across Ireland, will continue to challenge this agenda.

It’s time that people from all traditions stopped allowing the British government to divide us. Ends/Críoch

DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE OVER NEW YEAR – SEEK HELP -LOGUE

Appealing for victims of domestic violence in Derry to seek help and not to suffer in silence, Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue  said,

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

“It’s important that we continue to raise awareness of  domestic violence in Derry and across the north and to appeal to victims to come forward and seek help.”

“All the evidence is that domestic violence levels are rising and there is help available so victims should not suffer in silence.”

“This is a problem that won’t go away if left without being tackled and often the violence gets worse with examples of tragic consequences which we see all too often.”

“The services for victims of domestic violence are freely accessible and skilled professional advice and support is awaiting your call.”

“I’d urge any victim be they young or older, female or male to come forward and make that first step to end violent abuse before it escalates.”

“If it’s a recent event or has been the pattern for some time, domestic violence is not acceptable and must be stopped so reach out to the people that can end the misery.”

“The domestic pressures at the festive and New Year period  often see an increase of incidents of violence and we want to support this campaign to raise awareness but at any time of year help is your first step out of abusive relationships.”

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Lower Culmore Road set for gas supply –Cllr Mickey Cooper

Councillor for the area Mickey Cooper said

I welcome confirmation from Firmus that they have agreed to install a gas pipeline along Lower Culmore Road during 2015 as a result of a long lobby from myself.

Early in the New Year I will be meeting with their staff to discuss the process and timelines around them connecting the pipeline into the various residential areas.

This confirmation should see a new gas supply to the likes of Kingsfort Park, Garden City, Troy Park, Gleneagles and Mount Pleasant.

This is great news for residents who have been requesting a gas connection for many years.

I will be in contact with each resident over the next few months as I receive further information  from Firmus.

 

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Stop vandalising salt /grit boxes –Appeals local Councillor

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed that salt and grit boxes are not tampered with during the first big freeze of the winter. His appeal follows a number of complaints from residents that in some areas of the city the boxes have been kicked over or moved.  COLLY HEAD SHOT 2013

Councillor Kelly said “I would appeal to all communities to ensure that their local salt /grit boxes are not vandalised.

It may be hijinks by groups going home late at night or someone thinking it’s a funny to kick the contents of the grit box out or move it down a street. But clearly it isn’t.

Its takes a lot of lobbying with DRD Roads Service to get these boxes put in place.

They serve a very practical but important essential service and are there for the specific reason of safety of residents, motorists and pedestrians.

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Hassan welcomes news on urgent Culmore riverfront work

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that work is take place in Culmore install a continuous solid stone wall along the riverfront.

There have been concerns in the area over recent due to floodinglg_tony_hassan_copy2

Councillor 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. We were informed in November that DRD has responsibility for the maintenance of the wall.

I also proposed a motion calling on Derry City Council to contact DRD and have the wall repaired as soon as possible.

We have now received the good news that TransportNI (formally DRD Road Service) who has a responsibility for the maintenance of the wall has told us work will take place there. Work planned includes repairs to undermined sections of the wall between the junction of Ardan Road and Culmore Fort and will also include the replacement of a steel barrier on the Culmore Point Road with a masonry wall. It is hoped to carry out this work in the 2015/2016 financial year but this will be subject to availability of funding.

Campbell condemns festive dumpers

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called on those who are illegally dumping on the Glassagh Road to desist immediately and have respect for the local community and the environment. 

 Councillor Campbell said:DSC_0021

“I was contacted on Boxing day by residents who were furious at the amount of rubbish that has been dumped on the Glassagh Road over the Christmas period.  I  went to the area and was shocked to see the amount of rubbish dumped at the side of the road.  In one pile there were two fridges one of them is an industrial fridge normally used by a business.  Directly across the road someone else dumped a mattress and household rubbish.  These items would have had to be transported to the area in a van because of their size and bulk.  And for the value of a few minutes extra on their journey they could have taken them to the recycling plant in the Brandywell where Derry City Council would have disposed of them.

“I would appeal to  people to desist from this practice immediately and have a bit of respect for the local community and the environment.  Creggan is not a dumping ground and this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”. 

Lights out at Glengalliagh danger spot added to 2500 list

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said the refusal by the Minister for the Department of Regional Development Danny Kennedy to repair street /road lights is putting the lives of motorists and pedestrians at risk.

