Poverty can and must be eradicated – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan speaking on UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty,has said poverty is the result of policy choices, and can be eliminated.

She said

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“I fully support the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Times like this force us to reflect on the causes of poverty, and the need to help eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries.

“Today is also an opportunity to talk about the stubborn rates of poverty and destitution which blight Irish society.

“Decades of neglect and relentless Tory austerity in the north have locked thousands of citizens into a vicious poverty cycle. As a society we all suffer when we condemn fellow citizens to a life of destitution.

“Poverty is the result of policy choices; it is a human-made social disease which must be eradicated. Inequality continues to soar as governments place the profits of elites and the super-rich ahead of the most vulnerable in our society.

“Those interested in meaningful change must stand up to a rotten economic system that has left so many behind, and fight for a better society founded on equality, solidarity and universal rights.

Campbell welcomes graphic fireworks warning billboard

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the launch of a new billboard at Free Derry Wall this week by Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) highlighting the dangers of fireworks.

Councillor Campbell saidimg_5116

“This billboard graphically shows the dangers of fireworks and the serious life changing injuries that they can cause.

A lot of positive work has been done in Derry over the last number of years to deal with the issue of selling illegal fireworks. And the availability of these dangerous items has been reduced. But sadly there are those out there who have no regard for the local community and continue to be involved in this illegal trade.

I call on those who are engaged in this type of activity to stop and reflect on how their actions can cause serious injuries and harm. And urge anyone who has information to bring it forward to the police and those selling the fireworks need to be brought before the courts.

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Anderson condemns arrest of Catalan independence campaigners

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned the arrests of prominent Catalan independence campaigners.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“The arrests of prominent Catalan independence referendum activists Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart was wrong and must be condemned.

“The world saw the oppression carried out by the Spanish police during the voting on the referendum and this is yet another attack on the democratic process and a further attempt to silence the will of the people.

“These activists should be released immediately and all charges dropped against others who were simply standing up for their democratic rights.

“The international community have a role to play in standing up for the interests of the Catalan people, condemning these arrests and ensuring the result of the referendum is respected.” Ends/Críoch

Taoiseach should be defending GFA right to majority vote’- McCartney

The overwhelming majority of people on this island support Irish reunification. The Irish Government should reflect that and defend the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, including the right of a majority to vote for a United Ireland, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.raymond-mccartney2

He was speaking after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the BBC that he wouldn’t like to see constitutional change ‘on a 50% plus one basis’.

Raymond McCartney commented: “The Good Friday Agreement is absolutely clear in enshrining the right of the Irish people to self-determination through referenda, north and south.

“If a simple majority vote in favour of reunification, both governments are then obliged to legislate for it.

“The Good Friday Agreement is the legal and internationally-biding position.

“There is an onus on the Irish government to plan for unity. To become a persuader for unity. To build the maximum agreement and to secure and win a referendum on unity.

“As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Taoiseach should be seeking to defend the agreement in all its parts, not seeking to undermine it.”

McKnight criticises the jailing of Catalan civil society activists

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has expressed her deep concern at the jailing of two Catalan civil society activists by the Spanish High Court.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

The head of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, and the head of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, are on trial over sedition charges. They were jailed without bail on Monday night and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

She said:

“The ANC and Òmnium Cultural are the two main pro-independence civil society organisations in Catalonia. These popular organisations have been central to the massive peaceful demonstrations in favour of an independence referendum that we have seen emerge in Catalonia in recent years.

“They were arrested on sedition charges over their alleged role in peaceful protests in the build up to the 1 October independence referendum and on the day of the vote. Under Spanish criminal law, a sedition conviction can carry jail sentences of between 4 and 15 years.

“I am deeply concerned that the Spanish High Court has jailed these civil society activists and that they are being prosecuted for organising peaceful demonstrations. Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart should be released immediately.

“The Spanish State’s response to the Catalan referendum has been very worrying to date. The Spanish Government should urgently take up the Catalan Government’s offer of internationally mediated negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to their differences through dialogue.”

Kelly urges road users in NW to remain cautious

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged road users to exercise caution and remain vigilant as the clean-up operation continues after Storm Ophelia.

colly kelly

colly kelly

He said:

“The clean-up work to clear roads of debris has started. I urge all road users in Derry and Donegal to take extra care of loose debris while this work continues and to be mindful that further tree falls are possible.

“Road users should reduce their speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front and always wear their seatbelt.

“We have been assured that the Department will continue to work with other response agencies and local government as part of the multi-agency response as repair and clean-up work begins.”

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University agrees to work with agencies to address flooding at at Dunvale-Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from the Univeristy of Ulster (UU) at Magee that they are work to find a solution over drainage issues which affected homes in Dunvale Park following flooding there in recent months.mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

Councillor Cooper said “Homes in Dunvale Park bordering the playing fields at the University of Ulster site on the Duncreggan Road were affected by the recent floods.

Residents contacted me with their concerns and fears and asked if I could see what could be done to prevent flooding around their homes.

I have spoken with the University and outlined the concerns of local residents in regards to future flooding.

I am pleased to say officials at the UU have taken those concerns on board and are working to find a permanent solution as a matter of urgency. This will involve installation of a new drainage system and has also involved NI Water and the Rivers Agency working to ensure there are no blockages in their water lines running through the site. Taken in tandem these measures should remove any ongoing issues and reassure local residents of the Dunvale Park area’

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McCallion attends European Citizens Prize Awards ceremony in Brussels

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion travelled to Brussels this week for the European Citizens Prize Awards ceremony at which Border Communities Against Brexit were honoured.

Speaking from the European Parliament, Elisha McCallion commended the tireless efforts of the citizen campaign:dl290hzxkaekgbs

“I want to sincerely thank Border Communities Against Brexit for their ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the disastrous impact of Brexit in Ireland.

“To be awarded the European Citizens Prize for this work is a remarkable achievement.

“I would call on everyone to get involved in civic campaigns of this kind to draw the attention of Europe, and the world, to the economic and social challenges Brexit has imposed on Ireland.

“While in Brussels, Sinn Féin MPs engaged in a series of meetings with European officials and the Constitutional Affairs Committee to raise the impact of Brexit on Ireland.

“We will continue to make the case for Designated Special Status for the north within the EU.”

Cooper welcomes news on major Halloween family event

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that children up to the age of 5 will get free admission to a major children’s event which will be held in the Foyle Arena as part of the councils 2017 Halloween programme. He said he hoped the revised pricing structure, which he proposed at the councils Business & Culture Committee this week, would make the event much more affordable to lower income families.20171013_110028

The Invasions show is planned for later this month at the Foyle Arena.

Councillor Cooper said “At the committee this week details were released about the Invasions/Heroes and Legends Show which will held in the Foyle Arena on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October. From Sinn Feins perspective the pricing model of £9.50 per adult and £35 for a family ticket would have proved unaffordable for many lower income families. This led to me proposing that the pricing structure be revisited to see what options were available to make it more accessible.

As a direct result the company who will deliver the event have agreed with council to raise the free admission age barrier from 3 years old to 5 years old. Given the nature of the event and the characters who will be appearing, I am confident that this will allow many more families with young children to be able to afford to attend.

The company have also agreed to run multiple competitions for family tickets online and on Saturday October 21st there will be a free meet and greet with key performers from the show, Bumble bee, Optimus Prime and others – this will be open to all and held in the Guildhall’s Main Hall which can meet up to 1000 people. This will be free of charge and should make the event accessible.

I would like to express my gratitude to the company and the council officers involved for their work in bringing these new proposals forward and look forward to a massive level of interest in both this event and all the council events being held this Halloween”

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‘Schools to close again tomorrow’ – Mullan

All schools in Ireland have been advised to close again tomorrow, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said. dcws6dwxgaeofpt

The Foyle MLA commented: “Following a similar decision taken in the South, the Department of Education have confirmed to me that all schools in the North have now been issued with advice to remain closed again tomorrow.

“Although the weather is expected to have improved by then, there is a concern that power shortages and potential damage to buildings and transport networks could impact on accessibility and safety tomorrow.

“In those circumstances it is sensible to be cautious and to take the decision as early as possible to allow parents to make necessary arrangements.”

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‘Schools should show leadership and end selection’ – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has urged schools which still use transfer tests to show leadership and end them altogether.image01-copy

The Foyle MLA was speaking after one of the examination bodies which run the tests confirmed they could not accommodate all the children who have applied this year.

“School transfer tests continue to drive educational inequality and are a barrier to parental choice,” Karen Mullan commented.

“Schools should show leadership and end the use of transfer tests in favour of building a fully inclusive and non-selective education system for the betterment of all our young people.

“The late Martin McGuinness as Education Minister showed great leadership in abolishing the 11 plus to establish a transfer system based upon parental choice.

“Despite this, many schools continued to select and reject children based on an unregulated test system.

“That needs to end because the evidence is overwhelming that academic selection and rejection is damaging for children and damaging for the education system.

“This has been confirmed yet again in the latest Executive Office report Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation (ILiAD) which concluded that transfer tests exacerbate educational inequalities and damage the confidence and self-esteem of children.”

Redevelopment of the Ringfort Road to assist in curbing anti-community activity -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has highlighted the need for a redevelopment of the Ringfort Road to assist in curbing anti-community activity in this area of Hazelbank.????????????????????????????????????

Cllr. McGinley said: “I have been in contact with a number of agencies including the Housing Executive and Street Lighting to identify measures which may help to minimise the number of anti-community incidents which are taking place on the Ringfort Road.

Young people are using the cover of darkness and the inadequate lighting in place to stone motorists travelling along the road and a number of vehicles, including buses, have been damaged. Indeed, it is only through good fortune that serious injury has been avoided.

This issue has been raised on a number of occasions at neighbourhood safety meetings and the PSNI, Community Restorative Justice and local youth workers have been working to eradicate these incidents.

I have now requested site meetings with Street Lighting officials to pursue additional illumination and also with the Housing Executive to examine if hedges and trees can be cut back to restrict hiding places.

There are exciting plans in place for a new BHCP community centre in this area which will bring much needed facilities but in the short term other measures are required to ensure the Ringfort Road is a safe place for residents and drivers.”

O’Neill raises concerns over Hurricane Ophelia

Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has spoken to the interim head of the civil service and Chair of the Civil Contingencies Group, David Sterling, regarding Hurricane Ophelia in order to be briefed on the levels of preparedness to keep people safe following severe weather warnings.

Ms O’Neill said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“I have talked to the interim Head of the Civil Service regarding the impact that Hurricane Ophelia may have and on the measures and precautions needed to mitigate against the severe weather in the interests of public safety including school closures tomorrow which have now been announced by the Department for Education.

“People should keep informed about the weather and act to protect yourself and your home from the effects of flooding and high winds, and importantly to heed safety warnings.”

