Anderson praises life-saving efforts of crew of LÉ Róisín

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has praised the crew of the Irish naval vessel, LÉ Róisín, for saving 274 refugees from the Mediterranean.

Ms Anderson said; CjJeeajXEAEt8TX

“I want to pay tribute to the crew of the LÉ Róisín who took part in a life-saving mission in the Mediterranean today, rescuing 274 people.

“This follows on from the work of the crews of the LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh who between them saved more than 7,000 lives of men woman and children when they were deployed in the area.

“Now, as we come into the summer months, the international community has a responsibility to act to tackle this humanitarian crisis and prevent further tragic deaths in the region.”



Time to extend marriage equality across Ireland – Campbell

Former Mayor of Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell  has said it is time to extend marriage equality across Ireland.

He said; 1913700_973556112700453_938245198634623596_n

“On May 23, 2015 the people of Ireland made history by voting for marriage equality in a referendum.

“1,201,607 people voted to make love the law and since then more than 400 couples got married since the law has been changed.

“The people made a clear choice to vote for equality for all.

“In the north of Ireland, however, we do not have marriage equality and many couples are denied the right to marry simply because they are gay. That is unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin have been to the fore in promoting equality and that is why we have brought forward legislation to extend marriage equality across Ireland as one of our first acts in the new Assembly.
“There is nothing to fear from equality and I hope we will see the support of all parties so that we can end this discrimination.”

McGuinness sends condolences after man killed in Derry‏

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said the killing of a 24 year old-man in the Currynierin area of Derry has shocked the local community. 1142524474
Mr McGuinness said;
“The death of this young man in these circumstances is a tragedy that has shocked the local area.
“There is a live police investigation into this incident and that should be allowed to go ahead.
“My thoughts and prayers with the family and friends of the man who was killed at this difficult time.
“I would encourage anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI.” Ends/Críoch

Death of man in Currynieren Derry

Commenting on the death of a 24 year old  man following an incident at Milldale Crescent in the Currynieren area of Derry last night ,Sinn Féin Councillor  Christopher Jackson saidChristopher TOH 1

“There is shock in the community on hearing this news. My thoughts and prayers are with this young man’s family at this time and I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Ends

McGuinness meets families affected by disability underspend

The Deputy First Minister has met families affected by the underspend on disability services in the Western Health trust and pledged his support for an investigation into the controversy and the funds to be released.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

Mr. McGuinness was speaking after a Sinn Féin delegation also including MLA Raymond McCartney and Maeve McLaughlin met with Western Adult Learning Disability Action Group (WALDAG) in Derry today.

“I want to pay tribute to the families and to offer them my support,” he commented.

“Many of them have been struggling for decades without the support they are entitled to so I fully understand their anger when it emerged that local learning disability services are being underfunded by up to £8million a year while physical disability services are losing as much as £4million.

“These funds have been earmarked for vulnerable people and if they are not being properly utilised, that is an intolerable situation.

“I have already confirmed that one of my first actions in the new Executive will be to ensure the incoming Health Minister intervenes in this case with a view to investigating how this situation came about and to rectify it immediately so that these resources provide the valuable services for which they were intended.”

‘Sinn Féin will continue to protect the rights of all’ – Martina Anderson MEP

Following confirmation from the English Queen’s speech , that “proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights”, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that Sinn Féin will oppose this and will fight to protect the rights of all.

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

 

A Member of the Civil Liberates, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson said,

 

“The 1998 Human Rights Act underpins the Good Friday Agreement, the internationally recognised peace treaty which helped usher in peace and power-sharing in the north of Ireland and is lodged formally with the United Nations.

 

“It gives effect to the European Convention of Human Rights and gives citizens direct access to the European Court of Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights was viewed as a base, below which the provision of rights could not drop. The British government’s now stated objective is to remove that base.

 

“In 2015 alone the European Court of Human Rights saw 1,561 applications made to it concerning Britain. Whilst some 500 were deemed inadmissible, over 25% of cases that were ruled on, found Britain in violation of the Convention.

 

Ms Anderson continued,

 

“Along with Sinn Féin’s political grouping in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL, we sought specifically commissioned legal advice; the outcome of which confirmed that ‘A repeal of the Human Rights Act risks not only breaching the Good Friday Agreement in a technical sense, but infringing its spirit and leading to a loss of faith in the British Government’s commitment to the peace process.’

 

“This legal opinion has been launched and circulated in Belfast and across the north of Ireland, it has been launched in and circulated in Westminster and on June 1st it will be launched and circulated in the European Parliament in Brussels.
“Human rights provision for all citizens should be unequivocal and absolute. It is essential that the planned repeal of the Human Rights Act is resisted at every juncture and Sinn Féin will continue to do that.” END

Anderson urges action on cross-border debit card charges

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has urged the European Commission to take action on cross-border debit card charges. CVXwOSAUsAAv08y.jpg large

Ms Anderson said;

“When people use debit cards in another jurisdiction they are frequently charged multiple times; for using their debit card, for the currency conversion, and for additional charges applied by some shops and businesses.

“This is a particular problem for people living along the border here who regularly face these charges.

“This is yet another example of partition failing communities.

“I asked the European Commission whether any action can be taken to help alleviate this financial pressure.

“The Commission said it is currently studying the responses from a consultation on a green paper on whether fees charged for cross-border transactions between EU member states with different currencies is excessive.

“I would urge the Commission to take action on this issue and help relieve the financial pressures on people in border communities.” Ends/Críoch

McGuinness hopeful new Executive will be in place next week

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said he is hopeful the new Executive will be in place next week. 16271664897_9737ce5da3_k

Speaking after meeting Charlie Flanagan, the Irish government’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Martin McGuinness said;

“I am hopeful the Executive will be in place next week with the appointment of ministers.

“We have been involved in a series of negotiations with parties entitled to be in that administration.

“Those engagements around the creation of a Programme for Government began in December last year and I am hopeful, if parties approach this responsibly, that the discussion will reach an early conclusion and result in an Executive which will include the SDLP and Alliance.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson MEP calls for an end to efforts to criminalise the BDS movement for justice in Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson MEP has condemned international efforts to criminalise the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. MartinaAndersonMEP

 

Expressing her concern at increased attacks on the BDS campaign and activists from various governments and state officials, Anderson said,

 

“The British government is putting in place rules to prevent local councils, universities and other public bodies to make ethical procurement or investment decisions, a move deliberately targeting BDS.

 

“British Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, has made the outrageous statement that the BDS movement is “a crime worse than apartheid”.

 

“This strategy of “law fare”, targeting BDS activists on anti-racism grounds is totally unacceptable.

 

“Anyone who cares about civil and human rights must take a clear stand to defend the right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech and a nonviolent means for society to support the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.

 

Chair of the Delegation of Relations with Palestine, Ms Anderson said,

 

“Sinn Féin fully supports the BDS campaign and will continue to do so until a just and lasting peace is achieved and a Palestinian state is established. Furthermore Sinn Féin totally supports the right for non-violent, grassroots, civil society campaigns for justice to exist.

“The EU and the international community should be doing everything in their power to bring an end to Israel’s human’s rights abuses in Palestine. They should not be targeting those who are trying to end those abuses by peaceful means.

 

“It is in this vein that Sinn Féin calls for the lifting of the siege on Gaza and we call for the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel complies with its international human rights obligations.” ENDS

Progress being made towards Programme for Government – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said progress is being made towards a Programme For Government but it appears that the SDLP are utterly confused about the process. 

Speaking alongside Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD at Stormont, Mr McGuinness said; 15251175137_aa21579d1d_o

“We are trying to put in place a Programme for Government that will see maximum buy-in from civic society.

“I believe that work on the Programme for Government is progressing and I would expect to see the d’Hondt mechanism in place next week.

“A lot of work was done before the election and the SDLP were involved in that and knew the approach was based on the Scottish and Finnish model. The SDLP now appear utterly confused about the process and don’t understand what they signed up for in the development of this programme.”

Gerry Adams said;

“Martin and the Assembly team are putting together a Programme for Government and those of us with a mandate in the Oireachtas are working alongside others to make sure that people’s rights are protected, public services are supported and the work to unite people across Ireland is advanced.” CRÍOCH/ENDS

Appeal over home security -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on the community to ensure that all cars, homes and garages are securely locked.Eric new head shot 20144

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “As we approach the summer months and the better weather there is an increasing tendency not to lock the doors and windows of our homes and vehicles.

 

In addition there is the tendency to leave items such as car keys, laptops, purses and wallets in clear view.