 Councillor Hassan said

DRD Roads service told me last week that there are now over 2,500 street/road lights out of order in the Derry City Council area. I believe that the Minister needs to review the current policy of not fixing these lights .We need to put the safety of road users and pedestrians first before we could end up in a tragedy.

There have been a number of accidents at the entrance of Northside shopping centre the latest just a few days before Christmas. From Northside to Leafair Park ten road lights have out for over the last two weeks. Many in the community are very concerned at the dangers for a main  arterial route such as the Glengalliagh Road area being  plunged into  darkness.

The Minister needs to resolve this as a matter of urgency. 

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Car criminals Christmas day spree slammed

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has condemned those responsible for the torching of a car in Creggan on Christmas night3895995549

It follows reports of joy/ death riders racing around Creggan and the Bogside for several hours.

 Councillor Campbell said

I and another community activist   called around to Mulroy Gardens to talk to some of the residents and assess the damage.

The residents also informed us that car criminals had been joy/death riding around  Creggan and the Bogside all night.

One constituent who contacted me said a car had been doing a circuit of Free Derry Wall in under the Flyover, racing up and down Westland Street and driving straight through all the pedestrian crossings with total disregard for pedestrians and other motorists. They said it was miracle no one was killed.

He went on to say

This car was torched outside a row of pensioner’s bungalows leaving the pensioners terrified.

The car then rolled and could have set fire to a residents car who lives across the street.

This is absolutely disgraceful ,these criminals have no regard for our community and need to be taken before the courts .They are a danger to everyone living in this area.

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Sinn Féin committed to building on progress made in agreement – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said the all-party agreement reached  protects the most vulnerable in society and will help deal with the legacy of the past. 

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness said; 

“Sinn Féin set out to achieve a comprehensive agreement and we have made progress on a range of issues.

“There has been progress on significant issues including a financial package and we have protected the most vulnerable in society against the Tory welfare cuts. We have also made headway on the issues of flags, parades and the past.

“We agreed a comprehensive financial package to deal with the legacy of the conflict and to promote peace and reconciliation. This financial package will also help bring stability to the powersharing institutions.

“We agreed a welfare protection package for the most vulnerable people in our society to ensure there is no reduction in benefits within the control of the Assembly.

“These protections are unique to the north of Ireland and are in sharp contrast to the austerity-driven welfare system being rolled out in Britain.

“We worked intensively to move forward on the vexed issues of identity, parading and the past. Sinn Féin argued that any process dealing with the legacy of the past needs to be victim centred.

“We successfully made the case that families who had lost loved ones during the conflict should continue to be able to pursue truth and justice through the mechanism of coroners’ inquests.

“We have also achieved a set of balanced truth recovery mechanisms to deal with the past. We agreed a Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition and that responsibility for parades should be devolved to the Assembly and built upon.

“Sinn Féin is committed to building on the progress made by the Executive parties over recent days. It is our intention to carry this positive work forward in the time ahead.”

Sinn Féin welcomes installation of gas pipeline in Harvey Street

Sinn Féin councillors Mickey Cooper and Colly Kelly have welcomed confirmation from Firmus that they will install a gas connection in the Harvey Street area following a lobby by both representatives:

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said

“We are delighted that Firmus have agreed to the installation which was in much demand by residents of the area.

Following a meeting with the Firmus Chief executive Michael Scott agreement was reached on the installation which will take place between now and the end of January.

We look forward to the completion of the work which will be very much welcomed by the local community”

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McCartney condemns car hijacking

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned the hijacking of a car in the Prehen area of Derry. 

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

Speaking after a driver had his car hijacked by two men in the early hours of Sunday morning at Prehen Road, the Foyle MLA said; 

“This hijacking must be condemned outright. 

“It must have been a terrifying experience for the driver and thankfully he was not injured but was left badly shaken.

“The fact that one of those involved is believed to have threatened the driver with a knife is very concerning. 

“I would encourage anyone with any information on this incident to contact the police.”

Assembly should have power to lower voting age – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has said the Assembly should be given the power to lower the voting age to 16.

 

Speaking after British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Scottish Parliament will be given the power to reduce the voting age, the Derry Councillor said;

 

“I welcome the fact the Scottish Parliament will be able to lower the voting age to 16 in time for the 2016 election.

 

“Young people throughout Scotland were energised through participation in the recent referendum on independence.

