Resurfacing of busy Rosemount Street to begin this week –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said that resurfacing is to begin on Argyle Street this week.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “I would like to inform residents of Argyle Street that work is to begin on the resurfacing of the street on Monday 23rd January .Its anticipated that this work will take one week to complete.

As this is a very busy street connecting the Northland Road with Park Avenue I would urge motorists to avoid the area whilst this work is taking place.

Ends

Hundreds to attend National Youth Congress/Comhdháil Náisiúnta in Derry City

Sinn Féin Republican Youth are set to hold its 2017 National Youth Congress/Comhdháil Náisiúnta in Derry City on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of January.13921044_10154471175999345_1918803967316687012_n

Hundreds of delegates and activists from across the island will gather in the Gasyard Centre to host a number of workshops and debates on a range of issues including youth and social affairs, education and international affairs.

 A number of invited guests from international youth movements such as Catalonia, Sardinia, Basque Country and Scotland will also take part in the event, participating in a number of panel discussions.

The two-day youth conference coincides with the annual Bloody Sunday weekend, this year marks the 45th anniversary of the murder of 14 innocent civilians by the British paratroopers on the streets of Derry on the 30th January,  and events will be held to commemorate the massacre.

Senator Fintan Warfield, Chairperson of Sinn Féin Republican Youth in Ireland said:

“We look forward to hosting the National Youth Congress in Derry on the back of a very successful year marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. The conference is the largest gathering of young Republicans on the island of Ireland.

“The theme of the conference is a ‘Vision for Unity’ and the role of young people in building a United Ireland based on equality as outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.

“Sinn Féin Republican Youth provides a political space for progressive young people to debate and educate themselves on our key political objectives. The youth congress gives young people a chance to have their say and help to build a young, vibrant and island wide mass movement.”

Local chairperson said Caolán McGinley

“It’s great to have the National Congress in your home city. Lasts year it was held in Cork and over the weekend hundreds of young people attended ..

Bedroom tax will not be introduced in the north – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the bedroom tax will not be introduced in the North.
Mr McCartney said; 12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o
“Despite scaremongering by some political parties, Sinn Fein have ensured that the bedroom tax will not be introduced in the north.
“I want to reassure anyone who may have received a letter concerning the bedroom tax that it will not apply here.

“A package of mitigations, secured by Sinn Féin, is in place so that tenants here will not be penalised by this unfair Tory tax.” Ends/Críoch

Brexit risks destroying the Good Friday Agreement – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in Dublin today said:gerry-adams

“The Irish government doesn’t have a strategy or a plan to deal with the dire consequences of Brexit for all the people of the island of Ireland. Sinn Féin has argued for an all-island vision. This view is strengthened by the vote in the North, which is to stay within the EU.

“That has to be upheld by the Irish government and all political parties. The government refuses to take up that position at this time.

“Brexit is a hostile action – the British government’s decision to drag the North out of the EU against the wishes of the electorate is a hostile action. This and the indifference of the Tory Government in London toward Ireland, North and South, will destroy the Good Friday Agreement.

“Sinn Féin is proposing that the Taoiseach argue for a special designated status for the north within the EU.  Thus far he refuses to take up that position.

“Instead of engaging with the EU and lobbying for a special designated status for the North within the EU, the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil leader were asleep at the wheel, speculating about, and being mesmerised by what the British government might do after the Brexit vote.

“It was obvious what they would do. Taking the North out of the EU, against the wishes of the people, will mean that the frontier between the EU and the British state will be on the island of Ireland. It will be an economic border from Derry to Dundalk.  No one in Ireland, North or South, wants that.

“To prevent this the Taoiseach needs to win the support of the other 26 EU member states for the north to be accorded a Special Designated Status within the EU. There is precedent for this.”

Martin McGuinness not seeking reelection

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has today announced that he is not seeking reelection to the Assembly.

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Mr McGuinness said;

“Last year, Gerry Adams and I confirmed that we had a plan in place for transition to a new leadership. For my part, it was my intention to step aside in May this year which would have marked 10 years since I entered government with Ian Paisley as joint leader of the northern Executive.

“Unfortunately, my health and the current crisis have overtaken this timeframe and I am stepping down from my role to make way for a new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

“Over the last ten years I have worked tirelessly to make power-sharing work.

“The institutions are now in a deep crisis as a result of recent events and we are facing into an election when the people will have their say.

“After long and careful consideration, I have decided that it is time for a new generation of republicans to lead us into this election and the negotiations that will follow.

“Sinn Féin is a party in constant development, renewal and evolution.

“Our struggle for freedom and equality stretches back to the United Ireland movement of the 1790s. I am deeply proud of the democratic influences that Ulster Presbyterianism contributed to the Irish republican tradition.

“It remains my own personal and political ambition to break the link with Britain and to unite all who share this island under the common banner of Irish men and women.

“I am deeply proud of the generation of Irish republicans that came before us. A generation that kept the vision of freedom alive through the difficult post-partition era when they faced unrelenting repression and persecution from the Ulster Unionist Party in an apartheid Orange state.

“I have been privileged to be part of the generation that broke that apartheid state apart and to have been part of a Sinn Féin leadership that delivered peace and radical change. There are more republicans today than at any time in my generation.

“I look across the party north and south and see energy, determination, talent and potential new leaders emerging who, I am confident, will deliver equality, respect and Irish unity.

“My obvious heath issues are being addressed by a superb team of national health service doctors and nurses.

“But I want to be open and honest with my friends and colleagues in Sinn Féin, with the electorate of Foyle and with the wider community beyond my own constituency. I also want to be fair to my family and to the teams of carers who are doing their best to provide me with the treatment I now require to deal with this very serious medical condition which I am very determined to overcome.

“Unfortunately, I am not physically able to continue in my current role and have therefore decided to make way for a new leader.

“This election is the right time for me to move aside so I will not seek re-election to the Assembly.

“I have full confidence in the strong team that we have built in the Assembly to carry forward the work of building institutions that deliver for all our people on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.

“A new leader will lead us into this Assembly election and into the negotiations that will inevitably follow on from that election.

“We need the strongest Sinn Féin team if we are to ensure the progressive change which is now an essential next step forward and our new leader will have my full and undivided support in the weeks and months ahead.

“We are on a journey to unite our people and unite our island.

“As a Sinn Féin activist I will continue to play a full and enthusiastic part in that essential process of building bridges, of dialogue and of reconciliation between our still divided people.

“Despite the current difficulties and challenges, I am confident and optimistic about the future. We have faced more difficult times and found a way forward.

“As a society we have made enormous progress.

“We must continue to move forward. Dialogue is the only option.”

Gerry Adams TD thanks his friend and comrade Martin McGuinness

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting on the decision by Martin McGuinness not to stand in the Assembly election said:26634602685_4ebf00b83c_o1

“Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a thabhairt do Martin McGuinness.

“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Martin McGuinness. He and I first met over 45 years ago behind the barricades in Free Derry and we have been friends and comrades since that time.

“I also want to thank Bernie and the entire McGuinness family for the support they have given to Martin over many years and for allowing him to become the leader, the patriot, the peacemaker and poet that he is.

“We were all shocked when we saw his appearance recently. Thank God he is looking a lot better since then and responding well to the treatment he is receiving. However, he does need to take time out to get better for himself, for his family and for our struggle.

“As we now know he won’t be standing in the Assembly election. That means we have to ensure that the election works for all of the people of the North and that we succeed in building on the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement.

“Martin has said he wants to come back and be part of the process to end partition, build reconciliation, unite our people and achieve Irish unity. So on behalf of Sinn Féin and republicans everywhere I want to send him our best wishes. Give him the space to get better  and increase our efforts so that when he returns the process of change has advanced.”

Community input crucial on future of Culmore Country Park development Cllr. Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has called on Culmore residents and other interested parties to ensure that their views on the future development of the Culmore Country Park (the old landfill site)  are heard in the upcoming public consultation.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

 

Councillor Hassan said:

“Next month we are moving to the consultation stage with views on what  facilities residents, sporting groups, schools and all other interested parties feel the Culmore Country park  area requires.

 

“I  would appeal to the greatest number of residents in particular to ensure that they have an input into what eventually emerges.

“We have  been lobbying for proper community facilities for a long number of years and it is important everyone’s views are taken on board so that we can ensure that any facilities meet the requirement of the residents in Culmore.

 

“I believe that these should incorporate, sports pitches, children’s play park, walkways or cycle track, bird hides and natural habitat. But this may not be an exhaustive list which why it is imperative that every resident and interested party contributes to the vision of the development of Culmore.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS.

 

Anderson meets EU’s chief Brexit negotiator

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with the European Union’s chief negotiator on Brexit to discuss its impact on Ireland.

Ms Anderson said;

“I led a Sinn Féin delegation today to meet the European Union’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier.

“He is acutely aware of the unique situation we face in Ireland in relation to Brexit in terms of its impact on the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and on EU funding.

“We presented our case that the people of the north voted to remain in the EU and that we need to secure special designated status for the north within the EU.

“He made it clear to us that he is in listening mode and I look forward to continuing to engage with him on this.”

Economy Minister urged to end the cover up on RHI- McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney that Economy Minister Simon Hamilton must move immediately to publish the list of beneficiaries of theRHI scheme.

Raymond McCartney said 12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

“Following further revelations and the drip feeding of information into the public domain about the beneficiaries of the scheme it is clearly now in the public interest for the names of all the beneficiaries in the non-domestic scheme to be published.

“The public are outraged by the DUP’s handling of the RHI scheme.

“Simon Hamilton must act to end the cover-up and publish the beneficiaries of the RHI scheme.

Time for Brokenshire to stop talking and deal with legacy issue -Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming  said the British Secretary of State should stop talking about dealing with the issue of legacy of the past and honour his government’s agreements.

He said:Paul-Fleming

“James Brokenshire continues to tell all and sundry that he is tackling the issue of legacy of the past.

