McLaughlin welcomes Derry jobs announcement.

 

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin a member of the Assembly Enterprise Committee has welcomed today’s announcement by Minister Arlene Foster of 333 new jobs for Derry

 

Maeve McLaughlin said:

 

“This is good news for Derry and will be a particularly welcome announcement for the local economy.

 

“The jobs are being created by Convergys Corporation client EE (Everything Everywhere) . This announcement is part of the outworking of the initiative by Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson to attract inward investment during their trade missions to the United States and hosting the major Investment Conference last October at which representatives from Convergys and EE participated.

 

“It is refreshing to hear good news on the jobs front for the North West and I look forward to the outworking of the benefits to the local economy from these jobs which will be in place within the next twelve months.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Barney O Hagan ,Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin Committee for Enterprise Trade and Investment and Committee for Finance and Personnel and Councillor Bridget Meehan at the site in Springtown for 333 new jobs for Derry

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Mary Lou McDonald to address main Derry Easter Sunday Commemoration

 

Republicans from across Derry will gather at commemorations throughout the city this coming weekend to mark the 98th anniversary of the 1916 rising and to commemorate all those who have given their lives in pursuit of Irish Freedom.

Encouraging Republicans to take part in local commemorations this Sunday

Raymond McCartney MLA said

 

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

This year there will be an added dimension with it being the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Cumann na mBan .The Easter Lily was designed in 1925 by Cumann na mBan. Dozens of women will head up the main march this year to mark the centenary.

I would encourage people not only to take part in their local events but also to come along with their families to be part of the main commemoration in Derry this Sunday at 2.00pm,  assemble Westland Street .We are very pleased to announce this year that the main speaker will be Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald TD.

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

1.00pm Shantallow   Monument (Racecourse Road) Waterside (Rose Court)

1.30pm Creggan (Central Drive), Bogside (Lecky Road)

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“Zero Hours Contracts should be strictly regulated” –Liam Friel

Derry Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel  has called for Zero Hour Contracts (ZHC) to be governed and regulated under Labour Relations Legislation.

Liam Friel  said

 

“Zero Hours Contracts should be governed and regulated under Labour Relations Legislation.”

“While I accept that it is impossible to legislate for every situation Zero Hour contracts should be the exception to the rule – only applicable in exceptional circumstances. All employees should be guaranteed a minimum number of hours or paid an on-call retainer.

“The present application of Zero hour contracts is bad for all workers.

“Thousands of workers, a large percentage who are women continue to be covered by zero hour contracts – many employed in the service/call-centre sector and trapped in low paid jobs with poor working conditions.

“These workers don’t know from one day to the next if and when they will work again.

“This is not acceptable – workers should be treated with dignity and respect.

“The structure of ZHC is such that they are open to abuse and exploitation of workers. It is inappropriate for ZHC to be used instead of employing a worker on a part-time or full-time contract that comes with the standard workers’ rights and conditions.  It is also inappropriate for employers to take advantage of the ZHC structure to exploit workers, denying them basic rights while at the same time getting all the benefits of their labour.

“The notion of zero hour contracts flies in the face of dignity in the workforce and totally undermines any notion of workers’ rights. By ensuring basic work standards and protections such as ending the inappropriate use of ZHC and demanding a living wage, we can raise standards for the bottom 20% of workers who are particularly exploited and disadvantaged.

“Sinn Féin believes that the incidence of and conditions of zero-hour contracts should be strictly regulated to guarantee all workers job security underpinned by labour relations legislation.”

Derry Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel and Councillor Colly Kelly

Derry Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel and Councillor Colly Kelly

Logue calls for return of stolen Model School iPads

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Patricia Logue has called on anyone with information about the theft of 15 iPads from the Model School on the Northland Road to contact the police.

Councillor Logue said

 

“Schools are centres of our communities and provide not just education for our children but also services for families, after schools projects, and outreach to the wider community.

To target schools and steal these iPads is therefore an attack on the entire community and is completely unacceptable.

I would appeal for anyone with even the slightest information on this theft or has been offered them for sale to bring it forward to the police straight away. It’s important that the iPads are returned so that it doesn’t interfere will the children’s school work.

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-Education Minister John O Dowd , and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue on a recent visit to the Model School.

-Education Minister John O Dowd , and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue on a recent visit to the Model School.