Foyle MP support for Postal Workers

Sinn Fein Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has voiced her support for postal workers ahead of a two-day strike next week.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP commented: “Sinn Féin fully supports the Communication Workers Union members who plan to embark on 48-hour industrial action from October 19th.

“The union has an overwhelming mandate to pursue this action following an 89% vote in favour of it. Therefore, it is very concerning that management have warned they may pursue High Court action to prevent the strike going ahead.

“They should respect the right of workers to engage in mandated legal action in pursuit of legitimate goals. In this case, the postal workers are opposing changes to their pension scheme which will see members losing up to a third of their retirement benefits.

“In those circumstances, and even if there is some temporary disruption to services, I am sure the vast majority of the public will support the postal workers in this action.”

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity to talk – McCallion

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity for parents and guardians, family and our society to raise awareness of those bereaved by the loss of a child, Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The week-long initiative encourages bereaved parents to reach out, and for all to identify possible policy measures relating to troubled pregnancies and baby loss.

The Foyle MP said:

“We all know someone affected by this issue, as families or friends of those who have lost a prematurely lost a child.

“Baby Loss Awareness Week gives us all an opportunity to reach out to loved ones and to talk about bereavement.

“As public representatives, we also have a responsibility to ensure the necessary support is in place for affected families, which may serve as some comfort in a time of need.”

Adams welcomes Fatah and Hamas agreement

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has warmly welcomed the announcement this morning of an agreement between the two leading Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah who have been involved in reconciliation talks in Cairo.

an phoblacht

an phoblacht

Gerry Adams TD said:

“I want to extend my solidarity and congratulations to Hamas and Fatah on successfully reaching an historic agreement on a process to end the political divisions between them.

“This deal between Hamas and Fatah creates the potential for real progress in the efforts to rekindle the moribund Middle East peace process.

“I have travelled to the region several times in recent years and have met with both the leaders of Fatah and Hamas. I understand the challenges and difficulties they face and I wish them well in their efforts.

“I would urge the International Community to speedily grasp this opportunity and encourage all sides to open up a renewed dialogue to making progress in the peace process.”

Sinn Féin welcome £50 million for Health and Education

Sinn Féin has welcomed a £50 million cash injection for the health and education services but added that it is confirmation of the ‘unnecessary and divisive’ nature of the cuts consultation carried out by the Health Trusts.
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Locally it welcomed the news that William Street and Rectory Field residential homes will not be forced to merge.

“Sinn Féin has argued for some time that there were centrally-held resources available which could be released to address some of the pressures on health,” Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said

“We welcome the fact that this has now happened but it also again opens up the question as to why the consultation on proposed cuts of £70 million was carried out in the way that it was.

“It has always been our view that these cuts were unnecessary and the consultation was a cynical exercise which only succeeded in creating division and concern within the wider community.

“Locally the news that William Street and Rectory Field residential homes will not have to merge will be welcomed by the residents, staff and relatives of those who live at the two homes. There was great concern in the city that these homes would have been forced to merge.

“A further £10 million has been allocated to the Department of Education and, in light of that, Sinn Féin reiterates our call for the cut to the school’s sports development grant to be reversed immediately.”

Karen Mullan added: “Today’s announcement will go some way to redressing the immediate pressures on our public services but we are still facing huge longer-term shortfalls as a result of Tory/DUP austerity cuts to the Block Grant and Sinn Féin will continue to rigorously oppose this assault on public services and the most vulnerable in society.”

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Templemore Sports Complex major work moves step closer-McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has welcomed the news that DCSDC has nominated a consultant team to undertake and manage the technical design and construction of Templemore & Strabane Leisure Facilities Projects.

Clr Caoimhe McKnight saidcomplex-photo-1

“Sinn Féin have been lobbying Council for a number of years now to have an extensive redevelopment and upgrading of the Templemore Sports Complex.

“I am delighted that Derry City and Strabane District Council has nominated a consultant team to undertake and manage the technical design and construction of Templemore & Strabane Leisure Facilities Projects.

“Currently the overall cost to complete the construction of the facilities is estimated to be in the region of £50m.

“Over the next few years I believe that we will see one of the most extensive developments at the Complex that has been witnessed in this City.

MP to raise case of Park Avenue Post Office

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Rosemount area Mickey Cooper has revealed that the MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion along with Karen Mullan MLA is to meet with representatives from Royal Mail over the future of Park Ave Post Office.mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

Councillor Cooper said “Over the past few weeks I have received a number of concerns from local residents about the future of Park Avenue Post Office.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has written to Royal Mail outlining concerns about the long term future of a Post Office service in the Rosemount area and requested an urgent meeting with officials.

Post offices play a vital and necessary role in local communities in terms of services and amenities and provide much needed employment.

It’s vital that this service is maintained in the long term because everyone knows once a service is lost or downgraded it very hard to get it back again.

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Update on the A6 timeline for NW

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Karen Mullan MLA have held a meeting with officials from the Department of Infrastructure to get an update on the progression of the A6.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Speaking after the meeting Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said

“It was important to get the update from the Department of Infrastructure on the timeline of A6.This is a key infrastructural project linking the North West to Belfast and further afield and will significantly reduce the journey time when completed.

Anyone who travels regularly on this road will know that work is well underway on the section around Toome but we needed to get as much detail as possible right across such a large scale project. Officials from the Department told us that the first section from the Toome roundabout to Randalstown will be ready early 2019, and the second part by 2021.

The section from Derry to Dungiven,Dungiven Bypass is out to tender with the project starting in the spring of 2018, with completion in 2022.

We stressed the need for the inclusion of social clauses and that local contractors and sub-contractors are used in the construction of the A6 and we were pleased to learn that they have taken on a number of young apprentices.

We look forward to the completion of this project and its benefits for Derry and the wider North West.

McCallion says #HelloYellow on World Mental Health Day

This World Mental Health Day Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion is saying #HelloYellow to show young people they’re not alone when it comes to their mental health.dkudxumwaaeu2aw

YoungMinds, a leading children and young people’s mental health charity, is encouraging communities, schools and offices to wear something yellow this World Mental Health Day (10th October).

The charity is also hoping to inspire more than 10,000 mental health messages on the day, which will take the form of drawings, advice or inspirational quotes, and to raise thousands of pounds to support its work.

This year Elisha McCallion is joining over 1,000 schools and colleges, as well as hundreds of businesses, to raise awareness about young people’s mental health within their constituency.

Recent research shows the scale of mental health problems affecting young people. According to the Millennium Cohort Study, published in September, almost a quarter of girls and one in ten boys report symptoms of depression at the age of 14.

Elisha McCallion MP said

“At the moment three children in every classroom will be struggling with a mental health problem. I’m acutely aware what a big issue children and young people’s mental health is for them and their families, which is why I’ll be wearing yellow to support YoungMinds this World Mental Health Day”.

Diane Gault, Director of Fundraising at YoungMinds, said:

“We know that young people growing up today face a huge range of pressures. When these pressures become overwhelming, it can be an incredibly isolating experience, and the smallest gesture of support can make a huge difference.

“#HelloYellow will be a positive and fun way for people to share the message that it’s okay to reach out for help. By wearing yellow, people can show their support, and raise money at the same time.”

‘Exam regrading should be accessible to all pupils’ -Mullan

The exams re-marking process should be made accessible to all families in order to restore confidence in the process, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said.dcws6dwxgaeofpt

The Foyle MLA was speaking after a controversy over marking standards, prompted the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to reopen the re-marking process for AS and GCSE Level English literature.

“This is a welcome move from CCEA which will hopefully help restore confidence in the examinations process by enabling re-assessments for students who feel they were inaccurately marked,” she commented.

“I would also call on schools to work with CCEA to ensure there is no financial barrier to pupils from low-income families accessing this service.

“This is important because if the cost of a re-mark is beyond the means of a low-income family then it doesn’t matter how long the process is open for because they will never be able to access it.

“This is an obvious inequality in the system and I would urge all the examining boards operating here along with schools and the Education Authority to address it in the longer-term by ensuring the process is free of charge to pupils with free school meals entitlement.”

Don’t suffer in silence’- McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has urged people suffering from mental health issues to speak out because help is available.dlxwrhfx4aa86o0

The Foyle MLA was speaking as a number of events took place to mark World Mental Health Day.

“Often poor mental health is avoided or not talked about so today is a welcome opportunity to promote positive mental health,” he commented.

“When someone is feeling depressed or anxious they don’t get the visitors and friends calling over to see if they are okay in the same way that someone does when suffering with a physical illness.

“There is still a huge degree of stigma around mental health but events like today help to break some of that down.

“And I would urge anyone who is dealing with a mental health issue not to suffer in silence. There is help available and the best thing you can do is reach out and talk to someone.

SF reiterate opposition to health cuts

Sinn Féin local Health Spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has reiterated his party’s opposition to proposed £70 million cuts to health and social care services.patricia-logue221-790x1024

Commenting following the closure of a controversial public consultation on the proposals, the she said the proposed cuts were unacceptable and target the most vulnerable.

Patricia Logue added: “These proposed cuts fly in the face of the transformation of the health and social care services plans set out by Michelle O’Neill. They will only serve to hinder progress to achieving better health outcomes.

“There are also serious questions as to why this process was undertaken when it has since become clear that there are significant central funds available for health and other front line services.

“The consultation process itself was also deeply flawed, given that it was not compatible with the Trusts’ own equality schemes and statutory obligations.”

Brexit damaging for university and research sectors – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has warned that Brexit will damage the ability of universities to recruit suitably qualified technical staff, which will have major implications for vital research and development work.image01-copy

The party’s Education spokesperson said:

“Analysis by the Russell Group of universities shows that 13 percent of the 9000 technicians working in their institutions are EU or non-EU nationals

“But under current immigration rules, universities cannot recruit technicians from outside the European Economic Area because the role does not meet the required visa threshold.

“The universities therefore fear that, if the current immigration system was applied to EU nationals post-Brexit, they will be unable to recruit relevantly skilled overseas technicians for these positions.

“Technicians who are highly trained and skilled, play a vital role in research teams. Those from overseas are needed to fill a significant skills gap, particularly in STEM subject areas.

“While measures are being put in place in terms of technical education and careers development, it will take several years to close the skills gap. In the meantime, any restriction on the ability to recruit skilled technicians from overseas would impact on the delivery of high quality research.

“This is just one more of the many implications of Brexit coming to light which will have a damaging impact on the university and research sector.

“The only way to guard against the many detrimental impacts on this sector is to secure designated special status for the north within the EU and ensure continued free movement of people and access to all funding streams.”

Human rights of prisoners must be respected – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the human rights of prisoners must be respected.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking during a debate on prisoners rights in the European Parliament, Martina Anderson said:

“As someone who spent more than 13 years in jail as a political prisoner I have a interest in ensuring that prisoners rights are respected and upheld.