 

It is evident that a significant number of thefts and break-ins are the result of opportunist criminals coming across valuables which are easily accessed through unlocked doors and windows.
It is a sad reflection on society that people cannot leave their property and possessions unsecured but whilst there are those who are prepared to engage in this criminality I would encourage everyone in Derry  to be vigilant and to take all necessary precautions.”

Vandals attacks Creggan Road bus stop -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  has condemned vandals who damaged a bus stop on one of Derrys busiest aterial routes .

The bus stop is located between the Hazelbank Roundabout and Oranmore Park COLLY

Councillor Colly Kelly  said “I have been contacted residents angry that vandals attacked the bus stop on Creggan Road.

People are simply scratching their heads that anyone who would go to these lengths to cause the damage and inflict inconvenience on users of the bus service.

This is a very busy road  and people rely on this shelter to avail of the bus service to get into the city centre and local schools.

I would urge anyone who has information on the culprits to bring it forward straight away.

Logue backs Walk to School Week

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has encouraged young people to take part in Walk to School Week.

She said; Patricia Logue new pic 22

“This is Walk to School Week across the North and thousands of school pupils are expected to take part.

“Initiatives like this not only promote fitness and health among young people but also their parents and guardians.

“I would like to wish all those taking part well and encourage more people to get involved.

“I would also appeal to motorists and road users to show additional care and attention over the course of this week as there will be increased numbers of young people walking to and from school.”

Ends

Sinn Féin will continue to move society forward – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he is committed to providing positive, responsible and constructive leadership on the Executive. 

Speaking after being re-appointed as deputy First Minister, Mr McGuinness said; 

“All of us now have a huge responsibility to take the Fresh Start Agreement forward; we have made a good start but there is more to be done. 

“We are in a process of trying to put together a Programme for Government to continue to build on the progress we have already made. 

“The leader of the UUP has shown a lack of leadership and disregard to the views of the electorate who have endorsed power sharing government. 

“I have made it clear that Sinn Féin is going into government.  

“We now wait to see if SDLP will stand by the principles of the Good Friday Agreement or follow the UUP into opposition. 

“For my part I intend to continue to provide positive, responsible constructive leadership, taking society forward.” Ends/Críoch

Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Sports Awards.

Cllr. McGinley said: “Almost 60 individuals and clubs were nominated for awards across a number of categories including coaching, youth, disability, gender and teams.CiSKHogWsAAy218.jpg large

 

The ability, commitment and excellence of all the participants was clear to see and the recipients of the awards typified the sporting spirit which exists within the council area.

 

None was this more amply demonstrated when Mark Farren was posthumously awarded for the example he has set as a sporting competitor and as a person.

 

The awards ceremony heard from Packie Bonner and Hannah Shields and the night provided an appropriate platform upon which to celebrate the sporting achievements of all who participated.”

 

McGinley condemns Derry shooting

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has condemned a shooting incident in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry on Saturday night.

A man in his thirties was shot in both ankles in the vicinity of Yeats Court. Eric new head shot 20144

 

Councillor McGinley said;

 

“The shooting of a man in Ballymagroarty on Saturday night was totally wrong and I condemn it unreservedly.

 

“There can be no place in our society for such actions.

 

“Those behind this incident have nothing to offer the local community and need to stop these futile actions immediately.

 

“I would appeal for anyone with information on this shooting to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

 

No money to cut back trees Westend Park -Kelly

Transport NI have said they whilst they own land with major trees on it overlooking homes in Westend Park facing onto Elmwood Terrace they will not be cutting the trees back due to budgets and bird nesting.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said COLLY

I was contacted by residents who asked for the large trees there to be cut back .The trees have grown to a considerable height and in some cases dwarfing the homes in Westend Park causing light and  views issues.

I would ask Transport NI to look at this decision again particularly before the onset off the winter months.

Ends

Demolition work starts on Immaculate Conception College -Jackson

Speaking today Waterside Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

 

“Work has finally started on the demolition almost a year after the school closed its doors for the final time.

 

The school has been lying derelict in the heart of our community and recently has become a magnet for anti social behaviour, with various attempts to set the building on fire. The move to start the demolition is a welcome one as it was  only a matter of time before we had a disaster on our hands.

 

This is an exciting development with the provision of the much anticipated social houses. Work has also started on the canteen building which will be used as a temporary community centre until a new purpose built centre is  on the site.

 

It has been frustrating over the past few months but with everyone working together we have been able to overcome any obstacles that have been placed in our way, I have no doubt this partnership working together will serve us well in the delivery of the overall master plan for the site.

Concerns of Irish language community should be reflected by the BBC – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said the views and concerns of the Irish language community should be reflected by the BBC.

He was speaking after a protest was organised by Irish language activists outside the BBC studios.  colly and kevin

 

Councillor Campbell said

“This protest was called after a young Irish speaker who had tried to raise important questions around the language in two debates on BBC was shut down on both occasions.

“Many Irish speakers felt this was an indication of a wider attitude towards Irish from the BBC, which as a public service broadcaster should be representative of the entire community.

“Despite attempts to silence this young Gael, this protest showed that the Irish language community will make its voice heard and demand equality.”

Ends

Fresh Start Agreement protects people from so-called bedroom tax – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said people in the North will be protected from the so-called bedroom tax as a result of the protections secured in the Fresh Start Agreement.

 

He said;DSC_6528

 

“In recent days households may have received letters outlining a number of changes to the welfare system, including the so-called bedroom tax.

 

“The Fresh Start Agreement secured full mitigation for the so-called bedroom tax for all Housing Executive and housing association tenants.

 

“Those protections are unique to the North and will help thousands of people across our communities.

Ends

McGuinness congratulates Dean Morton on appointment

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has congratulated Dean William Morton on his appointment as Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Mr McGuinness said; 1142524474

“I want to send my congratulations to Dean William Morton on his appointment as Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

“During his time as Dean of St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry, Dean Morton played a significant contribution towards reconciliation in the city.

“He also played a key role in the cultural life of Derry opening up the historic cathedral to a wider audience and, as a gifted musician, with the regular concerts and recitals in the cathedral.

“Derry’s loss is certainly Dublin’s gain and I wish Dean Morton and his family well with the new role in Dublin.”

McCartney welcomes Derry AXA jobs announcement

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that AXA Insurance is set to create over 80 new jobs at its Derry Customer Contact Centre of Excellence at Springtown Business Park.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said DSC_6528

“This is good news for the city and shows continued confidence in the Derry workforce.

 “In the current economic climate every new job brought to this city is welcome and valued.

“Now that we have the election over we need to focus on attracting more investment and job creation for the North West and I look forward to working with all of the elected representatives in the Foyle constituency to make that a reality.”

Ends

Bring all the family -Free event

13164336_1056126724443391_5722697835643822484_n13164336_1056126724443391_5722697835643822484_n

McGuinness thanks Sinn Féin voters for renewed mandate

Speaking at the conclusion of the election count Martin McGuinness said,CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

‘I would like to thank our candidates and supporters who worked tirelessly throughout this campaign to promote the republican vision of an equal, united and prosperous Ireland.

“I would also like to thank the voters who once again placed their trust in Sinn Féin to lead the process of change and to deliver for all in our society.

“It is incumbent on all of those with a mandate to work together for the greater good in the face of many challenges including ongoing Tory attacks on our public services, poverty, inequality and division.

“On Monday we will be entering discussions to agree and conclude a deliverable programme of government. This programme must build on the progress to date and must represent a further step in the New Start for our institutions.

“I believe that with good will from all parties we can build a prosperous economy and deliver jobs, we can invest in our health and public services, and we can continue to build reconciliation, unity and equality.”

Sinn Féin support Bradley election debate inclusion

Sinn MLA MAEVE MCLAUGHLINFéin's Maeve McLaughlin has backed calls for Independent Assembly 
candidate Kathleen Bradley to be included on 
this week's Radio Foyle 
election debate.

The call comes after the local station was 
criticised by Ms. Bradley for excluding her 
from the key hustings event.

Ms. McLaughlin said:
"Someone like Kathleen Bradley is a very well 
known community and benefits 
worker in this city. Radio Foyle never 
had any difficulty interviewing 
her in the past about any amount of 
issues so I can't understand why she
 has not been invited to take part, 
particularly as she appears to meet 
the same criteria as other candidates.

"I'm very disappointed by this decision. Kathleen Bradley has as much right 
to put herself and her policies before the electorate as anyone and I 
would urge Radio Foyle to rethink this decision."

McCartney seeks meeting with Chief Electoral Officer

Sinn Féin Assembly Candidate Raymond McCartney is seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to discuss concerns over a proposed centralisation of services.