“However, more than two years on from the Stormont House Agreement the British government is still blocking the implementation of the agreed legacy mechanisms and hiding behind the excuse of ‘national security’.

“The Lord Chief Justice has asked repeatedly for funds for legacy inquests. James Brokenshire should release the money for these inquests immediately so victims and survivors can have the long awaited inquest into the deaths of their loved ones.

“It is well past time for the British government to honour its agreements and set up legacy mechanisms in a human rights compliant manner.”

RHI Scandal must be tackled robustly

Sinn Féin call time on DUP arrogance

It is now over to the people to have their say – Sinn Féin

Speaking in the Assembly today, Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill said;

“I want to pay credit to Martin McGuiness.8268522029_a2a34f2ef6_o

“For over ten years, as deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has worked tirelessly to make these institutions deliver for all our people, unionist, national and everyone else in our society. He took a leadership role to promote equality, respect, and reconciliation. His record, his commitment and the limitless energy he has brought to this process is beyond question.

“During that time, he has faced threats, a lack of respect and a failure by the DUP to reciprocate his trojan efforts.

“He persevered, because it was the right thing to do.

“The DUP have treated these institutions and sections of the community with contempt and arrogance.

“They have displayed disrespect towards women, the LGB&T community, ethnic communities and the Irish language and identity. That has diminished the institutions.

“The RHI scandal was created by the former First Minister when she was in the Economy Dept. Her refusal to step aside shows a total disregard for the the concerns and outrage of the public.

“Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy First Minister. That was the right thing to do.

“We will not tolerate the arrogance and disrespect of the DUP.

“Sinn Féin will not tolerate financial scandal, incompetence, or waste of public money.

“The Institutions can only function with the support of the people and can only operate on the basis of equality and respect.

“Sinn Féin will only be part of institutions which work and deliver for all in the community.

“There can be no return to the status quo.

“If something is broken, you stop and you fix it. That is the Sinn Fein approach.

“Today Sinn Féin will not re-nominate for the position of deputy First Minister.

“Sinn Féin has honoured all agreements, we have striven to make these institutions work.

“Martin McGuinness has acted at all times with integrity, dignity and respect. He has taken personal and political risks to build a process of reconciliation.

“If we are to return to this chamber then there must be real change. There must be respect and equality for all sections of our people.

“These institutions must operate to the highest standards, with no place for arrogance, or malpractice.

“It is now over to the people to have their say.”

Cooper welcomes repair work at Glen Play Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the removal of mud from the Glen Play Park that was causing safety concerns there.

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Councillor Cooper said “I have been in contact with the council and raised concerns from parents that muck in and around the Glen play park could have caused slippages, particularly during the current phase of bad weather. There was also a blocked grating in corner of the park which was blocked causing this build up.

I would like to the thank the various departments within the council who have resolved these issues.

If any parent has any other concerns about this facility or others in the district they should not hesitate to contact me.

Derry vigil to highlight the plight of Palestinian prisoners

Speaking after a vigil was held outside the Guildhall in Derry on Sunday afternoon by Sinn Féin

Chairperson of Sinn Féin Youth in Derry Caolán McGinley said 16117604_10155739332068642_1043308856_n

“Sinn Féin in Derry continues to support the people of Palestine and is constantly working to build solidarity at home and internationally and highlight the plight of Palestinian prisoners.We are  demandg  the release of Ahmed Sa’adat and all other political detainees being held illegally by Israel.

“The international community has a responsibility to support the Palestinian people and challenge the continuing human rights abuses of Israel.

With most local media outlets now having a heavy online presence all these vigils large or small are very important in getting our message out to a world wide audience.

Martina Anderson MEP also called  for the release of Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Sa’adat and also once again called for the release of Derry man Tony Taylor

Gerry Adams thanks Caitríona Ruane for years of hard work

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has thanked Caitríona Ruane for “her many years of hard work on behalf of Sinn Féin”.c2spj2lveaeb89t

Following Caitríona Ruane’s decision not to stand in the Assembly election the Sinn Féin leader said;

“I want to thank Caitríona for her many years of commitment and hard work on behalf of the people of South Down and of the North.

“For 14 years Caitríona was an exemplary MLA. She also carried out her responsibilities as Assembly deputy Speaker and Education Minister with diligence and commitment.

“Sinn Féin will miss her experience and leadership in the next Assembly.

“On behalf of the party I want to wish her and her family well. I’m sure she will continue to contribute to Sinn Féin in the future.”

McCartney welcomes new hourly train service between Derry and Belfast

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement by Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure that an hourly train service between Derry and Belfast will be introduced by the summer of 2017.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

I welcome today’s announcement .In recent months Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure has made great strides moving forward key infrastructural  projects including the A5 and A6,and the multimillion investment in a  North-West Integrated Transport Hub at the old Waterside Railway station. Just this week we seen that take a major step forward with the purchase of the old station.

The hourly service from Belfast will vastly improve connection between both cities. It will make it easier for people carrying out business, attending hospitals, Universities and opening up the whole tourist product for the hinterlands of Derry and Donegal.

While our local economy remains under stress and most focus is on road infrastructure, it would be easy to fall into the trap of ignoring the essential contribution that a modern rail link can make to regeneration of Derry and the North West region.

Properly marketed, Rail can play a pivotal role, along with the exceptional scenery, in expanding our tourism offer and reducing congestion on the roads thereby assisting us to achieve our EU requirements on carbon emissions.

Givan abused ministerial position over Líofa funding- Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell  said DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan abused his ministerial position over the Líofa bursaries funding decision. kevin-campbell

He ;

“While I am glad that DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan has reversed his shameful decision to remove funding from the Líofa bursaries scheme, the whole episode has highlighted the DUP’s attitude to the Irish language.

“The DUP minister initially claimed his decision to cut the funding was not political, then, after his climb-down, made it clear that restoring the funding was a political decision, taken for petty electoral reasons.

“Ministers are supposed to represent everyone regardless of their background or identity and I believe Paul Givan has abused his ministerial position over this issue.

“People should be able to have confidence that ministers will act in the best interests of everyone, not out of party political motivations.”

Equality must be at the heart of the political institutions – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said equality and respect must be at the heart of the political institutions at Stormont. raymond-mccartney-450x301

He  said;

“I note that Mike Nesbitt has echoed Sinn Féin’s position that the people must be allowed to have their say in an election.

“The public is outraged by the incompetence and mishandling of the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme, the allegations of corruption and the potential loss of hundreds of millions of pounds to the public purse.

“But the election goes beyond simply being a referendum on the series of scandals involving the DUP including RHI, NAMA and Red Sky, disastrous as they have been to public confidence.

“The British government has failed to honour its agreements on an Irish Language Act, on a Bill of Rights and on legacy and have allowed the DUP to block basic equality provisions for citizens in the north.

“The Irish government, a co-guarantor of the agreements have acted as a bystander and failed to hold the British government to account.

“The actions of the British government and the DUP have undermined the political institutions and eroded public confidence.

“The people will have the opportunity to draw a line under the DUP’s arrogance and their contempt for the Irish language community and Irish identity, for our LGBT community, ethnic minorities and women.

“The political institutions have to deliver for all citizens on the basis of equality and respect and there can be no return to the status quo.”

Plans to consult on bilingual signage for Bus services in Derry

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the news that the Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard has announced plans to consult on the introduction of bilingual signage for destination screens on some bus services in Derry City.

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell said

“This is great news.

I and party representatives Maeve McLaughlin and Colly Kelly met with the senior management of Transport NI in the Derry office at Foyle Street bus depot back in February 2015 to discuss our request that a bilingual destination signage pilot scheme be established for the Derry area.

In November just past I wrote to the Minister Chris Hazzard and i outlined our request for a pilot scheme.

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

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

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

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

Minister Hazzard said: “Translink has provided bilingual destination information on buses travelling along Metro corridor 10 in Belfast for some time.  This has been well received by those using the services.

“I now want to look at the possibility of introducing similar signage in Irish in Derry city.  I believe that the provision of this information would be welcomed by many in the city and would improve access to public services by Irish speakers.

“I have therefore asked Translink to take forward a public consultation on this issue, with a view to signage being in place in May this year.   The consultation will formally launch in March following the completion of an Equality Impact Assessment and engagement with key stakeholders. I would urge people to come forward with their views during the upcoming consultation period.”

McCartney heralds purchase completion for Old Waterside Station.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard MLA that the process of purchasing the Old Waterside railway station is now complete.Raymond head shot 22

Mr McCartney said:

“The purchase of the Old Waterside Station for the development of the North-West Integrated Transport Hub is now complete. This progress is welcome news and I look forward to work beginning on the project as soon as all of the statutory requirements are completed.

“This is a very important development for Derry and the North West and will incorporate a new train station, park and ride facilities with approximately 100 spaces and additional facilities to to improve public transport in the City.

“It is further evidence of the Minister’s committment to development in the North West and I have no doubt will be welcomed by all.”

McCartney welcomes new hourly train service between Derry and Belfast

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement by Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure that an hourly train service between Derry and Belfast will be introduced by the summer of 2017.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney saidraymond-mccartney-450x301

I welcome today’s announcement .In recent months Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure has made great strides moving forward key infrastructural  projects including the A5 and A6,and the multimillion investment in a  North-West Integrated Transport Hub at the old Waterside Railway station. Just this week we seen that take a major step forward with the purchase of the old station.

The hourly service from Belfast will vastly improve connection between both cities. It will make it easier for people carrying out business, attending hospitals, Universities and opening up the whole tourist product for the hinterlands of Derry and Donegal.

While our local economy remains under stress and most focus is on road infrastructure, it would be easy to fall into the trap of ignoring the essential contribution that a modern rail link can make to regeneration of Derry and the North West region.

Properly marketed, Rail can play a pivotal role, along with the exceptional scenery, in expanding our tourism offer and reducing congestion on the roads thereby assisting us to achieve our EU requirements on carbon emissions.

