Pensioners dying unnecessarily from fuel poverty-Logue

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

 

Cllr  Patricia Logue said,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Roads service to access state of footpaths on Great James Street

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

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

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

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

Ends

President of Ireland motion passed by council -Duffy

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

This needs to change.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

McLaughlin welcomes progress on Magee business case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major events planned for centenary of 1916 Rising in Derry

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

 

Mr O’Hagan said,

photo -an phoblacht-

photo -an phoblacht-

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Billups and Gerry Adams with the book

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

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

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

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

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

In her introduction to the book, Elizabeth says:

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

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

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

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

He writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goldman Sachs Mail front page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact, austerity is a trap.

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

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

Water Protest, Dublin, 21 Mar 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly welcomes commitment on defibrillator training

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

He said;

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Annual launch of the Easter Lily in Derry

 

DSCF5213
Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy  said

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

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

End in sight for Rock Terrace gating -Cooper

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

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

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

Anderson welcomes moves to strengthen animal health regulations

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

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

Ms Anderson said;

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

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

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

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

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

McLaughlin welcomes inclusion of addiction treatment in health plan‏

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

The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said; 

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson calls for EU sanctions against Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson challenges DUP to explain position on EU

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

Ms Anderson said;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting over St Anne’s works –Cooper

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

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

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

 

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

 

Ends

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ends

Columbs Hall Ard Fheis exhibition major success

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campbell questions use of police resources in Creggan raid

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

Councillor Campbell said:3895995549

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish and British governments must support Palestine – Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McLaughlin to spend day working with children in care group

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

Farmers should apply for Single Farm Payment online-Fleming

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

He said,

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Speaking from East Jerusalem this morning, she said;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly makes appeal over parking at Atnagelvin Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duffy welcomes Woodbook road improvements

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

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

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

Warning over Creggan attempted “Walk in” burglary’s

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

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

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

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

Derry “Acht Na Gaeilge”day of action

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

Chairperson in Derry Caolán McGinley said DSC_0100

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

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

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

Ends

Attack on Dundalk FC supporter’s bus at Foyle Road

Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

 

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

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

Ends

Two men beaten in Galliagh attack

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

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy saidCouncillor Sandra Duffy

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

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

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

Ends

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

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

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

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

Councillor Logue said

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

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

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

Ends

PSNI must take action to recruit more women – McCallion

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

 

She said;DSC_0615

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Ends/Críoch

Rural Transport Fund Voucher Scheme will be missed -Fleming

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

Paul Fleming  said,

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

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

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

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

Ends

McGinley welcomes consultation on Springtown housing development

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

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

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

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

Extension of smoking ban at hospitals welcomed – McLaughlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

British government crucifying Executive – McGuinness

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

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

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

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

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

“Nowhere were these protections qualified until 19th February.

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

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

EU must do more to support Palestine – Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Withdrawal of welfare bill the right decision –Raymond McCartney

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

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

Raymond McCartney said; City centre walkabout

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

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

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

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

Ends

Hassan appeals for stoning of vehicles on Racecourse Road to stop

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

Councillor Tony Hassan said

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

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

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

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

Ends

Anderson welcomes major agriculture event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presidential Speech of Gerry Adams at Ard Fheis Derry 2015‏

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Ireland.

Derry is a special place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We succeeded in protecting those on benefits.

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

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

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

Dealing with the past is very difficult.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Gibraltar killings.

Today is Sam Marshall’s anniversary.

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

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

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

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

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

There are those who attack the Stormont House Agreement.

They attack Sinn Féin.

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

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

Those who opportunistically attack us should focus on that.

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

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

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

That would be the road to disaster.

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

Austerity is not the solution.

It is part of the problem.

Sinn Féin is not the problem.

We are part of the solution.

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

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

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

There has been a huge growth in social inequality.

A third of our children now live in consistent poverty.

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

That’s Labour’s Way.

That’s Fine Gael’s way.

That’s Frankfurt’s way.

That’s not the Sinn Féin way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Taoiseach said people went mad.

Raiméis atá ann.

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

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

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

He refused to negotiate on bank debt.

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

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

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

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

Venceremos.

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

The Government claims that a recovery is underway.

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

Sinn Féin wants to deliver a fair recovery.

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

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

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

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

To combat poverty, and to support those with disabilities.

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

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

We will scrap the Property Tax.

Sinn Féin will introduce a Wealth Tax.

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

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

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

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

So are the arts – so is the social economy.

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

They are the greatest source of future job growth.

Tá Sinn Féin tiomanta do na daoine seo a chuidiú.

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

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

It’s time to bring our emigrants home.

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

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

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

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

Rural Ireland needs a new deal.

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

That’s the thing about rights.

You have rights no matter where you live.

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

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

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

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

The Government rejected our proposals.

Instead they gave the banks a veto.

Sinn Féin will end that veto.

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

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

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

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

Tá na saoránaigh seo i gceart Chothrom na Féinne.

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

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

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

That’s why Ireland is partitioned.

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

Our people suffered, emigrated and died as a result.

Our potential is stunted – our communities divided.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They too have been politicised by recent developments.

In particular the peace process.

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

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

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

That’s welcome and sensible.

We have to build and hold them to that.

Politics in both parts of this island is in flux.

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

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

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

A conversation about the future.

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

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

It could be a new departure in Irish politics.

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

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

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

Orange as well as green.

Orange is part of what we are.

That is our potential.

And our challenge.

To unite Orange and Green in equality and mutual respect.

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

Is í Kathleen Funchion ár n-iarrathóir.

Caithfidh mé a bheith soiléir.

Tá muid ag lorg bua le Kathleen.

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

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

Good luck to all our candidates here.

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

The huge demonstrations are proof of that.

The water charge protestors should be released.

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

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

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

Happy international Women’s day Matt.

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

It didn’t work.

It didn’t work because of you.

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

So thank you for your steadfastness.

Your diligence. And your work.

Little wonder that Enda and Joan are worried.

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

They know the people want change.

Sinn Féin wants a mandate for government.

I believe we can win that mandate.

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

Sinn Féin wants to lead the next Government.

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

The future hasn’t been written yet.

Let’s write it together.

Let’s make it happen!

Make the change.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.

A new society requires genuine reconciliation – Ó hEára‏

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action on minimum wage required – Kelly

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

Councillor Kelly said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRÍOCH/END

Madam’s Bank Road Alert- McCallion

Councillor Elisha McCallion said DSC_0615

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

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

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

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

Councillor Sandra Duffy said DSC_0627

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

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

Sinn Féin to oppose passage of welfare bill – McGuinness

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

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

Martin McGuinness said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We are now pursuing a Petition of Concern.

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

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

McGuinness welcomes progress on A5/A6 projects

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson hosts human rights delegation in Brussels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logue welcomes minister’s commitment to STEM subjects

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the commitment of the Education Minister John O’Dowd to promote the STEM subjects.

Councillor Logue said,

“The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are subjects that are having a bigger impact in the modern world as we see major technological advances in the way we work and live and we need to ensure that they are promoted if we are develop our economy.

“The motion in the Assembly  is about ensuring that our children are given the proper tools to compete in a modern world and that we develop an education system that embraces and encourages these subjects.

“I am delighted that the Minister has stated his commitment to promoting the STEM subjects and has already embarked on some invaluable work in getting children to retain these subjects through to degree level.

“These include supporting the ‘STEM is Cool’ initiative as well as The Young Scientist Awards and the promotion of the subjects through careers classes.

“I am confident that the Minister will continue to promote STEM subjects to ensure our children are properly equipped to compete in a modern world.”

Ends

Landlord to secure Pennyburn warehouse after concerns raised – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

“Following being contacted by parents and youth workers concerned about the use of an abandoned warehouse in the Pennyburn area by large groups of young people at the weekends and the obvious dangers this presents I contacted the PSNI and the letting agents to make sure they kept an eye on the site and increase security around it. And to see what could be done to secure the site.

I am pleased to have received correspondence from the letting agents that the landlord is sending in a  team of workers to secure the building as soon as possible.