Mr McCartney said:DSC_6528

“The proposed closure of regional offices to be replaced by online registration is a major cause of concern and could have serious ramifications for the democratic process.

“Suggestions that closures of regional offices across the North with the resultant job losses would result in a more efficient service is ludicrous.

“A reliance on online registration alone would most likely result in a further drop in the numbers of people participating in the democratic process, particularly in the older age bracket where a large percentage of eligible voters may not possess the electronic devices necessary to access online facilities.

“How would outreach work in schools be facilitated if these services are centralised in Belfast?

“Electoral Office management have suggested that the proposals result from reduced funding from the NIO. If this is the case then it is unacceptable. It is incumbent on government to ensure that maximum opportunity is afforded to the electorate to enable optimum participation in the exercise of their democratic franchise.

“These proposals I believe would result in the disenfranchising of thousands of eligible voters.

“I am therefore seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to get answers to these concerns.” CRÍOCH/END

Sinn Féin seeking stronger mandate to build on progress – McGuinness

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has said Sinn Féin is seeking a stronger mandate to build on the progress made in the Executive and Assembly in recent years.
Speaking at the launch of the Sinn Féin Assembly election manifesto in Derry today, Mr McGuinness said; 1142524474
“Sinn Fein is committed to delivering a government that works coherently and collectively. We need equality and respect to be at the heart of how we do business and we need to deliver for people across society.
“My priority is to agree and implement a Programme for Government that grows the economy, provides proper public services and promotes equality and inclusion.

“We intend to build on our achievements – record levels of foreign direct investment and falling unemployment – while also redressing the issues which still exist in our society such as regional disparities, social disadvantage and intolerance.

“This manifesto sets out how Sinn Féin will deliver by building on the work of the last five years. You know that you can trust Sinn Féin with the political institutions, trust us with peace process and trust us to deliver.”Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin Council Leader calls for publication of Toxic Waste report

Sinn Féin Group Leader on Derry and Strabane District Council, Paul Fleming, has called on Council to ensure the swift publication of a health impact study exploring the effect of heavy industry on Strathfoyle and Culmore residents. Publication has been delayed while council engages with a concerned stakeholder and Cllr. Fleming insisted this should be completed as quickly as possible.

 

He said:

“While I appreciate the need for all concerns to be taken on board and addressed as comprehensively as possible I do not believe that it is in the public interest to prolong the process unnecessarily.

“I have been contacted by concerned constituents who fear the report is being suppressed.

“I am therefore calling on Council Officials to complete their correspondence with the utmost urgency with the stakeholder who has made representation so that the Report can be made public without any further delay.”

CRÍOCH/END

University starts work on permanent fence at Dunvale-Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from the Univeristy of Ulster Magee that they have started work  to install a permanent perimeter fence on lands at the  Dungreggan Road site and Dunvale Park

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “This is good news for the residents of Dunvale Park.There have been ongoing issues there for some time with people using gaps in the fence as an access point right on their doorsteps which brought many problems.

The University agreed to fund a permanent fence which will hopefully  address many of the problems there and give residents an extra sense of security around their homes.

I am  glad that work has now started.

Ends

McCartney seeks meeting with Chief Electoral Officer

Sinn Féin Assembly Candidate Raymond McCartney is seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to discuss concerns over a proposed centralisation of services.

Mr McCartney said:DSC_6528

“The proposed closure of regional offices to be replaced by online registration is a major cause of concern and could have serious ramifications for the democratic process.

“Suggestions that closures of regional offices across the North with the resultant job losses would result in a more efficient service is ludicrous.

“A reliance on online registration alone would most likely result in a further drop in the numbers of people participating in the democratic process, particularly in the older age bracket where a large percentage of eligible voters may not possess the electronic devices necessary to access online facilities.

“How would outreach work in schools be facilitated if these services are centralised in Belfast?

“Electoral Office management have suggested that the proposals result from reduced funding from the NIO. If this is the case then it is unacceptable. It is incumbent on government to ensure that maximum opportunity is afforded to the electorate to enable optimum participation in the exercise of their democratic franchise.

“These proposals I believe would result in the disenfranchising of thousands of eligible voters.

“I am therefore seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to get answers to these concerns.” CRÍOCH/END

SDLP manifesto based on Alice in Wonderland economics – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney blasted the SDLP manifesto as a wish list based on Alice in Wonderland economics.DSC_6528

Raymond McCartney said:

“The SDLP manifesto is full of shallow promises which read like a wish list.

“Senior spokespersons have claimed that their promises are fully costed but in the absence of any detail this smacks of Alice in Wonderland economics.

“They have claimed time and again that £225m spread over four years will magically pay for all of their uncosted and unfunded promises.

“They cannot even tell the electorate if they will be in government or in opposition.

“Speaking from experience let me be absolutely clear, £225m is a drop in the public spending ocean and will deliver none of the SDLPs naïve promises.

“Their manifesto is frankly a poor piece of fiction, lacking in any knowledge of budgetary processes and is a transparent attempt to buy votes with empty and undeliverable promises.

“The SDLP need to publish their ‘costings’ and come clean with the public. In the real world of politics, they have no ability or intention of delivering on their empty pledges.” Ends/Críoch

British government cannot be allowed to have veto over disclosure – McCartney

There is no doubt that legacy issues arising out of the conflict need to be addressed if we are to move forward.raymond mccartney

In every negotiation we as a Party have attempted to find a way in which that all these related issues can be addressed. 

Our position is clear.

However we are not prepared to enter a process – which gives a power to the British government to determine what information it can disclose and what information it cannot disclose.

In the Stormont House Agreement the British government agreed that the Historical Investigation Unit would have full access to information.

However the draft legislation proposed that the British Secretary of State would have a veto on disclosure.

This is unacceptable as it does not address the need for truth. 

It is also unacceptable to many families seeking truth and most of the campaigning groups. 

Indeed in the Fresh start negotiations the British Government introduced the added pretext of “ British National Security’ as a way of blocking disclosure.

We opposed this – and with the support of families – we detailed a range of options to offset this blocking mechanisms.

It is based on three key principles

The disclosure of information cannot be allowed to endanger anyone’s life or safety.

Disclosure of information cannot be used to damage the effectiveness of current methodologies for the prevention of damage to what are view as ‘National Security’.

It cannot be used as a reason to withhold information in relation to the death or serious injury, serious human rights abuses, and must be Article 2 compliant.

These principles would be monitored and assessed by the introduction of an independent panel or giving the Historical Investigations Unit the same discretionary powers as the Police Ombudsman.

Our position remains that legacy, the need for truth is a necessary part of national reconciliation and we will continue in our efforts to ensure a credible process is in place but we will not permit the British government to abdicate address its responsibilities – this issue can be resolved. Ends/Críoch

 

Time to take politics out of health and put patients first – McLaughlin

Kathleen Lynn, a member of the Citizens’ Army, organizing medical care during the Rising was one of the first women to graduate as a doctor in Ireland.MLA   MAEVE MCLAUGHLIN

A lifelong activist, fighting for social justice and workers’ rights, she made the connection still relevant today.

Health and social justice are inextricably linked.

Tackling Health Inequalities is fundamental to delivering health and social care provision.

Early intervention and prevention is essential.

Health spend this year is £4.88billion but reality is it is not shared equally across society.

Life expectancy in affluent areas is aproximately 10 years longer than in deprived areas.

The top three constituencies in the North for health inequalities are West Belfast, North Belfast and Foyle.

Sinn Fein protected the Health budget last year with an additional £128m and will continue to protect and enhance our Health service.

However the big debate is where current health spend goes.

The system is overly complex, too bureaucratic and lacks accountability.

We welcome the health Minister’s commitment to reform – we now want to see delivery.

But delivery of health provision must not become ‘Care on the Cheap’!

Transforming your Care cannot be a “privatisation charter”.

Workforce planning should be prioritised – not something that is done in silos three plus years into a strategy.

We cannot say spending is going in the right direction and has the right outcome when we cannot pay frontline staff a living wage and senior consultants award themselves bonuses of £55m over the last five years.

£12m will be spent this year in the Western Trust on locums and agency staff – this is unsustainable and we are calling on the Health Minister to deliver on the proposal for a medical school at Derry’s Magee campus to help address this waste.

All-Ireland health such as the new radiotherapy unit in Derry and the Children’s heart services make sense.

Now we need an island wide addiction strategy, air ambulance service, organ donation register and suicide prevention strategy.

In Derry we are committed to the development of a crisis intervention service to provide safe space for people in crisis

We need to take the politics out of health and move our health system to a genuine public health model that respects staff while putting patients first. Ends/Críoch

Time to deliver the vision of 1916 – McGuinness

Time to deliver the vision of 1916 – McGuinnessMartin McGuinness outside the Dáil giving press statement.

