Approval of Rural Development Programme will benefit entire rural community – Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has said the approval of the Rural Development Programme by the European Commission will allow the Minister to tackle inequalities throughout rural communities.

 

Councillor Fleming said,

 

“The approval of £623 million in the latest Rural Development Programme will allow the Minister to continue of her strategy of bringing equality and prosperity to rural communities right across the North.

 

“The money will be used for job creation, training, infrastructure, education, cross border opportunities and developing the farming and agri-food sectors.

 

“This programme will allow the Minister to continue to develop the rural economy with increased infrastructure such as high speed broadband, better transport links and

 

“It will also help tackle social isolation and support young and older people’s needs leading to a better quality of life by creating new sporting and training facilities.

 

“Money will also be directed towards farmers and the agri-food sector in other to develop and protect the industry by opening up new markets especially building on cross border opportunities. 

 

“This is the largest amount of money accrued for the Rural Development Programme and the Minister needs to be congratulated for her hard work and perseverance in fighting for the rights of the rural communities in the North and I look forward to working with the Minister through the DARD committee to see the programme rolled out in the months and years ahead.” 

Sinn Féin will not be lectured by others – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD addressed the National Hunger Strike commemoration in Dundalk.

The Sinn Féin leader spoke of the courage and selflessness of the hunger strikers and of their families; “their indomitable spirit and selflessness stand out as an inspiration to us all”.

He said:

“The generosity and self-sacrifice of the hunger strikers, and the hard work and support of thousands of people across this island, inflicted a historic defeat on the Thatcher government.”

Gerry Adams attacked the shallow politics of the conservative parties in Dublin.

He said: 1

“Fine Gael and Labour can rightly be blamed for the implementation of austerity policies and the dire social and economic consequences they have created.

“But there is no difference in policy between Fine Gael and Labour, and Fianna Fail. They will not deliver a fair recovery but more of the same old cronyism and clienteles.

“A general election is only months, perhaps weeks away. The Government says that a recovery is underway. If it is, it isn’t a fair recovery. It is a two-tier recovery that benefits them and their friends at the top, not the majority of hard-working, fair-minded Irish citizens.

“Fine Gael and Labour will make one last desperate effort in October to buy the next election. We cannot and should never take the electorate for granted but I am confident that citizens will not be fooled.

“Sinn Féin offers a different way – a better way – to build a fair recovery. It is our responsibility to win the largest mandate possible for our party and for a fair recovery.

“The reality is that the leaderships of Fine Gael and Labour and Fianna Fáil long ago abandoned any real belief in the principles of equality and of rights contained in the Proclamation, or any commitment to a united, free and independent Ireland.

“Partitionism dominates and defines their politics. For them the struggle for Irish freedom ended with the Treaty and the Civil War. It ended with partition. But Ireland divided never can be free. So for us the struggle continues. And Sinn Féin is in the vanguard.

“For that reason our enemies seek at every opportunity to attack our mandate, to undermine the rights and entitlements of our electorate, and to undermine the peace process. Like the men and women of Armagh and the H Blocks they seek to criminalise us. They didn’t succeed in 1981 and they won’t succeed today.”

The Sinn Féin leader also criticised those who have “opportunistically and cynically” sought to use the recent killings of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan to attack Sinn Féin.

Gerry Adams said:

“Let me be very clear. The killings of Jock Davison and of Kevin McGuigan were wrong. Those involved do not represent republicanism. They are not the IRA. The IRA has gone away – you know.

“That organisation, undefeated, took the momentous step in 2005 and ordered an end to its armed campaign; instructed its representatives to ‘engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use’ and ordered its volunteers to take part only in ‘purely political and democratic programmes’ and no ‘other activities whatsoever’.

“None of the many alphabet groups that now claim the proud name of the Irish Republican Army have a right to that title. They have no connection whatsoever with the men and women who bravely resisted British militarism in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and who defeated Thatcher in Armagh women’s prison and the H Blocks of Long Kesh.

“As we approach the centenary of 1916 there is no need, rationale, or reason for any armed groups whatsoever. It’s time they called an end to their sham campaigns.

“I have a similar blunt message for those who engage in a sham fight at Stormont on this issue in order to slow down or dilute the necessary process of change. Those who threaten to take action against Sinn Féin in the political institutions have no basis whatsoever for this.

“Sinn Féin’s mandate and the rights and entitlements of our electorate deserve exactly the same respect and protection as anyone else’s. And Sinn Féin will defend that assertively and robustly.

“We will not be lectured to by those who have failed to honour their obligations time and again. For our part Sinn Féin has kept every commitment we have made.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Tory government stoop to new lows to push anti-benefit ideology-McCartney

Sinn Féin Raymond McCartney has stated that in order to pursue their own ideological agenda to destroy the Welfare State the Tory administration has resorted to telling lies in information leaflets about benefit changes.City centre walkabout

 

 Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:

 “The news that the Department for Work and Pensions in London, which is under the control of the millionaire minister Iain Duncan Smith, produces quotes from fictitious “benefit claimants” in order to put a gloss on punitive benefit sanctions is a new low.

 “The story which broke as a result of an investigation by the Welfare Weekly website highlighted that a leaflet aimed to sell the Tory sanction regime in a positive light using fabricated examples.

 “To do so pretend characters with made-up quotes appeared in the leaflet saying that punitive sanctions had actually helped them.

 “Lets be clear, sanctions negatively affect people. Removing the already subsistence levels of benefit payments to people only pushes people into further hardship.

 “As a result Sinn Féin successfully reduced the sanction time frame in all-party negotiations on Welfare in the Stormont House agreement.

  “It seems now that not only is this British government wedded ideologically to destroying the welfare state and the safety net it provides for society but it appears that they will even lie in their efforts to do so.”

Fleming expresses condolences to the Kerrigan family‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has expressed his condolences to the family of Conall Kerrigan

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said

“The entire community are in shock on hearing the terrible sad news.

I wish to extend my sympathy and condolences to his family and friends at this time”

Ends

The IRA is gone and not coming back – Adams‏

The IRA is gone and not coming back – AdamsCGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

 

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD commenting on the remarks by the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton today said:

 

“Sinn Fein stands on our record in the peace and the political processes and on our mandate.

 

“I note the comments by the Chief Constable today that he accepts the bona fides of the Sinn Fein leadership and our pursuit of the peace process and support for the police in the ongoing investigation into the deaths of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan.

 

“The stand of Sinn Féin on the peace process is a matter of public record. Our integrity is based on our electoral mandate and not on the views of anyone else, even a chief constable.

 

“I do not accept the PSNI claims about the IRA.

 

The war is over. The IRA is gone and not coming back. This has been acknowledged and evidenced over the past 10 years. There is now a peaceful and democratic path to achieve republican objectives. This has the support of the vast majority of republicans and nationalists.

 

“Those individuals who do not embrace this and are pursuing their own agendas do not represent republicanism and should be held to account by the criminal justice system.

 

“Recent mischievous speculation and the use of these tragic deaths by other political parties is self-serving and wholly cynical.

 

“The actions of individual criminal elements or gangs must not be allowed to derail the peace and political process.

 

“Sinn Féin have and will continue to support the PSNI in bringing those involved in the killings of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan to justice and we have consistently called for anyone with any information connected to the investigation to bring it forward.” 

Fleming – Yellow weather warning for North West

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said 11141734_897649346957797_787797005634048740_n

I would like to alert people in the Derry area there is a Yellow weather warning for early Sunday morning  with heavy rainfall  expected. The MET office has issued the warning so i would urge anyone who lives in an area that is prone to flooding to have the likes of sandbags ready.

The emergency telephone number to report a flood is 0300 2000 100.

Campaign stepped up for bilingual destination screens on Derry buses -Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell speaking following meeting senior management of Translink in Derry to push forward his campaign for the company  to introduce a pilot scheme of using bilingual destination screens on a number of bus routes  in the city and to also adopt bilingual bus signs in both English and Irish.IMG_0590

He said “I raised this issue back in February and felt it was very important to keep this on the agenda so it was the purpose of today’s meeting to move this to the next stage. It was a very positive meeting so hopefully thing are going in the right direction.

I believe this is doable and is achievable at very little cost.

Translink bus services operating in West Belfast have been featuring both English and Irish language signs on destinations screens since 2011. And there has been bilingual passenger information on bus shelter timetables and route information.

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.

To have bus services using bilingual signage on a number of routes would i believe a very positive and progressive move for the city.

Soldiers responsible for Ballymurphy Massacre cannot be traced, claims ministry – Taoiseach urged to act

THE Ministry of Defence claims that it cannot find any records identifying the soldiers involved in the Ballymurphy Massacre in the three days after internment in August 1971 when 11 civilians (including a Catholic priest) were shot dead by British Army paratroopers.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD – a former MP for Ballymurphy in west Belfast – says that, in light of the recent all-party motion passed by the Dáil supporting the Ballymurphy families, this deserves the urgent attention of the Taoiseach.

In March, Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the Ballymurphy families and reiterated the Irish Government’s support for the families’ quest for the truth and for justice regarding the deaths of their loved ones, including their proposal for an Independent Panel of Inquiry.

Expressing his “deep concern and anger at the failure of the British Government to progress the Ballymurphy case”, Gerry Adams said he has been given a copy of a letter sent from the Crown Solicitor’s Office to the Coroners’ Service in Belfast which reveals that “serious hurdles have been erected by the British state to the families getting to the truth of events in Ballymurphy in August 1971”.

The letter also confirms that the member of staff assigned to Ballymurphy has been reassigned to another inquest.

Ministry of Defence logo

It reveals that the British MoD “has not been able to uncover any records within its control regarding the original cipher list [British Army personnel record] at Ballymurphy in 1971 . . . MoD has not as yet been successful in tracing any ciphered soldiers involved in Ballymurphy”.

Additionally, it also notes that the PSNI has previously advised the Coroner that “the resources which the Chief Constable can commit to servicing the legacy inquest process are finite”.

Gerry Adams says:

“This is an unacceptable situation. It is clear evidence that the British Government and system is not dealing with Ballymurphy in a manner and a timescale that meets international human rights standards.”

He added:

“The deliberate withholding of resources and the failure to speedily identify the soldiers present in Ballymurphy is evidence of a British Government and MoD deliberately frustrating the families efforts.”

He said the Irish Government has a responsibility and a mandate from the Dáil to challenge the British Prime Minister and Government on the way it which it is dealing with the Ballymurphy families and with this case.

“It needs to adopt a more robust and assertive approach to ensure that the British Government allocates the necessary resources to the Ballymurphy Massacre case.

“I have therefore asked the Taoiseach if he will raise these concerns with British Prime Minister David Cameron; instruct the Minister for Foreign Affairs to also raise this with the British Secretary of State; and seek from the British Government a commitment to allocate the necessary financial and personnel resources to the Ballymurphy Massacre case.”

Michael Devine – Died 20 August 1981 after 60 days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

Michael Devine – Died 20 August 1981 after 60 days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

» Special Correspondent

MICHAEL DEVINE, aged 27, was born in the Creggan, Derry City, on 26 May 1954.

Michael was arrested in September 1976 following an INLA arms raid in County Donegal. He received a 12-year sentence in June 1977.

He spent 60 days on hunger strike from 22 June. He died on 20 August 1981.

 

The death of Michael Devine

 

On the death of INLA Volunteer Michael Devine at 12 minutes to eight on Thursday 20 August 1981, his brother-in-law, Frankie McCauley, said:

“One thinks, ‘Ten men, how many more have to die? We have ours now over us. Next week it will be big Laurence’s people waiting for the same thing. Then the Devlins after that and another boy will go on hunger strike and another. They’ll never break them.’”

Michael Devine was the last of the Hunger Strikers to die in 1981. His funeral took place on Saturday 22 August in his native Derry City, in a grave next to his friend and comrade, Patsy O’Hara, who died the previous May.

The funeral went from Michael Devine’s sister’s home in Rathkeele Way directly to the cemetery after Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Chapel. People came from many parts of Ireland to attend and a long queue of mourners lined up outside the house to pay their respects. Thousands gathered in the street as the coffin was removed from the house, flanked by an INLA guard of honour, followed by relatives and then representatives of the families of the other Hunger Strikers.10-Mickey-Devine

Conversation on the day revolved around the courage and determination of the Hunger Strikers and the wavering attitude of the Irish Government, the SDLP and the Catholic Hierarchy. Another topic of conversation was the election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone after the death of Bobby Sands MP of Owen Carron, who attended the funeral. He was repeatedly mobbed by well-wishers. Three British military helicopters flew overhead.