Time for the people to have their say – O’Neill

Today Martin McGuinness led a Sinn Féin delegation of Michelle O’Neill and Conor Murphy to meet with Irish government minister Charlie Flanagan, and separately with the British Secretary of State James Brokenshire.

Speaking following today’s meetings, Michelle O’Neill said:

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

Minister Michelle O’Neill with Councillors Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan

“We had a full and frank discussion with both governments.

“We made clear that the British government’s failure to honour their agreements and imposing austerity and Brexit against the will of the people, has contributed to the undermining of the political process.

“For years both governments have failed to protect, and guarantee agreements made.

“Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, they both have responsibility for equality within their respective jurisdictions. They have singularly failed to meet those responsibilities and have allowed the DUP to block basic equality provisions for citizens in the north.

“The British government’s approach has to be tackled and that won’t happen unless the Irish government acts to hold them to account.

“There can be no return to the status quo and no short-term sticking plaster. There needs to be equality, partnership, and respect and both governments need to honour their responsibilities in full.

“We again said that we do not yet see any basis for a credible negotiation this side of an election.

“The position is clear. Following the resignation of the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness we must move to an election.

“Sinn Féin will, as always be open to dialogue, however talks for the sake of talks will not resolve the outstanding issues.

“Talks alone will not rebuild the confidence in the institutions.

“We need all concerned to live up to their obligations, their agreements and do the right thing by the public. This is the clear position of Sinn Féin.”

Foyle SF MLA heralds purchase completion for Old Waterside Station.

McCartney heralds purchase completion for Old Waterside Station.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed the announcement by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard MLA that the process of purchasing the Old Waterside railway station is now complete.
Mr McCartney said:

“The purchase of the Old Waterside Station for the development of the North-West Integrated Transport Hub is now complete.  This progress is welcome news and I look forward to work beginning on the project as soon as all of the statutory requirements are completed.

“This is a very important development for Derry and the North West and will incorporate a new train station, park and ride facilities with approximately 100 spaces and additional facilities to to improve public transport in the City.

“It is further evidence of the Minister’s committment to development in the North West and I have no doubt will be welcomed by all.”

CRÍOCH/END

McCartney welcomes confirmation on bedroom tax

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed confirmation from Department of Finance Permanent Secretary that Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muelloir’s interpretation of the legislation is the correct one – Bedroom Tax will not apply in the North.

Raymond McCartney said:image-1

“I hope that those politicians who for purely political point scoring reasons indulged in scaremongering, creating unnecessary concern for citizens will now do the honourable thing and retract their assertions as publicly as they made them.raymond mccartney

“The Permanent Secretary at the Department, David Sterling has today confirmed that after taking legal advice the position given by Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muelloir was the correct interpretation of the legislation and that Bedroom Tax mitigations can go forward and that after March the 1998 Act will be sufficient to ensure that payments can continue.”

McCallion condemns Galliagh death drivers

Responding to a serious incident in Galliagh tonight in which death drivers once more put the lives of local residents at risk Sinn Féin Councillor for the area, Elisha McCallion said:
“The activities of these anti-community elements while putting the lives of residents at risk also disrupted the operation of the Galliagh Co-op which had to close when these thugs set fire to the car in which they were death-driving around the area.
“The residents of the greater Galliagh area are fed up with the antics of this minority element and demand that they cease this activity before there is a fatality or serious injury.
“I have no doubt that there are people in the area who are aware of those involved in this anti-community activity and I would remind them that they have a civic duty to bring that information to the PSNI so that this threat to public safety is brought to an end.”
CRÍOCH/END

British government proposal to levy EU workers ludicrous – Anderson

Sinn Féin Foyle MEP Martina Anderson said the latest suggestion from the British government about their approach to Brexit reveals once again the people of the North and the island of Ireland are nothing but collateral damage to the British government. Martina news

Martina Anderson said:

“A proposal to levy ‘skilled EU workers’ £1000 is another example of Whitehall knowing or caring little or nothing about the reality if life in the North or Ireland.

“We on the Island of Ireland are European Union citizens. After Brexit those who carry Irish passports will still be EU citizens, are we to be levied?

“The reality is tens of thousands of people cross the British border in Ireland everyday to work and run business in the North. Or they to be levied?

“Brexit is a British problem being imposed on the people of Ireland against the wishes of the people of Ireland.

“The British government’s so-called Brexit plans have no relevance or mandate here and they need to respect the ballot box and level Ireland north and south in the EU.”

McCallion welcomes funding for Northlands Centre

Sinn Féin councillor Elisha McCallion has welcomed the announcement from Health Minister Michelle O’Neill on the future of the Northland Centre. elisha new head shot 2014 2
Councillor McCallion said;
“The Northland Centre provides a vital service in the city helping those dealing with addiction.
“I had been in contact with my party colleague, Health Minister Michelle O’Neill to discuss concerns about the future of this much-needed service.
“I welcome the news from Minister O’Neill that the future of the Northlands Centre has been secured.
“I want to pay tribute to Michelle O’Neill for her work on this issue and wish all the staff at Northlands well in the future.”
Críoch/Ends

Concern over impact of increase in car parking prices at Magee – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper commenting on the news that the University of Ulster Magee has increased the price of  car parking on its site.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said 

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

“There are concerns in the local community that this increase in car parking prices could have a knock on effect in the areas surrounding the University with the problems caused by on street parking.

I have been working with the University, residents, Transport NI, PSNI and the parking attendants on an ongoing basis to resolve the many issues caused by the problems with on street parking. And will be closely monitoring the situation with these increases in prices.

Ends 

Jackson encourages blood donation

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has encouraged people to become blood donors.

He said; CIS9L8pWwAQ4Ale

“Stocks of blood, particularly O- and A+ are currently running low according to the Blood Transfusion Service.

“Blood donors save lives everyday and it is important that there is an adequate stock of all blood types to meet the current need.

“I would encourage anyone in Derry who can give blood to look out for blood donation sessions in their local area and to donate.

“Even though Christmas has now passed people can still give a lifesaving gift to others by becoming a blood donor.”

Next session in Derry

Session Details for Clooney Hall Centre , Waterside,

Waterside Methodist Church
36 Clooney Terrace


Date: Friday 13 Jan 2017
Session Times: 1330 to 1600 & 1715 to 2000

Young people should be educated about their online rights -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue  has urged parents and all those who work with children and young people to educate them about their online rights and responsibilities.

The party’s spokesperson for children and young people was speaking after a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England found the internet was not designed for children.

Patricia Logue said:CVz6GH9XAAAjCyt

“Children and young people regularly interact with their friends via the internet and share photos and information through social media.

“What they don’t realize is that they could be at risk of giving away personal information and signing up to terms and conditions they do not fully understand.

“I would encourage parents and all of those who work with children and young people to educate them fully about their online rights and responsibilities.”

Appeal following contamination of blue bins -Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor and member of the Environment committee Tony Hassan has appealed for people in the city and district to increase their usage of the Blue waste bins.

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He made his appeal following a number of incidents of contamination of blue bins over the Christmas and New Year period.

Councillor Hassan said “I understand that over the Christmas and New Year period many households have maybe two or three times the amount of rubbish which they need to get rid of.

I am appealing for residents to continue to break the rubbish down in the specified bins. I know of a number of incidents of contamination of bins that has happened in the greater Shantallow area in the past week.

I would appeal to residents not to contaminate blue bins by using black bin bags, bin liners, plastic bags or carrier bags or throwing other harmful items in the bins. Blue bins should only contain recyclable items. Non-recyclable items contaminate the lorry load resulting in it ending up as landfill. This means greater cost to the council.

 

Using the Blue bins will help us to increase the amount of household waste recycled from the Derry City and Strabane District  Council area, lessen disposal costs, enable us to continue to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions and allows us to provide a more appropriate service  and better value for local residents.

Martin McGuinness announces resignation as deputy First Minister

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has announced that he is resigning as deputy First Minister in protest at the DUP’s failure to accept the principles of power sharing and parity of esteem and their handling of the RHI crisis.

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Mr McGuinness said;

“Over the last ten years I have worked with DUP leaders and reached out to unionists on the basis of equality, respect and reconciliation.

“Over this period the actions of the British government and the DUP have undermined the institutions and eroded public confidence

“Sinn Féin will not tolerate the arrogance of Arlene Foster and the DUP.

“Sinn Féin wants equality and respect for all.

“That is what this process must be about.

“Today I tendered my resignation.

“Today is the right time to call a halt to the DUP’s arrogance.

“There will be no return to the status quo.”

Foster’s clear conflict of interest – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD is in Limerick today to speak at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the death of Limerick republican and IRA Volunteer Seán Sabhat who was killed with Volunteer Feargal Ó hAnnluain in an attack in the North in 1957c1qqzovwiaacxrn

Addressing the deepening crisis in the political institutions in the North, the Sinn Féin leader said:

“There is a worsening crisis in the political institutions surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive and serious allegations of corruption, fraud, and incompetence associated with the scheme. Arlene Foster insists she will not step aside. This is unacceptable.

“The DUP leader has a clear conflict of interest. She was the Minister responsible for the RHI scheme from its inception. Mrs Foster also oversaw its operation for almost three years as Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Investment.

“She approved the RHI scheme without cost controls and took the decision to strip these controls out of the scheme.

“Her Department had been warned a year before the scheme was set up by energy companies and by the Ulster Farmers Union that there was a need for cost controls and caps on payments.

“These warnings were ignored, as were a series of warnings from whistle blowers and others about the operation of the scheme and the potential for abuse, corruption, and fraud.

“The failure to act on these warnings and the stripping out of cost controls has led to the largest potential loss to the taxpayer of any government scheme in the history of the northern state.

“There have also been allegations from a former DUP minister that DUP Special Advisers delayed the ending of the scheme, when there was a spike in applications which almost doubled the cost of the RHI scandal.

“So, Sinn Féin’s demand for Arlene Foster to step aside without prejudice pending a preliminary report from an independent investigation into the RHI scandal is a reasonable request.