 

“That has brought a new vigour to politics in Scotland and given young people an important voice in the political process.

 

“Sinn Féin has called for the voting age to be lowered to 16 here in the North to give young people the opportunity to have their say on their future.

 

“This is currently an excepted matter dealt with at Westminster. I am calling on the British government to transfer the same power to the Assembly to allow us to extend the franchise to young people.”

Comprehensive agreement between governments and parties required – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness told British minister David Cameron today the two governments must become fully engaged if a comprehensive agreement is to be achieved in the all-party talks.

Martin McGuinness said:Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

“I talked to the British prime minister today along with DUP leader Peter Robinson about the set of proposals agreed by the five party leaders on public finances and the potential for an agreement.

“These proposals require additional financial support and a commitment from the British government to deal with outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements.

“A comprehensive agreement between the governments and the parties is what is required.

“Work is continuing between the parties on the outstanding issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past but agreement has yet to be reached.

“There will be further talks on Monday and it’s important the two governments engage in this process if the talks are to reach a successful conclusion.

“Any agreement reached has to protect the most vulnerable in society, invest in building peace and reconciliation and welfare safeguards, deliver on outstanding agreements, grow the economy and enhance the working of the institutions.”

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Comprehensive agreement between governments and parties required – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness told British minister David Cameron today the two governments must become fully engaged if a comprehensive agreement is to be achieved in the all-party talks.

Martin McGuinness said:Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

“I talked to the British prime minister today along with DUP leader Peter Robinson about the set of proposals agreed by the five party leaders on public finances and the potential for an agreement.

“These proposals require additional financial support and a commitment from the British government to deal with outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements.

“A comprehensive agreement between the governments and the parties is what is required.

“Work is continuing between the parties on the outstanding issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past but agreement has yet to be reached.

“There will be further talks on Monday and it’s important the two governments engage in this process if the talks are to reach a successful conclusion.

“Any agreement reached has to protect the most vulnerable in society, invest in building peace and reconciliation and welfare safeguards, deliver on outstanding agreements, grow the economy and enhance the working of the institutions.”

Ends

Prisoners should be treated with dignity and respect – Campbell

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell said prisoners in Maghaberry should be treated with dignity and respect and called for the August 2010 agreement to be implemented. 

Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion commending the work of the Independent Prisons Assessment Team was passed at the monthly meeting of the Derry and Strabane super council, councillor Campbell said; 

“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring that all prisoners and their families are treated with dignity and respect. 

“The recent ‘stocktake’ exercise carried out by the Independent Prisons Assessment Team is a welcome renewal of focus on the conditions for republican prisoners in Roe House in Maghaberry. 

“It also reinforced the principle that everyone; prisoners, their families and prison staff have the right to live their lives in a hostile free environment. 

“The council has now backed the recommendations of the ‘stocktake’ on the issues of full body searches, relaxations on controlled movement and a review of education provision for prisoners. 

“We are now calling on Justice Minister David Ford and the Prison Service to ensure that the agreement reached in Maghaberry in August 2010 is implemented in the timeline agreed.” 3895995549

Sinn Féin Councillors visit home of Creggan attack victim

Sinn Féin Councillors Colly Kelly and Kevin Campbell have visited the home of a women who was the victim of an attack in a laneway between Creggan Heights and Ballymagowan just before 9pm on Friday night.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said colly and kevin

I called today to the home of the woman attacked last night along with fellow councillor Kevin Campbell. We just wanted to show our support and ensure that she was getting whatever other support that she may need.

Like everyone in the local community we were shocked and disgusted at news of the attack.

That shock and disgust  turned to anger when we seen the state that this woman was left in. 

Whoever was behind this attack they need caught.

If anyone has any information I would appeal for them to bring it forward.

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Refusal to repair street lights putting lives at risk – Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has said the refusal by the Minister for the Department of Regional Development Danny Kennedy to repair street lights is putting the lives of motorists and pedestrians at risk.

 

The Waterside Councillor said

 

“It is now been revealed that over 17,000 street lights remain out of order. This is unacceptable. The minister’s stubborn refusal to put the safety of road users and pedestrians first could end in tragedy.

 

“Poor or inadequate street lighting also increases the fear and vulnerability of the elderly and infirm.

 

“Danny Kennedy’s inaction on this issue is putting lives at risk.