The cortege made its way to the top of the cemetery and to the plot where Michael Devine’s comrade, Patsy O’Hara, was buried three months previously. A piper playing laments was followed by a guard of honour of eight men in uniform. The two leading Volunteers carried the Starry Plough and Tricolour flags, followed by six more carrying semi-automatic short-arms in their belts. Three drummers then marched silently forward. A second guard of honour of 16 men flanked the coffin on the last few yards of its journey.

Margaret McCauley walked behind the coffin with Michael Devine’s two children, Michael (Jnr), aged seven, and Louise, aged five, and Michael’s aunt, Theresa Moore. The coffin was laid on trestles and the firing party stepped forward and delivered three volleys of shots over the remains of their comrade. This salute was greeted with loud applause. Terry Robson chaired the ceremony and praised the deceased Hunger Striker who was the former O/C of the INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks. Wreaths were laid on behalf of all the Hunger Strikers’ families, the INLA, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the National H-Block/Armagh Committee, the IRA and many others. A girl piper played The H-Block Song and a bugler sounded The Last Post.

 

 

The flags were then removed from the coffin for presentation to Margaret McCauley. “The colours,” Terry Robson said, “include the Starry Plough and the national flag, the Tricolour. It will also include his beret, his gloves and his belt – denoting his rank as an officer in the Irish National Liberation Army.” A statement from the Army Council of the INLA was read out. It said:

“The Army Council and Volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army deeply regret the death of Volunteer and Hunger Striker Michael Devine. The Irish National Liberation Army applauds his heroism in the face of the most extreme deprivation and horror.

“As Officer Commanding our Prisoners of War in the concentration camp at Long Kesh, Michael relentlessly pursued an honourable settlement for the protesting prisoners, not in any elitist disregard for the rights of others but in the full knowledge that his struggle was merely an extension of the same struggle for which he was incarcerated.”

The INLA statement went on to say:

“The creation of the H-Blocks, a development unseen in the history of the sophisticated torture machinery of British imperialism, brought a new unity amongst anti-imperialist organisations and saw a degree of co-operation between people as our nation reacted in horror at what really was going on inside the corrugated and barbed enclosures of Long Kesh.”

The main oration was delivered by Naomi Brennan, Chairperson of the IRSP. She described Michael Devine as “a revolutionary, a soldier, but above all a socialist”. She went on to say that Devine saw from “the reality of everyday life in his native Derry what British imperialism means in Ireland. He saw the long years without hope on the dole. He saw the discrimination and gerrymandering from the fat cats behind the Derry walls, and he liked none of it.”

Naomi Brennan said that Michael Devine was only a youngster when the RUC batoned the civil rights protesters off the streets in 1969, adding that the lessons of the period were not lost on him. She said that 1969 was a time when people had at long last found their voice, learned to stand and demand their rights and that “to stand and fight was far better than 50 years of bending the knee”.

Of Michael Devine’s socialist politics she said that Michael “realised that to have national freedom, we must have socialism, and that, also, to have any chance of socialism, we must have national freedom”. She said that his dedication to the socialist cause was a well-thought-out one and one which he put into practice.

“He realised that you had to organise the people to struggle for themselves; that you had to organise a revolutionary party to guide and direct that struggle; and that you had to organise military resistance to give backbone to that struggle, because that was the only thing that the British had ever really listened to.”

She said the prisoners’ five just demands could, and must, be won.

“The hope we have is not in the droppings from this or that British Government, much less from the well-oiled phrases of the SDLP politicians and their likes. No, the hope we have is in the spirit of Michael Devine, unquenchable even in the jaws of death itself.

“While Ireland brings forth young men and women such as him there is hope now and for the future – a certainty that the cause for which Michael Devine gave his young life is just, and is necessary, and we must see it through to the end. And we will.”

Tory government stoop to new lows to push anti-benefit ideology-McCartney‏

Sinn Féin Raymond McCartney has stated that in order to pursue their own ideological agenda to destroy the Welfare State the Tory administration has resorted to telling lies in information leaflets about benefit changes.

 

 Speaking today Raymond McCartney said:City centre walkabout

 “The news that the Department for Work and Pensions in London, which is under the control of the millionaire minister Iain Duncan Smith, produces quotes from fictitious “benefit claimants” in order to put a gloss on punitive benefit sanctions is a new low.

 “The story which broke as a result of an investigation by the Welfare Weekly website highlighted that a leaflet aimed to sell the Tory sanction regime in a positive light using fabricated examples.

 “To do so pretend characters with made-up quotes appeared in the leaflet saying that punitive sanctions had actually helped them.

 “Lets be clear, sanctions negatively affect people. Removing the already subsistence levels of benefit payments to people only pushes people into further hardship.

 “As a result Sinn Féin successfully reduced the sanction time frame in all-party negotiations on Welfare in the Stormont House agreement.

  “It seems now that not only is this British government wedded ideologically to destroying the welfare state and the safety net it provides for society but it appears that they will even lie in their efforts to do so.”

Ends

Anderson calls for Israeli boycotts to intensify‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson is calling for campaigning against Israeli and international corporations, that are violating the rights of the political prisoners, to be intensified.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The call comes following an appeal from Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails to prioritize their cause.

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

“The national leadership of Palestinian prisoners sent a letter last week to the global BDS movement asking to prioritize the cause of the prisoners and to intensify BDS campaigning against Israeli and international corporations that are most complicit in the crimes committed by Israel.

“As a result of this appeal a call has been made for the international human rights organizations to initiate and/or escalate boycott and divestment campaigns against the companies that are most complicit in Israeli crimes.

“This call from the prisoners, which I echo, adds another dimension to the campaign.

“I ask you to redouble your efforts to boycott corporations that are most deeply involved in Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law and prisoners’ rights.”

Logue congratulates Derry GCSE students

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has congratulated all the local students who have received their GCSE examinations results  .Patricia Logue new pic 22

Councillor Patricia Logue said

“Congratulations to all the young students across the city getting their results today .

I believe they are the result of the hard work and dedication of our students. They are also a credit to the professionalism and commitment of teachers and parents”

She went on to say

“If you did not achieve the grades you wanted, there are many avenues open to you and I would urge you to explore these”

“I sincerely wish you all every success for the future, whether you decide to go on to study A Levels, take up a new course, go into training or employment. And that you are leaving school with many years of happy memories with the skills, talents and enthusiasm needed to pursue a career of your choice”

Ends

McCartney wishes speedy recovery to injured dock workers.

Commenting on the accident at Lisahally docks this morning Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the three injured workers are in his thoughts and prayers and wishes them a full and speedy recovery.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

Mr. McCartney said:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the injured workers and I wish them a full and speedy recovery. Obviously there will be a Health and Safety investigation which must be carried out as exhaustively and thoroughly as is possible.

“The Health and Safety of workers must be paramount in every working environment and the results and any recommendations emanating from any investigation must be rigorously implemented and adhered to.”

SDLP hypocrisy on marriage equality exposed again

Sinn Féin Dungiven Councillor Tony McCaul has said that the hypocrisy of the SDLP on the issue of marriage equality knows no bounds. And he said that his party will be bringing a fresh marriage equality motion in front of the Assembly in the new session.Strabane saturday

Councillor McCaul said,

“The SDLP failed to support a motion on marriage equality at a meeting of the Causeway Coast and Glens policy committee while holding a tribute to gay activist P A Mag Lochlainn in Newry.

“Their hypocrisy on this issue knows no bounds.

“It is ironic that as P A Mag Lochlainn, a native of the Causeway Coast and Glens area, was being honoured in Newry his own SDLP constituency representatives refused to support a motion for marriage equality.

“This is not the first time that the SDLP has attempted to ride two horses on the issue and their failure is another let down to the LGB&T community.

“The best tribute that the SDLP can provide to P A Mag Lochlainn and the LGB&T community is to support Sinn Féin in making marriage equality a reality for all citizens of the North when our party brings a motion before the Assembly in the new session.”

2015 National Hunger Strike Commemoration to be held in Dundalk – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA and former Hunger Striker Raymond McCartney has said that the 2015 National Hunger Strike Commemoration will be held this year in Dundalk.

Raymond McCartney said1

I would like to announce that the National Hunger Strike commemoration will take place in Dundalk on Sunday 23rd August 2015.

This year is the 34th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike which marked a historic watershed moment in Irish and republican history.

Thirty-four years after the Hunger Strike, the republican struggle is immeasurably stronger, more confident and more able to advance our primary political objective of bringing about a united Ireland.

It must be remembered that County Louth played a big role in support of the Hunger Strikers. The support throughout this county was huge. This was demonstrated by the election of Paddy Agnew from Dundalk, a protesting prisoner in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, to the Dáil for the Louth constituency. Paddy topped the poll. So it is appropriate that the County this year plays host to the National Commemoration.”

Glen Park vandalised –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper speaking after a section of the pitch at the Glen Park was damaged by fire.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said

The Glen area has a large young population and needs facilities like this, so it’s hard to contemplate why anyone would even think about targeting a facility that is there for the benefit of the entire community.

I would like to state clearly that those involved in these attacks are totally unrepresentative of the local community.And I have asked the council to try and get the damage repaired as soon as possible.

Ends

Vandals torch road safety measures on Madams Bank Road –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned vandals who set fire to plastic safety barriers and traffic cones being used for roadworks on the Madams Bank Road. Building materials were also taken from a nearby building site and torched.DSC_0627

The Fire Service and the PSNI were both called out to attend the scene on Friday night.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said

I am appealing to whoever is carrying out this nonsense to stop. Attacking any sort of road safety measure is placing the lives of motorists and pedestrians in danger.

This is also a major road which services several housing developments and carries a high volume of cross border traffic.

It is local people who are suffering and their lives being disrupted by these senseless incidents and that is something no one wants.

 

Ends

Community festivals the positive way forward -Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Greater Shantallow Area, Tony Hassan, has congratulated organisers on the success of all the festivals that were organised over the last week in the greater Shantallow area.

Councillor Tony Hassan said:

“I would like to commend everyone involved in making this year’s community festivals a great success. For the first time in many years the area was free from bonfires. It was good to see the hundreds of young children and parent’s attending or taking part in these excellent events.

The organisers of these festivals and the many volunteers who helped out behind the scenes must be applauded for their sterling work over this past week.

What these festivals have proven is that there is other ways to celebrate the 15th of August other than bonfires’ which makes a mess of our areas.

I would call on Derry City and Strabane District council to have a look at providing additional funding for festivals to community groups in the greater Shantallow area and the wider city in general as this year has proved that there is an alternative to the negative custom of bonfires.

ENDS.

Sinn Féin support campaign for Strathfoyle play facilities –Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said

I understand the disappointment and anger felt by the people of Strathfoyle with regard to the recent decision not to fund the much needed play facilities in the area.

The application was supported by the three main community organizations in the area and I commend them for the work and detail they put in which had the widespread support of the people of Strathfoyle and Enagh.

It is something which the people have highlighted over many years. And Sinn Féin have and will continue to support them achieve modern and safe play facilities for the children and young people of the area.

Ends

Logue sends best wishes to Derry students awaiting exam results‏

Derry Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has wished all those who are due to receive exam results in the next few days the best of luck and urged all those who do not get the results they expected to explore other avenues and not to give up.Patricia Logue new pic 22

 

Cllr Patricia Logue said

 

“Hundreds of students in Derry are anxiously waiting to hear how they fared in their recent exams. With students having spent many months and even years putting hard work into preparing for the exams, there is a huge amount of pressure to deliver.

 

“Whether students get the results they hoped for or not, I would like to wish them all the best of luck for the future, as they move from one part of their life to another, which many see as a more exciting and challenging time.

 

To those students who do not get the results they had hoped for or were unable to secure a university place, I would like them to know that there are many other avenues for them to explore and that they shouldn’t give up. There are alternatives to the academic route and the time may now be right for them to focus on their strengths and talents.

 

Ends

 

Sinn Féin to meet with MPE on job fears

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney has said the party is meeting with management of Maydown Precision Engineering, tomorrow morning amid fears of job losses.

Raymond McCartney said:DIGITAL CAMERA

“Fears of job losses are always concerning but when it comes immediately following a recent takeover by new investors

there is a sense of increased nervousness.

“Sinn Féin has secured a meeting with management at MPE tomorrow (Thursday) morning in an effort to clarify the situation. We will also be seeking to meet with Union representatives.

“We have worked closely and positively with the previous owners and would wish to maintain that relationship with Schivo.

“At all times the protection of jobs and employee security must be our priority and I hope that we can find a way to dispel the fears created by the the letters which the Union says were issued to employees.”CRÍOCH/END

McCartney concerned over future of Derry engineering jobs

Sinn Féin MLA has expressed concern over reports that jobs are at risk at a Derry engineering firm.

Mr McCartney said;

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“This announcement of possible redundancies has caused concern and anxiety among the workers at Maydown Precision Engineering.