I also hope by highlighting this case it alerts parents to what has been going on there and dissuades young people from going anywhere near it in the future

Ends

European Council must back abolition of roaming charges – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the European Council must honour the European Parliament commitment to end mobile phone roaming charges.

Ms Anderson said; MartinaAndersonMEP

“The European Parliament and European Commission both voted that mobile phone providers must abolish roaming charges by the end of this year.

“Now the European Council is proposing to extend that timeframe by three years. This is entirely unacceptable and goes against the democratic decisions of the European institutions.

“Roaming charges are unfair and outdated and must go.

“The IT and telecommunications sectors have a role to play in meeting the demands of the changing marketplace as well as providing value for money for users.

“By doing so, they can be catalysts for economic and social revival across the European Union by stimulating trade.

“The European Commission should now listen to the other European institutions and abandon this proposal so roaming charges can be abolished by the end of the year.” Ends/Críoch

Ard Fheis 2015

Two thousand republicans will gather in Derry at the weekend for the 2015 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.

The event will bring Sinn Féin activists from across Ireland together to vote on motions and determine party policy.

The Millennium Forum will be backed to capacity on Friday and Saturday with speeches, debates, workshops and fringe events.

It is the first time the Ard Fheis has been held in Derry in the history of Sinn Féin and preparations have been underway in the city for months to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The fact that it is being held in the city is a sign of the increasing political strength of Sinn Féin in Derry and reinforces the reality that Derry is now a republican city.

Derry has contributed greatly to the growth of Sinn Féin in recent years and party activists from the city are involved at every level of the party, providing leadership and shaping the decisions taken nationally.

As someone who has attended ard fheiseanna across Ireland for many years, it is a great honour to welcome the 2015 Ard Fheis to Derry and a privilege to take part in as the Sinn Féin candidate in the upcoming Westminster election.

As well as bringing together Sinn Féin activists and their families and guests, the Ard Fheis will also attract significant media attention with journalists and political correspondents, shining a light on the progressive politics of Sinn Féin in Derry.

Sections of the Ard Fheis will be broadcast live on television, allowing people throughout Ireland and further afield to join us and watch the speeches, including the Presidential Address from Gerry Adams TD on Saturday night.

This will provide an opportunity for us to showcase Derry as a venue for major conferences to a worldwide audience.

Hosting the Ard Fheis will also bring a huge economic boost to the city with an expected influx of around 2,000 people visiting the city over the weekend.

It is estimated that the Ard Fheis will bring more than £1 million to the city with hotels, restaurants, bars and others in the hospitality sector benefiting from the number of additional visitors.

This year’s Ard Fheis also falls within Seachtain na Gaeilge and on International Women’s Day and we will be marking both these occasions with events and workshops, celebrating the role of the Irish language and women in modern Irish republicanism.

We will also be recognising and celebrating the contribution of four inspirational republicans, one from each province, at the Le Chéile dinner in the City Hotel and it will be my great honour to play a part in the event on Saturday evening.

So join us at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry on Friday and Saturday, either in person at the Millennium Forum, online via our social media platforms, or on television during the live sections to ensure this will be one of the best ard fheiseanna ever and a weekend to remember in Derry.

Ard Fheis 2015

Baileoidh dhá mhíle poblachtánach i nDoire ag an deireadh seachtaine seo le haghaidh Ard Fheis Shinn Féin 2015.

Tabharfaidh an t-imeacht gníomhaithe Shinn Féin le chéile ó gach carn den tír chun vótáil ar rúin agus polasaí an pháirtí a shocrú.

Beidh Fóram na Mílaoise plodaithe go hiomlán Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn agus óráidí, díospóireachtaí, ceardlanna agus imeachtaí imeallacha ar siúl.

Is í an chéad uair ariamh dár reáchtáladh an Ard Fheis i nDoire le linn ré Shinn Fhéin agus tá ullmhúcháin idir lámha sa chathair le roinnt míonna anuas le cinntiú go mbeidh gach rud i gceart.

Is comhartha é an Ard Fheis a bheith sa chathair go bhfuil neart polaitiúil Shinn Féin ag méadú agus treisíonn sé an dearcadh gur cathair phoblachtach í Doire anois.

Chuir Doire go mór le fás Shinn Féin le blianta beaga anuas agus tá gníomhaithe ón chathair bainte le gach leibhéal den pháirtí, ag tabhairt ceannaireachta agus ag dul i bhfeidhm ar chinntí náisiúnta.

Mar dhuine a d’fhreastail ar ard fheiseanna ar fud na hÉireann le blianta anuas, is ónóir mhór domh é fáilte a chur roimh Ard Fheis 2015 go Doire agus a bheith páirteach inti mar iarrthóír Shinn Féin i dtoghchán Westminster atá chugainn.

Chomh maith le gníomhaithe Shinn Féin agus a dteaghlaigh agus aíonna a thabhairt le chéile, tarraingeoidh an Ard Fheis aird shuntasach na mean, agus iriseoirí agus comhfhreagraithe ag mionscrúdú polaitíocht fhorásach Shinn Féin i nDoire.

Craolfar codanna den Ard Fheis beo ar theilifís, ag tabhairt seans do dhaoine ar fud na hÉireann agus níos faide anonn amharc ar na hóráidí, aitheasc an Uachtaráin, Gearóid Mac Adhaimh TD oíche Dé Sathairn san áireamh.

Tabharfaidh sé seo deis dúinne Doire a chur chun cinn mar ionad faoi choinne mhórchomhdhálacha do lucht féachana domhanda.

Agus timpeall 2,000 duine ag tabhairt cuairt ar Dhoire le linn an deireadh seachtaine, cuirfidh óstáil na hArd Fheise borradh millteanach eacnamaíochta faoin chathair.

Meastar go dtabharfaidh an Ard Fheis níos mó ná £1 mhilliún isteach sa chathair agus óstáin, bialanna, beáir agus áiteacha eile san earnáil fháilteachais ag fáil sochair ó líon na gcuairteoirí breise.

Beidh Ard Fheis na bliana seo ar siúl le linn Seachtain na Gaeilge agus díreach roimh Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan agus déanfaidh muid an dá ócáid seo a chomóradh le himeachtaí agus ceardlanna, ag ceiliúradh ról na Gaeilge agus na mban i bpoblachtachas an lae inniu.

Beidh muid fosta ag ceiliúradh agus tabhairt aitheantais do cheathrar poblachtánach inspioráideach, duine as gach cúige ag Dinnéar Le Chéile in Óstán na Cathrach agus beidh sé ina ónóir mhór domhsa páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid oíche Dé Sathairn.

Mar sin de, bí linn ag Ard Fheis Shinn Féin i nDoire Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn beag seo, ach oiread san Fhóram féin, nó ar líne trí ardán meáin shóisialta s’againn nó ar an teilifís le linn na gcodanna beo le cinntiú go mbeidh sé seo ar na hard fheiseanna is fearr choíche agus ina dheireadh seachtaine nach ligfear i ndearmad.

Ó hEára calls on minister to lift MaSN cap at Magee

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has called on Employment and Learning minister Stephen Farry to lift the cap on the number of students at Magee. 10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

Mr Ó hEára said;

“Everyone is in agreement on the need to expand Magee and increasing the number of students is key to that.

“Lifting the Maximum Student Numbers (MaSN) cap is essential to ensuring the growth of Magee. This is something, which could be easily done, and it is within the power of the employment and learning minister to do so.

“This would be a clear indication of the minister’s commitment to the expansion of Magee.

“I welcome the fact Stephen Farry has said he intends to bid for additional funds to expand Magee in the next Comprehensive Spending Review but this now needs to be followed up with action by lifting the MaSN cap.

“Not only would this be a concrete step towards the full expansion of Magee, it would also help generate revenue to pay for that expansion through additional students.

“This is within the power of the minister and if he is serious about the expansion of Magee then he needs to show it by lifting the MaSN cap immediately.”

McGinley condemns ram raiding of a shop in Hazelbank

Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has described the ram raiding of a shop in Hazelbank as ‘an attack on a local business and the community”.