 

“The minister is clearly at fault on this life and death issue as he made no initial provision to deal with street lighting in his annual budget.

 

“It seems that the minister’s only plan has been to cross his fingers and hope his Executive colleagues would bail him out.

 

“Mr Kennedy needs to tell the public now how he intends to provide safer driving conditions in what is traditionally one of the worst periods of the year for accidents on our roads.”

 

Ends/Críoch

Logue Sends Best Birthday Wishes to St Vincent De Paul Society‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has extended her best wishes to the Society of St Vincent De Paul that was founded 170 years ago this week . Logue described its charitable work in dealing with poverty and deprivation as ‘life changing.’

She  said:

“The St Vincent De Paul organisation has been supporting individuals and families for the last 170 years.

“They have helped fill in the financial gap and acted as a safety net for countless people over the years and rightly deserve our continued praise and support.

“Approximately 1200 conferences or chapters operate throughout Ireland in bad times and in good.

“Their Volunteers are well known in many communities and their private visits to homes regularly make a huge difference to people, be it an individual or a family, from going hungry or having some heat in their home. 

“The St Vincent De Paul has faced growing demands on their budget since the recession, but demand has been particularly bad over the last 12 months.

“I wish them every success in the future with their life changing work and with Christmas around the corner, their heavy workload and commitment will again be put to the test.

“Hopefully their birthday wish of seeing an end to poverty and deprivation will be achieved in next few years and that the many small and generous donations continue to come from a grateful Irish public.

Anderson welcomes Geneva Convention group’s declaration on Israel

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a declaration from 126 signatories to the Geneva Convention expressing concern at Israel’s failure to implement human rights law. 
 
Speaking after the declaration was signed in Geneva, Ms Anderson said; 
“The recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza which killed more than 2,000 people outraged the international community. 
“Now 126 countries who have signed up to the Geneva Convention have backed a declaration expressing concern over Israel’s lack of implementation of international human rights law over Palestine. 
“The declaration states that Israel must uphold international human rights legislation which prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on and targeting of civilians. 
“It also expresses deep concern about the impact of the illegal Israeli settlements and the ongoing blockade of Gaza. 
“It was also welcome that Palestine attended this meeting in Geneva with the same status as the other countries for the first time.
“The international community have a responsibility to ensure human rights of the Palestinian people are upheld and that Israel is held to account for breaching international human rights legislation.” Ends/Críoch

Oakfield / Marlborough vandalism attacks condemned

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting after a number of homes and cars were damaged in vandalism attacks in the Oakfield and Marlborough areas during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

Councillor Kelly said

The last thing any person wants to wake up to in the morning is to find that their home or family car has been vandalised overnight.

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 of having to get their car re- sprayed  or the upset of having to clean graffiti off their home.

I would urge anyone who seen anything suspicious in the early hours of Tuesday morning to contact the PSNI.

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Derry played its part in Cuban Five release campaign -Campbell‏‎

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the historic announcement of a thaw in Cuban-US relations which includes the release of the three remaining members of the Cuban Five and Alan Gross, a US citizen detained in Cuba.free the cuban 5 solidarity events Derry 17 sep 2012 1.

During his tenure as Mayor of Derry Kevin hosted relatives of the Cuba 5 on a visit here  to highlight the campaign for their freedom

Councillor Campbell  said:

“I warmly welcome the reports that the USA and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic and economic relations.

“It was extremely encouraging to hear that the US will release the three remaining members of the Cuban Five who were unjustly imprisoned for attempting to stop right wing militants from bombing and directly attacking Cuba.

“During my time as the Mayor of Derry I had the pleasure of welcoming relatives and the campaign group calling for the release of the Cuba Five .

Ógra Shinn Féin have also been very active in Derry in raising the profile of the campaign and thousands of people from this city signed a petition calling for the men’s release. All of these campaigns across the world have had the cumulative effect of putting pressure on the American administration.

“I hope they enjoy the Christmas holidays with their family and loved ones.

“I hope these collective prisoners release will help build confidence on both sides and create a positive inclusive backdrop for these new talks.

“This marks a historic shift in US-Cuban relations and I hope, with many others, that this will lead to a new approach towards agreement which will improve bilateral relations.

“The US blockade of Cuba was unjust, counterproductive, and should be lifted. I hope these new talks will lead to a new beginning, and end a historic conflict that has impacted so negatively on the ordinary Cuban people.