“In the current climate any fears of jobs losses is worrying and I would urge the company to do all they can to avoid any redundancies.

“This is a stressful time for the firms’s employees and their families and I would call on management to fully engage with workers and unions in the coming days and weeks.

“It is important that all workers’ rights and entitlements are honoured in this process.”

“Sinn Féin will be seeking meetings with both the Company and Union representatives in an effort to clarify the situation.”

Storey must address rural social housing shortage –Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has called on the Social Development and Environment ministers to address the dire lack of social housing in rural areas.

Councillor Tony Hassan said;

 

“Sinn Féin asked the Social Development minister Mervyn Storey for a breakdown of the number of social houses in rural areas across the North and discovered that of the 120,000 social houses in the North; just 18,000 are in rural areas.

 

“This shows a clear disparity between social housing developments in towns and cities and in the countryside.

 

“This shortage of social housing in rural areas will come as no surprise to the many rural families who have been forced to relocate to urban areas because of lack of housing.

 

“Young people in particular, whose families have been in rural communities for generations, now find themselves unable to find social housing where they grew up and have to move elsewhere.

 

“Mervyn Storey needs to take urgent action to address the dire shortage of social housing in rural areas to help ensure the sustainability of rural communities. The way houses are allocated in rural areas also needs to be reformed.

 

“Environment Minister Mark H Durkan too has a responsibility to zone land in rural areas for social housing.

 

“We need to see a joined-up approach from both these departments to support rural dwellers to live in their own communities.”

Fire at St Paul’s Primary School Galliagh –Duffy‏‏

Commenting on an overnight fire in the play area of St Paul’s Primary School in Galliagh local Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy saidDSC_0627

“There is shock in the local area that anyone would even contemplate starting a fire at a school”

“It’s just deplorable and sickening”

“I would like to thank the work of the Fire Service who dealt with this fire and would appeal to anyone in the community who has any information on who was involved in this incident to bring it forward to the police”

Ends

Warning following spate of vandalism attacks on vehicles in Bogside -Kelly‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged vehicle owners in the Bogside to be on the alert after of a number of vandalism attacks on vehicles in the last fortnight.COLLY

Councillor Colly Kelly said

“I was contacted by the owner of a vehicle parked on Stanley’s Walk after three tyres on it were slashed around 5am on Friday morning. I am also aware of a number of vandalism attacks on cars in the Cable Street area on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and similar incidents on the Lone Moor Road the previous week during which wing mirrors were kicked off and paint work damaged .Again these incidents took place in the middle of the night.

It’s intolerable that these attacks are taking place and people are being left out of pocket getting the damaged repaired. I would urge anyone with any information on who is responsible for these attacks to contact community representatives and the police.

Ends

Creggan ‘bonfire’ blaze a strain on emergency services resources –Campbell

Commenting  on a fire at Glassagh Road on Saturday night of suspected bonfire material.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

 

“Tackling such fires means deploying fire fighters and their equipment to the scene often for prolonged periods, which means that if there was a call to a house fire it could create bigger problems for the fire service and put a serious strain on resources across the city.

Concluding he said

I would appeal to businesses throughout the city to ensure that all materials on their premises are secured overnight, in particular wooden pallets, packaging, building materials so they cannot be used by young people to  start any fires.

Vandalism at Waterside Park -Jackson

Waterside Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said CIS9L8pWwAQ4Ale

Last weekend up to 40 youths gathered in the park in Bards Hill destroying the only play facility in the area.

 

Play equipment was destroyed, glass bottles were smashed on the pathways and one resident intervened when there was an attempt to burn a wheelie bin.

 

I went to the park on Saturday after large crowds were reported on Friday night and witnessed the aftermath of this destruction. A number of bongs were left lying on the grass along with empty cider bottles, aerosol cans and glass bottles had been smashed everywhere.

 

There was worrying signs of drug and solvent abuse.

 

It’s unacceptable that children would be exposed to this if they went to play in the park.

 

After the very successful Temple event a few months ago which was attended by tens of thousands of people we have seen a huge increase of visitors to the site. We have also seen an increase in the number of dog walkers in the area. I’ve been contacted by a number of distressed pet owners who have told me their dogs have been injured by the glass smashed on the pathways.

 

The community is becoming increasing angered with this activity and the onus is on parents to be aware of where their children are at night, and more importantly what they are doing.

 

There is an amazing amount of positive community work going on in the Top of the Hill we can’t let that be undermined by a few.

Hassan welcomes start to install Bradleys Pass traffic lights

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that work has begun on the installation of new traffic lights at Bradleys Pass in the city.

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

“There had been frustration in the local community  following being told that these lights were to be installed by the end of March. In fact we held a protest to highlight the delay back in May  so I think everyone will very much welcome the news that preparation work has now begun for the new lights.

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

Colr. Hassan said the campaign to have the traffic lights  installed has been ongoing for quite some time.

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

Ends

Kieran Doherty TD – Died on 2 August 1981 after 73 days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

KIERAN DOHERTY, aged 25, was born in Andersonstown, west Belfast, on 16 October 1955.

Kieran was a teenage internee between February 1973 and November 1975. On his release he was an extremely active IRA Volunteer and was finally captured in August 1976. Kieran received an 18-year sentence in January 1978 for possession of weapons.

On 11 June 1981, Kieran was elected as TD for the Cavan/Monaghan constituency in the Dáil general election, receiving over 9,000 first-preference votes.

He spent 73 days on hunger strike from 22 May. He died on 2 August 1981.

 

IRA Volunteer Kieran Doherty, TD for Cavan/Monaghan, died at 7:15pm on Sunday 2 August 1981, the day after Kevin Lynch’s death. Kieran had joined the hunger strike one day before Kevin Lynch and survived one day longer.

Kieran Doherty embarked on his fast upon the death of Raymond McCreesh. He managed, with difficulty, to speak to his family almost to the end though his sight had almost completely gone. Kieran (or ‘Big Doc’ as his comrades affectionately called him) had a strong spirit of survival which kept him conscious for most of his 73 days on hunger strike.

Kieran’s body was brought out of Long Kesh and through Andersonstown to his parents’ home in Commedagh Drive at two o’clock in the morning. About a thousand mourners accompanied the coffin and even larger crowds came out on Monday morning to pay their respects. The next day, hundreds of stewards took position on the funeral route as Kieran’s coffin was carried out of his parents’ house, escorted by an IRA guard of honour. An IRA firing party came out of the crowd and, lining the side of the coffin, fired a volley of shots. As British Army helicopters hovered overhead, the crowd cheered at the Brits’ inability to prevent the firing party from honouring their dead comrade.Kieran-Doherty-Colour

 

The cortege then moved through Andersonstown, led by two pipers. It may be recalled that during the Hunger Strike some of the clergy had set out to undermine the prisoners’ protest. In contrast to the attitude of the priest celebrating Mass at Kevin Lynch’s funeral, Fr Hansen’s sermon demonstrated a fundamental understanding of the issues at the core of the Hunger Strikers’ protest. While the presiding priest at the Lynch funeral refused to wear his vestments at the graveside because of the presence of a firing party, the priest at Kieran’s funeral recalled having visited Doherty on the 13th day of his fast and remembered it to be a cheerful event. He went on to recount Kieran’s words when he asked him if he would consider coming off the hunger strike. Kieran replied:

“Look, Father, I could not give up. If I did I would go back to criminal status. I am not a criminal. I never was and never will be one.”

Recalling those words at the funeral of Kieran Doherty, the priest said:

“Basically, I had to agree with him.”

He finished off by saying:

“Kieran was very much his own man. He died quietly and very determined, serene and dignified.”

Fr Toner, who was criticised by Bobby Sands in his diary, was in the congregation, listening but apparently unmoved by Fr Hansen’s words.

It was estimated that a crowd of about 20,000 attended Kieran’s funeral.

Chairing the event, Sinn Féin member Jimmy Drumm referred to the ongoing pursuit of the prisoners’ ‘Five Demands’.

“The British Government needs to be moved on the issues of work, association and segregation.” He finished by saying that with the basis of a just settlement “then we and the families will be spared the anguish and suffering of such funerals as this, and the prisoners who have suffered so much will be able to live in tolerable conditions.” Kieran Doherty was the eighth man to die on hunger strike in 1981 and two more would follow.

The oration at Volunteer Doherty’s funeral was given by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Kieran’s Director of Elections during the 1981 general election in the 26 Counties.

Ó Caoláin said that the people of Cavan/Monaghan had taken the 26-year-old to their hearts and that they were proud to elect him as their public representative. Ó Caoláin criticised the Irish Government’s handling of the Hunger Strike, saying:

“Their gamesmanship for petty political scores has been a major factor in the continuing deaths in Long Kesh. The people of Cavan/Monaghan hold the present coalition government directly responsible, through firstly their inactivity and afterwards their open support for pressure to be placed on the Hunger Strikers and their families.”

Ó Caoláin recalled all the other Irish hunger strikers who had died as a result of British intransigence, three of them elected representatives: Terence MacSwiney, Bobby Sands and Kieran Doherty. Again of Doherty, he added that Kieran had taken his place amongst all those who fought for the three tenets of republicanism: “Equality, as embodied by James Connolly, who struggled to achieve a classless society; liberty, the liberty of Patrick Pearse; and the fraternity of Wolfe Tone.”

Kevin Lynch – Died on 1 August 1981 after 71 days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

KEVIN LYNCH, aged 25, was born in Park, north Derry on 25 May 1956.

Kevin, an INLA Volunteer, was arrested in December 1976 and charged with conspiracy to obtain arms. He received a ten-year sentence in December 1977.

Kevin excelled at Gaelic games and had captained the under-16 Derry team which won an all-Ireland hurling trophy in 1972. He stood as a H-Block/Armagh candidate in the Waterford constituency during the June 1981 general election in the South and polled extremely well despite missing out on election.

He spent 71 days on hunger strike from 23 May 1981. He died on 1 August 1981.

07-Kevin-Lynch-RGB

 

Kevin Lynch laid to rest in Dungiven

 

THE death of INLA Volunteer Kevin Lynch after 71 days on hunger strike occurred on 1 August 1981. It was followed the next day by that of IRA Volunteer Kieran Doherty.

They were the seventh and eighth men to die on the fast.

Kevin had been lapsing into frequent periods of unconsciousness in the last four days, having already lost his sight, hearing and speech. His family were at his bedside throughout the final days until he died in the early hours of Saturday morning.

His funeral took place the following Monday in his home town of Dungiven in County Derry. Between the return of his body to his home and the removal for Requiem Mass on Monday afternoon, a constant stream of mourners queued outside to pay their respects. The road was decorated with Tricolours and black flags, along with posters of Kevin Lynch.

The RUC and the Ulster Defence Regiment made every effort to disrupt the funeral, holding up cars and forcing buses to park outside of town so that the passengers would have to make their way on foot. Ulsterbus in Belfast cancelled bookings at the last minute. Nevertheless, mourners came in convoys of cars and black taxis.

At mid-day, the coffin, bearing the Tricolour, Starry Plough, gloves and beret, was carried to the nearby church. The procession was led by a lone piper, followed by the Lynch family, relatives of other Hunger Strikers, and senior representatives of the IRSP and the broad republican movement, along with the National H-Block/Armagh Committee.

Five British Army helicopters flew overhead as the coffin entered the church grounds. Applause broke out momentarily as an 18-strong INLA guard of honour marched up to escort the coffin to the church door. The priest who celebrated the Mass, Fr John Quinn, expressed outrage later when the INLA Volunteers escorting the coffin fired three volleys after it had left the church. So enraged was he that he refused to wear his vestments at the graveside. This same priest had failed to refer to the suffering of the Hunger Strikers themselves and failed to condemn British intransigence. He tried to imply that the family had been opposed to the military funeral – an opinion later refuted by family members, who criticised the press and those who had made unsolicited comments on their behalf. At the graveside, the piper played I’ll Wear No Convict’s Uniform. The Last Post was also played and wreaths were laid, including from both the INLA and IRA Army Councils.

 

 

A uniformed INLA Volunteer then read a statement on behalf of the INLA Army Council, stating regret at Kevin’s death and applauding his heroism. “Kevin Lynch has made the greatest sacrifice, and he has done it in the face of the repressive machinery of British imperialism and in the wake of the greatest gesture of defiance against those who control the prisons and those who rule and ravage our country,” he said.

A short oration was given by Councillor Seán Flynn from Belfast, Vice-Chair of the IRSP:

“Kevin epitomised all that is good in a young Irishman. Playing our national sports of hurling and football, he excelled at both and in 1972 captained his native county to win an All-Ireland medal at hurling.”

He went on to contrast Lynch’s Gaelic spirit with the performance of the Gaelic Athletic Association leadership off the field.