“A shop in Rosskeen Park was the subject of a ram raid attack in the early hours of this morning.   The criminals responsible were able to gain access to the shop and lift a number of items.   This is the latest in a series of incidents in the wider area involving car crime and amounts to nothing more than an attack on a local business and the community”

 

Ends

Kelly welcomes Bogside bulky lift initiative

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a bulky lift/clean up initiative is to take place in the Bogside area next Tuesday  3rd March  from 10.00am.

Organised by Derry City Council & the  Triax neighbourhood management teamCOLLY

The areas covered is a wide area from William Street right out to Dove Gardens, Stanley’s Walks and all streets in between.

Councillor Kelly said

“I welcome the news of this bulky lift scheme  next week. This comes on the back of other environmental initiatives in the area over the past year.

“I would appeal for people to take pride in their area and refrain from any type of fly tipping. There is no excuse for this indiscriminate dumping. If anyone has an item of furniture or bulky items that needs collected for disposal they should ring the City Council cleansing department to make arrangements for that to happen.

“These bulky lifts and clean ups give the local residents pride in their area and a sense of ownership and responsibility through community participation.

End

Extra personal on Road Gritters after attempted highjacking in Derry –McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news from DRD Roads Service that extra personal will travel on  road gritting lorries following attempts to hijack a lorry in the city on Friday morning.City centre walkabout

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “Obviously following Friday morning’s incident workers and their families were extremely worried for their safety whilst out working alone in the middle of the night providing an essential service for the people of Derry.

I have received confirmation from Roads Service that an extra worker will be travelling with the gritter drivers over the next couple of weeks to give an added sense of security.

 

Ends

NIE workers return to Creggan –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the decision by NIE to go back into Creggan to carry out emergency repairs after workers were threatened and a van was burned earlier in the week.B-7XLIoWkAA2Lqp

Councillor Kevin Campbell said” I have been talking with the management at NIE since the terrible incidents earlier in the week when workers were threatened and a van burned at Linsfort Drive.

I am glad to say following those discussions a team of workers are in here today carrying out repairs and restoring power to homes in Rinmore Drive .

I would like to commend staff at NIE for the work they are carrying out which is welcomed by the people of Creggan.

Stand up to criminal gangs – Gerry Adams at Burns/Moley Commemoration in South Armagh

Stand up to criminal gangs – Gerry Adams at Burns/Moley Commemoration in South Armagh

SINN FÉIN President Gerry Adams TD today spoke at the annual commemoration for IRA Volunteers Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley, who were killed in a premature bomb explosion in 1988.

The Sinn Féin leader extended best wishes to Francis McCabe Junior who was seriously injured in a bomb attack last week.

Gerry Adams condemned the actions of the criminal gangs active along the Border.

He also criticised the campaign of vilification of republicans by a section of the media, the SDLP, Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Sinn Féin leader appealed for anyone with any information on these gangs or the killing of Paul Quinn or Garda Aidan Donohoe or Keith Rogers to give it to the PSNI or An Garda Síochána. He urged citizens in Border communities to stand up to the criminal gangs.

The Sinn Fein leader said:

In recent times, a section of the media, the SDLP, the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have engaged in a deliberate campaign of vilification and demonisation against Sinn Féin, and the communities of north Louth and south Armagh.

Let me nail the lies of our political opponents.

·        Irish republicans are not involved in criminal actions along the Border or indeed anywhere else.

·        No republican is involved in fuel laundering or the destruction of our environment through the dumping of toxic sludge.

·        No republican is engaged in smuggling tobacco or any other product.

·        No republican is stealing farm equipment or animals.

·        Those who are involved in these actions are criminals.

In recent years the criminal gangs have grown bolder and more dangerous and better organised. They were responsible for the deaths of Garda Adrian Donohoe and Paul Quinn and Keith Rogers; the shooting of Michael Bellew and the brutal beatings of others and last week’s attempted murder of Francis McCabe Junior.

Those who placed the bomb didn’t care who they killed. Their intention was to intimidate and terrorise and coerce those in south Armagh who have been taking a stand against the criminal gangs.

The vast majority of people in south Armagh support Sinn Féin. An even greater number support the Peace Process. There is no support for criminality or for those who besmirch the republican cause.

The citizens of this state deserve and demand a proper policing service. Anyone with any information on these crimes or the killing of Paul Quinn or Garda Donohoe or Keith Rogers must give it to the PSNI or An Garda Síochána. Or give it to me or others like me who will pass it on.

But the PSNI also has a challenge to meet. It must demonstrate that it can police fairly and effectively and that they do support citizens who oppose criminality.

I have met senior PSNI figures and senior gardaí on the actions of the criminal gangs. But actions and delivery are key.

If the PSNI or An Garda Síochána require more resources to tackle this problem, then those resources must be made available to them.

We need to see greater co-operation between An Garda Siochána and the PSNI and other justice and policing agencies.

I know that Martin McGuinness will be raising these issues with the Taoiseach.

The Justice Ministers must co-operate to produce a clear strategy to tackle this problem.

I certainly intend pursuing these matters with the Garda Commissioner and the Justice Minister.

And Martin McGuinness is seeking a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable.

We must not allow criminals to destroy the opportunities for change and progress that exist. We need to stand by our neighbours. We need to ensure that the PSNI do the job they’re paid to do.

I urge the community, including the GAA and community groups and bodies, to come together and stand up for south Armagh.

Let’s make a stand together.”

WHY THE CITY & REGION NEEDS AN AIRPORT

The City of Derry has a long and proud history stretching back through the millennia but we also have a modern and forward looking perspective which seeks to place the city at the heart of the North West, making it the economic, social, cultural and political hub of the region.

If we are to realise these ambitions for our city and citizens we require the key infrastructure to facilitate inward investment creating employment opportunities, educational attainment and visitor access.

That is why Sinn Féin is committed to the development of the A5 and A6 and are to the fore in the fight for expansion at Magee. We will continue to lead the way in promoting Derry as a cultural hub through support for the Digital/Creative Industries and as a major tourist attraction.

Sinn Féin fully supports the retention and expansion of the City of Derry Airport as well as the rail link and sea port as vital components in the marketing and regeneration of the city and region.

While the Airport as with other facilities, faces significant challenges in these difficult economic circumstances, Sinn Féin believes that as part of a proactive marketing and development strategy the burden on the ratepayers of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council could be greatly relieved.

Not many cities across the island of Ireland can boast an airport with an exemplary safety record on their doorstep. It has been able to afford local citizens the opportunity to fly to a number of destinations but has the potential, if properly marketed, to be an essential factor in encouraging investors to locate in the region. It also has tremendous potential as part of a tourism strategy to be a gateway to the city and region for foreign visitors.

While direct central government subvention may contravene EU regulations, Sinn Féin is of the belief that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) could assist in efforts to attract new airlines and new routes to the area. In this context I am calling for both the abolition of Air Passenger Duty and for DETI to market City of Derry Airport as a central aspect of its tourism strategy.

These measures would help transform Derry, making it a more attractive place, not just to live in, but to invest, work, and visit. Sinn Féin believes that a first class airport would help make the transformation a reality.

An Fáth go bhfuil aerphort de dhíth ar an chathair agus an réigiún

Tá stair fhada agus bhródúil ag Cathair Dhoire a théann siar trí na mílaoiseanna ach tá dearcadh úraoise agus réamhbhreathnaitheacha againn fosta atá ag iarraidh an chathair a chur i gcroí-lár an iarthuaiscirt, an mol eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, cultúrtha agus polaitiúil den réigiún a dhéanamh di.
Má tá muid chun na cuspóirí seo a chur i gcrích dár gcathair agus dár saoránaigh tá an bonneagar ceart de dhíth orainn le infheistíocht isteach a éascú a chruthóidh deiseanna fostaíochta, ardchaighdeán oideachais agus rochtain do chuairteoirí.

Sin an fáth go bhfuil Sinn Féin tiomanta d’fhorbairt an A5 agus an A6 agus chun tosaigh san fheachtas le haghaidh leathnú Mhig Aoidh. Leanfaidh muid de bheith chun tosaigh i gcur chun cinn Dhoire mar mhol cultúrtha trí thacú leis na Tionsclaíochtaí Digiteacha/Cruthaitheacha agus mar mhórtharraingt thurasóireachta.