It is always a great honour to address the Ard Fheis but particularly so on this historic weekend.

And I want to begin by congratulating you all on such a great election result in February when we increased our Dail representation from 14 to 23 seats.

On the day of the count I travelled through Wicklow, Waterford, Kilkenny and Cork to witness the historic election of  TDs John Brady, Kathleen Function, David Cullinane, Louise O’Reilly and Donnach 0 Laoighre – first time TDs elected in constituencies where we have not had a Sinn Féin TD since the 1920s.

I want to pay tribute to all candidates, party workers, canvassers, their families, and voters.

Out of the nine new TDs, I am particularly proud that five are dedicated, articulate women activists.

As a party, we have a responsibility to promote gender equality but let me say gender equality is becoming a reality because we have these determined, committed and energetic women coming forward.

Half a million people across the island have now put their faith in us.

More and more citizens are voting for Sinn Féin’s national and democratic project to build the peace and promote consensus and reconciliation.

They are voting for an agreed Ireland – an Ireland of equals.

We are the united Ireland party putting ourselves before the Irish people across the island.

So next month’s Assembly election is hugely important for the future of politics on this island. 

It presents an opportunity for a new approach, building on the Fresh Start Agreement, to deliver better, more effective government and move beyond crisis and instability. 

One hugely important aspect of the Fresh Start Agreement that has yet to be concluded is dealing with the legacy of the past.

The mechanisms for dealing with the past are agreed. The only blockage is the British government’s veto on disclosure of information about the policies of the British state and its agencies.

This British government is determined to conceal its role in the conflict and the actions of its agents, agencies and their proxies in the loyalist death squads. 

During the negotiations we stood full square with the families.

Today I want to make it absolutely clear here that we will continue to stand with you in your campaign for the truth.

The Fresh Start Agreement does provide an opportunity to deliver better government. We are now six months on and in my opinion we have made a good start and that must continue up to, through and after the election.

Sinn Féin is also determined to build a more inclusive society on this island, a society which accepts and celebrates diversity.

That is the New Ireland which Sinn Fein is advocating on the centenary of the Easter Rising.

We have led on the progressive measures taken by the Executive, ring-fenced health spending, transformed the schools estate, created 40,000 jobs as well as blocking water charges, keeping student fees affordable and securing funding for crucial infrastructural projects.

There is no doubt we have faced many challenges – not least the relentless Tory onslaught on our public services and on those most in need.

But we have faced these challenges head on, even when others said it was impossible and we secured unique protections for those most in need in our society. 

We achieved this despite the relentless negativity of smaller parties who opposed the Agreement.

The UUP and SDLP still can’t tell the electorate whether they want to be in government or in opposition.

Let me be absolutely clear. With the mandate of the people, Sinn Féin will be in the Executive after this election.

And in the Executive I am determined to provide the positive, progressive and responsible leadership that will build on the enormous progress we have already made.

And there is much more work to do to build an Ireland of equals. Sinn Féin is determined to confront and face down sectarianism, bigotry and homophobia.

Others also need to accept their responsibility to do the same. They need to catch up with the rest of society.

We need to see equality for all our citizens, and that means the immediate extension of marriage equality to every part of this island.

The recent criminalisation of a young woman in the north was absolutely wrong. While I would caution against anyone using medication accessed on the internet, women facing difficult personal circumstances as a result of pregnancies must be treated with compassion and sympathy.

And the law in the north must change to allow the option of termination in the traumatic circumstances of Fatal Foetal Abnormalities and sexual crimes.

In this important year when we are commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising we can reflect on how far we have come. But the work of building a new, inclusive and progressive Ireland is far from complete. The vision remains unfulfilled.

For Sinn Féin this is a work in progress and today we reiterate our commitment to securing, in the words of the proclamation, “the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies”.

And the greatest fracture in securing that right remains the partition of Ireland. Sinn Fein is the only party on this island working to end that fracture in our nation.

The vision of 1916 is alive and well in this room.

It is also alive across this island.

Only yesterday I met a group of primary school children in Newry involved in a history project, which inspired them to write their own version of the Proclamation.

They presented me with a copy and it reads;

‘We demand that all people of Ireland have a safe and warm home as every person deserves.

 

Homelessness MUST come to an end. All families should have a nice warm meal every night. We demand that all children have the highest standard of education possible.’

 

Those primary school children have more political principle and maturity than many of our self-serving political parties.

 

That is the challenge for this party in the months and weeks ahead – to deliver on the 1916 Proclamation but also to deliver on the innocent accuracy of the Proclamation written by those young children in 2016.

 

The spirit of 1916 is as relevant and inspiring today as it was a century ago. 100 years ago the world gazed in deep amaze at those who stood against the might of the British Empire on the streets of this city.

 

We have an enormous responsibility to deliver on their optimism and vision. The Assembly elections are a further opportunity for the electorate in the north to vote for our progressive politics. I am asking the people of the north to come out and vote for the Sinn Fein team and in doing so to send a clear message that the spirit of freedom, embodied in the 1916 Proclamation, is alive and well in cities town and villages across Ireland. ENDS/CRÍOCH

 

Concern over Derry crime wave -McCartney

Sinn Féins Raymond McCartney said DSC_6528

In February I had a meeting with senior members of the PSNI in the city to discuss what can only be described as a car crime epidemic.

The activity isn’t confined to just one location, it covers a wide area from Culmore to the Northlands district.

Sadly since my meeting with the PSNI the problem has escalated.

There isn’t a weekend goes past now that a number of cars are being stolen and we are increasingly seeing the problems of so called run-around cars. We are seeing evidence that some of these cars are being sold on to young people for as little as £20 a vehicle.

There have also been a high number of burglaries ,attempted car thefts, cars being broken into, cars being driven at high speed placing motorists, pedestrians and now even residents in their own homes in great danger.

It’s of paramount importance that the PSNI tackle this as a matter of urgency and put in place whatever steps and resources are needed before we have a fatality on our hands.

Ends

McCartney welcomes polling station decision

Sinn Féin's Raymond McCartney has said people should be able to cast their 
vote at polling stations free from fear and intimidation.raymond mccartney 

Mr McCartney said; 

"There are clear rules 
governing posters and flags 
at polling stations
and it is important 
these are adhered to. 

"I know a number of voters 
raised concerns that they 
felt intimidated by 
the presence of flags 
at a polling station in Newbuildings at last 
year's Westminster election. 

"Following these complaints that polling station has now been moved back to its 
original location and I think that is the correct decision. 

"It is important that people can exercise their democratic right to 
vote at polling stations free from fear and intimidation." Ends/Críoch
--

Hassan condemns fourth attack on Madams Bank Road traffic lights

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has condemned the wanton vandalism that took place at  traffic lights on the  Madams Bank Road on Wednesday night when the lights were set on fire by a number of youths. lg_tony_hassan_copy2

Councillor Hassan said

A number of youths set fire to the traffic lights and caused problems for road users. This is the fourth time these lights have been set on fire in the last twelve months and many believe it is the same group who carried this  out.

The traffic lights provide safety for pedestrians, particularly children who go to the local schools.

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

I would like to thank the intervention work carried out by community workers in preventing some young people from causing serious damage to the  traffic lights and the subsequent problems this would have caused  for road users.

Mayor welcomes decision to fund Foyle Haven

Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion has welcomed news that funding has been secured for a rescue package for the Foyle Haven with no redundancies required.

Speaking today the Mayor said:ElishaMcCallion-sm

“I am delighted that agreement has been reached to provide essential funding to Foyle Haven to allow them to retain their essential service to vulnerable members of the local community and that there will be no redundancies.

The Mayor who has led the campaign to source funding for the organisation by getting key statutory agencies together, continued:

“The joined up collaborative approach was key to securing the funding and I extend my thanks to all the agencies who have contributed financially to provide a rescue package for the service.

“I will continue to work closely with the agencies including the Western Trust and the Public Health Agency to look at sourcing funding that will secure long-term sustainability of the service.

“I am delighted that the need for this essential service has been acknowledged by the various agencies. I have been working with Foyle Haven and the key agencies to do what I could to highlight the good work that they do. It’s imperative that we work collectively to ensure that we don’t arrive at this situation next year and that a long term solution is found that will secure Foyle Haven’s future for many years to come.