Make use of unwanted Christmas gifts – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has appealed to anyone in the city who has received Christmas gifts they have no use for, to considered giving them to a local charity shop so they can benefit from it.

Councillor Campbell said “At this time of year most people will he doing a big clean up of the house or work place ,taking down decorations ,getting things back to normal. Amongst all that it won’t be uncommon to find a gift that doesn’t fit or suit you, it could be a duplicate gift.

People can find it difficult knowing what do to with gifts that will never be used.

Rather than put it at the back of the press or throw it out I am urging people to consider giving them any of the local charity shops in the city.

It will ultimately mean that someone somewhere will be benefiting from the proceeds of the sale going to whatever charity you chose.

Kelly calls on public to recycle their festive rubbish

Chair of the Environment and Regeneration Committee Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  has called on people in Derry and Strabane to recycle their rubbish from the festive season including Christmas trees.

At this time of year many households  find they have more rubbish than usual ,additional packaging from gifts, decorations, and food increase. It’s important that residents make full use of your blue bin and recycle their cards, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, tins and cans.

 

Encouraging everyone to make full use of the recycling centres  Councillor Colly Kelly  said: 

 

“We all have a responsibility to protect and conserve the environment, and everyone can do their bit by recycling rubbish rather than throwing everything in their black bin.

 

“It takes just a few minutes to separate things like Christmas cards, used wrapping paper, boxes, plastic, aluminium cans and tins from things that can’t be recycled. Christmas trees can be left at any of our recycling centres. 

 

“The main message we need to get out in 2017 is to reduce the amount of waste we produce, reuse things like plastic bags, plastic containers and glass jars.”

 

 

Ends 

Hassan hopes of more usage of local labour in 2017 building projects

In a new year’s statement Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the amount of new builds of social and private housing planned in the city for 2017  from various  housing Associations and building contractors but is  asking  have they  got enough social clauses in the building of these homes and employing local labour.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

The Derry Housing spokesperson said

Lots of new building work in the private and social sector will happen this year in Derry so I feel it’s very important to ask will there be enough social clauses used by the developers in all of the building work.

This would take people in the building trade off the dole and give them work.One of the complaints I would receive as a councillor is that developers are not using the social clauses as much as they should be. I hope it’s something that building contractors will take on board.

I think it’s important to point out that Derry/Strabane council is a strong advocate for the use of social clauses.

Concluding he said

With the plans for large scale building projects in the Waterside of private developments and others across the city along with the opening up of the H2 site on the Buncrana Road can only be a positive in providing a good mix of housing provision that will put a big dent in the housing waiting lists.

Minister should immediately restore Líofa bursaries – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said communities minister Paul Givan should immediately restore £50k of bursaries to the Líofa initiative.

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language, Kevin Campbell with Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language, Kevin Campbell with Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

The Irish language spokesperson said

“This decision by DUP Minister Paul Givan to remove £50k bursaries from the Líofa initiative shows further disregard for the Irish language.

“This scheme has helped people from right across the community and is not only an attack on the Irish language but on Irish culture and identity as well.

“Since it was set up by my party colleague Carál Ní Chuilín, Líofa has been hugely successful and has helped thousands of people learn and improve their Irish. These people are from every political, religious, social and cultural background.

“The DUP minister decided to cut £50k from the Gaeltacht bursary scheme in the midst of the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) scheme crisis, presided over by other DUP ministers, which will now result in an actual loss to the Northern Executive’s total budget of approximately £500 million.

“Paul Givan must heed public calls and accept he has done the wrong thing in this instance.

“He needs to reverse this decision and stop denying young people from disadvantaged backgrounds a modest but vitally important support service.”

Significant investment in gas infrastructure Foyle Springs / Creggan Road area- McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed confirmation from local Firmus Energy representatives that a significant investment in gas infrastructure is planned for the Foyle Springs / Creggan Road area of the city.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “I have received confirmation from local Firmus Energy representatives that gas is planned to be made available this year to customers who live in Foyle Springs, Creggan Road and Marianus Park.

This is an area with hundreds of households and residents will soon have the opportunity to have gas installed if they so desire.   This investment will be welcomed by many people who would like the opportunity to move away from more traditional and expensive forms of energy such as fossil fuels and oil.

I appreciate the commitment made by Firmus Energy towards this area and I would encourage anyone who is interested in changing over to gas to contact the company’s Customer Services on 0800 032 4567 or to use the website on www.firmusenergy.co.uk.”

Work on iconic Rosemount sign to start on Monday – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said that repair work on the  Stitch in Time public artwork on top of the Rosemount Factory building will now begin on Monday.dsc_0043

Councillor Cooper said “A number of residents contacted me back in October and said that  several of the lights on the Stitch in Time sign on top of the Rosemount Factory were out and was there anything I could do to get them fixed.

The neon sign introduced during the City of Culture year was thankfully kept due to good work of former Minister  Carál Ní Chuilín. It is now one of Derry’s iconic pieces of public artwork.

I contacted the council and asked them to carry out repair work on the sign as soon as possible. The work was to have taken place at the end of the year but had to be cancelled due to bad weather. I have now been told that work on the sign will start next Monday.

A large crane will be needed to carry this work and hopefully any disruption will be kept to a minimum.

Ends

British government must live up to responsibilities – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said the British government must live up to its responsibilities to address outstanding issues of the Good Friday and other agreements.

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Speaking after meeting with British Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Mr McGuinness said;

“I met with the British secretary of state James Brokenshire today to discuss the current situation and the British government’s failure to deal with legacy and other outstanding issues.

“I also reminded him that the British government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities on the Bill of Rights, equality issues and the Irish language had contributed to the current political crisis.

“I told him that public confidence in the political institutions has been seriously damaged as a result of the RHI scandal and that Arlene Foster needed to stand aside, without prejudice, to allow for an independent investigation to be carried out.”

Sinn Féin submit Terms of Reference for investigation – O’Neill

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Health Minister Michelle O’Neill met First Minister Arlene Foster and DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds today. Martin McGuinness reiterated his call for Arlene Foster to step aside without prejudice pending the preliminary report of an independent investigation in to the RHI scandal.CKmRJa3UkAIZknR

Michelle O’Neill said:

“The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness again reiterated the need for Arlene Foster to stand aside, without prejudice, until the publication of a preliminary report of an independent investigation into the RHI scandal.

“Last week Sinn Féin informed the DUP that the Terms of Reference for an independent investigation, as drafted by the Head of the Civil Service, were insufficient.

“Sinn Féin has drafted proposals for the Terms of Reference for an Independent Panel Investigation of the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.

“These will ensure a robust, time-framed, independent investigation with powers to compel witnesses and sub poena documents. This investigation will be led by a judicial figure.

“We have given these Terms of Reference to the Head of the Civil Service and to the DUP.”

Derry rally held for Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Emergency demonstration  held to at H-Block monument in Derry on Friday night in solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Strikers Anas Shadid & Ahmad Abu Farah (89 & 90 days on strike!!). Organised by Sinn Féin. Martina Anderson MEP also spoke of the incarceration of Derry man Tony Taylor.dsc_2322

Real leadership needed to deal with challenges of 2017 – Martin McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said there is a need for real leadership if confidence is to be restored in the political institutions in 2017.

Mr McGuinness said;

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“Over the course of the last year we have marked many milestones on our path to a new Ireland, an agreed Ireland. Most notably we celebrated the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and did so with great pride, dignity and respect.

“This sets the standard for our approach to involvement in the remainder of this decade of centenaries in which the national and democratic character and mandate of the 1918 general election is a keystone of our politics.

“Sinn Féin representatives also acknowledged and demonstrated respect for those thousands of people from both the unionist and nationalist traditions who lost their lives in the 1914-’18 war.

“We also had major elections across the island in which we saw the continued growth of Sinn Féin as we continue to work to realise the vision of the Proclamation.

“We also saw the outworking of the British government’s referendum on the European Union and the potentially very damaging consequences for the entire island of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin has made it repeatedly clear that the vote of the majority of people in the North to remain in the EU should be respected and that we are committed to securing designated special status for the north within the EU.

“There is also no doubt that we are facing a serious growing political crisis in the North as public confidence in the political institutions has been grievously undermined by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) debacle and the DUP’s failure to deal responsibly and adequately with it.

“In order to address these challenges the DUP and its leader Arlene Foster need to accept there is an overwhelming desire in the community to deal with this issue and for Arlene Foster to step aside as First Minister pending a preliminary report.

“That would allow for an independent investigation to take place, which is transparent, robust, time-framed and led by an independent judicial figure from outside this jurisdiction appointed by the Attorney General. A rigorous process to recoup as much of the money as possible must also be put in place.

“We need to restore public confidence in the credibility of the political institutions, ensuring they deliver for the people.

“This means giving substance to what citizens, north and south, endorsed in referendums almost 20 years ago and in the Good Friday Agreement which both the Irish and British governments have the responsibility to see implemented.

“This is set out in international treaty; that is equality of treatment, parity of esteem and mutual respect.

“Political and civic leaders in the north must play their part in this. My leadership on this is well documented and is a matter of public record.

“There needs to be respect for all political allegiances and traditions on this island, for all narratives. The Irish language, Irish identity, culture and aspiration are as valid as any other and need to be respected as such.

“The political principles agreed to this end and the political infrastructure created to bring this about are not being used for these purposes. This must change. Our society should have no fear of equality, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.

“On the contrary most people desire it, require it.

“That will require mature leadership from political unionism because we alone cannot deliver reconciliation.

“There is also an onus on the British government to step up to the plate on the vexed issue of dealing with the legacy of the past.

“They are currently holding up legacy inquests, denying justice to victims and their families in the process.

“The British government must implement the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House and release the funds requested by the Lord Chief Justice for legacy inquests.

“The Irish government must hold the British government to account on its failure to implement its agreements on legacy.

“2017 will no doubt be a year of challenges and there is a clear need for real leadership if public confidence is to be restored in the political institutions in the days and weeks ahead.