Sinn Féin welcomes over £200,000 funding for Whistle Project

Sinn Féin Waterside representative Christopher Jackson has welcomed the news that Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, has announced funding of £204,960 for the Whistle Project based in the Waterside area of Derry

Christopher Jackson said

 

“The Whistle project is a fantastic youth facility that runs on a small staff but draws in hundreds of young people from the local area.  The majority of the group’s revenue is self-generated, which this makes the news about the funding even more deserving.

The community workers in the area are to be commended for their hard work in ensuring the funding came to Top of the Hill.  Work on the refurbishment is to commence soon and when completed will enhance the facility for the young people.

Sinn Féin Waterside representative Christopher Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside representative Christopher Jackson

Easter Sunday Derry City 2014

Poots irresponsible statement leaves care homes in limbo-McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said that it was irresponsible of Health Minister Edwin Poots to announce that four care homes have been saved before receiving the report of a full consultation as it leaves other homes wondering where they now stand.

Ms. McLaughlin said,

“I welcome the news that four care homes have been saved from closure. However, I think it is irresponsible of the Minister to announce this before receiving the report from the consultation on care homes, which finished at the end of March.

“By announcing that these four homes will remain open he has reignited fear and uncertainty in other care homes whose threatened closure lead to the consultation.

“If the minister had come to these conclusions in the first place this would have alleviated months of tension and stress for the residents and their families.

“He now needs to explain the purpose of carrying out the consultation. Will he still abide by the recommendations if they are contrary to his announcement tonight?

“If not he needs to explain how he can justify the cost of the inquiry if he has decided to sideline the report and implement his own personal preferences.

“Tonight’s announcement was highly irresponsible and has only added to the worry and uncertainty in care homes right across the North.

“The Minister also needs to explain what he means by moving from closure to utilization as it is becoming obvious that he is lost in deciding how to implement proper care packages for the elderly.”

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Dangerous road junction Buncrana Road -Sandra Duffy

    Sinn Féin Representative Sandra Duffy has called for a complete review of the one of  the city’s busiest road junctions along the Buncrana Road

 

    She said some residents have described the junction  as a  “death trap” and that they are “a bag of nerves” everytime they used the junction.

 

    She said “I am calling on DRD Road Service to have an urgent review of this junction and put in place additional safety measures  as soon as possible. The Buncrana Road is a fast moving road for traffic which sees thousands of vehicles a day. Its junction with the Whitehouse Road and Upper Galliagh is perilous  at times ,it’s a nightmare for drivers to exiting  either road out onto the Buncrana Road and there isn’t a day goes by there isn’t  near accidents occurring .People are also unsure of who has the right of way.

 

    It could be years before the Buncrana Road is upgraded to a modern standard to link in with Donegal so in the meantime there needs to be new high visibility road markings  and additional road safety signage put in place as an interim measure.

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Waterside EU funding event‏ -Cllr Bridget Meehan

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Bridget Meehan hosted an event on Friday for Waterside-based businesses and community groups to hear about potential EU Funding opportunities and how these might be accessed.  MEP Martina Anderson spoke at the event and talked the audience through her newly launched ‘Gateway to EU Funding’ booklet. 

 

Councillor Meehan said

 

“Since becoming MEP, Martina has worked hard to bring Europe closer to us in the North.  The EU can seem distant, daunting, inaccessible and irrelevant.  However, the directives and laws passed in Europe directly impact on our day-to-day lives so Europe is certainly not irrelevant and it would be a mistake therefore keep it at a distance.  With Martina’s new booklet, Sinn Féin has tried to bring Europe closer and to make it more accessible for us all.

 

There is a wide range of funding streams available in Europe.  Apart from the more commonly known structural funds such as PEACE, INTERREG and the Rural Development Fund, there is a plethora of lesser known competitive funds such as Horizon 2020, COSME, Creative Europe and Health for Growth.  These offer funding for countless areas of interest including research and development, innovation, regional development, community cohesiveness, local economic development, entrepreneurship, business competiveness, the promotion of rights, environmental sustainability, climate change, youth training and education, culture, creativity, health promotion and e-health.  It is safe to say that in whatever area your organisation might need funding, Europe most likely has a funding stream that is appropriate.  The key is to identify the appropriate stream and then attain the assistance and support necessary to submit an application.

 

Traditionally, outside of PEACE funding, the North has a poor track record when it comes to drawing down EU funding.  In her time as a Junior Minister, Martina recognised this weakness and along with MLA Maeve McLaughlin, lobbied successfully to secure an EU Unit in Derry City Council.  This Unit is a resource for any group or business that is looking to Europe for funding.