“Yesterday, the Derry County Board and South Antrim County Board asked for a minute’s silence before the All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final between Limerick and Galway. It was no surprise to me when Croke Park refused. President Mac Floinn last week declared that no clubs, grounds or units were to be used for H-Block activity as it contravenes Rule 7.”

He added that work would be done to encourage support for the prisoners’ ‘Five Demands’ amongst the GAA.

Of Kevin’s courage and determination, Seán said:

“It must be remembered that if Kevin had conformed to the British authority he would be a free man today; but to Kevin, Kieran Doherty, Patsy O’Hara, Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson and the continuing Hunger Strikers, they knew if the political prisoners were criminalised then the British Government would attempt to criminalise the struggle on the outside.”

He added that Kevin Lynch knew the consequences of going on hunger strike.

“Deprived of every other means of defending his political integrity, he defended it with his life. Those who imply that he might have been ordered to do so, or could be ordered to cease to do so, fail to understand the depths or the personal integrity – the individual courage and the dedication to the principles he believed in – that made Kevin Lynch the person he was.”

British government should invest in peace rather than war – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has said Theresa Villiers should familiarise herself with the policies of her own government before attempting to lecture others.

Raymond McCartney  said;

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“After following Martin McGuinness to the United States, Theresa Villiers has claimed that the British government would not fund a more expensive welfare system in the North than anywhere else.

“She would do well to check with her cabinet colleague George Osborne who has already announced plans to provide additional special rates for London.

“Perhaps she should familiarise herself with the policies of her own government colleagues before attempting to lecture anyone else.

“Theresa Villiers continues to talk about her government’s obsession with reducing the deficit but never makes any mention of the fact they are planning to spend more than £20 billion on replacing Trident submarines and aircraft carriers and millions on a museum to Margaret Thatcher.

“Instead of spending billions on making war, the British government should ensure the Executive has sustainable and workable finances to secure the progress made as part of the peace process over the last two decades.”

UN recommendation of Stop and Search recording mechanism needs implemented – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on the PSNI to implement a recording mechanism for people stopped and searched in accordance with the UN Human Rights report.

Raymond McCartney stated,PSNI

“The monitoring of stopping and searching of people in the street is an issue Sinn Féin have been pushing for on the Policing Board for some time

“The stopping and searching of people in the street is a contentious issue and does nothing to build community confidence with the PSNI.

“While it is recognised that stopping and searching can be used as a policing tool it also needs to be accountable and controlled.

“We welcome the recommendation in the UN Human Rights Report that the PSNI adopt the mechanism put forward by the Policing Board that a community background of those stopped to be recorded.

“This would allow for scrutiny of all stop and search incidents and protect people from harassment.

Ends

Hundreds of Rosemount homes set for gas –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that 100s of properties in the Rosemount area  are set to benefit from the option of gas heating.

“This is a great news story for local residents that they will be available to avail of gas central heating in their homes.”Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Over the years  residents had complained to me about their lack of energy options .

I have been lobbying with Firmus for some time to make this happen in the Rosemount area.

This will provide a cleaner and more efficient source of heating for the residents and give them a cheaper option.

British government needs to step up to the plate – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the austerity policies of the British government are at the root of the difficulties currently facing the Executive.

Raymond McCartney said; City centre walkabout

“It is ludicrous for Theresa Villiers to talk about the need for all political parties to implement the Stormont House Agreement when her government is continually undermining the political institutions through cuts to the block grant.

“If Theresa Villiers is serious about ensuring the Executive has sustainable and workable finances then her government needs to provide the resources.

“It is not an independent broker in all of this and cannot stand back and attempt to pass the blame. It has a responsibility to step up to the plate.

“Instead of austerity policies from the British government we need to see investment which would allow the Executive to grow the economy and protect the vulnerable and frontline public services.”

Ends

Kelly to quiz Chief Constable on Derry house searches

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said that questions need to be answered by the PSNI about the use of British soldiers today during searches in the Galliagh area of Derry.5080344641_5eae13a7c3_b

 

Gerry Kelly said:

 

“I intend to raise the use of British soldiers in house searches in Derry with the Chief Constable at the earliest opportunity.

 

“The Good Friday Agreement and the promise of a new dispensation for policing was about making policing accountable to the community and did not include the British army.

 

“I want to know at what level in the PSNI was the request made to bring in the presence of the British army.

 

“The use of British soldiers in house searches is unacceptable and only makes it more difficult for political leaders and others to achieve genuine policing with the community.” 

Resolution to Baldrick Crescent road works –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper speaking after concerns was raised about a temporary roadway at Baldrick Crescent in the Rosemount area.

“A number of residents have raised concerns with about aspects of the temporary roadway at Baldrick Crescent “he said

“I have spoken directly to Western Education and Library Board on the issue. They have said that the temporary roadway beside Baldrick Crescent will be removed in next few days .It had to remain in place for some final markings to be made in lower playground and contractor could only get in through back entrance of the school.

It’s hoped everything should be back to normal in next week .If anyone has any queries they should contact me on 028 7137 7551.

Positive meeting with US officials – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said the US administration remains engaged with the political process in the North.IMG_1175

Speaking from Washington after meeting officials from the White House, Mr McGuinness said;

“I had a positive and encouraging meeting with senior officials at the White House today.

“The US administration clearly remains engaged with the political process in the North and they continue to play a constructive role.

“At the meeting I made it clear to them that the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, which have underpinned the peace process for almost two decades, are facing a real crisis as a result of the policies of this British government.

“The political institutions, and the progress we have made over the last two decades of the peace process, are under a real threat and it is my hope that the US administration can encourage the British government to take a more positive approach on dealing with the North.” Ends/Críoch

McGuinness to brief US administration on political crisis

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness is in the US today to seek support for a resolution to the crisis threatening the political institutions in the North.CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

 

Speaking ahead of meetings with the Friends of Ireland caucus on Capitol Hill, the State Department and other senior administration officials, Martin McGuinness said:

 

“The institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, which have underpinned the Irish peace process for almost two decades, are facing crisis.

 

“This is an extremely grave situation and I would urge all those with a stake in this process to make every effort to find a resolution which secures the power-sharing administration.

 

“In order to redress this crisis, we require an imaginative and innovative solution, which recognises the particular challenges faced by our administration. That means ensuring the institutions are politically and economically viable and able to meet the needs of a society emerging from a long and bitter conflict.

 

“To date, that has not been forthcoming from the British Government and they need to be persuaded that a new approach is required.

 

“It is my hope that the US administration ­ which has been a key ally since the inception of the peace process – can help convince the British Government of the gravity of the current situation and to end their current approach which threatens to undermine the incredible progress we have made.

Concern after medication found in Rosemount laneway -McLaughlin

Sinn Féin  Foyle MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health committee Maeve McLaughlin has urged anyone who wants to dispose of medication of any description to leave it in their local chemist for safe disposal.MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN


She was speaking after residents in Rosemount contacted her  concerned that several forms of medication had been found in a laneway in the area. Residents took photos of the medication they found.


Maeve McLaughlin said

“Residents contacted me concerned that in a number of bags they found in a laneway behind homes in Rosemount contained prescription drugs. They were very worried about the consequences if a child had found this medication.


I urge would anyone who has medication about the home that they no longer use that they safely dispose of it at their local chemist.

Moss Park residents sickened by another night of vandalism –Cllr Sandra Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said residents in Moss Park are sickened by another night of vandalism in the area.

Street lights were smashed , lights on the main Glengalliagh Road damaged and fires started on a number of green areas.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said “I have spoken to a number of residents today and they are sickened by what took place there on Saturday night.

It was just wanton vandalism. It ridiculous that when community organisations and all the various agencies are trying to improve and enhance the area that a very small minority are intent on trying to wreck it. They must not succeed.

We can only wonder at the motivations of the those individuals  who carried this out, but whatever they hoped to achieve with these actions all they have done is strengthen our resolve to continue our work on behalf of the local community. ”

Ends

Action required on hospital waiting times – McLaughlin‏

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called for an action plan from the health minister to deal with hospital waiting lists.

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

“The increase in waiting times for patients is not acceptable.

“The health committee carried out an inquiry into waiting times and a number of recommendations were made, which need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

“One was to look at the patient’s journey from referral to treatment in its entirety and for set time frames to be introduced and enforced.

“An action plan is now needed from the department and the minister to reduce waiting times.

“As a committee we looked at the Scottish model and they have a unit within their health department specifically to deal with waiting times and perhaps that is something we should be looking at here.

“I will be raising these issues with the health minister.”

Kelly condemns attempted robbery of Bogside bookmakers

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting after the attempted robbery of a bookmakers at  Blucher Street on Thursday nightCouncillor Colly Kelly

He said “Once again we are greeted with the news that a small business has been subjected to an attempted robbery.

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

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

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

 

Ends

United Ireland economy can deliver sustainable prosperity – O’Neill

Sinn Féin MLA and Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill has said a stronger economy in a united Ireland can deliver sustainable prosperity for all. CKmRJa3UkAIZknR

Speaking at a Sinn Féin economic conference in Derry on Thursday , which was attended by party activists and leading economic experts, Ms O’Neill said; 
“We want to build an Ireland that all the people of Ireland can be proud of.

“An Ireland confident in itself, proud of its successes  and which delivers for all the people of Ireland.

“An Ireland of good government and empowerment.

“An Ireland vigorous and determined in its resolution to end poverty and disadvantage, to support business, promote growth and tackle inequality.

“This is what we in Sinn Féin are determined to deliver

“I earnestly believe that in working towards a New and Equal United Ireland, we will reflect the wishes, the hopes and desires of all the people of Ireland

“If we are to achieve a new and equal Ireland then we must discuss and debate our progress towards it and our vision for it.

“We must never shy away from robust debate, but we should strive always to be constructive and respectful

It is of surprise to no-one, that we in Sinn Féin will always argue the case for greater economic powers for the north of Ireland or that we will argue the case for Irish Unity

“The more power the people of Ireland have, the more we can achieve and that extends to delivering a New and United Ireland.

“In the north we face the daily challenges of the current financial and budgetary crisis.

“We will face these challenges boldly, we seek positive solutions

“We know that there are no positive alternatives from Britain.

“We must be mindful that the solution to our challenges will come from within ourselves.

“We will not be halted from delivering a just, fair and equal Ireland fit for all of her people.

“Sinn Féin’s approach to governance in the north, acting in Ireland’s interest, demonstrates clearly what is possible even within the very severe financial and economic challenges that we face.

“When Westminster and Dublin cut during the crunch years, we invested what we could, where we could.

“We invested all that we could in the northern economy.

“We protected our Health Service from privatisation.

“Protected people from water charges and prescription charges.

“Ensured that older people benefit from free transport.

“We retained the Educational Maintenance Allowance to support young people from poorer backgrounds to stay in education

“We have protected the people, invested in business, created jobs

“And we have done all of this within the crippling constraints of British budget cuts that show no sign of going away.

“If we can achieve all this within the constraints of a British Government determined to implement an economic and social agenda that is entirely at odds with our vision for the economy and society

“Then what more can we achieve within a United Ireland, which is a just fair and equal Ireland

“Two competing, fractured economies on this island will not deliver prosperity for the people of Ireland.

“Where joint enterprise is applied, such as in Health, not only does it provide a higher standard of care but it produces better economic outcomes also. It improves the economic and physical well-being of our citizens.

The jointly funded cancer centre in Derry demonstrates that progressive thinking can deliver public services across Ireland effectively and efficiently.

Similar approaches must be developed and implemented with regard to the economy.

It is crucial, for the economic and social welfare of the people of Ireland, that we

·      become champions for the creation of a Border Economic Zone as a means of fostering economic recovery in the border counties ensure that there is a timetable and plan for the full integration of public services in Ireland

·      ensure that there is an integrated economic strategy for Ireland

“Maintaining the status quo in the form of two competing, fractured economies in Ireland can only perpetuate and increase the obstacles to sustainable economic recovery.

“A new stronger economy in a United Ireland can deliver sustainable economic prosperity that the present status quo is incapable of delivering.

“Together we can build a new stronger United Ireland economy that works for us all.

“In a United Ireland we would have a government that can make decisions with all of Ireland’s interests at heart.

“We would have stronger, fairer more just and prosperous economy in a United Ireland.

“So let’s use the time today have a discussion firmly focused on the future.

“Let’s consider how we can deliver economic recovery to all the people of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin stand for justice, fairness, prosperity and equality for all.

“We have a restless desire to make Ireland, north and south, the nation we know it can be.

“A prosperous United country where everyone can fulfil their potential.

“A just, fair and equal Ireland in which all of us come first and where no-one gets left behind.

British government austerity biggest threat to institutions Murphy tells Derry conference

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said the British government’s austerity agenda remains the biggest threat to the political institutions in the North. 