Tacaíonn Sinn Féin go hiomlán le coinneáil agus forbairt Aerphort Chathair Dhoire chomh maith leis an nasc iarnróid agus an chalafort atá ríthábhachtach i margaíocht agus athghiniúint na cathrach agus an réigiúin.

Cé go bhfuil dúshláin shuntasacha ag an Aerphort mar atá ag áiseanna eile sna cúinsí eacnamaíochta doiligh seo, creideann Sinn Féin go bhféadfaí an t-ualach ar íocóirí rátaí Comhairle Chathair Dhoire agus Cheantar an tSratha Báin a laghdú go mór trí straitéis réamhghníomhach mhargaíochta agus fhorbartha.

Is beag cathair ar oileán na hÉireann ina bhfuil aerphort le stair shármhaith sabháilteachta béal dorais. Tugtar an deis do shaoránaigh áitiúla eitilt chuig roinnt áiteacha ach má mhargaítear i gceart é, d’fhéadfaí an-tionchar a bheith ag an aerphort infheisteoirí a spreagadh chun lonnú sa réigiún. Mar chuid de straitéis thurasóireachta, d’fhéadfaí an-tionchar a bheith aige fosta mar thairseach chuig an chathair agus an réigiún do chuaiteoirí eachtracha.

Cé gur féidir go sáraíonn fóirdheontas díreach an rialtais láir rialacha an AE, creideann Sinn Féin go bhféadfadh an Roinn Fiontraíochta, Trádála agus Infheistíochta (RFTI) cuidiú le hiarrachtaí aerlínte agus bealaí nua a mhealladh chuig an limistéir. Sa chomhthéacs seo, tá mé ag éileamh go ndíothaítear Cáin Phaisinéara Aeir agus go gcuireann RFTI Aerphort Chathair Dhoire chun cinn mar chuid lárnach dá straitéis thurasóireachta.

Chuideodh na céimeanna seo le Doire a athrú go hiomlán, áit níos tarraingtí a dhéanamh di chan amháin mar áit chónaithe ach mar áit infheistíochta, oibre agus thurais fosta. Creideann Sinn Féin go gcuideodh aerphort den chéad scoth leis an mhór-athrú seo a fhíorú.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness welcomes Derry jobs announcement‏

Speaking today after it was announced today  that Kainos Software Ltd is creating new jobs in Derry and Belfast with 30 new  IT  jobs coming to Derry gerry and martin

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Today is just the latest chapter in the Kainos success story. I congratulate Kainos for this investment with the new jobs contributing £12.4 million annually in salaries to the local economy. These jobs will create opportunities for both highly experienced technical staff as well as graduates entering the world of work.

“Kainos has kept a sharp customer focus with an emphasis on delivering quality products and services. This, backed up by attracting and retaining the very best people in digital technology, has fuelled their momentum. The £5million investment in staff skills will prepare their employees for the company’s expansion in both existing and new markets.

“The Executive is determined to keep creating jobs in the private sector and create an environment which is ‘pro-business’. I am pleased 30 of these new jobs will be based in Derry. We are working to ensure the appropriate support infrastructure for both existing and potential investors is in place across the north of Ireland.”

Warning over counterfeit money circulating in Derry -Cllr Tony Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has  warned  small businesses and residents in the Shantallow area and throughout the city to be on their guard against counterfeit currency, in particular £20 notes which have been circulating over the last 48 hours.???????????????????????????????

Councillor Hassan said “I have been contacted by a number of small businesses in the locality who have been caught with counterfeit money in the last 48 hours. They have told me it is has been with £20 Bank of England notes and said that they are of very good quality.

They asked me to put a warning out through the local media  to prevent other businesses and members of the public  getting  caught out. Many small businesses are working on very tight margins so the loss of  even £40 -£60 in one day is a big hit.

NIE van burned and worker threatened in Creggan

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said B-uUFcVW8AAJbHL

“What happened to this worker in Creggan tonight is absolutely disgraceful. I visited the scene and local residents are  very angry about what has gone here.

An NIE worker was in the Linsfort Drive area carrying out essential repairs when he was approached by a number of masked men and threatened to take a suspect device to Strand Road PSNI station.

The worker  left the scene and the van was set on fire a short time later.

People in Rinmore Drive are now without electric and understandably NIE have said they will not be back out tonight again.

The people behind this attack  need to step forward  and explain the rational behind it to this community.

Ends

Anderson appeals for assistance for Gaza Toy Drive

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for immediate assistance to ensure that toys collected by Irish people for children in Gaza can be delivered as soon as possible.

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

“The people of Ireland, like millions of others around the world, were moved by the plight of the the children of Gaza who bore the brunt of the Israeli onslaught.

“Thousands of people across Ireland raised funds and donated toys for the children in Gaza as part of the Gaza Toy Drive.

“Seven shipping containers will be filled in a warehouse before being shipped to Alexandria in a journey that will take more than three weeks.

“All of this costs money of course and additional funding is now urgently needed to cover the storage and shipping costs associated with the delivery of these toys to the children.

“It is important that these toys get to the children in Gaza and bring some joy into their lives and let them know that the international community cares.

“I would call for organisations and individuals who are in a position to help to show some generosity and assist the Gaza Toy Drive. Anyone wishing to help find more information at www.gazatoydrive.orgEnds/Críoch

Official reopening of the Shantallow /Culmore constituency office

Cllr Tony Hassan said “It’s a big day for the party locally to see the official reopening of our offices .And great to see it happening in the 40th Anniversary year of Sinn Féin setting up an advice and constituency services in this area. IMG_9837

The area has grown vastly since 1975 with a rising population of over 30,000 people which stretches from the Buncrana Road right down to the Culmore /Muff border. So it’s a big undertaking to meet the growing needs of the people on a daily basis.

It’s important to have such facilities located right in the heart of the community with easy access.

Thursday 12pm All Welcome

Britain must fund investigations into human rights abuses – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the British government to fund investigations into human rights abuses carried out by Britain during the conflict.

Ms Anderson said;

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The latest annual report from Amnesty International into human rights abuses has highlighted the lack of resources for mechanisms to deal with the past.

“The report describes the institutions in place to deal with the legacy of the conflict as being carried out in a ‘fragmented and incremental manner.’

“It specifically mentions the lack of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane and the case of the hooded men.

“The British government cannot hide from its human rights responsibilities in relation to the legacy of the conflict here, particularly its Article 2, right to life obligations in cases of collusion and its shoot-to-kill policy.

“It cannot continue to use excuses of financial pressures as an excuse to deny relatives access to truth and justice.

“Last year I brought the Council of Europe’s Human Right’s Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, to a conference in Belfast where called on Britain to live up to its responsibilities to deal with its human rights failures in Ireland.

“I reiterate his call for the British government to foot the bill for effective investigations into state killings and other human rights abuses.”

“I will continue to work with relatives who are campaigning for truth and justice.” Ends/Críoch

Working together will deliver Magee-McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the project to expand the campus to Magee can be delivered through collective support across the party divide.DIGITAL CAMERA

Speaking in the debate today in the Assembly Mr McCartney said,

“The project to increase the number of students and the physical expansion of Magee is gathering pace and I believe it will be delivered in the near future.

“The recent announcement by Martin McGuinness that a sub group, including the Minister for Employment and Learning, has been set up in order to address the inequalities in investment to the North West can be the catalyst on which we deliver the expansion of Magee.

“The best way to see the expansion of Magee come to fruition is for all party support for the project and work together with all campaign groups over the weeks and months ahead.

“The expansion of Magee is too an important issue for any party to attempt to make it a political football but I am confident we can garner the necessary support to see it delivered in the near future.”

Sinn Féin will stop 40 shades of green turning to 50 shades of gray – Anderson

Sinn Féin will stop 40 shades of green turning to 50 shades of gray – Anderson ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Sinn Féin will block any attempts to carry out controversial fracking in the North. 

Speaking at the launch of a major international fracking conference in Fermanagh this morning, Ms Anderson said;

“If an application is made to drill a test well to carry out fracking anywhere in the North of Ireland such an application would require full planning permission which would make it an Executive matter.