“Irish republicans spent thousands of years in prison as a result of the conflict, often in terrible conditions. Many were ill-treated and tortured and in 1981 Bobby Sands and nine comrades died on hunger strike for political status.

“The Good Friday Agreement saw the release of political prisoners to advance the peace process.

“But even today we have the case of Derry man Tony Taylor who continues to be detained by the British government without a trial and should be released immediately.

tony taylor

tony taylor

“And internationally, Palestine political prisoners still face injustice and unlawful detention while Basque prisoners are incarcerated hundreds of miles from their loved ones as a result of unfair dispersal policies.

“Prison systems must show that human rights are upheld consistently and should never be used as a weapon against prisoners.” Ends/Críoch

Proposal to name Brandywell stadium in honour /Derry City legend Ryan McBride – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has revealed that the party will propose a motion calling for the redeveloped Brandywell stadium to be named in honour of Derry City legend Ryan McBride who died earlier this year.
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The Foyle MP said:

“The tragic death of Ryan McBride earlier this year touched everyone in this city, particularly all those involved with Derry City Football Club.

“His life on and off the field has left a great legacy in our city and the club and its players will continue to draw inspiration from him for many years to come.

“Given the fact that the Brandywell Stadium is currently undergoing major redevelopment to turn it into a state of the art modern facility is it fitting that his legacy should live on through the stadium and club he loved.

“In order to celebrate his legacy, Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion to Derry and Strabane District Council to formally rename the redeveloped stadium in honour of Ryan McBride.

“We are doing this at the request of the Ryan McBride Foundation which was established following his untimely death to ensure his legacy lives on.

“The motion will be proposed by Councillor Patricia Logue, an aunt of Ryan’s, and we are hopeful that it will receive cross party support.”

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Children paying the price for Tory cuts’ – Mullan

Pupils are paying the price for Tory-DUP austerity cuts to school budgets, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The Foyle MLA was speaking ahead of the latest in a series of public meetings organised by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) union to discuss the schools budget crisis.

“Sinn Féin recognise that schools are experiencing significant financial pressures as a direct result of Tory-DUP austerity,” she commented.

“The root cause of the difficulties in our public services is the £1 billion in cuts to our block grant imposed by the Tories since 2010. Just this week we learned that any new Executive will face further shortfalls of up to £1 billion a year if this austerity does not end.

“It is children in our schools and the most vulnerable in our health service who are paying the price for this Tory austerity, now supported by the DUP.

“No party should be supporting the Tory approach. We should all be opposing these cuts and Sinn Féin will continue to do so.

“We ensured that Education had access to additional funding in July and successfully overturned the proposed cut to the uniform grant which would have pushed children into poverty.

“We also helped secure the protection of the Sure Start and Youth Service budgets and will continue to demand an end to the Tory-DUP attack on frontline services.”

‘No tolerance of inequality’ – McKnight

There can be no tolerance of inequality against the LGBTQ community or anyone in our society, Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight said today.

She was speaking after party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill leader met with representatives of Love Equality.

She said:screenshot_20170628-103129

“I very much welcome the meeting that Michelle O’Neill has had with representatives of Love Equality, a coalition of organisations campaigning for marriage equality and other basic rights for the LGBTQ sector.

“We will continue to pursue the protection of rights that are available to citizens everywhere else on these islands.

“Marriage equality is of course only one of a number of rights-based issues that we need to tackle.

“But it would be a step forward in recognising the needs still to be met for the LGBTQ community.

“This is a time for the progressive politics of inclusion and the delivery of rights for all.

“We want to end the discrimination and the denial of rights in our society. And to ensure equal access to public services and equal opportunities for us all.

“Sinn Féin want to build a truly progressive, rights-based society and that’s something we can only do together.

“There simply cannot be any tolerance of inequality or disenfranchised citizenship for anyone in our society – including LGBTQ citizens.”

Sinn Féin hand in petition against Western Trust proposed cuts

Speaking as they handed in the letters of protest Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said “There has been growing anger and opposition over the past number of weeks to the proposed £70m cuts to the health service. People in Derry are worried and concerned at any attempt to implement cuts and the impact that would have here.img_4907

During this time our activists and elected representatives have been out on the ground gauging public opinion and asking people to sign letters to the Western Trust objecting to proposals as outlined in the Western Trust Financial planning 2017/2018 savings plans.

Sinn Féin is totally opposed to these cuts, which we regard as a direct attack on those most in need in our society.

Instead of cuts, we need to see investment in our health service, just as former health minister Michelle O’Neill called for.

We will continue to oppose Tory/DUP cuts to our frontline services and will continue to demonstrate campaign and lobby against austerity.”

Ends/Críoch

Pathfinder report can build awareness of ovarian cancer – Logue

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the launch of the Pathfinder report, Transforming Futures for Women with Ovarian Cancer.

Speaking after the launch of the report she said: CVz6GH9XAAAjCyt

“This report is important for the nearly 200 women who are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in the north of Ireland every year.

“The report identifies actions on awareness, diagnosis, treatment and support which are needed to deliver the outcomes women with ovarian cancer here need and deserve

“Only 36% of women with ovarian cancer here are diagnosed in stage 1 where survival is highest, so raising awareness of the disease is vitally important.

“Awareness of ovarian cancer must continue to be raised within our society, particularly amongst women and health practitioners.”

Breastfeeding Week can help shatter stigma -Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has expressed her support for the launch of the HSE National Breastfeeding Week.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Speaking of health benefits, Mullan said much needed to be done to remove the stigma around breastfeeding:

“Breastfeeding has been shown by numerous studies to be the healthier option for both mother and baby.

“Breastfeeding protects babies and their mothers against a wide range of illnesses including respiratory and urinary tract infections, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukaemia.

“Ireland has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. A week of awareness can help in changing this and breaking the stigma surrounding breastfeeding.

“We will continue to fight the stigma, and encourage people to talk openly this week to ensure that the true benefits of breastfeeding can be brought to light.”

Ends

Duffy condemns gun attack on Derry home

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned an incident last night during which shots were fired at a house in the Clon Elagh area of Derry.Councillor Sandra Duffy

She said; “Such attacks are wrong and I condemn it.

“There can be no place for the use of guns on the streets of Derry.

“I would call on anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Ends/Críoch

Concerns expressed at overgrown trees bordering St. Eithne’s Park- McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has highlighted concerns expressed by residents in relation to overgrown trees bordering St. Eithne’s Park.20170921_114843

Cllr. McGinley said: “ Over a period of time a number of representations have been made to myself from residents who have expressed concern at the invasive nature of overgrown trees and shrubbery on the embankments bordering St. Eithne’s Park and Ardgrange.

I have been attempting to establish who has responsibility for maintaining the landscapes within Ardgrange with a view to ensuring that all trees and foliage are regularly inspected.

Having also spoken to Habinteg it has now been confirmed that they will initiate a maintenance programme within the next couple of months and this work will be greatly welcomed by residents in St. Eithne’s Park.

It is important that residents in housing estates have access to regular maintenance of the surrounding environments and I will continue to work with the agencies which have this responsibility.”

Ends

McKnight brings Catalan solidarity motion to DCSDC

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has today (Tuesday) proposed a motion at a meeting of the Strategic Governance Committee of Derry City and Strabane District Council in relation to Catalan Independence referendum, the brutality of the Spanish police and urging support of the local council.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

Councillor McKnight said “On Sunday the world witnessed shocking scenes of police brutality in various parts of Catalonia. Peaceful citizens who were protecting the integrity of polling stations were struck down and savagely beaten. Reports are suggesting that nearly 900 people have been injured.

Children and adults were beaten off the streets and fired upon. This is unacceptable in any society. The disturbing images of frail elderly citizens being assaulted by heavily armed Spanish police will be impossible to forget. Solidarity rallies were held in Derry, Belfast and Dublin as local people wanted to show their outrage at what had gone on.

We brought forward this motion as we felt the local council needed to formally recognise the democratic outcome of the Catalan Independence referendum, condemn the brutality of the Spanish police, and to write to the Catalan and Spanish Governments to outline the Councils support for Catalan Independence.

The international community and the European Union in particular, must now support the people of Catalonia in forging their own independent political path in Europe.

Motion
That Derry and Strabane District Council formally recognises the democratic outcome of the Catalan Independence referendum, condemns the brutality of the Spanish police, and will write to the Catalan and Spanish Governments to outline the Councils support for Catalan Independence.

European Parliament vote shows growing support for special status – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the passing of a joint resolution on Brexit in the European Parliament calling for the north to remain in the single market and customs union.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Speaking during a debate on a joint resolution on Brexit in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Martina Anderson said:

“It is crucially important that we protect the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts during the Brexit negotiations and I welcome today’s vote in the European Parliament reaffirming the commitment to the Agreement.

“It is a clear indication of the growing support for special status for the north within the EU across Europe.

“Protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts includes the part where the consent of the people of Ireland – north and south – is required to alter the constitutional position of the north.

“It also means being in the single market and the customs union.

“This can be achieved through the north of Ireland staying in the EU or Irish unity, as is provisioned for in the Good Friday Agreement. Otherwise, we are not upholding the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.

“This resolution is also balanced with regard to citizens rights and is an important step forward in recognising that the needs of the north of Ireland are different to those of Britain.

“I would like to welcome the commitment from Guy Verhofstadt to exploring how to give legal protection to the Good Friday Agreement in the Withdrawal Agreement.” Ends/Críoch

Anger after thieves target tools used for home improvement scheme – Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has condemned thieves who stole tools and a generator from a works site of a home improvement scheme underway at Moss Park.

tony hassan

tony hassan

Councillor Hassan said “There is anger in the local community on hearing the news that tools being used to carry out a much needed kitchen improvement scheme at Moss Park have been stolen.

Along with the tools a generator was also stolen, the contractor has now been left with a hefty bill to replace the stolen items.

I would appeal for the return of these tools and if anyone has any information on this theft to pass it to the police.

Ends

Solutions needed to deliver rights and protect from austerity, cuts and Brexit – O’Neill

Speaking at the CHAMP breakfast in Manchester this morning Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill MLA told delegates attending the British Conservative Party conference that the people of the North want solutions that will protect them from austerity, cuts, Brexit and which delivers basic rights as envisaged in previous agreements.

elisha mccallion

Michelle ONeill and Elisha McCallion

She said: “A special status relationship outside of the EU would do little to deal with the massive political, social and economic challenges thrown up by Brexit.

“I do not believe that we can withstand exclusion from the single market, customs union, a return of borders of the past or the denial of access to the European courts.

“And on this basis Sinn Féin believes that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated a special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.”

Speaking about the DUP ‘Confidence and Supply’ Agreement with the British Conservatives she said:

“Without doubt the DUP support for Brexit and for the Conservative Government poses real challenges. The DUP ignores the anti-Brexit vote back home and has signed up to support Tory legislation on Brexit in direct contradiction to the wishes of the Northern vote.”