 

The North also has access to the Barusso Taskforce which is made up of officials from the Executive who are based in Europe and who will be available for the next two years to help organisations from the North secure funding from Europe.  This Taskforce is unique to us and was secured through the office of the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

 

In addition, specifically for the EU Horizon 2020 funding stream, the North now has in place, for the first time, a dedicated team of people who are available to give specialised support to any organisation wishing to submit an application to Horizon 2020.

 

Never before has there been so much support for organisations seeking funding from Europe.  These supports have been hard-won and shouldn’t be ignored or taken for granted.  I would urge local businesses and community groups in the City to take full advantage of these supports so that the North can finally start securing its share of EU funding.

Councillor Bridget Meehan and MEP Martina Anderson

Councillor Bridget Meehan and MEP Martina Anderson

No room for age discrimination – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has said that young people have the same right to protection in buying products and services as everyone else in society.

Councillor Colly Kelly stated,

 

“I am disappointed that the new legislation on Goods, Facilities and Services will exclude people under the age of eighteen.

“This new legislation fails to cover the rights of the young and needs to be challenged.

“For example if a child needs a prosthetic hand they may only have access to an adult one but have no right to appeal this decision and this is not acceptable.

“We need to move away from age discrimination whether it against old people or young people if we are to create a society of equals.

“Equality needs to be inclusive of all ages, creeds, colours and sexual orientation and Sinn Féin will continue to promote the equality agenda until everyone in our society have equal rights under the law.”

Councillor Colly Kelly and MEP Martina Anderson

Councillor Colly Kelly and MEP Martina Anderson

Fears over isolated “Drug Den”-Duffy‏

Sinn Féin Representative Sandra Duffy has expressed her concerns that an old barn in a rural location on the outskirts of Galliagh may be, being used as a “drug den”

She was speaking following being contacted by members of the public who came across an old barn they fear this is being used as a den for young people to engage in drug use.

Sandra Duffy said ‘When I was initially contacted by concerned members of the community I went up to have a look and was very concerned to discover this building, it’s in a very isolated setting.

I would worry about any young person using it, God forbid, but if anything happened one of these young people out there they might not be found for some time. According to the concerned

people who contacted me they claimed that there are young people as young as 12/13 years of age using this building.

I would urge any young person who may be thinking of going out to this barn to have a rethink; they are placing themselves at risk. There are many other activities that they could be engaging in, with Off the Streets and other Community Groups and Youth Clubs in the area offering services and facilities for young people.

I would also appeal to parents to talk to your children about the dangers that they may be exposing themselves to.

Sandra went on to say that the PSNI have been contacted to make them aware of the barn and that she is also in the process of trying to find the owner of the barn.

Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

McGinley welcomes support for 2014 Foyle Cup

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed Derry City’s Council support for this year’s Foyle Cup.

Cllr. McGinley said: “ Year after year the Foyle Cup exceeds expectations in terms of numbers competing in the competition and visiting the city.

This year’s event has attracted over 200 teams who will compete in a number of categories and the city will host thousands of visitors during the course of the competition.

Derry City Council will be primarily responsible for supplying many of the pitches but council staff will also assist with organisational issues such as stewarding, pitch maintenance, toilet provision and administration.

Council’s support for the Foyle Cup represents a significant investment on behalf of the city and district and I would call on other agencies and departments to assist the organisers in meeting the demands of the event.

I would take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in putting the Foyle Cup together and to wish them every success for this year’s tournament.”

Councillor Eric McGinley

Councillor Eric McGinley

Partnership approach to Youth Unemployment required – Liam Friel

Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel has called for a partnership approach between government and business to tackle youth unemployment.

He said:

“Dealing with the challenge of youth unemployment needs a partnership approach between government and employers. 22.3% of young people aged 18-24 are unemployed 30% of the total unemployed are aged 18-24. This represents a huge pool of talent and youthful ambition that is being lost to our economy.

“Skills accrued in the formative years through education need to be harnessed, expanded on and utilised quickly or they are lost forever.

“I believe that a properly funded youth guarantee programme should be rolled out across Ireland. This would give out-of-work young people guaranteed access to paid employment or a useful training or skills development programme. My colleague Martina Anderson MEP is leading the fight for this in the European Parliament.

“To date, the Department of Learning approach to dealing with this issue has been overly dependent on schemes which deliver little return for young people. They are massaging the true impact of youth unemployment with young people placed in temporary, unpaid and often menial work to replace actual jobs.