“That takes it out of the hands of supporters of fracking and puts the decision in the safe hands of Sinn Féin ministers who will block it.

“Be assured, Sinn Féin will use its voting strength in the Executive to block fracking.

“Sinn Féin has been to the fore in the campaign against fracking, not just in Fermanagh, but across Ireland.

“For many years now my concern has been that fracking could turn the fields of Ireland from 40 shades of green to 50 shades of gray.

“It would have the potential to damage valuable agricultural land with cropland polluted with groundwater contaminated with methane.

“I am the only MEP from the North who has consistently opposed exploration and exploitation of hydraulic fracking and have voted consistently in favour of mandatory environmental impact assessments.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose fracking and to support communities that are opposed to this controversial and unsafe process.” Ends/Críoch

Waste collection issuesin the Triangle area of the Waterside -Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has  called for urgent  action to be taken to resolve the waste collection issues that are facing some residents in the Triangle area of the Waterside

Councillor Jackson saidChristopher TOH 1

“Residents in Duddys Court have told me that they  haven’t had their household waste collected for almost a month as council are refusing to lift the brown bags that they use to dispose of their waste for health and safety reasons.

This has resulted in dozens of these bags left sitting outside the homes of those affected. They believe that this poses a serious environmental health risk, and worryingly there is also the risk that these bags could be set on fire, trapping residents inside their homes.

The Housing Executive are currently planning to install rubbish shoots in the area that would help solve this problem but this work isn’t due to be completed for at least three months.

The fact that these residents are required to use the brown bags to dispose of their waste is unacceptable in 2015 , as everywhere else in the can  city avail of wheelie bins. This area seems to have been left behind when it comes to waste collection.I will be doing all i can to have this resolved as quickly as possible.

Sinn Féin welcomes PSNI Human Rights Report

Sinn Féin candidate for Foyle Gearóid Ó hEára has welcomed the launch and publication of the Policing Board’s Human Rights Annual Report.10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

 Speaking after the launch of the report at Crumlin Road Gaol Mr Ó hEára said,

“The report deals with a broad range of topics, including victims, the use of force, covert policing, treatment of suspects, Policing with the Community, and human rights awareness in the PSNI.

“The issues of domestic violence and hate crime feature prominently in the report as does policing with and for young people.

“It’s important that the PSNI recognises the need to tackle these issues with the seriousness they deserve.

“Human rights must be at the heart of policing and a key role is to monitor PSNI performance in this respect.  We have seen a lot of progress over the years in accountability, training, and the way the police carry out their everyday role.

“Legacy inquests remain an area of deep concern and PSNI must ensure that all information is provided to the coroner in a timely fashion to uphold the rights of the families of those killed.

“It is crucial the policing service is fully human right compliant and I will continue to work to ensure human rights are at the highest standard possible.”

Blucher Street residents appeal over anti community activity

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  issue saidCOLLY

 

“A number of years ago gates were installed at both ends of the street and this greatly reduced the problems with anti-community activity, bins being stolen and  nighttime noise with young people running up and down the laneway late on.

 

Residents have told me that all sorts of carry on is taking place in the laneway at night, drinking, drugs and they expressed fears over the personal safety issues for young girls. Many of the residents have been living in this  street for years and don’t need to be putting up with this .

 

 

The problem is that young people are gaining access to the laneway by just stepping up on a smaller wall and it’s very easy to get over it.I have now carried out a petition with residents to see if we can get the wall made higher  or a small fence added along it to take away the easy access.

 

Hassan welcomes investment in new play park at Ballyarnett Country Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that a new play park is to be constructed at the Ballyarnett Country Park as part of £2.8million investment from the Executive’s Social Investment Fund and £300,000 from Derry City Council at four sites across the city.IMG_6017

Councillor Hassan said “I welcome the news that a new play park facility is to built in Ballyarnett Country Park.

The Ballyarnett Country Park can provide a wide range of opportunities and act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

This is one of best assets this city has but has been underutilised for many years .And I believe it has nowhere reached its full potential yet in providing parklands and facilities for residents in the local area and for the city as a whole.

It offers a real opportunity to build the foundation’s for the next 5-10 years and put in place something the entire community can be proud of .

Sinn Féin slam those behind Waterside alerts

Sinn Féin slam  those behind Waterside alerts

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned those responsible for leaving a number of suspect devices in the  Waterside  area of Derry  today.Christopher TOH 1

He said “These incidents have brought widespread disruption to this area of the city and must be condemned.

“Whoever was behind these incidents should explain to local residents what they have achieved by forcing families from their homes.

The people of the Waterside  want to get on with their lives and trying to improve the future for their children without elements causing distress and inconvenience.”

Ends

Call for safety assessment as tree falls on one of Derry’s busiest roads

“I was contacted on Wednesday night by a number of residents concerned that a large tree had come down on the road between the Hatfield shopping complex and Cashlemore Park.IMG_7306[1]

I went to the scene straight away .This was a very dangerous situation as its one of the busiest roads in the city on what was a dark and very wet night.

It is difficult to anticipate all the consequences of the extreme weather conditions we have been exposed to over the past few months and we should be thankful that no-one was seriously hurt as a result of the fallen tree.

Thanks must go to the  Roads Service for their quick response and a number of local residents who helped direct traffic whilst efforts were made to get the tree off the road.

I will be following this up with Roads Service to make sure that  an urgent inspection of other trees along this section of road  is carried out and take whatever action is needed to make them safe.

 

Where has the specialised drug money been spent? – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the health minister to explain publicly where the money received from the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme has been spent.?????????????????????????????????

Speaking following a meeting of the Health Committee today at which the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) gave evidence Ms McLaughlin, chair of the health committee said:

“The ABPI were in front of the committee today on the health minister’s statement during the week on greater access to specialised drugs.

“During this evidence session the ABPI said that £14m had been returned to the north in 2014 and as much as £30m may be returned this year.

“This money is meant to be targeted at specialised drugs. The glaring question is that while this fund is in operation where has this money been spent?

“The committee today asked for a breakdown of where this money has gone.

“The health minister is proposing the re-introduction of prescription charges in order to pay for specialised drugs, including cancer drugs. There is a need therefore for the minister to explain where the money from the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme has been spent.

“Following concerns raised by the Finance Minister about how the health budget is managed this is a legitimate and fair question.”

Sinn Féin to block discrimination bill – McCartney

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said today  that Sinn Féin will block the so-called ‘Conscience Clause Bill’ when it comes before the Assembly.Raymond head shot 22

“Sinn Féin said we would oppose any attempt to undermine the rights of all people in our society to have equal and fair service when buying goods and services.

“We have lobbied other MLAs in the Assembly to back a Petition of Concern to block what in our view is an attempt to bring in discriminatory legislation.

“Caitríona Ruane has called on the SDLP and Alliance parties to support us but we are now confident that we can reach the threshold to block this bill from becoming law.

‘’In the past signs read, no dogs no blacks no Irish, those signs were wrong, that discrimination was wrong.

“Any attempt to recreate that type of discrimination today against the LGB & T community is also wrong.

“It’s important therefore we as a society send out a very clear signal that the days of banning certain sections of society from shops or services are long gone.”

Ends

Unity of Purpose required to deliver on Magee

The 50th anniversary of the Lockwood Report which recommended the establishment of a new University in Coleraine instead of Derry will focus much attention on the present campaign for expansion of Magee.

I agree that we need to increase pressure on DEL Minister Stephen Farry to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to the ‘One Plan’ which has expansion of Magee as a central plank for regional economic regeneration.

But this must be done, not in a point scoring exercise by individual politicians but with a Unity of Purpose and a single voice coming out of the North West region demanding what should have been delivered 50 years ago.

The injustice of the decision to deprive Derry of university status in 1965 needs redressed.

While we can all point fingers in whatever direction suits us politically it will not deliver the change in focus required to deliver the result that we all want. What was missing over the past 50 years was the political will to achieve a University for Derry. That political will now exists.