Speaking in relation to the political talks at Stormont she said:

“The British Government should not think that they can cobble together a deal acceptable to the DUP and then shoe horn Sinn Féin into acqueising to it. That will not happen. The shape of a deal is very clear. The two governments know this. So do the DUP and the other parties.

“We remain committed to making the institutions to work.

“I want to lead Sinn Féin back into the Executive.

“That is what we are in talks to deliver

“Both Arlene Foster and I have been engaged in intensified dialogue over the past month to determine whether political progress is possible.

“I believe a political breakthrough is entirely possible, but only we can together grasp the opportunity to guarantee the right of every citizen to their democratic social, economic, civil and political rights. Rights that are realised and enjoyed in the rest of these islands.

“That includes an Irish Language Act that provides the right to use the Irish language for official purposes in interacting with the State. The right to access coroners inquests; equal marriage; a bill of rights; and a commitment to tackle sectarianism.” CRIOCH/ENDS

Remarks by Michelle O’Neill MLA to CHAMP event, Manchester Townhall

3rd October 2017

INTRODUCTION

Dia daoibh agus maidin mhaith.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I welcome the opportunity to address and engage with you this morning and thank the organisers for the invitation to speak.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the people of Manchester who in May of this year faced a shocking and horrendous bomb attack at Manchester Arena which saw 22 people killed, including young children, and which left over 250 people injured.

At the time I reached out to extend my heartfelt sympathy, condolences and solidarity to Mayor Andy Burnham and the people of Manchester.

As a parent I can only try and imagine what those who lost loved ones in the attack, particularly those who lost children, are going through these past number of months.

I also want to wish those who were injured well and hope they are making as full and speedy a recovery as possible.

IRISH PEACE PROCESS

I am an Irish republican.

I believe in Irish unity.

Consequently, my politics are very different from many in this room.

But Sinn Féin wants to see progress in restoring the political institutions that are an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement and we will work with the British and Irish governments, and all of the parities in the North to achieve this goal.

It is 19 years on since the Good Friday Agreement.

I am thankful that after decades of conflict and division that many people, both in Ireland and Britain, worked tirelessly to develop and build the peace process that a new generation enjoy today.

The sense of loss, pain and grief of those bereaved in the conflict is felt equally across the community.

And while we have conflicting narratives, conflicting histories and conflicting allegiances there is a responsibility on all us all as political leaders to ensure that conflict is a thing of the past and to build the process of reconciliation,

We need to build bridges and heal the wounds of the past in order to move forward together as a society.

This is one of the reasons why I would like to get the political institutions – an Executive, Assembly, North/South Ministerial Council and British/Irish Council restored – on the basis of Rights, Equality and Respect.

I believe there is a special responsibility on the joint Heads of Government – the First and deputy First Ministers, and everyone within a power-sharing coalition to bridge the divide between us and those that we represent in order to work for everyone.

TACKLING SECTARIANISM

We need to challenge the causes, which segregate our cities, society and country – brought into stark focus this past week by Catholic families being forced out of a shared housing scheme in Belfast by Loyalist paramilitaries.

What does this say about our society in 2017?

The community needs leadership from its politicians who must be prepared to lead from the front and by example.

POLITICAL TALKS

My late colleague and former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness resigned in January not as a first choice, but a last resort because of the RHI scandal, the DUP’s denial of rights for all citizens, and the failure to fully implement previous political agreements.

Martin McGuinness did the right thing, at the right time.

Over the course of the last 9 months we have fought two elections. The people understood the importance of these elections and this was reflected in voter turnout – the largest since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

The support for the Sinn Féin party in both the Assembly and Westminster elections was an endorsement of a new way – a demand for absolute respect, integrity and common decency and rights for all – a demand for power-sharing as it was originally agreed.

We remain committed to making the institutions to work.

I want to lead Sinn Féin back into the Executive.

That is what we are in talks to deliver

Both Arlene Foster and I have been engaged in intensified dialogue over the past month to determine whether political progress is possible.

I believe a political breakthrough is entirely possible, but only we can together grasp the opportunity to guarantee the right of every citizen to their democratic social, economic, civil and political rights. – Rights that are realised and enjoyed in the rest of these islands.

That includes an Irish Language Act that provides the right to use the Irish language for official purposes in interacting with the State. The right to access coroner’s inquests; equal marriage; a bill of rights; and a commitment to tackle sectarianism.

The British Conservative government is denying families access to legacy inquest funding, some of which have been waiting up to 40 years. This is deepening the pain felt by those families who’ve lost loved ones during the troubles who need and deserve truth.

The Government need to stop hiding behind the guise of so-called ‘national security’ and make the funding available in line with the request from the Lord Chief Justice in the North.

James Brokenshire can do this and he should act without further delay.

There simply cannot be and won’t be any tolerance of inequality, disenfranchised citizenship for anyone in our society – LGBT, Irish speakers, ethnic minorities, victims and survivors – nobody.

For an Executive to work it must command the full confidence and trust of the people it is elected to serve.

That includes the exercise of the ‘rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people’ that the Good Friday Agreement requires from a British Secretary of State.

The calling of a snap General election in the middle of political talks and the subsequent DUP/Conservative deal has left many people suspicious that this British Government consider things back in Ireland as secondary to their own political survival at Westminster.

That is not acceptable.

Sinn Féin will put our electorate first. And I don’t mean just the Sinn Féin voters. I mean all the people of the north and the island of Ireland.

BREXIT

Brexit is the single biggest threat to the economies on the island of Ireland.

We believe that locally elected ministers are best placed to run local public services and prioritise our own political agenda.

This includes a continued fight back against the relentless austerity endured by the Assembly from the British Government in recent years, and the consequences of Brexit for our economy, our people and our public services over the next 5-10 years.

The main impact of austerity for the Executive has been on its everyday spending and our resource budget.

In real terms the Executive’s resource budget is £1bn down this year on 2010/11 levels.

Over the next two years resource spending is static in cash terms, resulting in a real term reduction of 3.1%.

Meanwhile the costs for our public services are due to increase dramatically.

The £1bn, which forms part of the Confidence and Supply agreement, will only in some part address these pressures.

I want the Executive to be the bulwark against this.

Without doubt the DUP support for Brexit and for the Conservative Government poses real challenges. The DUP ignores the anti Brexit vote back home and has signed up to support Tory legislation on Brexit in direct contradiction to the wishes of the Northern vote.

Our economy, just like our population, does not exist in splendid isolation. Our collective economic future lies with relationships north, south and east and west. The threat to the economy arising from Brexit cannot be over stated.

There is growing concern in the north and on the entire island of Ireland about the economic consequences of Brexit, the negative implications of which are already becoming clear.

A special status relationship outside of the EU would do little to deal with the massive political, social and economic challenges thrown up by Brexit.

I do not believe that we can withstand exclusion from the single market, customs union, a return of borders of the past or the denial of access to the European courts.

And on this basis Sinn Féin believes that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated a special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.

CONCLUSION

The British Government should not think that they can cobble together a deal acceptable to the DUP and then shoe horn Sinn Féin into acqueising to it. That will not happen. The shape of a deal is very clear. The two governments know this. So do the DUP and the other parties.

The British Government are co-equal guarantors of the Agreement, but they have failed the peace and political process.

The people of the North want solutions that will protect them from austerity, cuts, Brexit and which delivers basic rights as envisaged in previous Agreements.

It is time for new politics in a new rights based era – and time to turn a corner, together putting the best interests of all the people first.

Thank for your attention.

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

Catalonia emergency solidarity rally held at Free Derry Wall

Sinn Féin held an emergency solidarity rally at Free Derry Wall on Sunday night following the attack on democracy against the independence referendum in Catalonia leaving hundreds of people injured. Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney spoke to the crowd and Barry Davey sang the international song .Something inside so strong.
sunday-night-1-free-derry

From Barcelona Sinn Fein Foyle MEP Martina Anderson has said the international community has a responsibility to act to defend the democratic rights of the Catalan people.

Martina Anderson said;

“As an international observer to the Catalan independence referendum I have witnessed at first hand the attempts by the Spanish authorities to deny people the right to vote.

“This has included seizing ballot boxes, blocking access to polling stations and physical attacks on those queuing up to exercise their democratic right.

“There have also been reports of disruption to the online services required for voter validation.

“Let’s be clear; these are attacks on the democratic process and democracy itself.

“If this was happening anywhere else in the world there would be international outrage.

“There is an onus on the international community, and the EU in particular, to speak out and to act to defend the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Catalonia.”

Campbell welcomes welcomes Foras funding decision

Sinn Féin Irish Language spokesperson Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed news that Foras na Gaeilge has made a decision to provide a three-year funding opportunity to to Gaeláras Uí Chanáin in Derry City and Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich from January 2018 onwards.

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

He said:

“The decision by Foras na Gaeilge to provide a three-year funding opportunity to Gaeláras Uí Chanáin in Derry City and Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich from January 2018 onwards is to be welcomed.

“This decision comes after a consultation process between April and June 2017 which sought views on the best way to provide funding for Irish language centres throughout the island.

“In reality, the appropriate amount of funding is not being invested in Foras na Gaeilge. There is a huge responsibility on the governments to address the issue of the Foras budget, fairly and progressively.

“Cultúrlanna and Irish language centres play an important role in the development of the Irish language and culture it is important that proper finance is be made available.

“An Irish Language Act needs to be implemented to afford Irish speakers the same language rights and protections in the north, that they have in the rest of Ireland, in Scotland and in Wales.

“Acht Gaeilge is an issue of respect, an issue of recognition and an issue of rights.”

McCallion raises concerns over timeframe of Bluebell Hill work

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has written to the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive to express her concerns about the delay in the works to the homes in Bluebell Hill Gardens.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“I have written to the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive Clark Bailie to voice my concerns at the delay in the works to the homes in the Bluebell Hill Gardens area of the city.

My party colleague Cllr Patricia Logue has been working with residents on this issue for a considerable amount of time. At a meeting in June, the residents were advised that it was hoped that the work would begin by the end of September.

I have now learned that it could be March 2018 before these works even begin. This means these residents, many of whom have put off decorating their homes, will have to suffer yet another winter in these damp ridden dwellings.

I am calling on the Housing Executive to deploy whatever resources they deem necessary to get these works started immediately. These residents have suffered for long enough without yet another delay in bringing their homes up to an acceptable living standard.

The confidence in the Housing Executive delivering this project is being seriously damaged by these delays. A full review of how this project is being managed needs to be carried out and it is the responsibility of the management of the Housing Executive to inform the residents of the reasons why these works are being delayed yet again.

I has asked the H.E for a response on this issue as a matter of urgency.