“Instead of ‘schemes’ what is needed is deliverable and quantifiable ‘projects’ providing real opportunities for young people’s development to meet their full potential.”

Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel and Councillor Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel and Councillor Patricia Logue

Trench Road Post Office set for revamp-Meehan‏

Sinn Féin Councillor  Bridget Meehan welcomes the news that the Post Office on the Trench Road is to be refurbished.

“The work is part of a 3-year investment and support programme for the entire Post Office Network.  Customers should be aware that work will take place during May and the post office will have to close on Thursday 8 May at 5.30pm until Thursday 15 May when the refurbishments will be completed.  The work will bring short-term inconvenience but once completed, the branch will be upgraded to a more modern environment and the opening hours will also be longer.  The Post Office provides a range of useful and convenient services to the local community and I wish the staff well with their new upgraded branch.
 

Councillor Bridget Meehan

Councillor Bridget Meehan

 

Galliagh Gateway project transforming physical appearance of the area- Elisha Mc Callion

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion has welcomed the transformation the Galliagh Gateway project has made on the physical appearance of a number areas of Galliagh.

Councillor McCallion said

“This project to date has done excellent work in helping improve the physical appearance of a number of areas in Galliagh. The latest being a landscape project at Bloomfield Park ,which is being carried out by the housing executive locally. This will help enhance improve environmentally and socially the area.

 

Projects such as this complement the likes of the unity  sculpture at the Galliagh roundabout which was designed with input from local schoolchildren and created by local sculptor Maurice Harron. This part of the project will be completed by Derry city council in the immediate future. The completed unity sculpture will be lit up and planted out.

 

We have seen excellent work in the Leafair area of Galliagh which has been completed by young and old alike and we hope to include additional allotments throughout the Gallaigh area in the near future.

 

The Galliagh area sees a lot of traffic travelling through it; therefore it is vital that the area looks clean and tidy and we send out a positive image.

As a local resident I see Galliagh every day and I recognise the need for more of these regeneration schemes as they bring untold benefits, I will therefore will be lobbying more of these projects from the various agencies. 

 

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Launch of a community arts project at Leafair

Launch of a community arts project at Leafair

Welfare cuts: DUP leader didn’t support Martin McGuinness’s lobby for Westminster rethink

MARTIN McGUINNESS has hit back at claims by DUP leader Peter Robinson on BBC TV’s  The View on Thursday night that a deal had been struck on welfare cuts with Sinn Féin.

The DUP leader has threatened “nuclear options” if Sinn Féin does not accept the cuts agenda imposed by the Tories and Liberal Democrats from Westminster.

Joint First Minister McGuinness said that he raised the issue of welfare cuts once at 10 Downing Street with British Prime Minister David Cameron and twice with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Cabinet Office.

“Peter Robinson never offered one word of support for a rethink on welfare cuts and the only support I received was from my Scottish colleagues,” Martin McGuinness said.

He said that Sinn Féin is the only party in the Assembly “standing up for the poor and the vulnerable from all communities” on the issue of welfare cuts.

He added:

“When Peter Robinson talks about a failure to deliver, we should remind ourselves that Peter Robinson has failed to deliver on the Education and Skills Authority and the Maze/Long Kesh Peace Project.

“Both of these were Programme for Government commitments signed up to by Peter Robinson and his party.

“Peter Robinson also failed to stand united in government with me in condemnation of UVF-orchestrated violence, particularly in Belfast. He has failed to deliver on the Haass proposals on flags, parades and the past.

“He and his party are oblivious to the £30million policing bill for the protest at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast and now they want to hand back powers on welfare.

“The only way to resolve these issues is by mature leadership, sitting down with Executive colleagues and finding a resolution rather than grandstanding on the media and presuming to speak for me.”

Derry women activists mark Cumann na mBan centenary

http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/23921

Annual launch of the Easter Lily

Councillor Elisha McCallion, local representative Sandra Duffy, Centenary Committee member Patricia Moore ,

Councillor Elisha McCallion, local representative Sandra Duffy, Centenary Committee member Patricia Moore ,

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion said  “The Easter Lily is an emblem of unity between the different traditions within the nation as well as the heroism of those who sacrificed so much in 1916. The lily has always had strong symbolic value, though its meaning and symbolism have changed through the ages. Today in 2014 it symbolises the possibility of unity, equality and prosperity for all the peoples of the island.

 

This year there will be an added dimension with it being the centenary of the founding of Cumann na mBan .The Easter Lily was designed in 1925 by Cumann na mBan.