Speaking at an economic conference in Derry organised by Sinn Féin, which was attended by a panel of expert economists, Mr Murphy said;

“The austerity agenda of the British Government is the biggest threat to the institutions and the political process in the north.

“Austerity isn’t working, it doesn’t work in Ireland, it doesn’t work in Britain and it doesn’t work in Europe.

“But austerity is all that is on offer from Britain. In its place we need to see sustainable and workable finances for the Executive to enable it to deliver core public services, protect the most vulnerable and create jobs.

“We need to see a united campaign from a broad rage of society, including political parties, trade unions, community groups and others to fight austerity, protect public services and grow the economy.”

Ends

Community wants gating scheme extended to hotspots –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has urged all the agencies involved in securing gates for Madams Bank Road Tunnel to also look at the introduction of gates at similar hotspots at tunnels located at Collon Lane and Carnhill.DSC_0627

“There is much relief that the gates have finally been installed at Madams Bank Road” Councillor Duffy said

“All the political parties, communities groups in this area along with residents, the Council, PSNI  and statutory agencies have been working very hard to try and find workable solutions to resolve problems being encountered at this underpass for many years.

I would now call on all those  involved in this process to set up a similar initiative to address similar issues at the other two tunnels at Carnhill and Collon lane.The problems being encountered at these tunnels has been well covered in the local press over recent years and residents have been in touch with me again this week calling for action.

Gates will not solve all the issues but  would go a long way to help reduce much  of the anti-community activity which has blighted this area.

McCartney welcomes UN Committee call on Finucane and HIU

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson, Raymond McCartney MLA has welcomed the call by the United Nations Committee on Civil and Political Rights for an inquiry into the murder of Human Rights Lawyer Pat Finucane and the prompt establishment of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

Raymond McCartney said:

“Sinn Féin has consistently supported the campaign for an independent international inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The demand has also enjoyed the support of many eminent judicial figures and human rights groups internationally.

“This demand has now been endorsed by a United Nations Committee on Civil and Political Rights. This is a significant development and one which the British government cannot afford to ignore.

“Relatives For Justice are to be congratulated on the successful outcome of its substantial submission to the committee.

“The committee’s call for the prompt establishment of the HIU is also to be welcomed. This was a Stormont House Agreement commitment and needs to be acted upon immediately.” CRÍOCH/END

Ballymagroarty vandalism condemned –McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on parents to ensure their children are not involved in recent burning incidents in Ballymagroarty.

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “Over the past two nights teenagers have set alight material at the entrance to the Pennyburn Credit Union and on the main road through Ballymagroarty.   Youngsters have also been able to access the main switchbox and have disrupted power to the street light system in the area.

 

Residents in Ballymagroarty are understandably angry at these recent incidents of vandalism and I would appeal to parents to ensure they are aware of their children’s whereabouts, particularly late at night.

 

I have been in contact with Street Lighting requesting that the main switchboxes in the area are properly secured as quickly as possible.   I would also appeal to local businesses to ensure that any materials which can be taken to be burned are properly stored out of reach.”

Britain must recognise unique challenges facing the North – McGuinness

David Cameron’s government must recognise the unique difficulties facing the Stormont Executive if the power sharing institutions are to survive, Martin McGuinness has said.

A Sinn Féin delegation, also including Party President Gerry Adams, Vice President Mary Lou McDonald and former MP Michelle Gildernew, met with the British Prime Minister at Westminster last night .CKdb93SW8AAkcMZ

Speaking afterwards, the Sinn Féin MLA and Deputy First Minister called for a renewed effort to restore the political and economic viability of the political institutions.

“Today’s engagement was useful and I believe that David Cameron can be in no doubt about the seriousness of the crisis we are facing,” he commented. “The political structures created by the Good Friday Agreement are at the point of imminent collapse due to the British Government’s austerity agenda.

“Sinn Féin will do everything in our power to prevent a collapse from happening. Others – particularly the British Government – must do the same.

“But for the institutions to survive, they need to deliver for all citizens, be they unionists, republicans or others. That requires a workable budget and a new approach and new investment from Westminster.

“The British Government needs to accept the special circumstances of the north, as a society coming out of conflict, which lasted for almost 30 years.

“If we are to deliver for citizens, consolidate and build on the peace, create a peace dividend, which is tangible in deprived communities which suffered most as a result of the conflict, then the Executive needs the tools and the resources to address these deep-seated issues.

“Successive British governments invested enormous, at times limitless, resources in pursuing a military agenda. They now need to bring a similar commitment to building a still fragile peace.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

All-Ireland approach on sarcoma needed – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called for an all-Ireland approach to combatting the rare cancer, sarcoma.
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Ms McLaughlin said;
“Sarcomas are cancers which affect the connective tissues of the body such as muscle, nerves, bone, cartilage, blood vessels and fat.
“Around 100 people are diagnosed with Sarcoma in the North every year but more awareness is still needed.
“The tragic death of Paul Coyle in Derry from Sarcoma and the awareness campaign launched by his family and friends have helped increase awareness of the disease.
“The painting of Free Derry Wall has also added a very public dimension to that campaign and will no doubt help increase awareness of sarcoma.
“I have organised a public information session on Friday which will be addressed by Dr Charles Gilham, a leading expert on sarcoma. It will be part of a weekend of events which will also include an awareness raising walk and the release of lanterns in memory of Paul.
“At present sarcoma patients from Derry and Donegal have to go to London for treatment, often at great expense to themselves and their families.
“We should be looking towards the development of an all-Ireland approach to patients with sarcoma so they can get the best level of care close to home.” Ends/Críoch

Derry Volunteers Cup next weekend

The Annual Derry Volunteers Soccer competition will take place at Bishops Field in Creggan over  two days on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th  July at Bishops Field  .The final will take place on the Saturday at 7.00pm followed by presentations in the Telstar Bar at 9.30pm DSC_0421

Frustration and safety concerns over unfinished Hollymount work –Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson said CIS9L8pWwAQ4Ale

 

“Residents in Hollymount are becoming increasingly frustrated with the resurfacing work being carried out in the estate. Work began almost one year ago to replace existing flagstones and steps in the estate.

 

Now one year down the line the work still hasn’t been completed. Some steps have been left in an unusable condition, one elderly resident fell after losing her footing on a set of steps that are so narrow residents have no option but to tiptoe up and down them.

 

Over the last year residents have told me that they have faced a multitude of problems with the length of time it is taking for this work to be completed, that cars have been damaged, and claimed that building equipment and machinery had been left unattended for days and in some cases weeks posing a serious risk to children playing in the area.

 

I have been in contact with Transport NI over a number of months and have been assured each time that the railings will be in place within weeks. Now as we face into the holiday period there is a fear that this work will face further delays.

 

I would call on Transport to finish this site with a renewed sense of urgency and leave the residents with safe, functional steps similar to what was in place prior to the work starting.

 

Ends

Sinn Féin opposed to trade union-busting legislation – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed confirmation that Tory union-busting legislation will not apply in the North. 

The Foyle MLA said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“It is patently obvious that this Tory government is intent on not only attacking the living standards of low-paid workers and those dependent on social protections but also to remove the hard-won rights of workers.

“The British government would better serve the people by bringing forward legislation to protect workers’ rights rather than interfering in Trades Union members’ rights to withhold labour.

“What is required is legislation to strengthen workers’ rights to engage in collective bargaining to ensure compliance with European Court of Human Rights judgements.

“One of those judgements ruled that the accepted right to join trades unions includes the right to collective bargaining. Vulnerable workers now more than ever need their rights enshrined in law and protected not diluted.

“If this Tory government succeeds in curtailing the rights of workers to take industrial action, I have no doubt it will result in increased exploitation by employers, more zero-hour contracts, lower pay, poorer working conditions, and lowering of health and safety provision.

“It is time for the political parties, trades unions and civic society to stand together against the immoral attacks by this Tory government on the working poor, the sick and the vulnerable.” 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

EU should not fund Israeli groups which breach international laws – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the EU should not be funding Israeli organisations, which are involved in breaching international human rights laws. 

Speaking after sending a letter signed by 79 MEPs to senior EU officials, Ms Anderson said;

“There is widespread concern among Palestinian groups about some of the Israeli groups accessing funding from the Horizon 2020 program.

“Those views are shared by a growing number of MEPs who are concerned that current EU guidelines to assist international law do not go far enough.

“Palestinian groups have brought it to our intention a report by the Stop the Wall group detailing financial assistance given to Israeli military and security companies who are involved in violations of international law.

“I circulated a letter to MEPs outlining these concerns and that letter has now been signed by 79 MEPs and has been sent to Fedrica Morgherni, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs.

“The international community and the EU in particular have a responsibility to support the Palestinian people and challenges breaches of international law.”

Vandals plunge Linear Park into darkness –Cllr Sandra Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has made an appeal for vandalism attacks on street lights in the area from Bracken Park throughout the local Linear Park to stop.

She made her appeal after it a fire was started at one of the lights which subsequently tripped all the lights in the system.

She said “Sadly vandals have once again targeted the lighting system at the Linear Park.

The Linear Park is one of the few facilities in the greater Galliagh area and the last thing local residents want is for it to be in plunged into darkness at night time.

These lights are the responsibility of the council, I have reported it to council and they hope to have a contractor out to fix them as soon as possible.

End

Carers should have free public transport when accompanying patients-McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said the party has written to the Minister of Regional Development Danny Kennedy asking that carers who are being forced to pay public transport costs when accompanying the person they care for get free public transport.City centre walkabout

 

He said:

 

“Carers save the government millions each year by providing a service that is invaluable to the person they care for yet they are paid very little in return.

 

“Most full-time carers get a small top up on their benefits and this is far below an average working wage. Yet many, who are family members, are constantly caring for their patients 24/7.

 

“However if the person being cared for has to use public transport to travel to hospital, go shopping or visit friends then the carer is expected to pay the full amount.

 

“This can become uneconomically viable and therefore a reason to restrict the mobility of a carer and those in need of one, especially those in rural areas who depend more on public transport.

 

“Sinn Féin has written to the Minister of Regional Development Danny Kennedy and will also be raising the issue with the Health Minister Simon Hamilton in order to allow free transport for carers when accompanying the person they care for.

 

“Carers need to be given full support in providing the service that they do and allowing them free public transport is one the issues we could address as soon as possible.”

Need for safe motorcycle facilities to be developed-McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has highlighted the need for safe motorcycle facilities to be developed within the Council area.

Cllr. McGinley said: “In recent weeks we have witnessed an increase in the numbers of young people using motorcycles in residential areas particularly in the upper Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank estates.   This activity traditionally peaks at this time of year with the longer evenings and school holidays.

These motorcycles are unsuitable for use in built up areas and cause inconvenience and disruption to many residents as well as posing obvious dangers to drivers and pedestrians in an unregulated environment.

Many young people are attracted to motorcycles and it is unfortunate that the facilities do not exist which would allow bikes to be driven within a safe and regulated area.

I have been in discussions recently with Council officers and representatives of motorcycle organisations, particularly the North West Community Motorcycle Project set up specifically to address this issue, in an effort to identify suitable locations for the creation of motorcycle tracks and I will continue to work with all concerned to find a solution which will provide much needed facilities for young people.”

Tánaiste’s Dáil distortion of facts about Ballymurphy Massacre

“The Ballymurphy killings were part of the immediate aftermath of the introduction of internment. As violence flared, gun battles broke out between members of the IRA and the British Army. In the midst of this chaos, 11 people were shot by the British Army in Ballymurphy.” – Tánaiste Joan Burton’s distortion in the Dáil of the facts on Wednesday 14 July 2015 as stunned Ballymurphy families watched from the public gallery.

IN AUGUST 1971, British soldiers gunned down in cold blood ten unarmed civilians. An eleventh person died of a heart attack after he was subjected to a mock execution by British soldiers who placed a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Much like the events of Bloody Sunday less than six months later, the British Army’s shock troops of the Parachute Regiment claimed they had come under fire from republicans – thus attempting to justify their rampage through this west Belfast neighbourhood. As with Bloody Sunday, eyewitnesses were adamant that the firing came from one direction only – that of the British troops.

The Tánaiste’s ignorance of one of the worst atrocities in the history of the conflict – and during a Dáil debate – is at odds with her deep interest in incidents which involve victims of republican violence.

Ballymurphy families 2015 Dáil

Of course, victims of republican violence can often be used to attack Sinn Féin and to deflect and derail from answering tough questions in the Dáil on Government policy. The victims of British state and unionist violence offer her no such tactical advantage – therefore their suffering can be treated with indifference, ignorance or falsehoods.

At the time of the massacre, some Irish newspapers swallowed the British propaganda which the Irish Labour Party leader read into the Dáil record on Wednesday.