McCallion welcomes new on multi million NW Greenways investment

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed the announcement that Derry City and Strabane District Council has received a formal letter of offer for €14.85 million from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme to proceed with the North West greenways project.dkudxumwaaeu2aw

She said

“Its welcome news that this multi million pound investment will see a greenways project on two key routes from our city into Donegal. The greenways will link Derry with Buncrana and the village of Muff. And also Strabane to Lifford via Lifford Bridge.

Greenways have the potential to strengthen activity tourism, as well as being an invaluable health and wellbeing resource for local communities. It will protect and enhance the countryside and open spaces around it to a whole new generation.

I look forward to seeing work begin on these projects as soon as possible.

End

The voice of the Catalan people must be respected – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the result of the independence referendum in Catalonia.Elisha McCallion Colly Kelly Raymond McCartney

He said that “the Catalan people have spoken and their voice must be respected by the Spanish government and the international community.”

Mr Adams added;

“The people of Catalonia faced violent repression from the Spanish state over the last twenty-four hours.

“Despite this attack on the democratic process, Catalans have voted for their independence.

“The international community, especially the European Union, has an obligation to ensure that Catalonia can pursue the course of self-determination without fear. They must also hold the Spanish authorities to account for the violence that has been carried out against the Catalan people.

“The Irish government should be to the forefront in defending Catalans right to decide their own future.”

ENDS

International community must act to defend democratic rights in Catalonia – Anderson

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has said the international community has a responsibility to act to defend the democratic rights of the Catalan people.

Martina Anderson and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Martina Anderson and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Martina Anderson said;

“As an international observer to the Catalan independence referendum I have witnessed at first hand the attempts by the Spanish authorities to deny people the right to vote.

“This has included seizing ballot boxes, blocking access to polling stations and physical attacks on those queuing up to exercise their democratic right.

“There have also been reports of disruption to the online services required for voter validation.

“Let’s be clear; these are attacks on the democratic process and democracy itself.

“If this was happening anywhere else in the world there would be international outrage.

“There is an onus on the international community, and the EU in particular, to speak out and to act to defend the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Catalonia.”

New dog waste bins to be installed at Dungreggan Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that new dog waste bins are to be installed in the Duncreggan Road area of the city.3869241327

Bins are to be installed within the vicinity of Dunvale Park and in the area close to the junction of Duncreggan Road and Strand Road.

Councillor Cooper said

I had received a number of complaints about dog waste in the area.

We all know the issues and dangers that dog waste presents. With hundreds of people using Duncreggan Road on a daily basis and people out walking their dogs it was important there is provision for these boxes.

I have received written confirmation from the Council that the waste bins have been ordered and it’s hoped that they will be installed shortly.

Ends

Now is the time for referendum on Presidential Voting Rights –McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed suggestions that the Irish government are to hold a referendum on extending Presidential Voting Rights to citizen’s in the North and amongst the diaspora.

Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“Sinn Féin has long campaigned for the extension of this franchise and we look forward to the opportunity to campaign on a referendum.

“An Taoiseach must ensure there is no further delay in bringing that referendum forward, he must act in the interest of all those who are Irish citizens and seek to engage with the democratic life of Ireland.

“A basic tenet of any democracy is the right of citizens to vote.

“At a time when we face increased uncertainty as a result of a reckless Tory Brexit agenda anything that binds our country together and creates equality among citizens across Ireland and indeed across our Global Diaspora is a good thing.

“Last week during Guy Verhofstadt’s visit to Ireland my party colleague Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile put it to him that our EU citizenship must not be partial and he agreed, this must also apply to our Irish citizenship in Ireland.

“We must have our full rights and equality.”

End

Calls for School Crossing Patrol Officer at busy Creggan junction –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called on the Education Authority in the Western Board area to look at the feasibility of introducing a School Crossing Patrol Officer at one of the busiest junctions in Creggan servicing three local schoolskevin

Councillor Campbell said

I contacted the Education Authority in regards to a number of complaints I have received from residents and parents this week about the lack of a School Crossing Patrol Officer at the junction of Iniscarn Road and Eastway Road at the roundabout in the Creggan Estate.

This is a very dangerous junction and the school children are at the discretion and good will of the drivers to allow them to cross the road.

This junction serves three schools St John’s Primary, St Cecilia’s College and Bligh’s Lane nursery school which are attended by hundreds of pupils. I asked the Education Authority to look at allocating a School Crossing Patrol Officer there at peak times of the day.

Historically there was always a School Crossing Patrol Officer at this junction but over the last number of years there hasn’t been one there leaving this area very dangerous for school children.

I pressed the Education Authority the urgency of this and hopefully there will be positive outcome on this issue.

New dog waste bins to be installed at Dungreggan Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that new dog waste bins are to be installed in the Duncreggan Road area of the city.

michael cooper

michael cooper

Bins are to be installed within the vicinity of Dunvale Park and in the area close to the junction of Duncreggan Road and Strand Road.

Councillor Cooper said

I had received a number of complaints about dog waste in the area.

We all know the issues and dangers that dog waste presents. With hundreds of people using Duncreggan Road on a daily basis and people out walking their dogs it was important there is provision for these boxes.

I have received written confirmation from the Council that the waste bins have been ordered and it’s hoped that they will be installed shortly.

Ends

‘Comprehensive approach needed to health inequalities’-Logue

Addressing the link between deprivation and poor health outcomes requires a comprehensive response right across our society, Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Councillor Patricia Logue has said.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

She was commenting on the latest Department of Health statistics which again confirm the large discrepancy in life expectancy rates between people living in the most and least deprived areas.

Councillor Patricia Logue said: “Today’s Health Inequalities report shows once again that those living in the most deprived areas are disadvantaged in terms of the health outcomes they can expect.

“On average, men living in the most deprived areas have a life expectancy which is seven years lower than their counterparts in more affluent areas. For women, the figure is five years lower.

“Clearly, that needs to change and that will require a comprehensive approach right across every section of our society.

“Health services must be made as accessible as possible to everyone and people need to be supported to live healthy lives.

“But successfully tackling health inequality will also require a broader approach that tackles deprivation, addresses issues like income inequality and delivers appropriate housing and quality education in deprived areas.”
Ends

Derry SF elected reps in letter contact Spanish PM to respect democracy

Sinn Féin’s elected representatives in Derry, including the MP, MEP, MLAs and Councillors, have written to the head of the Spanish Government, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, to find a political solution to Catalonia’s legitimate claims and to stop threats to Mayors and democratically elected members of the Catalan Government.
image01-copy
Sinn Féin will hold a solidarity rally at Free Derry Wall this Saturday at 3.00pm

Karen Mullan MLA said:

“In recent days we have seen a gross infringement on the right of the Catalan people to self-determination.

“Myself and other Sinn Féin elected representatives today wrote to the head of the Spanish Government, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, expressing our concerns at events which have took place in recent days.

“In order to shut down the historic people’s referendum, the Spanish authorities have responded with raiding government offices, arresting officials, issuing massive fines, threats of legal action to hundreds of elected representatives, and the withdrawal of credit to the Government of Catalonia.

“For any resolution to be reached, the Spanish government must end this unjust interference and harassment immediately. Images of Guardia Civil seizing ballot boxes do not reflect well on any democratic state.

“This is coercion, plain and simple. It is also an attempt to subdue the passion for self-determination held by the people of Catalonia. The massive demonstrations organised in response to Spanish interference is evidence of this.

“We, as elected representatives, urge the Spanish government to respect the freedom of assembly and the right of the Catalan people to democratically determine their future.”

McCallion welcomes £20m EU funding for Derry transport hub

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed a £20 million EU funding package for the creation of a new transport hub at the old Waterside Railway Station in Derry. dkudxumwaaeu2aw

The Foyle MP said:

“This £20 million funding package from the EU through the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) for the new transport hub at the Old Waterside Railway Station is fantastic news for the city.

“This is a wonderful old building and with this money, and the funding from the Executive secured by former Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard, it will be brought back to life and into the 21st Century.

“This transport hub will improve connectivity throughout the wider north west, including strengthening transport links to Donegal, and will be of huge benefit to locals and tourists alike.

“It will help encourage more people to use public transport which will be better for the environment and promote sustainable public transport services in the north west.

“It also shows the value of EU funding which projects in the future may not be able to avail of as a result of the disastrous Tory Brexit agenda.” Ends/Críoch

Campbell urges support for Acht Gaeilge protest

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Irish Language,Kevin Campbell has called on Irish-language and equality activists to back the Acht Gaeilge protest at 12.45pm in Stormont tomorrow (Thursday 28 September).kevin-campbell

Kevin Campbell said:

“An Dream Dearg has organised a protest at Stormont tomorrow in support of an Irish language act.

“There is a clear and growing demand for an Irish language act from across public sectors and political parties.

“No one has anything to fear from the Irish language or an Irish language act.

“The Irish language is an integral part of the lives of a growing number of people who use it daily and their rights should be protected.

“There are language protections in place in England, Scotland, Wales and for all south of the border, they need to be extended to the North.

“The denial of basic rights on language, marriage and access to a coroner’s court is not acceptable anywhere else on these islands and their denial here should not be acceptable. Prejudice and discriminations should never be tolerated.

“This is a clear issue of rights and Sinn Féin is standing up for the respect, integrity and equality for all.

“The denial of equal rights belongs to our divided past; an Irish Language Act will be part of our shared future.”

Donegal families need a Mica Redress Scheme now – Mac Lochlainn

Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has again appealed to the Government to put in place a redress scheme for the thousands of Donegal families affected by mica defective concrete blocks in their homes. He raised the matter again in the Seanad today with the Minister of State for Housing Damien English.
Raymond, Pearse & Padraig2
Senator Mac Lochlainn said:

“The long delayed report of the Expert Panel on these defective concrete blocks was published last June. A year behind schedule. Another year of anguish and distress for the thousands of affected families across Donegal and Mayo.

“While the terms of reference set by Government for that report were limited, it is clear that the findings and recommendations point to the failure of this State to ensure that concrete blocks, the core component of the family home in Ireland, were manufactured to a safe standard. The failure in State regulation also extended to building control standards and legislation.

“In other words, this State failed so many families in Donegal. Families who had undertaken the largest financial outlay in their lives, the mortgage or loan for their family home have been left badly exposed. Therefore the State has to step up and support these families to make their homes safe with a redress scheme as was the case for the families in Dublin and North Leinster affected by pyrite in their homes a number of years back.

“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by Minister English’s response today. These Donegal families have lost another year already with the delay in publishing the Expert Panel report. Another four months later and we still have no financial relief for those families.

“It was very telling today that when my colleague Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway Walsh asked Minister English whether he has sought a line in the upcoming budget to ensure financial assistance for the affected families, he avoided the question.

“The Government need to do the right thing and they need to do it now. They need to deliver fairness and justice for families, whether they live in Dublin or Donegal and Mayo.”