“Having been in contact with UNISON this morning they have confirmed that after speaking to De Paul that there will be no redundancies required at the Foyle Haven as a result of this outcome.” CRÍOCH/END

Privacy rights must be protected -Martina Anderson MEP

“Whilst the mind boggles at the invasive and unnecessary Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal – we in Sinn Fein welcome the introduction of more robust data protection initiatives, such as the good report authored by Mr. Albrecht on a renewed data protection regulation.15251175137_aa21579d1d_o

“The right to the protection of personal data is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.  

“Both documents seek to protect individual’s rights to privacy, for instance protecting private medical records and preventing insurance companies from potentially misusing personal and deeply private information.

“PNR proposals on the other hand do the complete opposite. PNR involves the collection and storage of a huge amount of personal information gathered from airliners. This information includes all information given to book flights as well as what language passengers speak, what their seating preferences are, if they require a wheelchair or possess specialty dietary requirements which are often a result and an indicator of religious belief.”

“PNR is an invasive, expensive violation of civil liberties and lacks any credible security value.

“As such, Sinn Féin, along with other progressive forces, have signed a rejection amendment to attempt to stop PNR being passed in the European Parliament tomorrow.”

Speaking after the debate Martina Anderson MEP concluded,

“The institutions of the European Parliament may, this week, give with one hand and take with the other. The data protection packages are welcome steps whilst PNR is a huge step backwards.

“The Data Protection Regulations, presently available, whilst not perfect, are a step in the right direction.

“The European institutions should build on this platform and concern themselves more with the protection of the civil liberties of citizens, than what meal they order on a flight.”

McGuinness supports bid for European Youth Capital

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has reiterated his support for Derry City and Strabane District Council’s (DCSDC) bid for European Youth Capital as we draw closer to the crucial date for shortlisting.IMG_1175

Martin McGuinness said:

“I along with my Ministerial Colleagues in the outgoing Executive, Carál Ní Chuilín in DCAL and John O’Dowd in Education have been strong supporters of this bid since its inception. We are now fast approaching the first major hurdle in DCSDC’s bid for European Youth Capital which is the shortlisting stage on the 26th April.

“Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has secured a meeting with European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport) to lobby support for the bid a this meeting will take place today Wednesday 13th April in Strasbourg.

“There’s no doubt that Derry’s year as City of Culture 2013 made a massive impression beyond our expectations on international audiences and I have every confidence that those tasked with adjudicating on the bid for European Youth Capital will be similarly impressed.

“City of Culture not only encouraged young people to get involved in cultural activity and be part of international celebrations but has given them the appetite for more.

“The success of major events such as the Radio One Big Weekend, the Return of Colmcille and the all-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil instilled a sense of pride not just in our youth but everyone in any way connected to Derry.

“Success in the bid for European Youth Capital for Derry and Strabane would reinforce the image of the District as an international cultural hub. It would make a major contribution in showcasing our tourism offering and our unique cultural and historical Heritage.

“It would once more provide us with an opportunity to showcase the vibrancy and creativity of our young people.

“I am confident that if we can progress past this shortlisting stage that we can go on to secure the title. I give my wholehearted support to the Council and congratulate all those who worked on preparing the bid.” CRÍOCH/END

35th Anniversary Bobby Sands Election

Barrs Lane set for facelift -McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has indicated that an Exterior Cyclical Maintenance scheme will be carried out by the Housing Executive in Barr’s Lane this summer.20160404_155252

 

Mr. McCartney said: “Housing Executive residents in Barr’s Lane have been enquiring for a period of time as to when maintenance work will be carried out on the exterior of their homes.   It is my understanding that the ECM scheme is now scheduled to come into Barr’s Lane this summer once the Housing Executive has completed work in the Shantallow area.

 

Work will include exterior painting, front and rear door replacement, servicing of double glazing, roof tiles, gutters, gates and fencing.

 

I welcome this much needed scheme and I will be working with residents and the Housing Executive to ensure that the work is carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Hassan welcomes new school crossing on the Racecourse Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that new traffic lights are being installed on the Racecourse Road outside St Patricks Primary school Pennyburn.

He said “This will help the safety of children and parents who have to cross this road at peak times in the morning and in the afternoon.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

I commend Transport N.I. for looking at the safety concerns of the children and parents who attend the school.

It is important that Transport NI do all in their power to have a Safe Route to schools programme in as many schools as possible across the city.

Councillor Tony Hassan also said

I am calling  on  Transport N.I to install the Safe Routes to schools programme at Hollybush school and at the Ardan Road in Culmore area of the city .When they  installed traffic  calming measures in that road last year they did not put in the Safe Route scheme at that time.

 

35th Anniversary of Bobby Sands election to parliament

Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney has launched a new billboard commemorating the 35th anniversary of Bobby Sands election to 
parliament.DSC_8391

“The election of Bobby Sands is an iconic moment, not just in terms of the prison struggle but the wider

struggle for a United Ireland.

 

“Margaret Thatcher thought she could break the republican struggle by criminalising it. By claiming it had no support and no legitimacy. The 30,000 people who came out to elect Bobby proved her wrong.

 

“And as we face into another potentially historic election in the centenary year of 1916, it’s timely that we remember such a pivotal event.

 

“In 1981 thousands rallied to the call to elect Bobby, recently on Easter Sunday thousands more rallied to remember the Rising. Let us all remember the spirit of 1916 and 1981 and in this election embrace that same spirit by voting Sinn Féin.”

Anderson MEP raises British collusion with EU representatives

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will this week host a series of meetings in the European Parliament in Strasbourg between EU departments and a delegation of people from the north of Ireland seeking truth and justice from British collusion.Martina new pic 201

Speaking ahead of the delegation, which will take place on Monday and Tuesday and is made up of a group of 12, Ms Anderson said

“The question of the past continues to cast a shadow over the future for so many families who live with loss as a direct consequence of our conflict.

“After more than 40 years, the Ballymurphy families are still campaigning for the truth into the British army killings of their loved ones, so too are the families of the McGurks Bar Massacre.

“After 25 years the family of Patrick Finucane still seek the truth into the full extent of British state collusion in Pat’s murder and also the Jordan family as they seek the truth into the killing of their son IRA volunteer Pearse Jordan.

“In an attempt to bring their campaigns further and subsequently closer to truth and justice, I have set up a number of meetings with EU representatives.

“The group will meet with a representative from the Fundamental Rights Agency, who has responsibility for victims, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner representatives and with the Office of the Execution of Judgement.

Ms Anderson, a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament continues,

“Sinn Féin’s approach to the issue of legacy has been guided by the needs of families and our commitment to the universal application of the right to truth, consistent with international human rights standards.

“Indeed the British response to family demands for truth has been to engage their national security veto to prevent information and onward disclosure to victims, particularly families of British state violence and collusion.

“Each of these families has a right to information about the death of their loved one and I am hopeful that these meetings will bring them one step closer to achieving that.” ENDS 

Easter 2016 Derry

No return to the days of discrimination against Irish medium education-McCartney

Sinn Féin Assembly candidate for Foyle Raymond McCartney , has stated that there will be no return to discrimination against Irish language education.

Speaking following comments by Arlene Foster, Raymond McCartney  said:DSC_6528

“The DUP’s stance on the Irish language is out of step with the wider community.

“Over 95 per cent of response in the recent consultation on an Irish language act show clearly that there is a much more positive view of the Irish language in the community that is being reflected by unionist leaders.

“It’s bizarre that anyone would be seeking to blindly undermine one of the education sector’s success stories of the last 30 years.

“The benefits of bilingualism are very well documented. The results coming from the Irish medium sector are excellent.

“Spending is not based on “preferential treatment” – it is addressing the growing demand for Irish medium education and years of underinvestment in this sector.

“It wasn’t uncommon under British direct rule for schools to be denied funding and school children being taught in accommodation, which was frankly not good enough. There will be no return to those days.”

Community believe PSNI have failed the Top of the Hill area over recent weeks-Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

 

For over five weeks now we have seen crowds of upwards of 200 young people congregate next to the grounds of Immaculate Conception College. The vast majority of those are coming from other parts of the city, although some gathering in the area may simply be meeting up with friends, it is apparent that many of those are involved in criminality, underage drinking and can’t see the impact that they are having on the residents living nearby.

I would call on parents to be aware of where their children are at night, particularly at weekends as I am confident that the vast majority of these parents have no idea what their children are doing.

Myself and community workers have had numerous meetings with the PSNI to highlight this issue, it is frustrating that despite commitments to have a presence in the area , sadly the reality is that this isn’t happening.

 

Residents in the area expect a response from the PSNI when they feel intimidated in their homes, and in my opinion the response to date has been totally unacceptable.

 

Community workers and residents have been left to fill the vacuum left by the PSNI and on occasions have been verbally abused and spat on when attempting to move the large crowds along. This has to stop and the PSNI have to step up to the mark to address the problem.