To mark the centenary there are a number of key events being organised throughout  the year and I would encourage  as many people as possible to be take part.

The annual distribution of the lilies will take place in the lead up to Easter weekend .A limited number of metal pin badges are also available at our Ráth Mór office on the New Road and Peadar O Donnell’s Waterloo Street.Easter Sunday is on the 20th April   this year further details  will be released in the Derry press shortly.

Appeal after Rosemount Robbery –Cooper

Commenting after the robbery of a shop at Academy Road   Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said “There is only so much the owners of such premises can do to protect staff and their businesses against these criminals preying on our communities .I would urge anyone with information on this robbery to contact the police.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

 

 

Moat Street Fire “Sooner or later we will be looking at a tragedy”-Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue commenting after a number of cars were destroyed and homes damaged in a fire at Moat Street just of the Foyle Road in Derry.

Local Councillor for the area Patricia Logue said

 

“This is a very shocking incident.

Had this fire spread there could have been dire consequences but fortunately due to the quick response of the Fire Service this was prevented.

It was a very frightening experience for local residents.

Sooner or later we will be looking at a tragedy due to these mindless actions.

I would appeal to anyone with even the slightest piece of information in regards to those behind this to bring it forward to the police straight away.

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Councillor  Patricia Logue

Relocation as Brooke Park Redevelopment Planned works gets underway –O Hagan

Sinn Féin Councillor Barney O’Hagan has welcomed the conclusion of arrangements to facilitate the users of the Brooke Park Sparta Hut.

The building is due to be replaced within the overall Brooke Park Redevelopment Plan which is fully funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Council and DSD.  All of the current Sparta Hut user groups will be accommodated in the new building.  It is anticipated that building work will commence in the Autumn of 2014 with the new building opening around April 2016.

Councillor O’Hagan said: Following recent Health and Safety assessments of the Sparta Hut it was recommended for closure and immediate measures to manage the Health and Safety risks were put in place.

The planned closure of the Sparta Hut will be phased around relocating the existing users within or adjacent to Brooke Park guaranteeing there will be no loss of access or service for the user groups.

The Boxing Club will be re-housed in a port-a-cabin which will be sited in the car park at Brooke Park Leisure Centre.

The matted area will close early in April and the weights area before the end of April. The temporary accommodation for the boxing club should be in place by late April/early May. All three closures will be on completion of the relocation arrangements.  All the user groups were fully consulted ensuring individual circumstances of each group were catered for.

Councillor Barney O Hagan and Councillor Colly Kelly looking over the regeneration plans for Brooke Park

Councillor Barney O Hagan and Councillor Colly Kelly looking over the regeneration plans for Brooke Park

Support for Irish language protest -McCartney

Derry Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish language, Raymond McCartney MLA has encouraged support for the protest organised by the Irish language community throughout Ireland this Saturday in Belfast.

 

 

He said “Sinn Féin has worked consistently at local, regional and national level to ensure that the rights and entitlements of the Irish language community are upheld, protected and resourced.  We fully support the protest organised by the Irish language and groups on Saturday 12th April in Belfast and urge as many people from Derry as possible to attend.”

 

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Minister appealing blood donation decision is appalling – Friel

Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel said he is appalled that health minister Edwin Poots is appealing a High Court decision, which lifted the ban on the use of blood donated by members of the gay community.

“This is an equality issue. Gay men should have the same rights to help others by donating blood,”

“I’m appalled that Edwin Poots is squandering public money to defend discrimination.

 “The minister would be better employed tackling the crisis in the health service where people are lying on trolleys for more than 24 hours, dying as a result of errors in their care, where frontline staff are at breaking point and where cover up has been the order of the day.

 “And the minister’s reaction is to waste public money defending the indefensible.

“The minister and his DUP colleagues need to accept court rulings based on equality, rather than their own religious and personal opinions.”Liam Friel

Meehan challenges Invest NI “Economic Zone for Derry”

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Bridget Meehan challenged Invest NI this week when they visited Council’s Regional Services Committee.  While the local office has recently provided funding for local economic development initiatives including Clinical Translational Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme, Rural Tourism and Craft Development, much more investment is needed in the Northwest.

 

Cllr Meehan told the committee that across the 18 constituencies in the North, 56% of the £784m investment by Invest NI from 2011/12 – 2012/13 went to 8 constituencies in and around Belfast.  Foyle received only 6% of the investment.  Out of the 5,060 jobs promoted from 2011/12 – 2012/13, 48% went to the 8 constituencies in an around Belfast and Foyle received 7%.  With regard to the 2,699 jobs created 2011/12 – 2012/13, 46% went to the 8 Belfast-centric constituencies and 11% went to Foyle.