We are now in a new situation with the deputy First Minister determined to deliver on the Magee project, we have the new expanded Council with increased powers coming on stream in April and the political landscape reconfigured.

All of this allows for a new focus, and the establishment of the Executive Ministerial Sub-Group on the North West by Martin Mc Guinness will drive the process of change that will deliver the political authority needed in the Magee campaign.

It is no accident that Martin invited the Further Education Minister onto the sub-group and I believe that the acceptance to be part of the group by Stephen Farry demonstrates that he is at least willing to pursue the case for expansion. He has already indicated his intention to bid, within months, for the £11 million required to construct the new teaching block at Magee this year. That bid will certainly be supported by Sinn Fein and would represent a major investment and physical expansion at Magee.

The Minister has also signalled the potential for a significant increase in student numbers in the new Assembly mandate which begins next year. In order to achieve that, we need to consolidate the political will which the sub group initiative by Martin McGuinness has helped to generate. That is the best way to ensure that Magee is prioritised by all Executive Ministers.

While some politicians prefer to deflect any responsibility for the failures of the past from their own party – despite having held the Universities ministerial portfolio in previous Executives – I believe what is required is a unity of purpose to ensure the expansion of Magee is delivered.

In the immediate term, that means focusing pressure where the decision making power lies. That is at the door of the Ulster University (UU) who have ultimate responsibility for dispersal of finance allocated to it by Minister Farry.  It also has the option of approaching the European Investment Bank as they did to fund its new Belfast Campus.

I hope the new Vice Chancellor of UU is radical in his ambition and vision in terms of growing Magee.  If so he should begin by reversing last week’s decision to cut a number of courses at Magee.

There is now a well drafted and constructed business case for expansion with Minister Farry which has been signed off by the Chamber of Commerce, Derry City Council and Ulster University Magee. I believe the new UU Vice-Chancellor should take cognisance of this consensus and deliver on the critical requirement to the economic regeneration of the North West region that Magee expansion is.

Magee is a cross border campus in terms of attracting students and plays a major part in the North West Education Gateway initiative. The new Derry Strabane Council’s integrated economic strategy will also have a clear focus on Magee expansion which, in turn, would be complemented by the ambitions of the North West Regional College to provide accreditation for its pupils in STEM subjects to allow step up to degree courses at Magee.

Half a century on from Lockwood, Derry is still dealing with the legacy of that scandalous decision. However, I believe the political will and conditions now exist for us to finally redress that legacy by securing the expansion to Magee. This city and our young people deserve nothing less.

By working together we can achieve it.

Cur le chéile ag teastáil chun beart a dhéanamh de réir bhriathair ar Mhag Aoidh

10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n50 bliain tar éis Thuairisc Lockwood a mhol bunú Ollscoil nua i gCúil Raithin in ionad Dhoire, beidh an-aird ar an fheachtas reatha le haghaidh leathnú Mhig Aoidh.

Aontaím nach mór dúinn an brú a mhéadú ar an Aire FL Stephen Farry chun an gealltanas don ‘One Plan’ sa Chlár um Rialtas a sheachadadh, agus ina bhfuil leathnú Mhig Aoidh ina chuid thábhachtach maidir le hathghiniúint réigiúnach.

Ach ní mór seo a dhéanamh, chan trí phointí a scóráil ag polaiteoirí aonair ach le cur le chéile agus guth amháin ag teacht amach as réigiún an iarthuaiscirt ag éileamh an mhéid ar chóir a bheith againn 50 bliain ó shin.

Tá gá le héagóir an chinnte stadás ollscoile a bhaint de Dhoire i 1965 a cheartú.

Thig linn go léir méara a dhíriú i gcibé treo a oireann dúinn go polaitiúil ach ní bhainfidh sé sin amach an t-athrú atá de dhíth chun an toradh atá uainn uilig a chur i gcrích.  An rud a bhí ar iarraidh le caoga bliain anuas ná an toil phoilaitiúil chun Ollscoil do Dhoire a bhaint amach.  Tá an toil pholaitiúil sin ann anois.

Tá cúrsaí difriúil anois agus an leasChéad Aire ar a dhícheall cur lena focal maidir le tionscadal Mhig Aoidh, beidh an Chomhairle leathnaithe nua agus cumhachtaí méadaithe aici ag feidhmiú in Aibreán agus tá an tírdhreach polaitiúil athraithe go hiomlán.

Tugann sé seo ar fad fócas nua don scéal, agus brúfaidh bunú an Fhoghrúpa Aireachta ar an Iarthuaisceart ag Martin McGuinness an próiseas athraithe a thabharfaidh an t-údarás polaitiúil atá ag teastáil i bhfeachtas Mhig Aoidh.

Ní de thaisme gur thug Martin cuireadh don Aire Breis-Oideachais a bheith ar an fhoghrúpa agus ó d’aontaigh Stephen Farry a bheith páirteach credim go léiríonn sin go bhfuil sé toilteanach ar a laghad tabhairt faoin chás ar son leathnaithe.  Chuir sé in iúl cheana go bhfuil sé de rún aige faoi cheann cúpla mí tairiscint don £11 mhílliún atá de dhíth chun an bloc nua teagaisc a thógáil ag Mag Aoidh i mbliana.  Tacóidh Sinn Féin don tairiscint sin a bheidh ina mórinfheistíocht agus leathnú fisiciúil ag Mag Aoidh.

Dhírigh an tAire fosta aird ar an phoitéinseal de mhéadú suntasach i líon na mac léinn i mandáid an Tionóil nua a thosnaíonn ar an bhliain seo chugainn.  Chun sin a bhaint amach, ní mór dúinn an toil pholaitiúil atá ginte ag tionscnamh foghrúpa Mhartin McGuinness a neartú.  Is í sin an dóigh is fearr le cinntiú go bhfuil Mag Aoidh  ina phríoracht ag gach Aire san Fheidhmeannas.

Cé gur fearr le cuid polaiteoirí aon fhreagracht as chliseadh roimhe a shraonadh óna bpáirtí féin – in ainneoin chúram aireachta na nOllscoileanna a bheith acu sna Feidhmeannais roimhe seo – creidim go bhfuil cur le chéile de dhíth le cinntiú go bhfaighfear leathnú Mhig Aoidh.

Láithreach, ní mór brú a dhíriú ar an áit a bhfuil an chumhacht chinnteoireacht.  Is é sin le hOllscoil Uladh a bhfuil an fhreagracht dheiridh aici as scaipeadh an mhaoinithe a thugtar di ag an Aire Farry.  Tá rogha aici fosta úsáid a bhaint as Banc Infheistíochta na hEorpa mar a rinneadh chun a Campas úr i mBéal Feirste a mhaoiniú.

Tá súil agam go mbeidh Leas-Seansailéir nua OU radacach ina uaillmhian agus ina fhís maidir le forbairt Mhig Aoidh.  Más ea, ba chóir dó tosnú le cinneadh na seachtaine seo caite líon cúrsaí ag Mag Aoidh a ghearradh a mhalartú.

Tá cás gnó an-láidir ar son leathnaithe faoi láthair ag an Aire Farry, cás atá aontaithe ag an Comhlachas Tráchtála, Comhairle Cathrach Dhoire agus Ollscoil Uladh Mag Aoidh.  Ceapaim gur chóir do Leas-Seansailéir nua OU an chomhaontú seo a aithint agus leathnú Mhig Aoidh a sheachadadh, rud atá ríthábhachtach d’athghiniúint eacnamaíochta an iarthuaiscirt.

Is campas trasteorann é Mag Aoigh maidir le mic léinn a tharraingt agus tá ról mór aige i dtionscnamh Thairseach Oideachais an Iarthuaiscirt.  Beidh fócas glan ag straitéis eacnamaíochta iomlánaithe Chomhairle nua Dhoire agus an tSratha Báin ar leathnú Mhig Aoidh a chomhlánófar, dá réir sin, ag uaillmhianta Choláiste Réigiúnach an Iarthuaiscirt creidiúnú a sholáthar dá mhic léinn in ábhair ETIM chun cúrsaí uaschéime a éascú ag Mag Aoidh.