“I would like to wish everyone a happy, safe and peaceful New Year.”

Launch of the Derry Republican Graves Association 2017 Calendar

Speaking at the launch of the Derry Republican Graves 2017 Calendar Sinn Féin Councillor  Eric McGinley said “This year’s calendar heavily features all the various events held  to mark the 1916 -2016 Centenary year. So as well as being of practical use it is also a great keepsake to remember the events that took place in Derry during this very historic year”20161221_121401

The calendar priced at £5.00 is on sale now at Peadar O’Donnell’s, Tracys and Checkpoint Charlie Waterloo Street, PJ News Agents William Street (beside Dohertys Bakery), Georges Bar Bishop Street ,Pennywise Bargain in the Ráth Mór Shopping centre and at Sinn Féin offices in the city.

McCartney welcomes UN resolution on illegal Israeli settlements

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel cease immediately all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.3

The Foyle MLA  said:

“Sinn Féin has consistently called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to end its policy of illegally seizing Palestinian land.

“The UN Security Council resolution, which demands that Israel cease all settlement activities in the occupied territories of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, is an important and positive step.

“Israeli aggression and their refusal to adhere to UN mandates will not resolve the crisis of the Middle East.

“This international condemnation of Israeli policy offers strong support for the two-state solution.

“I would echo the comments by Palestinian President Abbas that this resolution is a ‘big blow to Israeli policy’.

“Sinn Féin views Israeli actions on building illegal settlements as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to securing a peaceful resolution based on the two-state solution and the recognition of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”

Líofa move another example of DUP arrogance – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said an attempt by a DUP minister to roll back on Líofa bursaries is another example of the DUP’s arrogance and its contempt for the Irish language.

The Derry Irish Language spokesperson said;

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language, Kevin Campbell with Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language, Kevin Campbell with Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

“Sinn Féin will be writing to DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan telling him that plans to remove £50k bursaries for the Liofa initiative are unacceptable.

“The Liofa initiative, set up by Carál Ní Chuilín, has been hugely successful and has helped thousands of people learn and improve their Irish.

“Any attempt to roll back on this scheme will be viewed as yet another move by the DUP to disrespect the Irish language.

“Not only would it be detrimental to education, it would also be an attack on the Irish language and culture.

“This is yet another example of the arrogance of the DUP, this time directed towards the Irish language which belongs to all the people of this island.

“This approach is unacceptable and it won’t be lost on the people of Derry  that this attack on a small fund for Irish language comes at a time when DUP ministers have lost multi-millions of pounds to public purse as a result of the RHI scandal.”

Blight of death riders / irresponsible use of quads Ballymagroarty – McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has appealed for anyone in the Ballymagroarty area who has information on “death drivers” or those using quad and scrambler bikes recklessly to contact the PSNI straight away.

Aftermath of death riding incidents in Derry

Aftermath of death riding incidents in Derry

Councillor McGinley said “It’s sad that we have to issue this public appeal in Christmas week for these reckless actions to stop . A week when people are looking for a break before the New year without this nonsense taking place on the streets outside their homes.

We have received a number of complaints about death drivers and people and out and about going mad on quads in the early hours of the morning.

Many of the residents I have spoken to have said there is a real fear in the local community we are only a split second away here from a terrible tragedy.

It has been a case in the past that people have turned a blind eye to the way these bikes are being driven about the place but it is now time that action was taken.eric-1

If anyone has information on who is behind this anti community activity then they should report it to the Housing Executive , Road Service or the PSNI .Those involved in bringing havoc and danger into our community should be prosecuted.

Concluding he said

I think it is also very important to let people know that good ,positive work has been going on in the community around the whole issue of scramblers and quads bikes.

The North West Community Motorcycle Project has been carrying out excellent work in attracting young people to an initiative which will allow motorcycles to be used in a proper environment. I would encourage young people looking to become involved to contact the club or the local CRJ project .”

New build community centre for Hazelbank / Ballymagroarty

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the inclusion on Council’s Capital Projects list of a new build community centre for Hazelbank / Ballymagroarty.wp_20161202_12_10_51_pro

Cllr. McGinley said: “Council’s review of community centre provision highlighted clearly the need for a new build facility which would add to the current provision of services in the Hazelbank / Ballymagroarty area.

In line with this conclusion I proposed at the recent Capital Projects Working Group that this development be placed on the list of priorities along with other proposals for new community centres across the council area.

The inclusion of the proposal will allow council officers to work with all the stakeholders – – including BHCP and the local community – in developing designs and seeking potential funders to allow the project to proceed within a reasonable time frame.

I will continue to press for the delivery of this much needed project which will greatly benefit the residents of Hazelbank and Ballymagroarty.”

Repair work to be carried out on Stitch in Time public artwork this week – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has said that Derry City and Strabane District  Council is to carry out upgrade work on the  Stitch in Time public artwork on top of the Rosemount Factory building.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “A number of residents contacted me back in October and said that  several of the lights on the Stitch in Time sign on top of the Rosemount Factory were out and was there anything I could do to get them fixed.

The neon sign introduced during the City of Culture year was thankfully kept due to good work of former Minister  Carál Ní Chuilín. It is now one of Derry’s iconic pieces of public artwork.

I contacted  the council and asked them to carry out repair work on the sign as soon as possible .They have now been in touch with  me to say that the repairs will take place this week.

A large crane will be needed to carry this work and hopefully any disruption will be kept to a minimum.

Ends

Speaker has undermined impartiality and integrity of office – Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin chief whip Carál Ní Chuilín MLA has written to the Speaker Robin Newton today that it is Sinn Féin’s view that he has undermined his impartiality and the integrity of the Speaker’s Office following Monday’s debacle at the Assembly.

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language, Kevin Campbell with Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“The proceedings in the Assembly on Monday were a shambles.

“The DUP ended up in the chamber speaking to themselves.

“This further damaged public confidence and credibility in the political institutions.

“I have written to the Speaker today and told him that he has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for his decision to allow Arlene Foster to make an oral statement to the house without the agreement of the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

“This has not only undermined the joint authority of the Executive Office but also the integrity of the Speaker’s Office.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the speaker has set a precedent for the future and in doing so has undermined his impartiality as the Ceann Comhlaire of the Assembly.”

Fahan Road tragedy – Cllr Christopher Jackson offers his condolences

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson has expressed his condolences following the tragic death of a woman in a road traffic accident in the Glebe area of Fahan last night .jan-top-right

Speaking today he said:

“The local community is shocked and saddened by the death of this young woman in a road accident at Fahan last night. It’s very sad that this has occurred just a few days before Christmas.

“I would like to express my sympathies to her family and friends at this time.

Ends

Flood alleviation project for Sheelin Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the commencement of a flood alleviation project for Sheelin Park.

Councillor Eric McGinley

Councillor Eric McGinley

Cllr. McGinley said: “Over a considerable period of time residents in parts of Sheelin Park have been experiencing flooding at times of heavy rain.

NI Water has examined this issue and accepted the need for some measures to be put in place to alleviate the difficulties being faced by residents.

The measures will involve the placing of a number of combined sewer and associated manholes on the Coshquin Road which should reduce the risk of localised flooding in the area.

The work will commence from this week  and is due to last for 3 weeks with a break between 24th December and 9th January inclusive.   The work will also involve the closure of Coshquin Road though vehicular access for residents will be maintained as much as possible.

Whilst there will be some inconvenience and disruption during the work period this is a much needed scheme for the residents in the area and I welcome NI Water’s intervention.”

Ends

Youths attempt to vandalise road traffic signs -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed for young people not to vandalise traffic islands on the Lonemoor Road.

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Councillor Kelly said “I was contacted by a motorist who was angered that a group of  young lads were attempting to damage signage on a traffic island at the junction of the Brandywell  Road and Lonemoor Road.

He said the young lads were laying across the plastic traffic signs trying to break them .When he shouted at them to stop they ran off down the Brandywell Road.

They may not understand the serious of their actions. This section of road has seen a number of very serious accidents over recent years road signs and markings are very important in efforts to prevent any accidents. So I am making appeal for a bit of common sense here and would appeal for this to stop.

Brooke Park Tales & Trails Christmas event outstanding success – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper for Rosemount  has hailed the success of the Tales & Trails Christmas event which was hosted at the new Pavilion in Brooke Park on Sunday20161218_163601_resized

Councillor Cooper said “Back in November I was pleased to welcome the news that the area in around the new Pavilion in Brooke Park was  to be used for a Christmas event entitled Tales & Trails.

 I had been working with council officials for some time to identify funding opportunities for programmes in Derry and Strabane to allow these type of events to take place. And was delighted that the council approved a funding package of £15,000 for Christmas programmes across the five Neighbourhood renewal areas in Derry and Strabane.

Sundays event was an outstanding success with hundreds of people of all ages in attendance.It was great to see Christmas being brought into Brooke Park and getting such an event right into the heart of local communities .I would like to thank everyone involved in making it such a success and hope that more events can be staged in the surrounds of the park in the times ahead.

Remembrance tree ceremony at Brandywell Grotto -Logue

A poignant tree planting ceremony will take place at the Grotto in the Brandywell tonight (Tuesday) at 5.30pm to remember all the children and young people from the area who have sadly passed away.jan-top-right

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said “This is a very poignant time of the year for anyone who has lost a loved one particularly a child.

I approached the local Grotto committee with the proposal to plant a tree at the Grotto in dedication to all the children and young people from the area who have sadly passed away. I was very pleased that they supported the idea.

I in turn contacted the Woodland Trust with the idea and they very kindly agreed to donate a tree for this ceremony.

The tree planting ceremony will take place at the Grotto on Tuesday night (20th December) at 5.30pm and I would ask people attending to please bring a candle along.

Everyone is welcome and this will be followed by a carol service at 6pm in the  Gasyard.