 

 

“Undoubtedly, there’s a trend.  The investments made and jobs promoted and created by Invest NI are heavily concentrated on 8 specific constituency areas that are in and around Belfast.  There are clear regional disparities, especially when it’s accepted that Derry is the second city in the North and the fourth largest city across Ireland.

Bridget new head shots 2014 1Sinn Féin has consistently challenged these regional disparities in relation to the Foyle constituency.  Invest NI and DETI hold the position that their role is to support the entire North; that they have no requirement to target areas of need or regional disparities; that they have no tools to do so, even if you wished to.  This position is held in spite of reference in the Programme for Government to tackling regional disparities and in spite of the recent announcement about Coleraine’s Economic Zone which does seem to target a specific area.

 

 

Cllr Meehan asked Invest NI for a commitment to support Sinn Féin and Derry City Council in creating an Economic Zone for Derry.

 

Justice Minister must do more on legal highs- Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the Minister of Justice David Ford must do more to prevent legal highs being available to people across the North.

Mr McCartney said,

“I took the opportunity to ask Minister David Ford if there was a co-ordinated approach to tackling so-called legal highs across the North.

“It is well known that these so-called legal highs have resulted in the deaths of people and have caused mental health issues in others. They should be removed from sale immediately.

“While I welcome the fact there is more co-ordination between council groups this is more down to environmental health officers taking the initiative than a planned strategy.

“It is important that we move towards an all-Ireland approach to this problem.

“The Irish government has taken decisive action where any product deemed to be dangerous is immediately taken off sale until it is either proved safe or banned and the minister needs to move similar legislation in the North.”

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Martina Anderson working for €1bn EU stimulus package

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson announced last night that she is working to achieve a €1bn stimulus package for infrastructure projects in the North. Ms Anderson made the announcement during an event hosted in Knock Presbyterian Church last night to discuss European issues. “There are huge opportunities in Europe for the drawdown of funding from the European Investment Bank,” said Martina Anderson.

 

“We need to get the ban lifted on the Executive accessing funds from the European Investment Bank.“Therefore I am working to achieve a €1bn stimulus package, which could fund the A5 and A6 road schemes, the Narrow Water Bridge, the Desertcreat police and fire training college and a new Children’s Hospital – all of which would create jobs.” CRÍOCH/ENDS??????????

“SMEs can be the engine of economic recovery” Anderson MEP

Addressing a Federation of Small Business (FSB) event Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson told the gathering that SMEs can be the engine to drive economic recovery across Ireland. To support this belie she is suggesting that First and deputy First Ministers host an ‘SME  Assistance Conference’ to bring together key government ministers, officials and policy makers with the objective of devising a strategic plan to assist SMEs to, grow, create jobs and be sustainable.

Ms Anderson said:

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“Sinn Féin is aware of the pivotal role played by SMEs across Ireland. They are the lifeblood of our economy creating almost 350,000 jobs in the North and 70% of all jobs in the South. When the multinationals move to lower waged economies in search of increased profits – SMEs remain the mainstay of the economy.

“Sinn Féin is of the firm belief that the border is a barrier to economic growth for SMEs North and South

“But SMEs in Border Regions have benefited from EU stimulus programes, boosting cross-border trade. There is no doubt that Ireland’s place is in Europe.

“In my opinion SME indigenous entrepreneurs with national, EU and global ambition can be the engine to drive economic recovery from the worst recession in living memory.

“As part of my commitment to “BRING EUROPE TO YOU AND YOU TO EUROPE” on assuming the position of MEP, I hosted a delegation from the Chambers of Commerce and SMEs from across the North and Border Regions on a two-day visit to Brussels where they met key Commission Officials.

“These initiatives are intended to ensure organisations and individuals such as you have access to £2.3 Billion in funds available through EU COSME programes and many other SME funding streams.

“As your MEP I will work to cut down red tape, open up new export markets and encourage entrepreneurship. I supported the Late Payments Directive, which ensures prompt payments for SMEs.

“I will be in touch with the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers asking them to host an ‘SME Assistance Conference’ to bring together key government ministers, officials and policy makers to devise a strategic plan to assist SMEs to grow, create jobs and be sustainable.” CRÍÓCH/END

Cooper warns over Northland Road and Lower Strand Road burglaries

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has urged residents in the Northland Road and Lower Strand Road are of the city after a number homes there have been burgled.