ACHT GAEILGE PROTEST AT STORMONT

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British Government Must Release Finances to Support Syrian School Children

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has demanded that the British Government immediately release finance to local schools to support Syrian School Children following reports that local schools have yet to access much needed finances.

The Foyle MLA said:dcws6dwxgaeofpt

“The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS) was established by the British Government to support refugees.

“As part of the scheme, £4,500 was to be provided towards each Syrian child’s education costs for one year.

“There are reports that this funding has yet to be released to local schools.

“We are too aware that local schools are suffering under Tory/DUP austerity.

“The British Government must immediately release this finance to local schools.

“Only recently we have seen reports of Syrian pupils excelling in GCSEs. These children and their teachers are to be commended on achieving excellence.

“It is only right that schools should have access to the funding which was promised to ensure that they provide these children who have endured so much hardship and upheaval thrive within our local education system.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson pays tribute to role of Palestinian women

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has praised the role of women in the Palestinian struggle.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson with Palestinian activist Leila Khaled in the European Parliament

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson with Palestinian activist Leila Khaled in the European Parliament

Speaking after attending an event in the European Parliament in Brussels, which was addressed by Palestinian activist, Leila Khaled, Martina Anderson said:

“Sinn Fein stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Palestine and it was one of my great honours to have led the Delegation for Palestine here in the European Parliament.

“Palestinian women stand dignified in defiance of all that Israel can throw at them. We must stand beside them.

“This event brought together ambassadors from Venezuela, Palestinian activists, including Leila Khaled, and lawyers representing Khalida Jarra, a Palestinian politician who is currently imprisoned by the Israelis.

“There are millions of people all over the world who support the Palestinian struggle.

“We have protested on the streets, here in the Parliament and we have travelled to Palestine itself. We will continue to do this until peace and justice is delivered.” Ends/Críoch

Vandals target Sacred Heart Primary School – Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has slammed vandals who sprayed vulgar graffiti on the walls of the Sacred Heart Primary School in the Waterside area of Derry at the weekend.

Councillor Jackson said

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor  Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson

“This is a sickening attack on a school that is literally the heart of our community.

I am struggling to think of why anyone would do something like this.

I would urge anyone with information on this to contact the police.

Ends

Special status the best way to protect trade – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said remaining in the single market and customs union through special status within the EU is the best way to protect all-Ireland trade.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“Recently the DUP have been adding to the confusion of the Brexit agenda being pursued by their Tory allies by making spurious claims about trade.

“Successive reports from Intertrade, the Centre for Cross Border Studies and others highlight the huge significance of EU markets for exports from the north.

“In fact our trading relationship with the EU was described as the most significant market we have in one report.

“In particular our agri-food and manufacturing sectors would be badly hit, with cross-border trade in manufactured goods between north and south totalling £2.3bn.

“Through their misinformation, the DUP are attempting to shore up the confused and calamitous Brexit agenda of their Tory paymasters.

“The best way to protect our trade is to secure special status within the EU which would see us remain within the single market and customs union.” Ends/Crioch

Abusive behaviour not the way to oppose Tory/DUP cuts – Mullan

Abusive behaviour and the disruption of public meetings is not the way to successfully oppose Tory/DUP cuts, Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan has said.22008180_2025379641027729_4976391811784244326_n

“Public debate and discourse should always be carried out in a dignified and respectful manner,” she commented.

“The abusive behaviour at tonight’s consultation meeting was wrong and should be condemned. It does nothing to aid the campaign against Tory/DUP cuts to public services.

“The purpose of these consultation meetings is to give the public the opportunity to raise their genuine concerns about the impact of the Tory/DUP cuts with health service representatives.

“Sinn Fein will continue to raise concerns about the impact of the cuts on frontline public services.” Ends/Críoch

‘Universal Credit should be halted’ – Mullan

The roll-out of Universal Credit should be halted due to the failure of the Department of Communities to provide clarity on the protections for the most vulnerable, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.image01-copy

“Sinn Féin has always rigorously opposed the welfare cuts agenda,” the Foyle MLA commented.

“It’s not so long ago that we were being accused of bringing the Assembly to the point of collapse on this very issue.

“Despite the opposition of all the other parties, we were able to secure a £585 million package to mitigate the impact of welfare reform here and to prevent the kind of problems we have seen taking place in Britain.

“This package included halving the maximum sanction that can be imposed, agreed additional protections for lone parents and local political and administrative oversight to protect the most vulnerable.

“However, despite repeated requests, there is still no clarity about how these mitigation measures will be incorporated into the local roll-out. That isn’t good enough and the introduction of Universal Credit should be halted as a result.

“The department does have flexibility to support rather than punish people and they now need to exercise those powers.
“Sinn Féin will continue to engage with the department on that basis and it is important that all parties do so because the Tory Government will undoubtedly seek to continue their assault on the welfare system and the most vulnerable in our society.”

School children shouldn’t bear the brunt of Tory cuts –Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said school children shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for budget cuts.patricia-logue221-790x1024

The local Education spokesperson was speaking following reports that the Department of Education is facing £105m of cash pressures in 2017/18.

She said:

“The pressures on the Education budget are the direct result of repeated cuts imposed by the Tory government which have seen more than £1 billion slashed from the North’s finances.

“These same Tory and austerity cuts to public services are set to continue, with the support of the DUP.

“School children and frontline services like education should not be forced to pay the price of budget cuts.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work to ensure the education system is adequately resourced and will continue to oppose Tory/DUP cuts.”

Hassan welcomes formation of new Culmore Cú Chulainns GAC.

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the formation of a new Gaelic club in the Culmore areaimg_3507

He said “I would like to congratulate everyone involved the formation of Culmore Cú Chulainns GAC.

It’s a major step forward for greater Culmore area to have a Gaelic club based there especially with such a young population.Its a great platform to build for future generations.

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

Ends

Zero tolerance approach/information programme with schools – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has said there needs to be a zero tolerance approach to the use and sale of illegal fireworks and a wider information programme warning of the dangers of fireworks and the negative impact they have in local communities.20170913_123600

He was speaking after visiting three local secondary schools with a representative of Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) to delivery posters and leaflets highlighting the extreme dangers illegal fireworks have the potential to cause.

Councillor Campbell said “Since the stories have been in the local press about the use of illegal fireworks and bangers I have been inundated with complaints from the right across the city.

I felt it was important to get the message out about the dangers of using of fireworks. Myself and Sean Collins from Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) visited a number of schools in recent days and left in posters and leaflets highlighting the extreme dangers of using fireworks.

We hope this initiative is at least a start of getting that message out to our young people.

It’s also important that we let it be known there needs to be a zero tolerance to the sale of illegal fireworks and to pass information to the police or community representatives on anyone who is selling this stuff which is causing havoc .

Ends

McCallion welcomes Derry jobs announcement

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed a jobs announcement by Derry-based technology firm, Kainos.

The Foyle MP said: dkudxumwaaeu2aw

“The creation of these new jobs by digital platform company, Kainos, is welcome news for the city.

“These are high-end technical and consulting jobs with this global firm and will pay above the local average.

“These jobs will provide a welcome boost to the local economy and will add to the firm’s existing workforce in the city.

“It is good to see companies like this expanding in the city and further establishing Derry’s reputation as a digital hub.” Ends/Críoch

Rights are universal and must be at the core of political future in the north – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP for Foyle, Elisha McCallion has called for an end to discrimination and urgent progress to be made towards a rights-based society, speaking at the Sinn Féin fringe event ‘Rights for All’ at the British Labour party conference on Sunday.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

Elisha McCallion said:

“Rights are universal. Rights are for all. Sinn Féin is working towards a united and agreed Ireland with rights and equality at its core.

“Securing the human rights, language rights, and welfare rights of citizens is a stand that has been endorsed in historic numbers by the electorate in the north of Ireland.

“This is the context in which Stormont talks continue to take place. Previous agreements and commitments must be implemented so that we build a rights-based society that delivers and protects all citizens.

“Can anyone logically explain why a loving couple cannot marry in the north of Ireland when that right has been accepted across every other part of these islands?

“Why children being educated through the medium of Irish are being denied the same language rights as enjoyed by their peers in other parts of these islands?

“Or why some bereaved families have now been waiting over 40 years for inquests to be held?

“That wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else on these islands. It is not acceptable anywhere else on these islands and it is not acceptable in the north of Ireland. Our destination is a society that puts an end to the denial of these rights.

“The time has come to engage meaningfully with the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, and to form an Executive again based on the principles of rights, parity of esteem and equality.

“And in this context, Sinn Fein wants to engage in a civic conversation, a debate and discussion on the benefits of Irish Unity with rights at its core, which involves everyone and threatens no-one.

“We are absolutely committed to seeing the political institutions re-established. We are determined to build on the legacy of Martin McGuinness.

“That is what success in the talks looks like – institutions founded on their original guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.

“This would be an important advance for citizens who want the parties to turn a corner and who want to see a significant step change. A new political era which looks to the future.”

McCallion expresses shock after city centre death

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has expressed condolences following the death of a young man in Derry.

The Foyle MP said:candle burning

“The city woke up this morning to the sad news that a young man lost his life in an incident in the city centre last night.

“My thoughts at this time are with the family and friends of this young man who will no doubt be devastated at this tragic news.

“There is a great sense of shock and sadness in the community following this death.

“I would call on anyone with information on what happened to bring it forward to the PSNI.” Ends/Críoch

‘Disgusting’ policy should be scrapped immediately’ – McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has branded the controversial two child benefits policy and associated rape clause as ‘disgusting’ and called for it to be immediately scrapped.21740182_10155831763034345_6927344507578814069_n1

Speaking following protests which took place in Derry and Belfast today in opposition to the policy, she commented :

“The two child tax credit cap is a direct attack on low-income families being pursued by Theresa May’s government, aided and abetted by the DUP.

“Not satisfied with its onslaught on people with disabilities, the poor, single parents and young people through austerity policies and previous benefit cuts, the Tory government has now sunk to a new low, even by their standards, with this crude attempt at social engineering and its associated rape clause.

“Under this abhorrent clause, women can be exempted from the cap if they can prove their third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape. This involves going through a dehumanising and degrading process, which is a gross violation of their civil and human right to privacy.

“This disgusting clause and the two child cap fundamentally undermine the protections which the benefits system is supposed to provide. They should be scrapped immediately.”

Logue condemns gun attack on Derry home

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has condemned an incident last night during which shots were fired at a house in the Bogside area of Derry .patricia-logue221-790x1024

She said;

“Such attacks are wrong and I condemn it.

“There can be no place for the use of guns on our streets.

“I would call on anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Ends/Críoch

McCallion wishes Derry GAA ladies good luck

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has wished the Derry GAA ladies team well ahead of Sunday’s all-Ireland final. dkudxumwaaeu2aw

The Foyle MP said:

“I want to wish the Derry GAA ladies team all the best as they prepare for Sunday’s All-Ireland ladies final against Fermanagh in Croke Park.