Ends

RHI scandal must be urgently addressed – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness called today on the other parties in the Assembly to support a Sinn Féin motion in January calling on Arlene Foster to step aside._90288770_chara

Martin McGuinness said:

“Today we have witnessed a shambles in the Assembly, our institutions should not have to endure another day like this.

“The RHI scandal is a massive waste of public funds and the issue will not go away.

“There is a need to restore public confidence in the Assembly and the political institutions.

“Sinn Féin will be bringing forward a motion in early January, which deals comprehensively with the substantive issues surrounding this debacle. The motion includes three key elements.

“First there needs to be a robust time-framed, transparent and independent investigation.

“Secondly we need proposals from the Finance Minister and the Economy Minister to reduce the losses to the public purse from this disastrous scheme.

“And thirdly we believe while this is going on that the First Minister should stand aside during this process.

“It is a strong and reasonable approach and we are calling on the other parties to support our motion in January.”

Gerry Adams’ speech to Sinn Féin leadership meeting in Derry (FULL TEXT)

A Chairde, welcome to you all here to the Gasyard Centre in Derry.cz49rc_weae-v3h

I want to dedicate my remarks to the memory and life of Dale Moore.

Our focus today is to discuss the current crisis arising from the controversy around the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme and what Sinn Féin’s approach should be.

Our starting point today must be a recognition that the political institutions in this part of the island are unique and experimental.

They are an attempt to build bridges and connections between political parties and ideologies that are fundamentally different.

Sinn Féin is for a united Ireland.

The DUP and unionists are opposed to this.

Sinn Féin is opposed to austerity measures and conservative politics.

The DUP embrace these.

Sinn Féin opposed Brexit.

The DUP supported Brexit.

Sinn Féin believes in equality.

The DUP don’t.

Sinn Féin is for an Acht na Gaeilge and for the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement around legacy and truth issues.

The DUP oppose these.

They support the British government’s national security veto.

The DUP has been particularly disrespectful in relation to the Irish language and Irish medium education.

So the reality is that there is a serious fracture in northern politics, with implications for the Good Friday Agreement and for relationships on the island.

Despite our differences with the DUP Martin McGuinness and our Ministerial team work hard every day to ensure the stability of the political institutions.

They seek areas of agreement with the DUP on policy matters that allows government in this part of the island to work positively for citizens.

But it is difficult.

It is made even more problematical at this time because Martin has health issues.

In addition, the establishment parties in the 26 counties constantly see any problems that might arise in this part of the island as an opportunity to attack Sinn Féin.

It isn’t about defending the Good Friday Agreement; it isn’t about the reunification of our island; it’s about narrow party political advantage and their fear of the continuing growth of Sinn Féin in that part of the island.

In 2015, despite the opportunistic calls by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for the suspension or the adjournment of the north’s political institutions, we successfully concluded the Fresh Start Agreement.

It has helped to deliver for citizens in the face of the worst of the Tory Party’s austerity policies.

Through leadership Sinn Féin stopped the introduction of water charges and secured free prescriptions for every citizen.

A few months ago the Minister for Health Michelle O’Neill ensured the ending of so-called ‘gay blood ban’.

However, we have much more to do.

This is clearly obvious at this time around the crisis created by the scandal of the Renewable Heating Initiative Scheme.

This was established by Arlene Foster while she was the Minister of Department Enterprise Trade and Industry in November 2012.

In April 2013 the British government introduced tariffs that would be adjusted in line with demand thus ensuring that there would be no overspend.

This precaution was not taken in the north.

There has been significant controversy around this issue in the last six months and especially the last month.

In the course of this it has emerged that the Executive could be paying up to £400 million over the next 20 years for a scheme that is not delivering.

This crisis culminated on Thursday night in an interview by former DUP Minister Jonathon Bell.

In the course of his interview Jonathon Bell made serious allegations around the management of this scheme.

He accused the DUP of keeping open a scheme that was corrupt, inefficient, and likely to cost the taxpayers over 400 million.

On Friday afternoon Martin spoke to First Minister, Arlene Foster.

He outlined to her his very serious concern that the credibility of the political institutions is being significantly undermined by the serious and ongoing allegations surrounding the design, operation, abuse and ending of the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme.

Dúirt Martin léi chun an fhírinne a fháil agus chun clú na (polaitíochta) n-institiúidí a atógáil, gur gá dúinn fiosrúchán iomlán neamhspleách a chur ar bun.

Mhol Martin di fosta seasamh siar óna ról mar Phríomh-Aire nuair atá an fiosrúchán ar obair nó go dtí go ndéantar measúnú ar fhírinne an scéil.

He told her that in order to establish the truth, and to rebuild the reputation of the institutions, there is a need to put in place a fully independent, transparent investigation into this matter.

Martin also suggested to her that she should stand aside from the role as First Minister while that investigation is underway or at least until an initial assessment had been concluded into the veracity of all the allegations.

This was, he told her, what he would do if he was in this situation.

Not surprisingly Arlene Foster said no.

However, Martin urged her to go off and reflect on this and to come back in the new year.

We must establish the facts.

Caithfimid na firící a fháil.

Tá muid ag éileamh go gcuirfear próiseanna ar bun chun an fhírinne a fháil.

Ní bheidh aon chomhréiteach ar sin.

But we do demand that processes are in place to get to the truth.

There can be no compromise on this.

Sinn Féin’s primary objective must be to defend the integrity of the political institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement.

We do this in line with our strategic objectives as Irish republicans.

So, we have to deal with this crisis and we have to constantly look to how we advance our strategic objectives. I am confident that we can do both.

Text of Sinn Féin amendment to be submitted to the Assembly on RHI

Martin McGuinness has called tonight on all parties to support the following Sinn Féin amendment, which will be submitted to the Assembly tomorrow.  See also http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/42858Martin McG1

That this Assembly recognises the mounting public concern, relating to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and the serious allegations of incompetence, corruption and abuse.

Calls on the First Minister to stand aside in order to facilitate an independent, time-framed, robust and transparent investigation and until a preliminary report is presented.

This investigation would be undertaken by an independent judicial figure from outside this jurisdiction and be appointed by the Attorney General.

This investigation must establish how the RHI was developed in strategic policy and legislative terms, including its primary purpose and objectives; how the scheme’s operational roll-out was agreed, administered and implemented in order to match these objectives; and thereafter where overall accountability and compliance for the RHI scheme rested in both policy and financial accountability terms – and were these achieved in the view of the Independent Investigator.

Investigate the motives and actions of Ministers, Special Advisors, Civil Servants, and any others involved in either the strategic policy and operational delivery making processes of the RHI scheme and whether this was done so ethically, within the law, in compliance with the standards established in the Ministerial Code of conduct and principles of public life, and conditions of employment for Special Advisors.

Establish whether any individual (including Ministers, Civil servants, special advisors, others), acted knowingly where a conflict of interest existed, and/or intentionally and dishonestly to make a gain from the administration of the RHI scheme, or to aid others in doing so.

Examine and report on the manner in which the disclosure of whistle-blowers or any individuals who alleged possible wrongdoing about the RHI scheme were tested and responded to by the relevant authorities.

Investigate all applications, including those which successfully benefited from the RHI scheme, and determine in each case whether the Department has a legal basis to pursue and recover any payment made; withhold partial payment yet to be made; establish cases for referral to the law enforcement agencies to consider prosecution where there is adequate corroborative evidence.

On its completion the outcome of the investigation will be made public and will not require agreement of the First and Deputy First Ministers or the Attorney General. A preliminary report will be published within 4 weeks of its establishment. The full report and its outcomes will be made public within 3 months from that date.

Sinn Féin to bring proposal to Assembly calling on Foster to stand aside – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has announced tonight that his party will be bringing a proposal to the Assembly tomorrow for the First Minister Arlene Foster to stand aside to facilitate an independent investigation into the RHI scandal.Cnpr7DpWcAAJGSm.jpg large

He commented,

“The current crisis is not about party politics.

“It is not an orange or green issue. It is about restoring the credibility of the power-sharing institutions and dealing with incompetence and allegations of corruption and abuse.

“That is my sole focus and the sole focus of Sinn Féin.

“It is my firm belief the only way to establish the truth of what has occurred and to begin to restore public faith in the institutions is for an independent, time-framed and robust investigation to take place.

“The First Minister should stand aside to allow this. There is also an urgent need to minimise the cost of the scheme to the public purse.

“Given the First Minister’s failure thus far to accept this Sinn Féin will bring forward a proposal to the Assembly which calls on the First Minister to stand aside until this independent investigation brings forward a preliminary report.

“We are calling on all parties and MLAs to support this.

“The statement which Arlene Foster plans to make to the Assembly tomorrow does not have my authority or approval as deputy First Minister. We have told the DUP this.

“If she speaks this will be in a personal capacity and not in her role as First Minister.

“There is no credibility in an inquiry established solely by the DUP or in the selective release of some documents by DUP departments.

“If the DUP does take a unilateral approach, disregarding the authority and joint nature of the Executive Office on an issue which is cross-cutting, with massive budgetary implications and which is undermining public confidence in the political institutions this will have grave consequences.”

“Sinn Féin’s commitment is to making the institutions work for citizens. This has to be on the basis of transparency and equality and putting the people and their interests first.”

Foster should step aside during RHI investigation – Martin McGuinness

Speaking this afternoon deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA said:26634602685_4ebf00b83c_o1

“I spoke by phone this afternoon with the First Minister, Arlene Foster.

“I outlined my serious concern that the credibility of the political institutions is being undermined by the serious and ongoing allegations surrounding the design, operation, abuse and ending of the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme.

“This includes allegations from a former DUP Minster that there was corruption.

“This scheme has directly impacted on the public purse. Taxpayers’ money wasted in this scheme, needs to be retrieved.

“It is my belief the only way to establish the truth, and rebuild the reputation of the institutions, is to urgently establish a fully independent investigation into this matter.

“In addition, I also said that, in the public interest, she should stand aside from the role as First Minister while that investigation is underway and at least until an initial assessment had been concluded into the veracity of all the allegations.