“I agree with US President Obama and the Cuban President Rául Castro that changes are the right thing to do.”

 

Kelly condemns robbery of Elmwood Bookmakers

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting after the robbery of a bookmakers at the cross lanes between Elmwood Street and Beechwood Street on Wednesday night.

He said Councillor Colly Kelly

 “Once again we are greeted with the news that a small business has been subjected to a robbery. This time last year there was a spate of robberies around the Christmas period, and this bookmakers was robbed on St Stephens Day.

 

Many small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and providing much needed employment for local people.

 

The staff are only doing a day’s work and should not be subject to this type of threat and intimidation.

 

I would appeal to anyone with information on this robbery to bring it forward so that those responsible can be held to account by the justice system.”

 

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Hassan encourages Culmore residents to have their say

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has encouraged residents  in  Culmore to take part in a Health Impact Assessment currently underway and  to raise any concerns they have about the areas.

 

He said “I welcome the news that Derry City Council has appointed consultants to undertake a Health Impact Assessment to determine the potential health impacts of existing and proposed industrial activities on local communities in the Culmore,Strathfoyle and Maydown areas.

As an elected representative for the Culmore area i get calls on a regular basis from residents worried about a number of issues affecting them  there  particularly  health.

Its important that we take those concerns on board and try to address them. This consultation offers residents an opportunity to have their say and i would encourage as many people as possible from Culmore to take part in the process

McLaughlin welcomes cross border Further and Higher education collaborations

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve Mc Laughlin has welcomed a  response given by the Minister for the Department of Education and Learning (DEL) Stephen Farry in relation to her Assembly question asking how Further and Higher Education providers will work with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology to improve cross border collaborations in the Northwest.
 
Ms McLaughlin saidMLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN
 
“I recently tabled a written question asking the DEL Minister, Stephen Farry, how his department, as well as Further and Higher Education providers work with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology to improve cross border collaboration in the North West. I welcome the Ministers answer in which he as informed me that he has been activity pursuing the promotion of cross border collaboration and that  his department has held a number of meetings with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology in the context of improving such collaborations.
 
The minister has told me that within the Northwest region that this partnership is demonstrated between the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector in the Northwest region, including the University of Ulster, Letterkenny IT, Ilex and the Northwest Regional college to examine the issues constraining the growth of the sector in the North West and to look at how these can be best addressed through a collaborative approach.
 
I am great believer in creating greater cross border partnerships to ensure that young people in particular are given as much access to the courses of their choice. Courses such as the MSc in Innovation Management in the Public service that is jointly offered by the University of Ulster and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology is a step forward in strengthening cross border links.
 
Furthermore the Northwest Regional College has been working with the Institute in a number of curriculum areas, including the development of early year’s education, qualifications in sport, coaching and development, applied medical sciences, bioscience, fine art, fashions and textiles. This needs to be built on in the future.”
 

Prisoners should be treated with dignity and respect – Campbell

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell said prisoners in Maghaberry should be treated with dignity and respect and called for the August 2010 agreement to be implemented. 

Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion commending the work of the Independent Prisons Assessment Team was passed at the monthly meeting of the Derry and Strabane super council, councillor Campbell said; 

“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring that all prisoners and their families are treated with dignity and respect. 

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

“The recent ‘stocktake’ exercise carried out by the Independent Prisons Assessment Team is a welcome renewal of focus on the conditions for republican prisoners in Roe House in Maghaberry. 

“It also reinforced the principle that everyone; prisoners, their families and prison staff have the right to live their lives in a hostile free environment. 

“The council has now backed the recommendations of the ‘stocktake’ on the issues of full body searches, relaxations on controlled movement and a review of education provision for prisoners. 

“We are now calling on Justice Minister David Ford and the Prison Service to ensure that the agreement reached in Maghaberry in August 2010 is implemented in the timeline agreed.”