 

It is encouraging that young people from all parts of the city want to meet up and socialise with each other, but this needs to be in a safe environment, with the relevant supervision. I have serious concerns about the dangers these young people may be exposed to and I dread to think what could happen if this continues.

Oakbridge Park oil theft –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has advised people living  in the Oakbridge area of Derry to be on the alert after the theft of heating oil from homes in the area over recent days.Councillor Sandra Duffy

Councillor Duffy said  “I would like to warn people to be on the lookout for the gangs behind this type of theft. The most recent oil theft in Oakbridge Park took place on Monday during the day.

Ends

Revitalisation of Meenan Square complex in the Bogside –McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called for the revitalisation of the Meenan Square complex in the Bogside.

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

 

The Foyle MLA said “Over recent years there has been a lot of negativity about anti community activity in and around the Meenan Square complex in the Bogside. This is added to by ongoing vandalism attacks on the buildings there throughout the year. It’s a terrible sight to be created with as you reach the bottom of the Flyover or have to live beside on a daily basis.

 

Its important NIHE investigates how to bring this property back into public or community ownership for the greater good of the community and the residents that live close by.

 

This site was once the heart of the Bogside with many local businesses and services and this site has the potential to become the catalyst for change in this community. And the area has recently been designated as an Urban Village by OFMDFM and the measure of the success of this initiative will be the regeneration of Meenan Park.

 

I believe now it is the time to change that and for all interested parties to come together and once and for all find a positive future for this site.

Over the next few years we will see massive investment with the new Brandywell Stadium and Foyle Valley Gateway project, there are plans for projects in the Bishop Street and Fountain areas and to compliment all that I believe the transformation and revitalisation of the Meenan Square complex would be a major piece of the jigsaw.

McCartney welcomes Council call for release of Tony Taylor

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news that  Derry City & Strabane District Council have  called for Derry man Tony Taylor’s immediate release, and raised concerns over his human rights. raymond mccartney

Raymond McCartney said “I welcome news the council has called for the immediate release of Tony Taylor.

 “The continued use of unjust powers by the British government to revoke a person’s license without producing any evidence of wrongdoing is an affront to human rights and natural justice.

Ends

Vandals set fire to Holy Child primary school-Campbell

Speaking from the scene after vandals set fire to the roof of the Holy Child primary school and building materials, Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell saidKevin Campbell

“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”

McGuinness raises Tony Taylor case with Villiers

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness today raised the arrest and imprisonment of Derryman Tony Taylor with British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers.Martin McGuinness outside the Dáil giving press statement.
 
Mr Mc Guinness said:
 
“I raised the case of Derryman Tony Taylor directly with the British Secretary of State Theresa Villier today.
 
“The arrest and imprisonment without recourse to due process is a practice that is totally unacceptable and needs to end immediately.
 
“I made that position clear to Theresa Villiers today.”
 
CRÍOCH/END

McLaughlin calls for medical school at Magee

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called for a medical school to be established at Magee in Derry.

The Foyle MLA and chair of the Assembly’s health committee said; CTE2e25WIAElo4v

“Sinn Féin have been calling for the establishment of a medical school at Magee for a number of years both to address the need for more doctors and to create more opportunities at the university.

“I welcome today’s meeting between health minister Simon Hamilton and the University of Ulster Vice Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon, to discuss a proposal to set up a Graduate Entry Medical school in the north west.

“It would make perfect sense to establish such a medical school at Magee.

“Derry is ideally placed for a Graduate Entry Medical School as we have a state of the art hospital, including the new cancer centre, on our doorstep in Altnagelvin.

“Magee also has already established a reputation for medical innovation through its relationship with C-TRIC and the opportunities presented with the roll out of the North West Health Innovation Corridor.

“There is a clear lack of doctors in the Western Trust area and across the North generally and a new medical school would help address that and reduce locum costs.

“I would now call on the health department officials to seriously work with the university and others to develop this proposal to ensure that this medical school is developed at Magee.”

Duffy welcomes new street numbering signs erected at Elm Grove

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed  the new street numbering signs that have been erected at Elm Grove

Councillor Duffy saidIMG_4326

I would like to thank Derry City and Strabane District Council for erecting these much needed signs which will aid emergency services attending the area.

It has been pointed out on many occasions that it is difficult to navigate this large estate as emergency services such as ambulances are unsure where particular numbers are, so these signs could in fact save a life as they will save valuable time off emergency vehicles finding an address.

It will also help with deliveries to the area and taxi drivers finding houses late at night.

Car burned and joy riding incidents in Ballymagroarty – McGinley

Commenting after a car was set on fire close to the local community centre in Ballymagroarty and also a number of reported so called “joy riding” incidents in the area.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley saidEric new head shot 20144

Once again those involved in these actions have only succeeded in terrorising their own communities by inflicting inconveniences upon them. The last thing local people want to see is an upsurge of this sort of activity.

I would appeal to anyone with even the slightest piece of information in regards to those behind this incident or those taking part in “death riding” to bring it forward to the PSNI straight away.

Ends

Anderson MEP slams ‘EU-US privacy Agreement.

Responding to an article in the Irish Times (29/03/16) which warned of loss of trade in the Digital Economy, if the European Court of Justice (ECJ) finds against mass bulk data collection, Ms. Anderson stated:CWrWZ7UWUAEjEpO

“The interests of the Digital Economy should not take precedence over the rights of citizens as the sole focus in this instance. A citizen’s fundamental right to have their personal privacy protected should be the chief concern.

“The stark fact is that; ‘The Privacy Shield Agreement’, proposed by the EU Commission, is an insult to citizens across Europe, whose privacy rights would be further eroded by this proposal.

“The agreement includes no legally binding protections, but instead, merely proposes the creation of an independent but powerless ombudsman, who would assess citizens’ complaints.

“As a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, I find it highly improbable that an Ombudsman would have sufficient powers to oversee US intelligence services.

“As Republicans we know first-hand the destructive, malevolent and negative role that Intelligence Agencies play. That is why it is imperative that strong and meaningful legal protections are put in place, in order to ensure that all citizens’ personal data is legally protected.

“For citizens’ rights to be protected and for the digital economy to function effectively, it is crucial that a robust and enforceable system be put in place in order to protect all parties concerned.

“I will continue to ensure such matters are prioritised and vocalised in my role as an MEP on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. And we will ensure that our TD’s highlight the implications of such an agreement for Irish citizens in the Dáil.”

Anderson MEP to host Disability Rights Sector discussion

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will host representatives of the Disability Rights sector in her Office at Spencer House, Waterside, Derry on Friday 1st April at 11 am.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Ms Anderson said:

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“I am looking forward to once more hearing from those involved in the Disability Sector and to assess any progress or further concerns since we last met and to listen to their ideas.

“Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Maeve McLaughlin and Justice Spokesperson Raymond McCartney will also be on hand to answer queries on the health, justice and legislative aspects of disability rights.

“It’s important to recognise from the outset that human rights protections for disabled citizens in the North are already behind other regions and that the sector faces further threat from the planned repeal of the 1998 Human Rights Act by the British government.

“As Vice-Chair of the Inter-parliamentary Group on Disability at the EU Parliament and Rapporteur of the opinion on the UN convention of the Right of Persons with Disability and I have submitted a first draft opinion on the issue which was widely circulated in the disability sector in Ireland.

“This opinion included, calling on the EU Council to adopt the 2008 proposal for a directive on implementing the principal of equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. And for the EU institutions to take a particular focus on the rights of children with disabilities, assess current EU compatibility with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and work to remove all obstacles faced by them in their day to day life.

“Recognising that vulnerable members of society are further marginalised by their disability the EU should redouble efforts to accommodate fully the provision of rights and services for all people, including stateless people, homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.

“The submission also expressed concern at the stated aim of the British Government to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act, the parliamentary act which gives effect to the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Sinn Féin is also lobbying for the full and immediate implementation of the EU Accessibility Act and opening up of EU funding streams to groups representing persons with disabilities.

“We are also calling on the EU institutions to ‘human rights proof’ all future legislation and to assess the compatibility of EU legislation with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“All those interested in the rights of the disabled are welcome to the discussion.

McCartney addresses largest Easter Sunday commemoration ever seen in Derry

Martin McGuinness said “Well done Derry,rising to the occasion with our largest ever Easter Rising Commemoration in the City.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the continued growth of Sinn Féin is key to establishing a new Ireland worthy of the men and women of 1916.

Section of his speech DSC_3871

Speaking at the Easter Rising commemoration in Derry City Cemetery, Mr McCartney said; 

“This is an exciting time to be part of the republican family.