Leathchéad tar éis Lockwood, tá Doire fós ag déileáil le leagáid an chinnte scannalaigh úd.  Creidim, áfach go bhfuil an toil pholaitiúil agus na coinníolacha againn anois an leagáid úd a cheartú trí leathnú Mhig Aoidh a chinntiú.  Tá sé seo agus níos mó tuillte ag an chathair seo agus óige s’againne.

Trí chur le chéile, thig linn a dhéanamh.

Anderson calls for Basque prisoner release

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met members of a Basque youth committee in Belfast today to discuss concerns over the conditions in which imprisoned Basques are being held.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Anderson said; IMG_0388 (1)

“I met with members of a Basque youth committee campaigning on behalf of Basque prisoners being held in Spanish jails.

“In many cases these prisoners are being held hundreds of miles away from their homes and families.

“As a former political prisoner who spent more than 13 years in English jails I could fully empathise with the plight of these prisoners.

“Not only is the continued imprisonment of Basque prisoners an unnecessary obstacle to progress in the Basque peace process, detaining them so far from their homes created huge practical difficulties for the prisoners and their families.

“I repeat the call for the release of the remaining Basque prisoners in order to create confidence in the Basque peace process and will continue to support that process in the European Parliament.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Welcome for ESF application rethink – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed Minister Stephen Farry’s rethink on rejection for ESF funding to some groups whose applications were deemed not have included management accounts while others in the same position were given the opportunity to resubmit the additional information.

Raymond McCartney said:City centre walkabout

“I made a call last week for the Minister to reopen the process for the European Social Fund (ESF) following representation from groups who felt that their applications had been treated less fairly than others who had submitted similar information.

Mr McCartney explained:

“While some community groups had their applications rejected because they had not included Management Accounts others were allowed to resubmit the additional information.

“Clearly this was a flaw in the processing system that required redress. I am pleased that this issue has now been rectified and the affected groups will now be able to submit the required Management Accounts and have their applications reassessed.

“Had this issue not been properly remedied it could result in not only significant job losses in the community and voluntary sector but loss of all the experience built up over many years of dealing with the marginalised and disadvantaged in our communities.

“I therefore welcome the decision to accept the additional information so that a proper, fully informed assessment of all applications can be made on a fair and equal basis.” 

CRÍOCH/END

McLaughlin welcomes Minister’s statement of intent on Magee

Sinn Féin’s Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has welcomed Universities Minister Stephen Farry’s clear statement of intent on expansion at Magee contained in an answer to a written question she posed to him.

Maeve McLaughlin said:

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

“I very much welcome Minister Farry’s clear statement of intent regarding future expansion at Magee Campus contained in an answer to a written question I posed to him.

“My question asked if the minister intended to bid for funding for Magee expansion in the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and I am very encouraged by his response.

“Minister Farry acknowledged that his Department was now in possession of the business plan for the expansion and that it is presently being assessed as to whether it meets guidelines for Expenditure, Appraisal and Evaluation.

“Mr Farry committed that if the business plan meets this criteria – and I have no reason to believe that it won’t – that he would proceed with a bid for funding the project in the next CSR.

“This is the most promising statement that the Minister has made to date and I believe it will be welcomed as progress by all of those campaigning for University expansion in Derry.

Notes to Editor

Question to Minister Farry and his response.

Q) To ask the Minister for Employment and Learning whether he intends to bid for funding for the expansion of Ulster University at Magee in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

A) You will know that a business case for the expansion of the Magee campus was submitted to my Department in December. The business case is currently being scrutinised to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Northern Ireland Guide to Expenditure Appraisal and Evaluation. If it does and we also obtain approval from the Department of Finance and Personnel, I would intend to submit a bid in the next Comprehensive Spending Review to secure funding for the expansion on a sustainable basis.

One of Derry’s busiest roads top get “dog fouling box”-Cllr Colly Kelly

Chair of Derry Councils Environmental services committee Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a Dog fouling box has been installed on one of the city’s busiest streets on the Lone Moor Road outside Celtic Park GAA ground  .

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

Colly Kelly  said “This is one of the busiest stretches of footpath in the city .Hundreds of walkers, runners, dog walkers would use it on a daily basis as well as local residents. Because of its location beside Celtic Park GAA ground, the Brandywell Stadium and City Cemetery its is always a very busy area, just last weekend we had hundreds of people at Celtic Park for the game between Derry and Kerry.

I receive complaints regularly from residents about a small number of dog owners who let their pets foul without cleaning up along this section of pathway particularly from the top of Stanley’s Walk right out to the Brandywell Stadium, it can be particularly bad.

Hopefully the installation of this new bin will help alleviate some of these  health hazards and I would encourage dog owners to make use of it to dispose of their pets waste.

 

Ends

Hypocrisy of SDLP and UUP astounding – Martin McGuinness MLA

This week the Assembly debated the difficult issue of benefits for the most vulnerable in our society. I had hoped, based on the consensus and inclusive approach which characterized the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) and its implementation since, that we would have had a mature and responsible debate dealing directly and effectively with the issues preventing agreement up to this point.Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

I was deeply disappointed by what I witnessed in the Assembly from the SDLP and the Ulster Unionist Party. This was the most disingenuous display of self-serving party politicking from two parties putting their electoral ambitions over the needs of the people they claim to represent.

Both are members of the Executive. Both negotiated and signed up to the SHA. Their respective party leaders – Mike Nesbitt and Alasdair McDonnell – gave commitments to implement the agreement and bring proposed amendments to the party leaders’ implementation group in order to maintain the five party consensus so instrumental in securing agreement in the first place

.

Both parties reneged on those commitments to engage in meaningless posturing aimed at securing headlines. Their hypocrisy is astounding!

On December 17, during the SHA, both parties buckled and agreed to a welfare package falling well short of that achieved by Sinn Féin and the DUP on December 19 presently going through the Assembly.

The deficient deal, which the SDLP and UUP agreed to, did not include the supplementary payment fund – worth £125m over six years – did not include protection for children with disabilities or adults with severe disabilities or the long-term sick. They did however agree a two year loss of benefit sanction.

In contrast, Sinn Féin stood firm and achieved protections unique to the north of Ireland. £565million will remain in the pockets of the most vulnerable in our society over the next six years.

The UUP is a party which stood with the Conservatives on a Tory manifesto that has delivered vicious cuts to public services and unprecedented assaults on the welfare state.

Therefore, for the SDLP and UUP to table amendments on the pretence they are defending the most vulnerable would be laughable if it was not so serious.

The package we have negotiated, protect the most vulnerable from the UUP and from the welfare cuts which their electoral partners in Britain have attempted to impose on our society.

What we witnessed was not a genuine attempt to improve legislation but party political stunts and posturing. Why else did the SDLP leader ignore my repeated requests over a period of three weeks for discussions on possible amendments? Why did neither the SDLP nor the UUP raise these amendments at the Executive – or at the weekly implementation group meetings in the weeks since Stormont House? Why did the SDLP after almost six weeks of refusing to engage, send proposed amendments at the very last minute, 10 hours before the dead-line?

They did this because they were never interested in agreed amendments, only in scoring political points. In order to achieve that, they were prepared, not only to renege on agreements and commitments, but to jeopardise the entire agreement itself.

It is my view that the SDLP have gone down this road because their leader has lost control to such an extent that we are now dealing with two parties within the SDLP.

One party negotiated and signed up to the implementation of the SHA. The other broke those commitments and dishonoured their leader’s commitment that any amendments would be pursued and agreed through the party leaders group.

The SDLP dissidents are clearly now in charge and are prepared to risk the collapse of the Agreement – and thereby the power-sharing institutions – for the sake of party political grandstanding.

If Sinn Fein had taken the approach advocated by the SDLP and UUP in relation to the Welfare Bill and before that, the budget, there would be no agreement and no power sharing institutions. What we would have today is Direct Rule by the Tories and all that would mean in terms of austerity, welfare cuts and water charges.

Who knows, maybe that’s what the UUP wants? But is it what the SDLP or its electorate want?

The fact is that neither of these parties were honest with the electorate. For all their grandstanding, they didn’t tell the public what they agreed at Stormont Castle on December 17th. They didn’t tell the electorate that they both signed up to a welfare package that was far less than the one going through the Assembly.