“Reaching an All-Ireland final is a fantastic achievement and is the culmination of months of training and effort on the part of the team, the coaching staff and the entire panel.

“The fact that we have another Derry team in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park following the appearance of the Derry minor team in last week’s minor final shows the strength of Gaelic Games in this city and county.

“Hopefully the ladies will have better luck on Sunday and bring home the Junior Championship trophy back to Derry.

“I’m sure the city and county will be behind captain Cáit Class and all the ladies and I wish them all the best on Sunday.” Ends/Críoch

Sports Development Programme must be reinstated – Mullan

Speaking after a meeting with the interim head of the civil service and others this week, Sinn Féin MLA, Karen Mullan has called for the reinstatement of the Sports Development Programme.

Ms Mullan said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“Following a number of meetings this week with the interim head of the civil service and others Sinn Féin once again pressed concerns regarding the cut to the Sports Development Programme.

“This programme must be protected and we have raised the issue of the reinstatement of the funding for these projects again.

“Closing the Sports Development Programme will have a hugely detrimental impact on GAA and IFA coaching schemes and could affect up to 50 jobs, 400 schools and approximately 40,000 children.

“This programme teaches children the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle and also helps to increase their confidence and social interaction skills.

“Physical education is an essential part of the curriculum in today’s setting where we also have higher levels of obesity and mental health issues amongst our young people.

“It is proven that physical activity can help address both while also giving a worthwhile focus for our young people.

“Sinn Féin’s position is clear, the cut to this frontline service must be reversed.”

Mullan to meet Education Authority over school transport safety concerns

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has asked the Education Authority for assurance that safety checks are routinely performed on school transport vehicles.dcws6dwxgaeofpt

The party’s education spokesperson was speaking after reports a young girl fell out of a school bus window in Fermanagh.

Karen Mullan said:

“The Education Authority must provide immediate clarification on the cause of a serious incident in Fermanagh following reports that a child fell out the window of a school bus.

“This incident follows the reports of unacceptable excessive travel times experienced by children with special educational needs.

“The Education Authority must immediately clarify the cause of this incident and confirm that safety checks are routinely performed on transport.

“Parents need assurances that their children will be taken to and from school safely on school transport.

“I will be seeking an immediate meeting with the Education Authority on this matter.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Appeal after Fireworks let off in busy Central Drive – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has appealed for parents in the Creggan area of Derry to be on the alert for children getting caught up in the use of fireworks in the area .He was speaking following complaints from residents about fireworks being used in the Central Drive area.kevin-campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell said

I was contacted by residents concerned that fireworks were being set off in the vicinity of Central Drive in and around the shops and from lane ways in the same area .Fireworks have also been targeted at passing cars which could result in a serious road traffic accident or damage to vehicles.

If one of these firework goes off in a child’s hand or hits someone in the vicinity it could unfortunately result in someone being maimed or seriously injured.

The use of legally and illegally bought fireworks and bangers can make life a misery for many people across our city at this time of year and it has to stop. Fireworks should only be used in a controlled zone under the supervision of adults.

By all means enjoy the festivities at the likes of Halloween, but be safe and do not let what should be a bit of fun turn into a nightmare, the consequences of which could be scars or disfigurement, which last a life time.

Ends

Anderson supports European Day Without A Road Death

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has encouraged people to show extra care on the roads today on European Day Without A Road Death.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Martina Anderson said:

“Today marks European Day Without A Road Death (Project Edward) across the EU and is designed to raise awareness of road safety and prevent tragedies on our roads.

“Sadly, too many families know the pain and suffering of losing a loved on on our roads across Ireland.

“Project Edward reminds all of us, motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and others to take extra care and be mindful of other road users.

“Hopefully through events like this we can reduce the number of deaths on our roads as every death is one too many.”

McKnight slams criminals who targeted businesses in Northside

Sinn Féin Councilllor Caoimhe McKnight has condemned an overnight break-in at the Northside Shopping centre during which a number of premises were targeted and damage was caused.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

Councillor McKnight said “It’s absolutely disgraceful that these premises were targeted in this way.

They are providing jobs and services for local people.

Many small businesses are working on tight margins and the last thing they need is any disruption or added costs or losses caused by this break in.

I would urge anyone with information to contact the police straight away.

Ends

Ibrahim Halawa’s acquittal welcome – McGinley

Sinn Féin Republican Youth welcome the news that Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa has been acquitted in Cairo today.

Caolán McGinley said:dkchoo5x0aiugl31

“I welcome the news that Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa has been acquitted in an Egyptian court today.

“Ibrahim Halawa spent four years of his life in an Eqyptian prison and was subject to many farcical mass trials.

“His physical and mental health suffered greatly as result of his imprisonment and the inhumane treatment he received from the authorities.

“The Egyptian government must now guarantee his safe return to Ireland and his family as soon as possible.”

McCartney disappointed by RHI delay

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed disappointment after it was confirmed that the RHI scandal will not begin oral hearings until November, a month later than planned.

Commenting on the delay Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“The delay is disappointing but it is also understandable given the vast amount of evidence that the inquiry team has already gathered and which must be thoroughly processed and prepared prior to the oral hearings taking place.

“It is important that happens because the need to get to the facts of the RHI scandal is just as prevalent now as it was when I instituted the inquiry.

“If we are to restore public confidence in the institutions of government then any negligence, incompetence, alleged corruption and abuse must be identified and those responsible held to account.”

Mullan welcomes EA action over transport travel times

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has welcomed an admission from the Education Authority that special educational needs transport travel times were unacceptable.

The Foyle MLA said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“During a meeting with the Education Authority on Friday we raised our concerns surrounding special educational needs transport times and made it clear that current travel arrangements were unacceptable.

“I welcome the fact that the Education Authority listened to our concerns and acted accordingly.

“No child should be subjected to excessive travel times

“The Education Authority now need to clarify that no child’s health and safety was put at risk as a result of actions taken by the authority and the very serious incidents which occured as a result.

“I would urge any parent whose remains unsatisfied with their child’s transport arrangements to contact the authority immediately.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Catalans must be allowed to have their say unhindered – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Catalan people must be allowed to have their say in their independence referendum unhindered.

martina anderson

martina anderson

Martina Anderson, who will travel to Catalonia for the referendum as a European Parliament observer, said:

“The Catalan independence referendum was legislated for by the Catalan Parliament in a democratic vote.

“The Spanish government should respect this democratic referendum as legally binding.

“The raids on the offices of Catalan ministries and arrest of a senior Catalan government official by Spanish police last night was an attempt to subvert the democratic process.

“The people of Catalonia should be allowed to have their say in this referendum unhindered by Spanish police repression.

“Ultimately, it is up to the Catalan people to have their say on their future on October 1st and they should be allowed to do so without interference.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion welcomes news on A6 development

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed news that the A6 road upgrade project can now proceed as planned.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP said:

“Today’s decision from the Court of Appeal that the middle section of the A6 road upgrade can now proceed is welcome.

“The Department for Infrastructure has now confirmed that work on the Toome to Moyola River section of the project can now get underway.

“This is a vital infrastructure project linking the north west to Belfast and further afield and will significantly reduce journey time when completed in 2019.

“Not only will this bring economic benefits to the north west, it will also be welcomed by the thousands of people who travel this route on a daily basis.

“I look forward to the completion of this project and its benefits for Derry and the wider north west.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

£8m under funding for Learning Disability services resolved-McCartney

Following a meeting with senior managers within the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney,has welcomed the assurances that the estimated annual £8m under funding for Learning Disability services has been resolved. The Trust has confirmed that it has put in place measures that will reinstate the funding fully by the financial year 2018/19.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The senior management team gave a further assurance that both WHSCT and the Health and Social Care Board(HSCB) are planning for an additional £8m investment in Learning Disability services in the WHSCT by 2018/19 with an extra £2.5m this year and a further £2.5m in 18/19 in addition to the £3m recurring monies already invested,

In welcoming the announcement by the Trust Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney stated “Our party has fully supported the demands of the parent’s representative group Western Learning Disability Action Group (WLDAG) who have been campaigning on the matter since March 2016 when it was first identified that there was an underfunding issue. Myself and Martin McGuinness met with the group in May 2016 and Michelle O’Neill who was the Health Minister also met with the group on a number of occasions and offered support.”

In February this year the Health Minister appointed an independent facilitator to work with the families and carers of people with learning disabilities and the Western Health and Social Care Trust in order to restore trust and confidence to find ways to resolve the situation. At that time the Minister also pledged to ensure that the Health and Social Care Board meets with the families to explain and discuss the capitation model being used to determine the level of funding the learning disability services should receive in the future.

Raymond McCartney continued “I want to congratulate all those parents and organisations that worked to get a resolution to this problem. Services to people with learning disabilities have been greatly impacted by the underfunding in the past. I look forward to people getting access to better services and facilities in the future.”

He also said “The commitment by the Trust to involve parents, carers and service users using PPI principles in the design and delivery of services in the future is a positive step that could be the precursor for future models of good practice throughout the wider Health Service.”

Mullan seeks update on Meenan Square complex

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan is to meet officials at the Executive Office on Wednesday to discuss future plans for the Meenan Square complex beside the Lecky Road Flyover. And get an update on the plans around the whole Urban Villages Programme.image01-copy

The Foyle MLA

“Tomorrow I will be meeting with the Executive Office to see what can be done to turn this site around and put it back to good use. I will also be getting an update on the plans for the Urban Villages initiative across the Bogside, Brandywell, Bishop Street and Fountain areas.

This time last year Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster visited the Gasyard following the area being designated as an Urban Village by the Executive Office.

The measure of the success of this initiative will be the regeneration of Meenan Park.

It was once the vibrant heartbeat of the Bogside with many local businesses and services. We all know about the demise of the shops complex there over recent years. The buildings are in a sorry looking state and has been a magnet for all sorts of anti-community activity.

It is vitally important that this complex is brought into public or community ownership for the greater good of the community and the residents that live close by.

McCallion expresses sympathy following Derry road death

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion had expressed sympathy following the death of a woman in a collision on the outskirts of Derry.elisha1

The Foyle MP said:

“The news that a 48-year-old woman has keen killed in a road collision on the outskirts of Derry has come as a shock to the local community.

“This death is a tragedy and will bring sadness to all those involved.

“Any death on our roads is one too many.

“I want to express my sympathy to the friends and family of the woman who lost her life at this sad and difficult time.”

Schools LGBT report needs acted upon – Mullan

Sinn Féin have called for the Education Department to take action based on the findings of new research showing that almost half of LGBT pupils in schools here have experienced bullying as a result of their sexuality or gender identity.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

The party’s education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA commented:

“This study was commissioned by then Minister John O’Dowd in 2015 and delivered to the department over a year ago so it is disappointing that it is only surfacing now.