“For our part all that we do in pursuit of our political objectives is about creating a nation where the vision of the Proclamation is the living experience of every Irish man, woman and child.

“We are an ever growing force across Ireland. Increasing numbers of people are turning to us for leadership because Sinn Féin provides a better way, a challenge to the agenda of self interest and inequality of opportunity.

“500,000 people voting for our vision has made Sinn Féin the largest political party in Ireland but we know that we must become stronger.

“The Assembly election on May 5th provides another opportunity to increase the strength built up over many years of struggle.

“In Derry we have set ourselves a goal of returning three MLAs – Martin McGuinness, Maeve McLaughlin and myself – and it is a goal which can be achieved.

“It is about maximising political strength which ultimately will bring an end to partition and political domination by elites and golden circles.

“Increased political strength provides the opportunity to bring equality to every aspect of our lives and create the Ireland set out so eloquently in the Proclamation of 1916.”

CENTENARY CHALLENGE LAUNCHED IN DERRY

Speaking on behalf of the Bogside and Brandywell Monument committee Stephanie English said

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This year with it being the Centenary of 1916 we were thinking of different new ways of marking the occasion. Last year we did a very successful event around the 30th Anniversary of Charles English when we asked people to do something to remember him and post the photos online. Several hundred people took part and we had people doing stuff across the world ,doing the likes of  a 10k run, a swim walking the two bridges in Derry ,climbing  the likes of Errigal Mountain  we even had a band in Australia doing a parade .It was all good positive stuff.

So this coming  Sunday 3rd April we will be doing the Centenary Challenge Run /Walk run just slightly over 3K which is 1.916 Miles. Registration will take place in the Gasyard from 9.30am for a 11am start.  The run will start and finish at the Gasyard Centre. The entry fee is £10 per person. Children attending with an adult go free. Each paying adult entrant will receive a commemorative t-shirt and there’s a certificate for everyone taking part. There will be refreshments straight afterwards and lots of spot prizes.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney who launched the race “It is a great idea. Everybody has their own way of remembering or commemorating our history. This is a family friendly event on Sunday and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

McCartney to address Derry Centenary Easter Sunday Commemoration

Thousands of people  from across Derry will gather at commemorations throughout the city this coming weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising and to commemorate all those who have given their lives in pursuit of Irish Freedom.WP_20160322_12_25_16_Pro(1)

Encouraging Republicans to take part in the Centenary commemorations this Sunday.

Sinn Féín Councillor Colly Kelly said

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

This year there will be four parades from each of the areas converging simultaneously on Westland Street .There will be pageantry, street theatre and a large number  of those in the parade wearing period costume of the day so it will be a great spectacle to see and i would encourage as many families as possible to come along as we will only see something on this scale once in a life time.

We would encourage people not only to take part in their local events but also to come along to be part of the main commemoration in Derry this Sunday at 2.30pm,  assemble Westland Street .We are very pleased to announce this year that the main speaker will be Raymond McCartney.

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

12.00pm Shantallow   Monument (Racecourse Road)

1.30pm Waterside (Rose Court)

1.45pm Creggan (Central Drive),

2.00pm Bogside and Brandywell (Lecky Road)

Fleming congratulates formation of Strathfoyle Boxing club

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said Paul Fleming strathfoyle

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the setting up and running of the new Strathfoyle Boxing Club.

It’s great to see such a club being set up in the area which gives a positive outlet for young people from the area and indeed across the town.

I hope that they can build on what has been started here and attract more people to become involved in sport.

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Derry City Easter Parade 2016

Car torched at Oakland Park -Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has condemned those who burned out a car in Oakland Park area of Creggan on Tuesday night.

Councillor Campbell said: 20160323_095320

“The young people who were driving around in this car have no respect for either the local community or its residents.

A local resident who I spoke to this morning said that the car was parked up in Oakland Park on Monday and left there all day then a young person returned on Tuesday afternoon and took it away it was then brought back on Tuesday night around 11.30pm and set on fire.

“These people had no regard for the local community when they set it on fire in such a built up area.  There were young children in their beds when this car was burned ,this had a traumatic affect on them.  The heat from the burning car also destroyed a neighbour’s fence.

“ I would appeal to people if they know the whereabouts of any of these run around cars to report it immediately either myself or any other community worker or the PSNI.  These cars need to be taken off our streets. ”.

Home Bargain planning approval paves the way for 100 new jobs –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor   Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that a planning application for a new Home Bargains store in the city has been approved today by Derry City and Strabane District council.Mickey Cooper

The Home Bargain group is  looking  to create 100 jobs with the opening of a new outlet at a vacant unit at the busy  junction of the Buncrana Road and Strand Road which was previously part of  the Budget DIY store.

Sinn Féin Councillor  Mickey Cooper said “I very much welcome today’s decision to grant the planning application  which will now see this site going into full use again. A lot of hard work had gone into ensuring the application could be brought before council.

This was a complicated process as it was quite a difficult traffic assessment given that the proposed store lies close to the Pennyburn roundabout, which takes in the Strand Road, Buncrana Road and the Culmore Road,” he said.

“Thankfully, between myself, Roads Service and the planners, this assessment was completed and the application has now been passed by the council, paving the way for up to 100 new jobs in the city”

Easter Sunday 2016

Easter

‘Brutal’ killing of a fox in Ballymagroarty -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has described as ‘brutal’ the killing of a fox in Ballymagroarty in the early hours of Tuesday morning.20160322_105018(1)

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “A number of residents were awoken this morning by the sounds of a fox being savagely killed by dogs in Ballymagroarty.

 

Whilst this type of practice does take place – and there is an ongoing debate on the rights and wrongs of this – I don’t believe it is at all appropriate to use hunting dogs in built up residential areas such as Ballymagroarty.

 

People were subjected to the sights and sounds of a fox being viciously killed by hunting dogs and I would appeal to those who are engaged in this practice not to bring it in to residential areas.”

Foyle MLA welcomes Hooded Men decision

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed a High Court decision ordering Theresa Villiers to give sworn testimony on the case of the ‘Hooded Men.’ DSC_6528

Raymond McCartney said  said;

“These 14 men were tortured by the British state and have been denied justice ever since due to the fact that a full investigation has not been held into their case.

“I welcome today’s decision ordering Theresa Villiers to give sworn testimony on the case.

“These men and their families deserve answers as to why they were singled out, who ordered their torture and why no one has ever been held responsible.”

McCartney welcomes GiffGaff extension and jobs announcement

Raymond McCartney MLA has welcomed the decision by GiffGaff to extend its contract with First Source, Derry for another three years securing employment at the Northland Road site.

Mr McCartney statedIMG_7419

“This decision by GiffGaff to extend its contract, when they clearly had other options, is a vote of confidence in the skills and abilities of the Derry work force at First Source. The redesigned and revamped facility for the GiffGaff operation at Northland Road is also an indication of First Source commitment to the Derry operation and the creativity and skills of its local work force.”

“Firstsource already employ 64 staff on the GiffGaff project and this contract extension will create a further 16 new jobs.

Mr McCartney continued:

“I visited the Firstsource plant last week as part of an ongoing engagement with the company and its staff. I found it very informative to talk to both staff on the ground and the senior management team at the facility.

“I believe it is important to show them support and to assist in whatever way possible to ensure the sustainability, retention of existing jobs and securing of additional investment and expansion at the Derry site.

“Indeed this is a task that I am very confident the senior team at Firstsource are energetically pursuing and will with our support and a first class workforce, continue to deliver additional employment in the time ahead.” ENDS

Easter lily launched in Derry

The annual launch of the Easter Lily took place at an event in Shantallow on Wednesday night to launch a local programme of events for the centenary year

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy saideaster lily launch shanty 1

 

“The Easter Lily is an emblem of unity between the different traditions within the nation as well as the heroism of those who sacrificed so much in 1916. The lily has always had strong symbolic value, though its meaning and symbolism have changed through the ages. Today in 2016 it symbolises the possibility of unity, equality and prosperity for all the peoples of the island.

The annual distribution of the lilies will take place in the lead up to Easter weekend. A limited numbers of metal pin badges are also available at our Ráth Mór office on the New Road, Peadar O Donnell’s and Checkpoint Charlie shop Waterloo Street.

The Easter Sunday parade  is this weekend on the 27th March and further details will be released in the Derry press shortly.

Martin McGuinness condemns Brussels attacks

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has expressed his shock and condemnation of this morning’s bomb attacks in Brussels and said his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and survivors.

Martin McGuinness said:Martin McGuinness outside the Dáil giving press statement.