“That is what I would do if I was in this situation. I asked the First Minister to take the time and consider this suggestion carefully.”

Lonemoor /Braehead Roads tops list for traffic calming – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the news  that the Lonemoor Road has been placed at number one in the priority list for a traffic calming scheme. And the Braehead Road at number three on list.CVz6GH9XAAAjCyt

Councillor Logue said “I welcome the news that the section of Lonemoor Road in the vicinity of the Showgrounds area and the Braehead Road at Nixons Corner have been deemed suitable for traffic calming measures.

Lonemoor Road was assessed for traffic calming during 2016 and as a result is now currently placed at number one in Transport NI priority list.

They intend to take forward this scheme during the 2017/18 financial year notwithstanding any objections to the scheme.

The Braehead Road has been placed at number three and will proceed in 2018/19 if no other scheme scores higher that it in the intervening period.

I have been lobbying for traffic calming measures on both roads for some time now following concerns being raised with me by local residents about road safety.Hopefully these schemes will now be able to proceed as planned.

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Free Ibrahim Halawa

Tourism can help develop Derry’s economy – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said tourism can help develop and promote Derry’s economy. 

Ms Anderson said; cze3acwwiaamr3y

“I was delighted to welcome US Ambassador Matthew Barzun to Derry this morning. 

“We walked on the city’s iconic Peace Bridge and walls and then visited the Museum of Free Derry at its temporary home as well as the site of the new museum, which is currently under construction with the help of EU funds.

“When completed, the modern facility will add immensely to Derry’s tourism appeal, as well as playing a key role in telling the story of the city.

“Derry’s history is known across the world and more and more visitors are coming to the city to learn about our past, helping drive our economy in the process.

“Tourism is a key growth area for the city and wider north west region and one we should be supporting and encouraging.” Ends/Críoch

Easter 1916 – From GPO to Free Derry now on sale

Derry 1916 Committee has announced the book to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916 and charting the Republican history in Derry up to the present day is now available through a number of outlets in the City .The book also contains stories and reflections of the impact of the Easter Rising on subsequent generations of republicans from the city.

 

Project coordinator Tommy Carlin said:2016-11-23-book-poster

 

“Unfortunately due to the serious illness of one of our key steering committee members, Dale Moore we decided to postpone the official launch earlier in the month. Sadly Dale passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Altnagelvin on Sunday 11th December.

 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílís.

 

“We have received numerous enquiries about the availability of the book and therefore we have decided to proceed with those plans in confidence that it would be Dale’s wish that we do so.

 

“We will announce an Official launch with guest speakers at a later date in dedication to Dale’s contribution in the compilation of the book.

 

“In the meantime the publication will be available at all of the Sinn Féin Offices, Tourist Office, Checkpoint Charlie and at Museum of Free Derry priced at £6 with all proceeds going to Derry Republican Graves Association.”

Jackson encourages public engagement with consultation meetings

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has welcomed the announcement from Health Minister to hold a series of public meetings in January 2017 on her proposals for radical transformation of the health service.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

He  said:

“We are embarking on a time of major change in Health and Social Care (HSC) in the north and the public meetings are a sign of Health Minister Michelle O’Neill’s commitment to engaging with the public.

“This will give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their say on the future of our health and social care service.

“Everyone has a part to play in the transformation of the health and social care system and I would encourage people to come along to the meetings and make their views known.”

Kevin Bell Reparation Trust shining example to us all – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has praised the work done by the Kevin Bell Reparation Trust.

The Brandywell councillor  said:

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

“The Kevin Bell Reparation Trust provides an invaluable service to families during their deepest time of need when they receive the devastating news that a loved one has been killed or died tragically abroad.

“I salute the work of Kevin Bell’s family, their friends and the trust’s volunteers for the great work and the practical and emotional support they offer.

“Since its inception in 2013 the Kevin Bell Reparation Trust has helped bring home the bodies of over 230 Irish citizens.

“They continue to be shining example to us all.”

Housing Associations should tell tenants that bedroom tax won’t apply – Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan  has called on Housing Associations in Derry  to advise tenants that a Stormont welfare mitigation package will cancel out the bedroom tax.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

He said:

“I would ask the housing associations in Derry to tell tenants that the bedroom tax in the north will be cancelled out by the Executive’s welfare mitigation package.

“Sinn Féin fought for mitigation measures that made bedroom tax redundant in the North and these measures were passed by the Executive.

“Any shortfall to housing benefit as a result of the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ will be calculated and mitigated automatically.

“Anyone with any concerns can call into their local Sinn Féin Office.”

Ends

Thalidomide victims must be respected and compensated – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said  that Thalidomide victims must be respected and compensated.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking ahead of a motion of support for Thalidomide victims in the European Parliament on Thursday, Ms Anderson said;

“Over 50 years after the thalidomide tragedy, in which a morning sickness medicine for pregnant women caused malformations in their babies, victims are still fighting for fair compensation in several EU countries.

“I have met many survivors of Thalidomide and I have been inspired by their story, reliance and courage.

“The ageing Thalidomide generation now require extra medical assistance and care, they fear their independence might be stripped from them.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the survivors of Thalidomide. National governments and in particular the German government most take steps now to ensure appropriate compensation is allocated to victims.

“On Wednesday MEPs will discuss the state of play on EU measures to ensure all Thalidomide victims get fair support and compensation. A resolution will be voted on this Thursday.

British government not serious about dealing with legacy of the past – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness said  the British government is not serious about dealing with the legacy of the past. Martin McG1

Mr McGuinness was speaking after meeting British Secretary of State James Brokenshire .

Martin McGuinness said:

“My party has met the British government on at least a dozen occasions this year and called on them to implement the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House.

“I don’t believe the British government is serious about dealing with the legacy of the past. They are currently holding up legacy inquests, denying justice to victims and their families in the process.

“The British government is clearly not prepared to face up to the real issues being raised by families whose loved ones were murdered by the state and its agencies.

“The Lord Chief Justice has asked for the funds for legacy inquests to be released immediately and the British government has a responsibility to do that.

“The Irish government must hold the British government to account on its failure to implement its agreements on legacy.”

Pól Kinsella to be remembered in Derry

The Pól Kinsella Cumann will be marking Pól’s anniversary on Tuesday 13th December with a number of events starting with the Cumann laying a wreath at Pól’s grave in the City Cemetery at 2pm.saturday-commemoration1

This will be followed by the annual Pól Kinsella soccer competition in Brooke Park from 6pm – 8pm.

The presentation of the Pól Kinsella Cup will be made afterwards at a social event in Ráth Mór at 8.30pm. The Cumann would like to invite everyone to attend this event as a tribute to Pól and his family.

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Gerry Adams TD sends best wishes to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Speaking after the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness withdrew from a planned visit to China to enable doctors to conduct a medical assessment Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said;26634602685_4ebf00b83c_o1

“I’m sure everybody who values his work will send best wishes to Martin, Bernie and their family.  I met with Martin as normal at Stormont on Monday.  I have been in regular contact with him since and he is totally committed to fulfilling his duties.”

Ends

Heating scheme flawed from inception – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney  said today that the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme was flawed from its inception and what happened in terms of the waste of public money was an unacceptable dereliction of responsibility.

He said: raymond-mccartney-450x301

“The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, which will cost the public purse over £400m has been flawed from the outset.

“There are huge implications for the civil service and our block grant. Very senior officials had responsibility over the establishment, the monitoring and the implementation of RHI.

“It beggars belief internal reporting systems were so flawed that key issues were not identified and addressed within the department despite warnings having being raised about the scheme.

“There are also real concerns that there may well have been aggressive exploitation of this scheme for commercial profit and gain.

“The public, the Assembly and the Executive all need to know what happened here.

“A vast amount of taxpayers’ money will be lost, which should be available to the Executive for front line public services at a time of increasing British Tory cuts.

“I do believe that Arlene Foster, who was the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister at the time, should come forward to provide a full account and set the public record straight on this issue.”

Campbell welcomes commencement of £270,000 resurfacing scheme at Southway

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the announcement by the Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard that work is starting on a  £270,000 resurfacing scheme on the Southway in the Creggan area of Derry.

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Colr. Campbell said: “This is great news for the hundreds of motorists and pedestrians that use Southway on a daily basis.

I have raised this issue with Transport NI on a number of occasions and had been told that they had it on their priority list. I called on Transport NI to put this road to the top of the priority list so as when the money became available this much needed and overdue work can be carried out straight away.”

He added: “I had been getting constant complaints from residents living in the area about the state of the road. The Creggan estate has a population of around 12,000 and has only three main arterial routes into the estate and Southway being one of them is in a very bad state.

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Appeal after vandalism attack on city centre Christmas decorations –Kelly

Chair of the Environment and Regeneration committee on Derry City and Strabane District Council Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed for attacks on the Councils  Christmas decorations, trees  and lights in Derry City centre to stop.image

He was speaking after a number of vandalism incidents in recent weeks.

Councillor Kelly said “It’s very sad that I have to make a public appeal for these vandalism attacks to stop.

There have been five attacks on the Christmas trees in the city centre that we know of, two in Waterloo Place, two on the tree in the Guildhall and the most recent was on the one in the grass area beside the Guildhall on Monday night of this week.

A lot time, effort and ratepayers money is spent in making our city centre look its best for the festive season. The last thing we need is for  these mindless  attacks to take place.

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Minister should continue to tackle disadvantage to improve attainment – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has said the education minister must continue to tackle disadvantage in order to improve educational attainment. CVz6GH9XAAAjCyt

Speaking after the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report was published, the Sinn Féin education spokesperson said;

“I want to commend schools and teachers for their efforts in achieving PISA results for 15 year-olds which are comparable to the OECD average.

“However, the report highlights the continuing link between disadvantage and educational underachievement.

“The report shows the difference between the results of the most disadvantaged and those who are better off is the equivalent of missing two and two thirds years of schooling.

“It is clear that we still have a way to go to achieve a world-class education system.