It’s the elections, stupid – Declan Kearney on the Stormont talks

The Irish Government has damaged the Peace Process
LAST THURSDAY, the British Prime Minister engaged in the worst from of car-crash diplomacy, and his front-seat passenger was An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
After nearly ten weeks of talks which at no stage became a real negotiation, the two leaders arrived. That, and the tabling of their joint paper, could have heralded the start of a negotiation but this was never the plan.
Over three weeks ago, Sinn Féin said all the indications pointed towards the ground being prepared for a predetermined British document, with an Irish Government sign-off.
It was apparent for some time that a ‘take or leave it’ paper was potentially being drafted, the core of which would include the imposition of welfare cuts; increased austerity; fewer Executive departments and fewer MLAs: as well as dilution of Haass; and no movement on outstanding issues from the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements.
Sinn Féin told the Irish Government before An Taoiseach came that a potential moment of opportunity did exist and that a comprehensive talks outcome should not be squandered with a setback.
They were reminded that wider community and republican confidence in the political process had been undermined, and that national leadership was required from the Irish Government. Power-sharing, equality, the all-Ireland agenda, adherence to the Haass proposals, Acht na Gaeilge, Pat Finucane inquiry, and Maze/Long Kesh project were all set out as necessary and reasonable requirements – that is, they are already agreed. Kearney
These issues are a litmus test of the Irish Government’s determination to ensure the national and democratic position mandated in referendum advanced; the British sought primacy for its own and unionism’s agenda.
Instead, the paper signed off on by the Irish Government supported the latter.
It went from being a partner in talks to becoming a cheerleader for austerity in the North and the rolling back of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Haass proposals last winter provided a road map for political stability. Had the British Government and unionism agreed then, we would have been able to tackle our economic challenges now from a better position. At that time, Sinn Féin compromised on all our positions regarding the past, parades, and identity and flags. So too did the SDLP and Alliance Party.
The two governments’ paper takes unionist rejection of the Haass proposals and compliance with British Tory austerity as its starting point.
Their paper is aimed at getting Sinn Féin to compromise again on the very compromises which the party made during the Haass talks as a means to encourage unionism to perhaps begin compromising!
That’s really what Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan meant when he demanded “tough compromises” from Sinn Féin on Monday. His intervention, and yesterday’s exchanges in Leinster House, are the warm-up for an inevitable blame game led by the governments. Expect to hear from the British soon.
The two governments’ joint strategy was about trying to jump-start a phoney negotiation, in reverse gear. It didn’t work, so David Cameron walked out.
Given this British administration’s track record, that type of stroke is no surprise. Its focus is the Westminster elections, and trying to keep the DUP sweet.
However, it is a disgrace for any Irish Government to play fast and loose with the political process.
It has now turned away from its commitments to the Barron Inquiry requirements on the Monaghan and Dublin bombings, the Pat Finucane inquiry, and the Ballymurphy Massacre independent panel.
The paper the Irish Government jointly authored has accepted the primacy of British national security interests over truth for Irish citizens.
The rights of Irish citizens in the North have been fundamentally compromised by this Irish Government’s actions. It has broken faith with the Good Friday, Weston Park, St Andrew’s and Hillsborough Castle agreements.
The joint paper presented in the Irish Government’s name is a setback for Irish national and democratic interests.
The politics of last Thursday/Friday were eerily reminiscent of the mid-1990s when the British Tories and Fine Gael were also in power.
This Irish Government has behaved with reckless indifference towards the fate of the political process in the North, and all because of selfish electoral interests in the 26 Counties.

Campbell welcomes launch of Google Irish language services

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the announcement that Irish language speakers will now be able to use Google’s email services as Gaeilge. google-51-752x501

He  said;

“This move by Google in making its email services available in the Irish language is to be welcomed.

“It is another step forward for the Irish language community, not just in Ireland but across the world, and is evidence of the continued growth and popularity of Irish.

“The fact that a major global company like Google with more than 435 million users worldwide has recognised the rights of Irish language speakers shows the international status of the language.

“Sadly, that has not been reflected closer to home where we have seen repeated attacks on Irish and Irish speakers.

“Hopefully other companies will follow the example of Google and provide more services through Irish.”

Kelly welcomes oil price reduction‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that oil prices are the lowest they have been for four years.

The average cost of home heating oil across the north has fallen below £400 for a 900 litre fill for the first time in four years as global oil markets continue to move lower.

 

In real terms it’s a 33 % drop in prices since oil peaked at £600 for 900 litres in February 2013.

 

Councillor Colly Kelly said

“The issue of fuel poverty is one that has been persistent for the past number of years and has been exacerbated by the increasing cost of living.

At this time of year fuel poverty and in particular  energy costs are always high on the agenda.