 

He said “Thieves have no respect for you or your property; helping to catch them is the best way of safeguarding your own property and your neighbours. I would appeal to the public to practice vigilance in the area in an effort to catch those involved and prevent further break-ins. I would appeal to anyone with information or who may have seen anything to pass this to the PSNI. People like this cannot be allowed to prey on our community.Mickey Cooper new head shot 2013 888

Photos

2014

Putting Ireland First

Potential of City of Culture Economic impact must be harnessed – O’Hagan

councillors cooper,mc ginley and o hagan oct 2013 pre election pics c mc menamin photos (265)

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Barney O’Hagan has said that the potential Economic impact of City of Culture projects must be harnessed and built on.

Councillor O Hagan commented:

“The results of the Ilex-urc Ltd commissioned Oxford Economics analysis of the economic impact City of Culture status has had on the Derry economy, is generally positive. As with every analysis there will always be downsides if one wishes to look for them but I think we should concentrate of the potential benefits.

“It is therefore essential that the potential identified during the Culture Year be harnessed and translated into real jobs, particularly in areas of high unemployment and deprivation.

“There are many positive factors contained in the report and we should be encouraged by the opportunities and challenges that they present. The people of this City played a major role in the success of City of Culture and must share in the benefits.

“With a significant number of visitor enquiries coming from Continental Europe and North America and record numbers of room nights sold it was obviously a boom year for the hospitality industry. But we must not sit on our laurels.

“According to the report, cumulative spend – from the bid period through to delivery of City of Culture 2013 totaled £166m, of which £137m was for capital projects and £28m on programme-related outputs. The projects delivered by this investment by the Executive Departments – particularly the Culture Department under Carál Ní Chuilín -has set a strong foundation on which to build a real legacy. We must not squander the opportunity.

We must also recognise the massive potential in the extensive coverage achieved nationally and internationally during events such as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the Return of Colmcille and the Walled City Tattoo, and devise a marketing strategy to tap into that coverage.  A strategy that will deliver jobs and economic benefits to the whole City and Region!

Sports Minister Carál NiChuilín meets with organisers of The Walled City Marathon 2014

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(PHOTO)Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney with the Sports  Minister Carál NiChuilín meeting Noel McMonagle and Course Director Scott Galbraith at the Assembly to discuss The Walled City Marathon 2014.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said

“Ensuring that we have a lasting legacy coming out of the City Of Culture year was vitally important. I think anyone who was in Derry for Walled City Marathon could not have been touched by scenes of thousands of people lining the route, people of all ages, families.

The buzz that the Marathon created right across the city was unreal, not just on the day but in the months previous. We had hundreds of people out training at all levels and have increased levels of fitness and health. All those who took part had their own story to tell ,some did it for the achievement, some to raise money for charities others for family members they have lost through illness.

It’s very important to build on the undoubted success of last year’s event and grasp the opportunity with both hands for future marathons in the city . It was important that today’s meeting took place .

Friel calls for action by Enterprise Minister on living wage

Liam Friel

Derry Sinn Féin representative Liam Friel has called on Minister Arlene Foster to bring forward a detailed action plan for creating jobs paying a living wage.

He was speaking on the findings of a report commissioned by Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Liam Friel said:

“Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to the Assembly at the end of last year expressing our serious concerns at the numbers of employees working for less than a living wage with many also on zero hours contracts.

“At that time a KPMG Report indicated 26% of workers were being paid less than a living wage with young people, women and part-time workers disproportionately affected.

“Now we have a further report, prepared by the New Policy Institute (NPI) for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), indicating continued falling incomes for families across the social spectrum here.

“The Rowntree Report shows that incomes for the poorest 20% of residents here is £39 a week- over £2,000 a year – lower than in Britain.

“I am reiterating Sinn Féin’s call on Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster as a matter of urgency, to bring forward a detailed action plan for creating jobs paying a living wage.

“In the interim the Executive should collectively encourage employers to ensure socially and morally acceptable terms of employment for all workers and to provide continuous professional development for staff.”

Reduction in non-domestic water rates welcomed-McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed news that NI Water has announced a decrease for non-domestic users for the second year in a row.

 Raymond McCartney said:

“The news that water rates for non-domestic customers are to be reduced on average by 4% is some good news at last for local businesses.

“It is important that if businesses are to be competitive then rates and charges are kept to a minimum and this reduction in water rates will be of some comfort to businesses.