The Irish Independent reported at the time:

“Reverend Hugh Mullan was killed last night in Belfast following his attempt to administer the Last Rites to a dying guerrilla fighter in the New Barnsley area.”

The “dying guerrilla fighter” was in fact local civilian Bobby Clarke, who had been shot by a British soldier while walking across a field.

Bobby had been helping evacuate women and children from nearby houses which were under attack from loyalist mobs. He had just carried an 18-month-old child to safety and was returning to help others when he was shot.

The local priest phoned Henry Taggart British Army base to let them know he was going to administer the Last Rites to the wounded man. After anointing him, the priest attempted to return back through the field to get an ambulance. It was then that a British sniper on the roof of a nearby flats complex shot Fr Mullan. Witnesses could hear the priest praying aloud for some time as he lay dying. Bobby Clarke, the man he had anointed, miraculously survived.

Also killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre was grandmother Joan Connolly.

She was shot in the face by a British soldier as she went to the aid of a wounded man who was lying in the street near the barracks.

Even after the massacre, soldiers targeted the families.

Briege Voyle, Joan’s daughter, told An Phoblacht:

“We had already been through a terrible ordeal but it didn’t stop there. The paratroopers continued to torture us. They used to sing ‘Where’s your mama gone?’ [the chorus of a pop song Number One in the charts] outside our door and you couldn’t walk down the street without them taunting you. We were all so terrified.”

Joan Burton, of course, never bothered to inform herself of this. Such a horrific massacre, carried out by the British Army’s elite paratroopers against besieged nationalist civilians just months before they went on to gun down 14 Civil Rights marchers on Bloody Sunday in Derry isn’t the narrative that has been pushed by the Southern Establishment ad nauseum.

The Irish Government claims it will do all it can to help the Ballymurphy families in their quest for justice. But if the most senior elected representatives of that Government can display such wilful, unmitigated ignorance of the topic – can we really take their assurances seriously?

Grangemore and Ardgrange traffic calming measures

I recently raised residents’ concerns about  traffic in the Grangemore and Ardgrange developments with DRD Roads Service (TransportNI) in relation to the speed of traffic travelling through the area and  road markings.COLLY

There was a particular concern about traffic at  the main entrance into Grangemore and the speed of traffic both entering and leaving the development.I am pleased that  traffic calming measures have been introduced there.This a very busy junction with over 300 houses in Grangemore and Ardgrange.

Both myself and residents are disappointed that a number of road markings we had been lobbying for have not  been introduced at this time but i will continue to press for this to happen.

Major fire at Derry Poundstretcher store –McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin commenting on a major fire at the Poundstretcher premises on Bishop Street in Derry City Centre overnight.?????????????????????????????????

Speaking after visiting the scene this morning  Maeve McLaughlin said

“I would like to commend the work of the local Fire Service who worked throughout the night to contain this fire and stop it spreading to adjoining businesses. Due to the scale of the fire it obvious it will also have an impact on the other shops and businesses in the locality.

It’s important that the staff get as much support as possible and that the store is reopened to save up to fifteen local jobs. City Centre Initiative Manager Jim Roddy with others have been working very hard to ensure alternative premises are found.

Ends

Coalition for reconciliation is essential, Declan Kearney tells Westminster audience

Coalition for reconciliation is essential, Declan Kearney tells Westminster audience

● Declan Kearney with Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty at Westminster

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney addressed a major reconciliation event in Westminster on Tuesday evening 14 July., 

He was speaking alongside former Labour Secretary of State Peter Hain; the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Canon of Reconciliation, David Porter; former Assembly Speaker John Alderdice; the Chief Executive of Irish in Britain, Jennie McShannon; and Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty.

The event – based on the ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ series of articles carried by An Phoblacht – was chaired by Professor Mary Hickman, St Mary’s University College. 

This is what Declan Kearney said in his speech.

***

Prince Charles’s recent meeting with Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness happened not just because of the Sinn Féin leadership’s total commitment to reconciliation and healing but also because the British royal family and key elements of the British state had the independent foresight to recognise it represented another important opportunity to create positive forward momentum

***

All wars and political conflicts create carnage and suffering.

One hundred years ago, the unimaginable horror of World War One was unfolding.

It was described as “the war to end all wars”.

Yet, within 30 years, a new world war had erupted and it too caused colossal devastation and suffering. World War Two included events like the blitz of London, and the mass atrocities at Auschwitz and Belsen.

Last May marked the end of that war in Europe 70 years ago. Three months before, in February 1945, the city of Dresden was carpet-bombed. It became another of the many horrific events which were part of the carnage of World War Two.

Dresden

Dresden after being carpet-bombed by the Royal Air Force

A play has recently been written about this particular episode in European history called After Dresden. A review of it said:

“Together the central characters ask each other painful questions. ‘Is forgiveness possible? How does reconciliation happen? And can we ever recover the truth about the past?’ It is more important than ever that we address these issues in a society that still has not healed.”

Such questions – and the compromises implied within them – are part of the ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ which need to happen for reconciliation and healing to grow.

There is no distinction to be drawn between the carnage and suffering resulting from conflict.

No war can be romanticised.

Terrible devastation and human loss were caused by the political conflict in Ireland and Britain.

Victims were created by and on all sides – by republicans; the British state, its forces and agencies; and by unionists.

All sides were part of the conflict which occurred and continued.

IRA operations in this city resulted in many military and civilian fatalities and casualties as well as enormous commercial damage.

Regrettably, our collective past cannot be changed. Neither can it be disowned by republicans or anyone else.

Too many families from all sides, across Ireland and Britain, live with real and continuing pain. I am sorry that cannot be undone. No reasonable person could disagree that there are many things which we wish had been done differently or not at all.

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the IRA’s formal announcement to end its armed campaign and support the achievement of republican objectives of Irish unity and independence through democratic and political programmes.

Irish society has now moved irreversibly beyond war.

The Good Friday Agreement was the catalyst for that transition. It is the definitive benchmark against which to measure change.

The absence of war, however, is not in itself enough.

The time has come for us all to develop reconciliation, promote healing and to embrace forgiveness.

That is a challenge which will be both difficult and painful because uncomfortable compromises inevitably need to be considered.

After two wars in 30 years, Europe had to compromise in order to find a relationship with its history and avoid recycling past pain for the future.

Courage will be required but, as Nelson Mandela said:

“Courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.”

Mandela, McG and Adams

The fact is that the hurt caused by war still needs to be healed long after wars finish.

Now that the war which divided Britain and Ireland is over, we have to explore how new political and human relationships can be made.

That challenges us all to open our hearts and minds and embrace respect, generosity, forgiveness and trust. These must be the foundations of a shared future.

Reconciliation and healing must be our future, otherwise society and politics will remain trapped in the pain and resentment of the past.

However, a minority still oppose that vision.

In Ireland, North and South, and here in Britain, some believe that dealing with the past is a new battlefield.

They prefer endless recrimination to reconciliation and refuse to accept that reconciliation should be set above political agendas or allegiances in the greater good.

In his recent article in The Irish Times, Professor Richard English commented:

“Many pro-Union people were louder in demanding that republicans should give up violence and that they should respect Northern majority opinion than they have been to engage in meaningful dialogue with republicans once those crucial changes were brought about.”

This is why symbolic initiatives and political leadership supporting the reconciliation vision remain so important.

Given our history, such gestures should not be taken for granted. But, when carried out in a spirit of mutual respect and equality, these gestures and initiatives can provide hugely important examples for wider society.

There was great significance attached to the private meeting which followed the public encounter between Prince Charles sand Gerry Adams during the recent royal visit to Ireland.

Prince Charles meets Gerry Adams 2015

That meeting brought together Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, as the most central republican leaders of the last 45 years, with Prince Charles, the British royal figure most synonymous with the British military forces and imperial and military traditions of the British state and set to become the next British head of state.

Coming as it did in the context of Prince Charles’s own personal pilgrimage to Mullaghmore to remember his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, killed by the IRA, this meeting powerfully underlined the irreversibility of the Peace Process and our collective responsibility to open up a new phase based upon reconciliation.

It also symbolically gave expression to the multiple narratives about the past and was evocative of some (but not all) of the incidents which moulded the experience of our most recent conflict.

Importantly, this latest initiative happened not just because of the Sinn Féin leadership’s total commitment to reconciliation and healing but also because the British royal family and key elements of the British state had the independent foresight to recognise it represented another important opportunity to create positive forward momentum.

Queen Elizabeth has already made her own influential contribution to the Peace Process. The decision of Prince Charles to meet with Sinn Féin, repeat her words from 2011, and then offer his own words on regrets, resentment and attribution of blame, indicate the British royals are committed to developing authentic reconciliation and healing.

That sends a clear message to those who are hostile to this agenda.

There is a bigger picture.

Those who share a strategic vision for the future of the Peace Process must reach out to each other and make alliances for the greater good.

A coalition for reconciliation drawn from all sections of society and throughout Ireland and Britain needs to be formed to unlock a new phase of the Peace Process.

Nelson Mandela also referred to the importance of partnership in peace building:

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your friend.”

No government or state system is monolithic.

There are always competing positions, both progressive and regressive.

Some sectional and political interests did not want the meeting between the Sinn Féin leadership and Prince Charles to take place.

They are unwilling to place reconciliation above the political process or to promote healing and authentic reconciliation as strategic priorities.

That mindset is indicative of British Government policy towards the North over the last five years.

The reality is that the biggest threat to the viability of the political institutions and political process was the approach of the Tory-led coalition.

It reduced the North to a political backwater through negative mismanagement of the peace and political processes. The imposition of its austerity agenda has directly contributed to political instability.

No political process can flourish without a sustainable economic framework or the expenditure to meet society’s needs.

The worsening austerity crisis in the North is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement. The ideologically-driven approach of this majority Tory Government is now putting it on a direct collision with the very basis of the Agreement.

The current British Government’s economic and political policy is pushing the regional economy and political process into a negative downward trajectory.

That can only have extreme and long-term adverse consequences, including potentially fatal repercussions for the Good Friday Agreement itself and the North’s relationship with Europe.

May Day 2015 Belfast

Belfast May Day rally, 2015

The question which all of that poses is whether such an outcome has become a calculation of this British Government’s policy towards the North.

Deeper political instability and increased polarisation will surely undermine the prospects for reconciliation and healing.

That must not be allowed to happen.

But averting such a scenario will also depend upon the strength, depth and momentum of an emergent coalition for reconciliation.

The North is still a society emerging from conflict carrying deep-rooted structural economic inequality and under-development, endemic sectarian division, the highest mental health problems and child poverty, and the lowest wage structure and living standards of any region in Britain or Ireland.

The estimated loss of £2.3billion from the regional economy between 2010 and 2018 will have catastrophic economic, social and political consequences.

The North requires a ‘New Deal’ to build a fair society.

There is a need for a new negotiation with the British and Irish governments. New time and space has now been created to address the issues which threaten political progress.

If that does not happen – and British Government policy does not change – we will run out of road.

That will create the conditions for an unprecedented setback.

The alternative is a new negotiation process which delivers a ‘New Deal’ – a sustainable, workable budget – and which also restores political stability and proper power-sharing.

A defining period now faces the political and economic future of the North. What emerges from that will directly influence the potential for opening up a new phase of the Peace Process based upon authentic reconciliation, healing and a fair society.

Anderson backs EU wide equal marriage recognition call

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has backed a call for same sex marriages to be recognised by all European Union countries. Martina new pic 201

Ms Anderson said;

“In an interview this week the Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans called for all EU states to recognise same sex marriages conducted abroad.

“Given the growing support for marriage equality across Europe, and the freedom of travel rights enjoyed by EU citizens, it is time that all member states recognised same sex marriages from other countries.

“It would be ludicrous for a couple to be legally married in one part of the EU and then have their rights denied and their marriage not recognised if they moved to another country.

“Equality should not stop at state borders and people’s rights should be respected everywhere.”

Review of health and social care commissioning arrangements- McGinley‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed Council’s intention to contribute to the review of health and social care commissioning arrangements.

 Councillor  McGinley said:

“As a local authority which caters for 150,000 citizens Derry City and Strabane District Council should be part of any deliberations around the health and wellbeing of our communities.

In the context of the One Plan & Community Planning process this Council has a wealth of information which would be of use in informing the commissioning of health & social care services.  

Sinn Féin  would have serious concerns on how care is presently delivered to our communities and Council should have a say on future structures and quality of health and provision.  

There has to be a more effective way of commissioning services – at present there is significant duplication across all the bodies charged with this responsibility.

We would encourage Council to engage in the consultation on commissioning arrangements and to highlight the importance of raising health standards and reducing health inequalities in a far more strategic and productive manner than is currently the case.”