It is clear that in their approach to this issue both parties are driven by one over-riding priority, not to protect the vulnerable in our society, but to protect their own narrow party political interests. People can and will make their own judgement on this approach in the time ahead. I look forward to that.

Britain should comply with EU ruling on prisoners’ votes – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the British government’s continued refusal to allow prisoners to vote is an affront to democracy.

Ms Anderson said;

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The European Court of Human Rights has found that Britain has breached the human rights of more than 1,000 prisoners by denying them the right to vote.

“This is the fourth time the court has ruled against the British government’s refusal, stating that the ban violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“This latest case was brought by 1,015 prisoners who were denied their democratic right to vote between 2009 and 2011, including during the last general election.

“The British government cannot continue to ignore the ruling of the court and deny people their basic human rights.

“As a former political prisoner I believe that all prisoners deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and this includes access to democracy.

“The continued denial of this right is an affront to democracy and places Britain alongside states with the worst human rights records in the world.

“I am calling on the British government to recognise the ruling of this court and give prisoners their human rights by allowing them to vote.”

Jackson condemns attack on Waterside home

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned  a criminal attack on the home of a long standing and respected family in Top of the Hill area.Christopher TOH 1

 

Councillor Jackson said “Last Wednesday night this family home had an iron bar thrown through the kitchen window and had paint smeared over the front door.

 

“The damage caused to the kitchen gives an indication of the force this iron bar was thrown at the window and it doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if someone had been in the kitchen at the time.

 

Understandably this horrific attack has had a devastating impact on this family and has sent shock waves through this small tight knit community. This is the latest of a number of attacks on this family who are determined not to allow criminals drive them from their home.

Concluding he said

Given the upsurge in burglaries and criminal activity in the area over recent weeks I would call on everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the PSNI.

Summer reprieve for the Cottages –Health chair McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee and Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said that the provision of care at The Cottages facility will continue over the Summer period .She made her comments after continuing to lobby the Health Minister Jim Wells and the Western Trust (WHSCT)on the future of the centre

The chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Maeve McLaughlin said

I felt it was very important to continue my lobbying and engagements with the Minister and the Trust on the future status of the Cottages.

The Trust have now told me that they have been meeting with families on a case by case basis  and will extend the bookings for the Cottages to cover summer holidays/needs.
This will allow them time to consider further options as part of the respite review and they  will engage further with families on this in due course.

 

Ends

One of Derry’s busiest roads top get “dog fouling box”-Cllr Colly Kelly

Chair of Derry Councils Environmental services committee Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a Dog fouling box has been installed on one of the city’s busiest streets on the Lone Moor Road outside Celtic Park GAA ground  .

Colly Kelly  said “This is one of the busiest stretches of footpath in the city .Hundreds of walkers, runners, dog walkers would use it on a daily basis as well as local residents. Because of its location beside Celtic Park GAA ground, the Brandywell Stadium and City Cemetery its is always a very busy area, just last weekend we had hundreds of people at Celtic Park for the game between Derry and Kerry.

I receive complaints regularly from residents about a small number of dog owners who let their pets foul without cleaning up along this section of pathway particularly from the top of Stanley’s Walk right out to the Brandywell Stadium, it can be particularly bad.

Hopefully the installation of this new bin will help alleviate some of these  health hazards and I would encourage dog owners to make use of it to dispose of their pets waste.

 

Ends

Fleming condemns Currynierin security alert

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has condemned those responsible for a causing a security alert in Currynierin.
Councillor Fleming said; 
“Those behind this security alert must be condemned.
“This has achieved absolutely nothing except bringing disruption to the community in Currynierin, particularly those evacuated from their homes.
“There is only one entrance and exit to the estate and, as a result of this alert the residents had to remain in the area.
“This is a city moving forward and the wider community has made it clear that there is no support for this type of activity.
“Those responsible need to listen to the will of the vast majority of people and end these futile actions immediately.” Ends/Críoch

Foyle MLA calls for clarity on future of Lisahally Jobs

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin is to raise with the Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey concerns about the future of jobs of Social Security Agency staff based at Lisahally.

She said?????????????????????????????????

“On December the 3rd of last year I highlighted the concerns of staff at the Lisahally office, after we were told that up to 30 jobs could be lost as a result of moving records to a central location.

I subsequently raised this is a question to the DSD Minister  in December looking for clarity on the future of the Derry jobs and urged management at the Social Security Agency to engage with staff and trade unions to discuss their concerns about this.

I have been contacted by worried workers over the weekend concerned they have had very little news on what the future holds for them and fears they could be out of a job in a couple of weeks’ time.

The workers need clarity and I will be raising this again with the Minister as a matter of urgency.

Ends

Academic excellence can be achieved without selection-Logue‏

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said that the latest results in GCSE prove that academic excellence can be achieved without selection.

She said,
“The latest figures of exam data recently published show that schools that have moved from selection are improving and achieving equal grades with those who still practice selection.
“Sinn Féin has consistently stated that there is no need to put children through the stress of sitting a selection test when all schools adhere to the same curriculum.
“This is positive proof that academic excellence can be achieved without selection and I am calling on more schools to now abandon selection and move education into the 21st century.”

Anderson meets President Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg. MartinaAndersonMEP

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

“I held a very useful and constructive meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg to discuss the latest situation in Palestine.

“We discussed the ongoing impact of the Israeli occupation and the unwillingness of some in the international community to address the consequences of the onslaught on Gaza last summer.

“The international community has a key role to play in supporting the Palestinian people and holding Israel to account for its breaches of human rights legislation.

“President Abbas also gave me an update on the latest developments in Palestine’s bid for full membership of the International Criminal Court.

“We also discussed the release of Palestinian political prisoners, which is a major issue in efforts towards securing a lasting peace in the region. I was in Ramallah with President Abbas in October 2013 when Palestinian prisoners were released and that needs to be repeated.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Palestinian people in their campaign for statehood, justice and human rights.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Cooper condemns robbery of shop on Park Ave

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has condemned the robbery of a shop in the  Park Avenue area around 9.30pm on Saturday night .

Its report two men, one armed with a knife made off with a small amount of money after threatening a female member of staff.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said “Sadly once again a small business servicing the local community in Rosemount has been targeted and a member of staff put through a terrible ordeal.

I would appeal for anyone with even the slightest piece of information to come forward straight away to the police in Derry.

Ends

Council striking of new Rate -Cllr Elisha McCallion‏

CHALLENGE, OPPORTUNITY, GROWTH

 

Cllr. Elisha McCallion said: “The striking of this rate takes place just 6 weeks before the vesting of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council.   It is a historic time, a time of challenge, a time of opportunity.IMG_6017

 

The main challenge lies in the reduction of support from the DoE and DFP Departments which has placed a significant burden on domestic ratepayers across the new council area but particularly in Strabane.

 

The Non-Domestic Revaluation in the Strabane area has led to an absurd anomaly which means that we now have a reduction in the convergence funding and one of the first tasks for the new Council is to challenge DFP on this unfair system which penalises domestic rate payers.

 

The 15% reduction in the Rates Support Grant by the DoE again penalises our Council which already faces up to some of the highest levels of deprivation and economic need across the north.   Again this needs to be challenged.

 

The Rates increase, therefore, is largely down to factors beyond our Council’s control.   Despite these challenges what we have attempted to do, however, is build for the future.

 

Our Capital Plan amounts to £130m worth of projects across many facets of Council activity – all of these designed to improve the quality of life for our citizens.

 

Economic Development & Town Centre Regeneration, Leisure & Sports, Community Centres & Parks – all of this will be part of our new Council’s ambition on behalf of those we represent.   And we will pursue these objectives in conjunction with continuing to provide ratepayers with high quality front line services.”

 

On the 1st April we will move into a new era for Local Government.   As the largest party Sinn Féin is up for the challenge of leading Derry City and Strabane District Council towards a better future – a future which will serve all our citizens better than anything which has gone before.”

 

DERRY SF FACEBOOK

Gearóid Ó hEára Twitter