“A lot of time has been lost and immediate steps are now required to begin addressing the issues identified in this report. For example, nearly two-thirds of LGBT young people said they do not feel welcomed or valued in their post-primary school while almost half had experienced bullying as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“That can not be tolerated and steps should be taken to ensure Relationships and Sexual Education in post primary schools effectively addresses sexuality, gender identity and same sex relationships. We will be engaging with the Department Of Education and the Education Authority on this matter.

“The Department must also ensure the anti-bullying legislation taken forward by John O’Dowd is enacted in order to protect all children from all forms of bullying. No child should be left behind. We will continue to engage with all relevant parties to ensure that the legislation is fully implemented and to identify improvements.”

Threats against probation workers should be lifted immediately –McCartney

A dissident republican threat to probation workers should be immediately lifted, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.raymond-mccartney2

The Foyle MLA was speaking after it emerged that Probation Service staff across the North have been told to review their security in light of the threat.

“This threat is entirely unacceptable and should be lifted immediately,” he commented.

“This is a threat against staff, all of whom are social workers and over 70 per cent of are women.

“The Probation Service plays an important role within the justice system, particularly in terms of preventing reoffending and keeping communities safe. They also assist in the rehabilitation and re-integration of former prisoners back into a more positive role in the community.

“That is in stark contrast to the actions of the groups issuing these threats because they bring nothing but fear and misery to communities.

“They should withdraw it immediately and they should get off the backs of our communities once and for all.”

Ends

United voice needed to secure release of Tony Taylor – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has repeated her party’s call for the immediate release of imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor. djxqrmxxcaatcy

Speaking after visiting Tony Taylor in Maghaberry today, the Foyle MP said:

“I led a Sinn Féin delegation made up of Martina Anderson MEP, Raymond McCartney MLA and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, councillor Maolíosa McHugh, into Maghaberry Prison to visit imprisoned Derry man, Tony Taylor.

“His ongoing detention is wrong and is an affront to democracy an the justice system.

“We were told today that he is now being detained on ‘probability’, not facts or evidence.

“The continued detention of Tony is also placing a considerable strain on his wife, family and parents.

“Tony Taylor should be released immediately and we want to see a united voice coming from this city and beyond to end this injustice and see him released immediately.” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin to meet EA on Special Educational Needs Transport

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan is to meet the Education Authority to secure an effective solution to Special Educational Needs Transport,

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Karen Mullan MLA commented:

“I alongside my party colleague Caoimhe Archibald MLA will be meeting with the Department of Education Authority.

“We will be calling for an immediate and effective long-term solution to address the unacceptable travel times experienced by children attending Harberton and other special schools in the Belfast area.

“There have been reports of children with special educational needs and other health issues having to sit for hours on a bus and that some of those who are entitled to be picked up from their own homes are having to make their way to meeting points.

“This is completely unacceptable. We have been pressing to meet the Authority for more than a week to discuss these very serious issues.

“The Education Authority have previously stated that they have put in place arrangements to ensure that these children could travel safely to and from school in a timely fashion. These arrangements have continued to fail.

“We will be demanding that the Authority takes immediate steps to ensure that suitable and sustainable transport arrangements are put in place for these children.

“The horrific travel times experienced by children with special educational needs were a result of a cynical cost-cutting exercise employed by the Education Authority which has caused undue stress and hardship to vulnerable children and their parents.

“The EA need to provide assurances that the health and safety of these children was not put at risk through the excessive times that they have spent on buses.

“It is their duty to ensure that children arrive safely at school.

Visit to the La Dolce Vita project in Derry.

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney visit Donna Maria Logue at the La Dolce Vita project in Derry.resized_20170904_114639_2768

The La Dolce Vita project provides support services to those who have been affected by domestic violence

Speaking after the visit Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney :

“Sinn Féin support La Dolce Vita’s campaign for better and more effective legislation to protect victims of domestic violence.

There are many areas of current legislation which require review and Sinn Féin will engage to ensure that the victims of domestic violence are properly protected.

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Right to democratic representation must be upheld – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the right of the people of the north to be directly represented in the European Parliament must be upheld.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

martina anderson

“The proposals put forward this week to redistribute European Parliament seats post-Brexit does not take into account the democratic rights of the people of the north of Ireland.

“The 1.8 million people living in the north have the right to Irish, and therefore EU citizenship and as such are entitled to direct democratic representation in the European Parliament.

“Access to the democratic process and direct representation is a basic fundamental right.

“All citizens in the north should be taken into account in any proposals for potential redistribution to European Parliament seats across the island of Ireland.

“This is about safeguarding rights and the best way to do that is to secure special status for the north within the EU so that the people in the north continue to have direct representation in the European Parliament.”

DUP can’t lecture on ‘common sense’ – Foyle MP

If the DUP are seriously concerned about public services and well-being then they would end their support for Tory cuts and drop their denial of rights to citizens which is preventing the formation of a new Stormont Executive, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP was speaking after the DUP’s Nigel Dodds accused Sinn Féin of rejecting a ‘common sense’ proposal to re-enter the Executive.

She commented:”The DUP are in no position to lecture others about common sense when they have committed to support every Tory Budget and every piece of Tory Brexit legislation without even having seen them.

“Is that the approach they would like a new Executive to take? To give unconditional support to the same Tory government that is responsible for the cuts to our public services?

“If the DUP are seriously concerned about public services and the well-being of the people who live here, then they would tear up their blank cheque to the Tories. And they would end their denial of rights to citizens here – the same rights which are protected in law everywhere else on these islands. That is the only basis on which any new Executive can possibly be credible and sustainable.”

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Mullan hails Feel Good Fortnight 5K

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has congratulated all those who took part in the Feel Good Fortnight 5K Walk in Derry on Thursday night20170914_185704

“I would like to congratulate everyone who took part on the 5K Walk /Run.

It is important for all of us, of all ages, to look after our mental health and wellbeing and that’s what the Feel Good Fortnight is all about.

“It encourages us to take five steps to help improve our mental health: To connect with others; to be active; to take notice of the world around us without the use of technology to try new things; and to give to others, whether through donating to charity or carrying out random acts of kindness.

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McCallion urges support for Derry minor team in All Ireland Final

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has wished the Derry minor team all the best as they prepare for the All-Ireland minor football final in Dublin on Sunday.18739765_1400343640021696_614918040889171436_n

The Foyle MP said “It’s a great achievement for any county to reach the final and takes a lot of work, dedication and commitment.

“I would like to wish the Derry minor team all the best as they prepare for the All Ireland final against Kerry on Sunday. Everyone in the Oak Leaf County will be behind you.

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Moves to address anti community activity in Creggan -Campbell

Creggan Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has appealed to young people who socialised around Kildrum Gardens and Rathlin Drive areas of Creggan to be very mindful of their behaviour and how this impacts upon residents, particularly older residents in the area. 20170913_123600

He said he was approached by a number of residents in the area and decided to carry out a resident engagement through a door knock/leaflet drop to establish the views of people and identify what the issues are.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said “We did a door knocking exercise and talked to a large number of residents.It seems that at times large groups of young people, some from outside the area, are socialising in and around parts of Kildrum Gardens and Rathlin Drive.

Residents don’t necessarily mind that, but when noise levels rise or ‘muck bombs’ are thrown at people’s homes then that behaviour is totally unacceptable and has had a very negative impact upon residents, particularly older people.”

Cllr Campbell continued “I visited the area on Friday night as a follow up with councils Community Safety Wardens and introduced the Wardens to some residents, handed out letters with contact numbers for residents such as local councillors, Community Safety Wardens and CRJ .

I have also had discussions with the local Youth Services, who do great work in the Creggan area to assist in finding solutions to such problems. While there we also discovered that a number of lights were out in the area and I spoke to Transport NI and reported the lights and also requested Triax Neighbourhood Management Team in to cut back the overhanging hedges in an effort to whittle down cover for identified hotspots.”

Councillor Campbell stated he intends to also raise this issue at the community safety partnership meeting this week where the statutory agencies such as the Housing Executive, Apex Housing Association, Wardens, PSNI and CRJ and other community based projects attend to make sure that everyone was aware of the extent of the problems.

He concluded Sinn Féin will continue to be active to assist in resolving this situation and we would appeal to parents to have a word with their children and to be mindful as to where they are at night

Strategic Growth Plan crucial for North West -Councillor Paul Fleming

Sinn Féin group leader on Derry City and Strabane district council Councillor Paul Fleming has welcomed the launch of the Strategic Growth Plan and the comprehensive consultation that has taken place across local levels and with strategic partners.paul-fleming-copy

Councillor Fleming said “The consultation around the Strategic Growth Plan has been a very substantial piece of work. Sinn Féin is contributing to this and have put forward a submission.

It’s important that we get this right to ensure that we help shape the plans for the council and the North West region across many areas for the years ahead.

The economy and regional infrastructural development are key drivers for economic progress for the North West and job creation.

We need our tourism product to further reach its full potential in terms of increasing visitor numbers to the city and district and ensure that adequate cultural infrastructure is invested in to allow cultural activity to be city-wide and reach out into our rural communities.

There needs to be continued provision of funding for rural projects and its crucial that there is forward planning to ensure that any loss in future Rural Development Fund( RDF)funding is factored into council’s discussions with central government.

I would like to thank Council staff for the considerable work which has been carried out thus far on the Growth Plan, all those who participated in this consultation and we look forward to contributing to the next stages of this vital project.

Tory/DUP cuts must be opposed – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said Tory/DUP cuts to frontline services must be opposed.

The Foyle MP said: djsj0ejxkaab9rd

“Today in Derry, Sinn Féin staged a protest outside the Guildhall ahead of a briefing by the Western Trust on proposed cuts to the health service.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to these cuts, which we regard as a direct attack on those most in need in our society.

“Instead of cuts, we need to see investment in our health service, just as former health minister Michelle O’Neill called for.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose Tory/DUP cuts to our frontline services and will continue to demonstrate, campaign and lobby against austerity.” Ends/Críoch

National Ploughing Championships

ploughingchamps2017_socialmedia

Oireachtas Committee report on impact of Brexit on Good Friday launched

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion speaking following attending the launch of an Oireachtas report on the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement held in the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

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“The Committee’s report focuses on a number of interlinked areas that directly impact on the Good Friday Agreement. These include; Cross-Border Cooperation, EU Funding, Trade, Free Movement and Security; Constitutional Issues and Reconciliation and Identity.

“This report, the result of nine months of consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, highlights the very real and serious concerns that businesses, communities, think tanks, local authorities, the retail industry, environmental actors, and those working on peace, justice, human rights and reconciliation have. Those concerns must be heard and acted upon.

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