Can’t blame outsiders for illegal dumping –Cooper

Commenting on an upsurge of illegal dumping in laneways in the Rosemount which recently got gates Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said Mickey Cooper

For a number of months now i have been trying to help alleviate many problems affecting residents in Rosemount due to illegal dumping and noise in the laneways.

I have been working with the council to ensure that all gates with missing locks get replacements as speedily as possible. And got a bulky lift organised for the removal of large amounts of household goods and rubbish.

Sadly there seems to be very small element who have  no regard for the area and whilst a free bulky lift is available they simple just dump stuff in the back lanes as if it is someone’s else’s fault. There is no excuse for this at all.

We have met properly agents to inform them that if rubbish is found from one of their properties the fines will fall on them not the tenant.

I am once again making an appeal for a bit of common sense around this issue.

Overnight disturbances in the Bogside –Cllr Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said

“I would like to state very clearly that those involved in these incidents are unrepresentative of the local community. Those behind the wrecking and burning have only succeeded in terrorising the Bogside community by inflicting inconveniences upon them and the wider Derry public.Patricia Logue new pic 22

When it is all over what we have is the local community being left to pick up the pieces. A mountain of work has gone on at night time on the ground in the area by community workers to help reduce tensions and make interventions to prevent many incidents from happening.

But they can only do so much and their job is made more difficult by the fact that many of those involved are not from the locality.

There is a clear issue of parental responsibility when we have children from the young ages of eight and nine up to fifteen years of age involved in this nonsense.

Parents really need to be asking where their children are at night and finding out if they involved in this violence. Key to this is early intervention to stop these attacks from happening and stop young people ending up before the courts and the implications that will have for their futures.

Speaking after a delivery van belonging to local businesses was set on fire and an attack on Verbal Arts centre .

This is another scandalous attack on a local business which provides much needed jobs for people not only in the Bogside but across the city. They are one of the very few employers in the locality and are part and parcel of the local community .Over the years they have been very supportive of countless community events.

An attempt was also made to set a residents car on fire and there is also total disbelief that anyone would even contemplate attacking the Verbal Arts Centre.

We cannot allow these sorts of senseless actions to occur in this day and age nor be used to heighten tensions in and around the greater Bishop Street area.

McLaughlin disgusted at latest obstacle to Remembering Derry Factory Workers

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has expressed disgust at the latest obstacle being put in the way of displaying the sculpture honouring the role of Derry’s Factory Women.

Maeve McLaughlin said:?????????????????????????????????

“It is now 10 years since the work to remember the role of Derry Women in the Factories of our city was first commissioned and still it has not been erected.  10 years of obstacles to what should have been a straight forward project is nothing short of a disgrace.

“Since being approached by the late Inez Mc Cormack to be involved in this project I have been frustrated by the constant hurdles that have been put in our way.  Every time one obstacle was overcome and we thought we were back on track another obstacle was placed in our way.

“With the latest obstacle being ‘NIEA concerns about the visual impact of the sculpture on listed buildings around harbour square’ I have now come to the belief that the powers that be, including the DOE Minister, Mark H Durkan do not “believe” that the profiling of such a piece of artwork honouring the Factory Women is of enough significance to occupy a prime city centre site.

“As I have worked closely over the last few years with the artist, Louise Walsh I can state categorically that none of these “obstacles” were of her making but were Issues arising entirely with those tasked with decision making.

“I recently took this issue to the DOE Minister Mark H Durkan where it the NI Environmental agency had concerns about the visual impact of the sculpture on listed buildings around harbour square was raised. NIEA indicated that they raised these objections in January 2015. 

“This is despite the fact that Preliminary Planning Discussion (PAD) meetings have been taking place since 2013 and no such objections were raised.  The Artist re-engaged in this process because of the successful outcomes of PAD meetings in 2013 on the understanding that progress was being made.

“Despite public consultation. a public campaign , public petition, letters/ deputations to Ministers this project is again under threat

“What does that say about how we recognise the role of the thousands of Derry women who were the backbone of our economy for decades. I must say I am disgusted at the litany of delays.” CRÍOCH/END

Treatment of Greece alarming – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD commenting on the outcome of the EU summit meeting this morning said:CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

“The conduct of a number of EU governments over the past number of weeks has been alarming.

“They have effectively closed down the Greek banking system and held the Greek Government and people to ransom.

“To its shame the Irish Government took the side of the strong against those in need of support and solidarity.

“It is obscene for Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil to lecture the Greek people while generations of Irish people will be paying off debts that are not of their making.

“The decision is now with the Greek government and parliament. I wish them well in their deliberations.

“Today could well be the day when all pretence of a Europe of equal states and people was lost and replaced by a Europe of the powerful and the wealthy.”

Income figures highlight need for statutory living wage -Raymond McCartney‏

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said statistics published  by the Office for National Statistics in London, showed households in the north have lower average incomes than households in Britain. 

Raymond McCartney said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“These figures very clearly highlight that the north remains a low wage economy.

“We need to see the powers to set the minimum wage transferred to Stormont so that local politicians can set a minimum wage which enables people to have a decent standard of living.

“With the British government’s proposals to target billions of pounds in cuts towards in-work benefits, this is an opportune time to make this move.

“We can only protect working people from these cuts through increasing their earnings and removing the need for corporate subsidies for low-paying employees.

“The introduction of a living wage is the direction of travel we should be urgently moving towards to ensure we have a fair and sustainable economic recovery for all of our citizens.”

Ends/Críoch

Vital training project gets £200,000 funding -Cooper‏‏

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that Derry City and Strabane District Council have match funded £200,000 to unlock a larger pot of European Social Fund funding which will benefit a number of training projects across city and district.

Councillor Cooper said “This has come about as a culmination of work between party representatives the training agencies and council which will safeguard training jobs.

It will allow essential skills courses and other accredited programmes to be delivered to those most in need of them and also allows the training organisations to avail of substantial financial assistance from ESF (European social fund) which would not have been possible without council support.

I thank council’s development department for the strategic approach they have taken which has safeguarded jobs and also ensured the skills base in the city will be enhanced over the coming year.

Joe McDonnell – Died on July 8th 1981 on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

Joe McDonnell – Died on July 8th 1981 on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh

JOE McDONNELL was the fifth Hunger Striker to die due to the intransigence of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government.

Born on 14 September 1950, the fifth of eight children in a family from the Lower Falls in west Belfast, Joe eventually married and moved to Lenadoon.

Joe volunteered to replace his good friend and comrade Bobby Sands, who he was captured with on active service in October 1976, joining the hunger strike on 9 May.

A well-known and very popular man in the Greater Andersonstown area, Joe had a reputation as a quiet and deep-thinking individual, with a gentle, happy go-lucky personality, who had, nevertheless, a great sense of humour, was always laughing and playing practical jokes and who, although withdrawn at times, had the ability to make friends easily.

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He had joined the Republican Movement soon after the introduction of internment without trial in August 1971. He was himself interned on the prison ship Maidstone in 1972 and in Long Kesh from 1973 to 1974.

Arrested and jailed for a commercial bombing operation, Joe was sentenced in September 1977 to 14 years’ imprisonment. He joined the Blanket Protest fro the restoration of political status and was denied visits unless he wore the prison uniform. His wife, Goretti, and their two children had not seen him in the more than three and a half years since he was sentenced up until the hunger strike and his dying days.

In June 1981, Joe was a general election candidate in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency and narrowly missed becoming a TD by 315 votes.

Joe McDonnell died on 8 July 1981 after 61 days on hunger strike.

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The death of Joe McDonnell

IRA Volunteer and Hunger Striker Joe McDonnell, from Lenadoon in west Belfast, passed away at 5:15am on Wednesday 8 July after 61 agonising days on the Hunger Strike. His wife Goretti had maintained an almost constant vigil by his side but, with a callous act of disregard for her feelings when he died, the RUC called her in, ostensibly to identify the body.

From Wednesday evening through to the Friday morning, Joe’s body had lain in state in the family home. During this time, thousands of people filed past the coffin to pay their respects to the fallen Volunteer.

In a reflection of the effect the Hunger Strike had throughout nationalist Ireland, those filing past came from throughout the country. There were people from Dublin, Sligo, Leitrim, Crossmaglen, Tyrone and further afield.

Individuals who paid their respects included relatives of other Hunger Strikers – Rosaleen Sands, mother of Bobby; and Pauline McGeown, wife of Pat who was at that time on hunger strike. A particularly poignant visit was that of Jimmy Dempsey, whose 16-year-old son John, a member of Fianna Éireann, had been shot dead by a British soldier in the disturbances following Joe McDonnell’s death. Also present was Joe McDonnell’s brother Frankie, one of the longest-serving Blanket Men who had been released for 12 hours to attend the funeral.

It was a measure of the ripple effect that the Hunger Strike – and more particularly British intransigence and brutality – were having on the nationalist community that at the same time another Blanket Man, Tommy Cosgrove, was out on temporary release to attend the funeral of his sister, Nora McCabe, killed by an RUC plastic bullet, also in the disturbances following the death of Joe McDonnell.

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• Joe McDonnell’s wife Goretti, his children and his brother Frankie pay their respects

At midday, the coffin was sealed and a Tricolour and the black beret and gloves of an IRA Volunteer were pinned to it. With British Army helicopters hovering noisily and provocatively overhead, the cortege moved off. Led by a lone piper, it made its way to Oliver Plunkett Church at the top of Lenadoon for Requiem Mass.

After the service the coffin was carried towards Milltown Cemetery. Joe’s three brothers were among those carrying the coffin and it was flanked by his wife Goretti and their children Bernadette and Joseph and other members of the immediate family. When the cortege reached the Andersonstown Road the coffin was place on trestles and an IRA firing came forward and rendered a final salute.

After observing a minute’s silence the IRA firing party disappeared into a nearby garden. A barrage of high-velocity gunfire was heard as it became obvious that British crown forces were attempting to kill or capture members of the IRA firing party. Simultaneously, the British Army and RUC opened up on the cortege with a hail of plastic bullets amidst scenes of pandemonium and panic. In the assault, one of the mourners (a brother of then Sinn Féin Vice-President Gerry Adams) was shot and seriously wounded.

The head of the funeral cortege had moved on a few minutes before the attack and was making its way towards Milltown. Six IRA Volunteers took the coffin on their shoulders for the last leg of the journey to the Republican Plot.

Chairing the graveside proceedings was Eamon McCory of Sinn Féin. He extended the sympathies of the Republican Movement to the family and went on to condemn the SDLP and the Dublin Government who had not applied sufficient political pressure on British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As a result, Thatcher was claiming that not one responsible person in Ireland was asking her to concede the prisoners’ 5 demands.

J McD firing party

• IRA firing party honour of their comrade Joe McDonnell

After the blessing, conducted by Father Matthew Wallace, John Joe McGirl, Chairperson of Leitrim County Council and election agent for Joe McDonnell in the 26-County general election, gave the oration.

Speaking of the deceased Hunger Striker, he said:

“He has died rather than debase the cause he served, rather than live with the forced tag of criminality on him. His courage is an inspiration, not only to his fellow prisoners, not only to the Irish people who admire such courage – the world stands in wonder and admiration, accepting that men such as Joe McDonnell are not criminals but patriots.”

John Joe at Joe McDonnell funeral

John Joe McGirl went on to lambast British policy in Ireland, saying:

“The policy of England and the English government towards Ireland down through the years has been one of jailing, shooting and hanging. Today, this week, their policy has changed somewhat. They have left over hanging and replaced it with the rubber bullet, plastic bullet and live round.

“Men, women and children are murdered in the streets of Belfast and Derry and in the occupied part of the north-eastern Six Counties. I want to say here that the responsibility for this lies with the British Government, and I say to the British Government that she has no right in our country and never had, and that the way forward is for her to withdraw her forces from the occupied part of our country and let the Irish people resolve their differences themselves.

“She is not here as a friend, she is here as a treacherous foe, and we recognise her as such.”

In conclusion he said:

“We will build Joe McDonnell a memorial, we will build so many of his comrades who are buried here a memorial, and their memorials will be the freedom and the unity of the Irish people.”

Throughout the 26 Counties there were numerous vigils, reflecting the growing anger of the population, and in the North (as previously mentioned) two people were killed by crown forces in the aftermath of Joe’s death.

More worrying for the British was the continued and growing support abroad.

In the United States there were numerous protests in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco to name but a few. There were also many demonstrations in Australia and New Zealand.

In France, lawyers formed a commission tasked with investigating conditions in the H-Blocks. French parliamentarians wrote to the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, asking it to take action in support of the two newly-elected H-Blocks TDs, Kieran Doherty (Cavan/Monaghan) and Paddy Agnew (Louth).

In Italy, an incendiary bomb exploded on the roof of the British Consulate and there were protests and demonstrations in Belgium and Portugal.