“This morning’s attacks on people at airport and metro stations in Brussels are deplorable and I condemn them unreservedly.

“My thoughts, as with everyone in Ireland at this time, will be with those killed or injured.

“I have been in contact with Sinn Féin representatives and staff travelling to and in Brussels this morning to express my concern and I now want to extend solidarity and support to the people of Brussels at this awful time.” 

100 strong crowd cause havoc in TOH at weekend-Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has said residents living in the Top of the Hill area are living in fear after a number of serious incidents there at the weekend which involved a crowd over 100 young people. waterside 2

Councillor Jackson said “This has been building up over the past number of weekends with large crowds of young people gathering in the vicinity of the now empty Immaculate Conception College.

On Saturday night there was a crowd of over 100 there .Residents I have spoken to in Corrordy Road and Bards Hill have told me they were terrified in their homes with such a large crowd right on their doorsteps with all sorts of carry on taking place. The vast majority of those involved in the anti-community activity are not from the Waterside area.

There was a very serious incident at an apartment block at Tamneymore Park .A wheelie bin was set on fire which resulted in electricity to a number of apartments being knocked out and people having to be evacuated from their homes. A number of fire appliances attended the fire.

I along with local community workers have been liaising with the PSNI to see what can be done to nip this in the bud as a matter of urgency. I will be meeting with the police again in the next twenty four hours to try and come up with practical solutions.

Mayor to open Book of Condolences following tragedy in Buncrana

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion is to open a Book of Condolence in Derry following the tragic incident in Buncrana that claimed the lives of five people, including two children.ElishaMcCallion-sm

She said: “This is a terrible tragedy that has affected the entire community in Derry and Donegal and left all of us numb. Who would have thought that a family day out could have ended so tragically, it is beyond belief and I can’t put into words how sorry I am for the family and those affected by this dreadful accident.

“As Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, I will be opening a Book of Condolence in the coming days so that the local community can express their sympathies and show their support for the wider community and family circle. This is a heart wrenching story that really captures the heart of every person and it’s important that we provide a forum for which people can express their condolences.

“I would also like to pay tribute to all the emergency services who attended the scene last night, it could not be easy dealing with such a harrowing incident. The thoughts and prayers of the whole community are with those affected by this tragedy and we offer our help and support over the coming days as they try to come to terms with what has happened,” she said.

Details of the location and opening times for the Book of Condolence will follow later today once details of the incident are fully released to the public.

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McGuinness’s thoughts and prayers with families of Buncrana tragedy

Martin McGuinness offering condolences to all those affected by the tragedy in Buncrana said:CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the devastating tragedy unfolding in Buncrana this evening.  Our thoughts and appreciation must also be with the emergency services who have had to deal with this tragic situation.”

Uniting Ireland Conference postponed as mark of respect following Buncrana drowning tragedy

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has announced that the Uniting Ireland raymond mccartneyConference planned for the Millienium Forum tonight has been postponed as a mark of respect to those affected by the devastating drowning tragedy in Buncrana last night.

 

 

 

CRÍOCH/END

Gerry Adams comments on White House controversy

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD commenting on the events at the White House on Tuesday evening said:CGQ53KFWoAEUfQd

“I had received my usual invitation to attend the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the White House and was pleased to accept.

“When I arrived the staff at the White House informed me that there was an issue of ‘security’.

“After two decades of travelling back and forth to the USA and countless meetings in the White House with successive US Presidents, this is an unacceptable development.

“It is obvious that there remain some within the US administration who seek to treat Sinn Fein differently.

“Some of our political representatives have been denied access to the USA while others, including myself, have to regularly go through additional searches and scrutiny when we travel to and from the USA.

“Last year the State Department initially refused to meet me as part of a transparent effort to pressurise Sinn Féin during negotiations at Stormont.

“That meeting did take place after protests from US political leaders. Efforts to pressurise us in the negotiations failed.

“This morning Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and I met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland. They too shared our grave disappointment at the White House situation and expressed their determination to have this issue resolved.

“Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone. We are elected to represent citizens and we will do this. I am hopeful that the controversy around my White House invitation will help lead to a resolution of all these matters.”

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EASTER SUNDAY 27TH MARCH 2016

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McCartney calls for everyone to have equal access to RTÉ player

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has said everyone on the island of Ireland should have equal access to RTÉ programmes online.

Speaking after party representatives met RTÉ at Stormont said; DSC_6528

“Everyone across Ireland north and south should have same access to RTÉ programming and the same standard of services.

“At present, users in the North cannot access the RTÉ Player because internet service providers, particularly BT, do not recognise users’ IP addresses as being Irish.

“I welcome the fact that RTÉ came to the Assembly today to discuss the concerns of users here.

“Following the meeting it was agreed that the DETI committee work with RTÉ and the internet service providers to ensure everyone on the island has equal access to RTÉ player services.

“This was identified in the Good Friday Agreement and 18 years on it is important the broadcasters and internet service providers, together with both governments, work together to achieve a resolution.”

Proclamation day celebrated –McLaughlin

Speaking on Proclamation Day Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said Cdm0IYbUEAA_nvn

On that Easter Monday April 24th 1916 Padraig Pearse marched with his comrades to the General Post Office in Dublin and read from its steps the Proclamation of a new Republic.

This Republic was to be uniquely democratic and positively inclusive.

The core values of it were mapped out in the 1916 Proclamation, which remains for me one of the great documents of history and the mission statement of modern Irish republicanism.

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

It guarantees religious and civil liberty and is avowedly anti-sectarian.

It promotes equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens.

It addresses Irishmen and Irishwomen.

At a time when women did not have the vote this was a revolutionary commitment to universal suffrage.

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

Thousands  of Proclamations are being delivered by Sinn Féin activists in the city this week and I would encourage everyone to take time out to read this very important historical document.

McLaughlin welcomes call for youth service capital scheme applications

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed Education Minister John O’Dowd’s announcement of the Voluntary Youth Capital Scheme which will provide capital grants for Youth Service facilities. CbbEZRvUcAArV6m.jpg large

She  said;

“This scheme announced today by Education Minister John O’Dowd will greatly assist youth services in the invaluable work they do with young people across the North.

“It will provide capital grants to allow youth services to improve their facilities, refurbish premises and provide services to meet the needs of young people with disabilities.

“The application process itself has also been simplified to make it easier for youth organisations to apply.

“This is a further indication of Sinn Féin’s commitment to providing first-class services to children and young people.”

McCartney welcomes Minister’s commitment to Irish language and Ulster Scots academies

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed the Minister of Culture Carál Ní Chuilín’s announcement on progression for academies for both the Irish language and Ulster Scots.

Raymond McCartney  said,

“I welcome the fact that the Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has stated that she is committed to the establishment of academies for both the Irish language and Ulster Scots.

“These academies are about the promotion of cultures that make up our heritage and identity and will add to expanding the experience of those involved in the Irish language and Ulster Scots.

“The Minister has listened to the consultation from both the Irish language and Ulster Scots communities and I welcome the fact that she is planning to situate the academies in places that have the potential to maximise participation from those communities.

“This is the latest in a line of commitments to develop both the Irish language and Ulster Scots and I look forward to these academies coming on line in the months ahead.”

Derry womens groups attend “International Women’s Day” event in Stormont

Encouraging women’s participation and representation during the Assembly Women’s Week

Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said;Cc9KegCUUAI7WCD

 

“I welcome the fact Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin has hosted the first Assembly Women’s Week.

 

“This is one of a number of events taking place around International Women’s Day in order to celebrate the role of women in public life and encourage more participation.

 

“Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted the importance of women in politics and three of our four MEPs are women, three out of our five ministers in the Assembly are women and over 40 per cent of our candidates in elections north and south are women.

 

“It is vitally important we encourage more women into politics and participate in the democratic process and events like this, will help towards achieving that.”

 

 

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Jackson welcomes scheme to help restore Top of the Hill businesses

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has welcomed the news that the Neighbourhood ReStore scheme has being made available to renew shop frontages in the local commercial areas.

£60,000 has been made available to premises in the Top of the Hill area.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson said

This investment of over £60,000 will give seven shop fronts in the heart of our community a much needed facelift. The shop fronts at Strabane Old Road have been in need of attention for some time now.

The scheme allows them to be done collectively, which will make a big impact on the appearance of the area.

Local businesses play a vital role in our community but unfortunately many are unable to raise the necessary money to carry out major refurbishments.

I have no doubt that the announcement of this funding will make these shops more welcoming and will hopefully attract other businesses into the area.

 

We have seen the success of the ReStore  scheme throughout the city centre and I have no doubt that this will have a similar impact to the business premises in our community.

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