“As education minister in the previous mandate, John O’Dowd put a focus on tackling disadvantage and there have been improvements in educational attainment.

“The current education minister Peter Weir should continue on that path.

“The education committee will undertake a major inquiry into education under-attainment throughout 2017.”

Jackson encourages public engagement with consultation meetings

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has welcomed the announcement from the Health Minister to hold a series of public meetings in January 2017 on her proposals for radical transformation of the health service.

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

He  said:

“We are embarking on a time of major change in Health and Social Care (HSC) in the north and the public meetings are a sign of Health Minister Michelle O’Neill’s commitment to engaging with the public.

“This will give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their say on the future of our health and social care service.

“Everyone has a part to play in the transformation of the health and social care system and I would encourage people to come along to the meetings and make their views known.”

The local public meetings will be held at:

Derry, Millennium Forum 14 December 2016, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Omagh, Omagh Enterprise Company 08 December 2016, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Tickets going fast for Christmas Tales & Trails at Brooke Park – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has encouraged anyone thinking about attending the Christmas event entitled Tales & Trails being hosted at the new Pavilion in Brooke Park to get in quick for tickets.15193620_1206862422703153_9095153701936469345_n

Councillor Cooper said “Back in November I was pleased to welcome the news that the area in around the new Pavilion in Brooke Park is to be used for a Christmas event entitled Tales & Trails.

I had been working with council officials for some time to identify funding opportunities for programmes in Derry and Strabane to allow these type of events to take place. And was delighted that the council approved a funding package of £15,000 for Christmas programmes across the five Neighbourhood renewal areas in Derry and Strabane.

Such has been the huge interest in the Tales and Trails event that nearly all the tickets are gone .I would encourage anyone looking for tickets to do so fast.

The Tales and Trails with take place on Sunday 18th December 3pm – 6pm and will involve exploring Tales of Christmas from around the world told by a number of special characters. Local talent will also be on show and Santa will be making an appearance as well. I would like to thank the Good relations Department for their additional support.

Notes Admission: FREE Community Event.  Donations welcome in lieu of Jamie’s Journey, Children’s cancer Charity.

Booking essential: Tel: 02871 268748

Brokenshire living in cloud cuckoo land over Brexit – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney has said British Secretary of State James Brokenshire in living in cloud cuckoo land.

Raymond McCartney  was responding to a claim by the British Secretary of State that US investors could be tempted to set up in the North in order to access British markets alone.

he  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“James Brokenshire told the media this week  that potential US investors can see the benefits of the North as a launching pad for ‘access to the UK market’.

“That’s all well and good but what about the other 27 nations in the European Single Market that his government is determined to cut us off from. Did he mention that on his flying visit to the States?

“Is that how he is wooing potential investors? Never mind about the 500 million potential customers in the single market, we can get you access to austerity Britain?

“Brexit will be bad for foreign direct investment and James Brokenshire knows it. That’s why he campaigned for Remain in the referendum.

“It will be particularly damaging in our context where a huge part of our success in attracting record levels of US foreign direct investment over recent years has been our access to the European Union.

“It’s one of the main reasons why so many US companies in particular have come here and employ thousands of local people. They recognise that we have the talent and access to one of the biggest markets in the globe.

“James Brokenshire’s government, which has no mandate in the North, is attempting to cut us off from that market and no amount of spin or flying visits to the US will change the impact of such a disastrous decision.”

Brexit will hit border communities like Derry /Donegal hard –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper speaking from a conference entitled Driving Growth in the North West with the Challenges and Opportunities of Brexit which is being held  at An Grianán Hotel, Burt, and Co Donegal.mickey-science-park

 

 

He said “In the aftermath of the recent EU referendum Sinn Féin held a series of public meetings in Derry and across Ireland and it’s clear there is a great deal of concern about the prospect of being dragged out of the EU. 

 

“In border areas in particular there is huge uncertainty over the impact on agriculture, business, trade, travel, tourism and those who cross the border on a daily basis. 

 

He went on to say

 

We recently brought a motion to the council to support the Border Communities Against Brexit campaign and to make alliances with other council’s in border areas who will be similarly affected by Brexit once implemented:

 

Our motion was designed to show that our council recognised the massive impact that Brexit  will have on border areas. It included the major potential disruption at the border created by border controls, increased costs for cross-border traders through new tariffs. And reduced income for border farmers created by a loss of EU subsidies and reduced freedom of movement for local residents.

 

In particular, this council will lose a massive amount of EU monies which are currently used for job creation, Rural Development and infrastructural programmes. When this money disappears post-Brexit the council will have little choice but to downsize these initiatives or else increase rates to allow these programmes to continue.

 

I am glad we got support for the motion to proceed which will now allow us to begin building alliances with other councils to build a lobby against Brexit.

McCartney welcomes end of water meter installation

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed a move from the Infrastructure Minister to stop the installation of water meters in domestic properties.

He  said;

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Earlier this year my party colleague and Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard asked NI Water to end the installation of water meters in domestic properties.

“I welcome the minister’s announcement to the Assembly  that the installation of water meters has now ended.

“Sinn Féin is opposed to the introduction of water charges north and south.

“This move  reinforces Sinn Féin and the Executive’s commitment not to bring in water charges for households.”

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Brian Lacey author and historian to speak at Derry book launch

A new book will be launched in the Derry on Wednesday night in  Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin Great James Street  at 7.00pm to commemorate the 100 Anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916 and chart the Republican history in Derry up until the present day .The book also contains stories and reflections of people from the city.12970998_1086782864699001_8584702884581330348_o

The guest speaker on  the  night will be  author and well known Republican Danny Morrison

Brian Lacey author and historian will also speak on the night.  He has been the chief contributor to the book .

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s launch Brian Lacey  said

This book does not claim to be a comprehensive history of the events it describes. Very little has been written about the 1916 period in Derry and the consequences of those events. This account, therefore, should be seen as a tentative beginning and as an impetus to further research. It is by no means the final word.

Until recently the narrative of what happened among republicans in Derry in 1916 (and later associated events) was dominated by the account of Liam Brady. While his own statement given to the Bureau in 1952 (WS0676) was itself inaccessible like all the others, Liam Brady’s account – effectively, word for word – was published in a series of articles in the Derry Journal in 1953. In the absence of anything else, those articles came to be considered as the ‘received wisdom’ on the subject.”11930742_816912461749708_4069858574056293539_o

Sinn Féin’s newest MLA selected

Martin McGuinness opinion piece on British government’s failure to deal with legacy issues

Dealing with the legacy of the past remains one of the key outstanding challenges of our peace process.26070074964_ea61126a65_o

Unless it is dealt with in a comprehensive and acceptable manner then the essential process of healing and reconciliation cannot gain momentum.  The main obstacle to effectively dealing with the past has been, and remains, the abject failure of the British Government to honour its international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights through NOT facilitating effective, independent and prompt investigations into killings by state agencies and their failure to adequately resource legacy investigations and inquests.

Over eight months ago the Lord Chief Justice outlined a five-year plan to deal with the backlog in legacy inquests. The British government to date has not responded positively. This has triggered great frustration and anger among families, many of whom have been waiting more than 44 years for an Article 2 compliant investigation into the death of their loved ones. I am fully supportive of the Lord Chief Justice’s proposals.

It is incredulous that this request from the foremost legal officer has been ignored. This is an untenable and unsustainable position that is undermining the confidence of bereaved families in the rule of law and the administration of justice.

Instead of working constructively to address the hurt and pain caused by the legacy of our recent conflict, the British Government has, at every turn, blocked and frustrated all efforts to reach a resolution.  In doing so they have compounded the suffering of victims and survivors and added insult to injury.

We have had a number of frustrating and unsuccessful negotiations on legacy followed by a series of critical reports and comments by internationally renowned human rights bodies and individuals.  The latest report from the UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff is a strong indictment of Britain’s handling of the past.

In his report, Pablo de Greiff highlights the punitive nature of Britain’s policy in Ireland, while highlighting the use of ‘national security’ in a ‘blanket’ manner, with the clear aim of stalling and eventually blocking relevant onward disclosure to families of victims.

Neither the British government, or indeed any of the parties to the conflict, can claim the position of ‘neutral arbiters’ of the conflict.  This places a requirement on the British Government to guarantee through the legislative process, both the reality and the perception of genuine independence and impartiality for all legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House, in a human rights compliant manner.

It also places a requirement on Republicans to play their part in addressing the challenges that lie ahead. For our part, Sinn Fein have shown a willingness to recognise our responsibilities around legacy and will continue to do so in the context of the emergence of independent, human rights compliant mechanisms.

A number of families have now been waiting for more than 40 years to find out what happened to their loved ones. Already too many relatives have gone to their graves without answers and the campaigns have passed to another generation. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.

The conflict has left deep scars in our society, impacting on all traditions and political persuasions. The hurt and pain must not be transmitted to another generation. The British Government and its armed agencies played an active role in the conflict here, and were not passive peacekeepers as they attempt to portray internationally. It has a duty and a responsibility to play a major role in any resolution. Delay and prevarication must give way to positive action by the British Government through the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms in a human rights compliant manner. International obligations must be honoured through the provision of adequate resources, relevant disclosure and the granting, through legislation, of a genuine independent status for all key legacy mechanisms.

McGinley welcomes green light for Springtown Road housing plans

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed planning approval for the construction of social housing on the Springtown Road.

Councillor Eric McGinley

Councillor Eric McGinley

Cllr. McGinley said: “The need for increased social housing provision in this Council area is beyond question and the decision of the Planning Committee to approve this application is to be greatly welcomed.

I am aware of the high demand for social housing in the wider Hazelbank / Ballymagroarty area and the desire of families to remain within this locality and this new development will go some way to addressing the deficit which currently exists.

It is to be hoped that this particular area can be earmarked for further housing development and it will be important to ensure that if this materialises it is accompanied by the necessary infrastructure which will accommodate the provision of public transport.”

DERRY SF FACEBOOK