Rioting after Joe McDonnell funeral

• Rioting in Belfast after the funeral of Volunteer Joe McDonnell

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Adams welcomes publication of Police Ombudsman’s report‏

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed “the conclusion of the Police Ombudsman’s investigation.”

Gerry Adams said:CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

“I welcome the publication today of the Police Ombudsman’s report. Along with the Attorney General report it reaffirms that I committed no offence.

“Now that these matters have been investigated my family should be afforded the same privacy as any other family.

“There has been a distinct lack of sensitivity and compassion by some within sections of the media and of politics in how they have dealt with this case.

“It is frequently exploited in a nasty self-serving and vindictive way for narrow political ends. The same approach and criteria would not apply in other similar cases.

“It is also clear from these two reports that when allegations of abuse arise that every possible help and support is provided for victims and families.

“It is also important that the authorities create an atmosphere in which witnesses will come forward. “

Singer Fran O’Toole honoured in his native Bray 40 years after Miami Showband Massacre by UDR/UVF

Singer Fran O’Toole honoured in his native Bray 40 years after Miami Showband Massacre by UDR/UVF

● Miami Showband – Fran O’Toole is second left

SINGER FRAN O’TOOLE has been commemorated in his native Bray, County Wicklow, 40 years after his Miami Showband was ambushed in County Armagh at a bogus British Army checkpoint by serving soldiers in the Ulster Defence Regiment and members of the Ulster Volunteer Force.

On 31 July 1975, five members of the Miami Showband were travelling by minibus back to Dublin from a gig in Banbridge, County Down. At the townland of Buskhill, outside of Newry, they were stopped at a military-style checkpoint by gunmen dressed in British Army uniform. They were ordered to get out and line up by the roadside. Two gunmen hid a time-bomb on the minibus but it exploded prematurely and killing them.

The remaining gunmen then opened fire on the band members, killing Fran O’Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty, and wounding Des Lee and Stephen Travers.

Two serving Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers and one former UDR soldier later received life sentences for murder. There are still serious questions about collusion between members of the ‘security forces’ and the UVF that need to be answered, however.

Miami Fran O'Toole events 2015 plaque

Councillors John Brady, Oliver O’Brien and Peter Carroll, who was the driving force behind the commemorative events honouring local legend Fran O’Toole

Sinn Féin Wicklow County Councillor John Brady paid tribute to local man Peter Carroll, who is a family friend of the O’Tooles and was the driving force in the campaign to remember and pay tribute to Fran O’Toole in his home town of Bray.

John Brady said:

“Unfortunately, nothing has ever been done in Bray to acknowledge, pay tribute or remember Fran O’Toole, who was the lead singer with the Miami Showband band at the time of his murder.

“The band had a massive following and played in packed-out venues right across Ireland, Britain and the United States. The band united people through music and gave people a glimmer of hope at a difficult time in our history.”

The Miami regularly played in Fran’s hometown of Bray in the Arcadia Ballroom. People would travel from far and wide and on occasions thousands would have to be turned away as the Arcadia was packed to capacity, John Brady said.

He continued:

“People right across Ireland were shocked at the murder of Fran and his colleagues, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty. Bray came to a complete standstill for his funeral, which people say was the largest ever to be held in the town.

“It’s only right that we remember Fran, his music and the legacy he left.”

Miami Fran O'Toole events 2015 bridge

● Des Lee, Stephen Travers, Councillora Oliver O’Brien and John Brady with Peter Carroll at the newly-named ‘Fran O’Toole Bridge’

On Saturday 4 July, Bray Bridge was renamed the Fran O’Toole Bridge and a plaque was unveiled at the former family home on Albert Avenue in Bray. This was attended by members of Fran’s family along with Des Lee and Stephen Travers, who survived the massacre 40 years ago. The day was completed by a performance by the Miami Showband in the Mermaid Theatre.

Window replacement scheme Rinmore Drive spring 2016.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said a window replacement scheme for homes in Rinmore Drive will go ahead as planned in the spring of 2016.3895995549

His made his comment after there was some confusion over different schemes for Rinmore Drive.

Councillor Campbell said

After receiving a series of complaints from a large number of residents regarding the state of the windows in their homes I lobbied senior management in the Housing Executive to have them replaced.

In January I was told that Rinmore Drive would be given priority status for a window replacement scheme in their budget of 2015 – 2016 and that they would  replace the wooden windows with white PVC windows.

There now seems to have been some confusion over a separate external maintenance scheme which is also taking place. I would like to reassure residents after speaking to the Housing Executive today that the windows replacement scheme will be going ahead as planned in the spring of 2016.

Greece a beacon of hope against austerity – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Greece is a beacon of hope in the campaign against austerity.
Speaking from Athens, Ms Anderson said; 11222953_892017007521031_404512587404150184_n
“The resounding ‘no’ vote from the people of Greece to reject austerity is a victory for democracy.
“Throughout the evening there was a palpable sense of optimism as the results came in from all parts of the country.
“Greece is now a beacon of hope in the wider campaign against austerity. it was an honour and a privilege to stand with Syriza and the people of Greece tonight.
“I joined the Greek people on the streets of Athens to celebrate their rejection of austerity. At the same time republicans were on the streets of Derry and elsewhere standing in solidarity with the people of Greece.
“The Greek people have made their voices heard loud and clear in this referendum.
“Their voices must be listened to by the neoliberal elites who attempted to impose further austerity on Greece.
“Fresh negotiations are needed to secure a fair and sustainable resolution to the Greek debt crisis in line with the democratic will expressed by the people of Greece.” Ends/Críoch

Derry Gaza solidarity rally on Wednesday night

Speaking today chairperson of Ógra in Derry  Cáolan McGinley DSC_0228

We are asking people from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone to gather with us on Wednesday night at 7pm at Free Derry Wall in order to send our solidarity to the people of Gaza and Palestine and to also show our anger and opposition to the continued injustices and slaughter that the Israelis are carrying out on the Palestinian people.

We will also be remembering the first anniversary of four Palestinian children being killed in an Israeli air strike. It should never be forgotten that these four children from the Bakir family were slaughtered whilst playing a game of football on a beach in Gaza. The footage of the events around their deaths was beamed around the world.

Shahd Abusalama a resident of Gaza and survivor of operation Cast Lead will be a quest speaker on Wednesday night

We would encourage as many people as possible to attend so that we can send a very clear message from the North West of Ireland that what is happening to the people of Gaza must stop

Hassan calls for action after fire at traveller’s community centre at Ballyarnett

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said urgent action is required in regards to the future of the traveller’s community centre at Ballyarnett.

He was speaking after a fire caused serious damage to the building on Saturday afternoon.image

He said: “We have been warning about the potential for incidents like that which took place on Saturday for some time now.

In July of last year myself and party colleague Maeve McLaughlin MLA called on the Department of Social Development and  Derry City Council to look at whether they could come to some agreement on the future of this building. Maeve also had a number of meetings with the various departments in relation to the Ballyarnett site and she will now be bringing this up with the Minister.

This community centre has been lying dormant out here for nearly three years and to date nothing has come out of this which would see a long-term resolution to bringing it back into use for the benefit of the local Travelling population.

It is ridiculous the building has been left like this .It is going to waste and now has become the target of vandals.

Community support for Shantallow family under attack –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has expressed her anger at the continued attacks on a family living in Liscloon Drive , that these attacks are completely unacceptable and that the family are living in fear of every noise outside their property.

Councillor Duffy said

I would like to commend the work of the  Shantallow Community Residents Association, CRJ and the local community safety team for their ongoing work to try and support the family and find a solution to this issue.

It’s very important that the Housing Executive ensures that it is doing everything possible to assist the family and address these ongoing difficulties in the area as it has a statutory duty to ensure its tenants are not living in fear in their own homes.

Ends

Appeal after Culmore crime spree –Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has urged residents and business owners in Culmore to be on the alert following a number of break-ins in the area over the past 48 Hours .???????????????????????????????

 

Councillor Hassan said “I would urge everyone in the Culmore area to be vigilant. These incidents happened across a wide area with homes and vehicles being targeted in this latest crime spree.

I would appeal to residents if they are leaving their home for even a short space of time that they always lock their windows and doors, back gates and if they have valuable garden tools and machinery that they are securely locked up at night”

If you see suspicious activity around a neighbour’s house, particularly if there is no one at home, call the police. Your home or business could be next.”

 

Ends

Adams commends the people of Greece

Responding to the referendum result in Greece, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said:15251175137_aa21579d1d_o

“The people of Greece have made a historic decision against austerity and an unsustainable bailout package. This democratic decision must be respected by all EU leaders.

“I wish to commend the people of Greece for this significant exercise in democracy on behalf of Greece and the rest of the EU.

“I also want to commend Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Government for the courageous leadership they have shown.

“The big question facing all citizens of the European Union today, including Irish citizens is whether people have the right to assert democratic control over decisions which affect their lives. That is at the heart of the crisis in Greece. It is also a huge issue in Ireland.

“The EU must now make clear its desire to keep Greece in the Eurozone by negotiating a solution that doesn’t impose years of economic depression on the Greek people.

“This decision of the Greek people should force a rethink on how the EU is run. It is now time to return to the values of solidarity and co-operation that the founders of the European movement claimed underpinned it.

“It is shameful that throughout this crisis the Irish Government aligned itself with the EU elite and against the interests of the people of Greece, of Ireland and of the EU.

“In the wake of today’s referendum result, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan must set aside their petty party political concerns and support Greek efforts to negotiate a fair and sustainable solution to their debt crisis.”

Martina Anderson to show solidarity with people of Greece in Athens‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will travel to Athens tomorrow to stand in solidarity with the Greek people in their battle against austerity. CI6i5cTWIAABHm8

Ms Anderson said;

“As a proud Irish republican and dedicated internationalist, I will be in Athens on Sunday with my party colleague Pearse Doherty to stand in solidarity with the people of Greece.

“The Greek people have an opportunity to send a clear message to the right wing elites of Europe that austerity is wrong and will not be tolerated.

“This referendum is democracy in action and stands in contrast to the anti-democratic actions of the ECB, IMF, and the European Commission in attempting to force further austerity on Greece.

“I wish the Greek people well in the referendum and encourage them to stand firm in the face of the relentless austerity regime imposed on them.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Syriza and the people of Greece in opposing austerity.”

EU Co-operation needed to tackle scourge of legal highs – Anderson‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said partnership working across Europe is key to tackling the problem of so-called legal highs. CIv4nfxUAAACjxr

Speaking after meeting with the Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, Ms Anderson said; 

“The scourge of psychoactive substances or so-called legal highs does not recognise borders and has caused misery right across Europe.

“As part of a co-ordinated approach to dealing with these toxic substances, I met with the SNP’s Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs to discuss the best approach to dealing with legal highs.

“These substances have destroyed lives and devastated communities in both Ireland and Scotland, as they have across Europe.

“We agreed to share information and examples of best practice on the work being done to combat legal highs in the Scottish parliament, by the Assembly and local councils in the North and in the European Parliament.

“We identified areas of further co-operation and agreed to work together in the future to tackle this menace.”

Duffy backs calls from children’s commissioners to end cuts

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed a call from four children’s commissioners for the British government to abandon its plans to cut benefits before more children are driven into poverty. DSC_0627

Speaking after a joint call from the commissioners from the North and Britain, Sandra Duffy said; 

“Coming after a  report which showed a 3 per rise in child poverty levels here and Tory plans for a further cuts which will impact on low income households, this latest report by four children’s commissioners from Britain and the North must be taken seriously.

“Families in the North of Ireland are already becoming increasingly worried about how they can afford the very basics for their children.

“This report is disturbing as it warns that if the proposed cuts go ahead we will see child poverty levels double over the next five years.

“It clearly states the  Tory government is aware of the current and future impact of these cuts to the poorest and most vulnerable including children and yet they still continue to target those very families.

“Sinn Féin hopes to meet with all four of the Commissioners to discuss the concerns raised in this report.”

 

 

Previous messageNext messageBack to messages Deadline to end roaming charges must be enforced – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the European Council to enforce a new deadline for the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges.

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

Ms Anderson said;

“Last year the European Commission agreed to scrap roaming charges by December this year, however the European Council then halted that decision and pushed the date back to December 2018.

“That delay was unacceptable to us and would have led to people living and working in border areas being hit with unfair roaming charges for another three years.

“Matt Carthy and I met with senior officials from the European Council last week to call for a complete end to roaming charges as soon as possible.

“Today’s decision by the European Council to bring forward the date for abolition of roaming charges is welcome but unfortunately they will still be in place until June 2017.

“The onus is now on the European Council to ensure this deadline is adhered to so that customers, particularly those in border areas, are not penalised by unfair charges beyond that date.”

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