Many families across this city continue to find it very hard to get the money together to fill their oil tank and on many occasions it’s that stark  people have to make the decision whether to eat to heat their homes.

The news that oil prices are the lowest in four years and are down an average of £200 per 900 litres has to be welcomed.

Whilst this will not solve the ever present problem of fuel poverty the reduced price will hopefully go some way to ease the pressure on many households particularly over the Christmas and New Year period.

EU Palestine vote a step in the right direction – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the EU’s recognition of the state of Palestine is a step in the right direction.MartinaAndersonMEP

Speaking after signing a joint resolution to recognise the state of Palestine, Ms Anderson, the chair of the EU’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, said;

“For us this resolution does not go far enough but it is to be welcomed as a principled step in the right direction.

“This will give protection to the Palestinian territory, its people and its borders.

“It is a long overdue recognition of the international community’s obligation and a positive step towards peace.

“The President of the European Parliament will now forward this resolution to the European Council, the European Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, the governments of the individual member states, the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset.

“All member states, including Ireland, must now formally recognise and protect the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital.

“Sinn Féin calls on all parties to refrain from any activities which would undermine the viability and prospects for a two-state solution.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

British and US government must apologise for torture – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the British and US governments must apologise for the use of torture. 

Speaking during a European Parliament debate on torture by the CIA, Ms Anderson said; 

"The senate report into torture by the CIA made for alarming, if unsurprising reading. 

"The British government used the same techniques as the CIA when it tortured 14 Irish men interned more than 40 years ago. 

"The case of the 'Hooded Men' led to the only instance where a European member state took another member state to the European Court of Human Rights.

"In 1976 the European Commission on Human Rights ruled that the British government was guilty of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. The case was then referred to the European Court of Human Rights.

"In 1978, after pressure from the British government the European Court of Human Rights overturned that ruling and found that the five techniques used against the internees amounted to inhumane and degrading treatment - but not torture. 

"Recently uncovered information showed the British government lied to the European Court of Human Rights on the effects of the techniques the hooded men were subjected to. 

"These techniques were sanctioned at the highest level of the British government by the then minister of defence, Lord Carrington. 

"In fact the US Attorney General justified the use of torture techniques in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by quoting the EU Court's 1978 ruling on the Hooded Men. 

"Now at last the Irish government has referred the Hooded Men case back to the European Court of Human Rights to revise its judgement. 

"The British government must apologise for its use of torture techniques and the US government must do the same." Ends/Críoch

McGuinness rejects Taoiseach’s claim as laughable

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has rejected a claim that Gerry Adams attempted to block a deal during last week’s talks as laughable.
Mr McGuinness said; DSC_0145
“The statement today by the Taoiseach is a threadbare attempt to excuse his failure and ineptitude in this process. 
“Not only is it completely untrue, it is laughable.
“Sinn Féin is at one on standing by the agreements, standing by the institutions and standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, north and south. 
“The joint paper tabled by the British and Irish governments allowed the British government to renege on key commitments including the inquiry into the state sponsored murder of Pat Finucane and an Irish Language Act. The Irish government also abandoned the demand for full disclosure on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings and an inquiry into the massacre of civilians in Ballymurphy by the British government. 
“I am proud to be part of the Sinn Féin team seeking to reach agreement however this task is made all the more difficult due to the failures of the current Irish government.” Ends/Críoch

Unlock the massive potential of the H2 site –Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has called on landowners and potential developers for the H2 site on the Buncrana Road to seek out all possible options for the site as soon possible.???????????????????????????????

He said he is  prepared to facilitate a meeting with developers, Housing Associations and the Housing Executive to move this to the next stage.

 

Councillor Hassan believes this massive site is key to reducing the homeless problem in Derry.

 

He said “I have been lobbying heavily about this site for the last ten years and flagging up its potential as an area for building hundreds of new social homes.

 

I am concerned that there appears to be ongoing problems around trying to get agreement in moving forward to get full usage of this site and the construction of new homes. I  believe we need to unlock the massive potential this site offers on a key arterial route into our city.

 

Whatever problems there is around things moving on the H2 site I believe if people put their minds to this it can be resolved.

 

It’s imperative that this site is utilised to reduce the 2000 people who are in housing stress and homeless in our city. And create much needed construction jobs.

 

I am prepared to facilitate a meeting with developers, Housing Associations and the Housing Executive to move this to the next stage.

Ends

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