 “With rising costs all round we need to continue to look at ways at making investment in the North more attractive and lowering the basic running costs will help deliver that.”

Pink Ladies No Smoking awareness programme at Hillcrest House

 

Waterside Sinn Féin Councillor Bridget Meehan (second from left)  attending the Pink Ladies No Smoking awareness programme held  at Hillcrest House . 

Councillor Bridget Meehan said 

“I would encourage all current smokers to take the opportunity to quit smoking.

“It is proven medically that quitting cigarettes can help contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

“We now have the lowest number of people smoking for many years and this will benefit everyone as the financial burden of treating smoking related illnesses was one of the highest burdens upon the NHS.

“As this burden is lessened we will be able to see these monies put into treating other illnesses and providing services.

“Much more help for people attempting to give up smoking is now available with over 300 community pharmacies across the North now providing a smoking cessation service and this is an opportunity for people who still indulge in smoking to attempt to quit.

“I would encourage people in Derry to contact their local pharmacy or doctor to avail of this service.”

Campbell welcomes news that over 100 new homes for former St Peters school site

Kevin Campbell can be contacted on 079124 33893

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the announcement today that over 100 new houses are to be built on the site of the  St Peters’ High School in Derry’s Creggan Estate

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell welcomed the announcement. “I have been working with Apex Housing and with CCMS for the last nine months on the demolition and redevelopment of St Peter’s and I certainly welcome the approval for 127 social housing units.

“While the additional housing is to be welcomed, it must also be accompanied with appropriate social amenities such as play provision and allotments.

“I would also call on the housing association to consult widely with local community to get their views on the redevelopment of the site,”

Kelly welcomes new safety railings on Beechwood Ave

Beechwood Ave overlooking Westend Terrace 31st March14

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the introduction of new safety railings on a dangerous bend at   Beechwood Avenue which backs onto Westend Terrace.

Councillor Kelly said

“I welcome that the work is taking place on the dangerous bend at the bottom of Beechwood Avenue which overlooks Westend Terrace. It is always a very busy road,  particularly this section which is always dangerous .The introduction of these new barriers will improve safety for local residents, pedestrians, and motorists.

Finance Minister must push for Airport Passenger Duty abolition – McGinley

Eric McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor and member of City of Derry Airport Board (CoDA) Eric McGinley has called has called on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to urgently press for abolition of Air Passenger Duty (APD) with the scrapping of the tax by Dublin from to April 1st.

Councillor Eric McGinley said 

“We now face a situation whereby airline passengers departing from most of the island’s airports will pay no travel tax at all, but in the case of the North’s three airports, a punitive rate of taxation still exists.

“This particularly impacts on business visitors and tourists flying regularly to and from Britain where a rate of £12 per flight applies, which often is higher than the cost of the flight itself.

“Urgent action is required to address this imbalance and to stimulate the local tourism sector. Abolishing APD would give an economic stimulus to the tourism sector and lead to increased employment.

“The charging of air passenger duty is only one of a number of barriers to growing our tourism sector; customers here also face a much higher rate of VAT on accommodation and hospitality compared with the rest of Ireland.

“DUP politicians need to accept that economic and fiscal policies designed in the interests of the south east of England are not serving our people or our economy well.

“They should stop prevaricating when it comes to transfer of economic levers that would clearly be of benefit to our economy.

“They should join with the rest of us who are working to kick start economic recovery by seeking to secure the maximum fiscal responsibilities being transferred to locally elected representatives.”

Hassan calls for wall at Culmore Point riverfront

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Photo -Councillor Tony Hassan on the road to Culmore point 

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has called for the replacement of railings along the riverfront at Culmore with a solid continuous brick wall.

Councillor Tony Hassan said

“This area is an idyllic and beautiful place on a sunny day but as we seen recently with the ever changing weather conditions that can change very quickly .I believe that DRD Roads Service need to remove the sections of the railings at the roadside along the riverfront and replace it with a continuous solid stone wall, in consultation with local residents.

Over recent winters the weather has been really unpredictable and this road has suffered from flooding and we need to ensure that residents, pedestrians and motorist are safe at all times. I believe a new wall would go some way to resolve many of those issues.

We are not done yet, indeed. – Brandywell

Brandywell

By Sinn Féin Councillor and local resident Patricia Logue 

It appears that Colum Eastwood falls into the old trap of thinking that if you say something often enough then people might actually believe what you are saying.
From experience I know people are wiser than that and know political point scoring when they see it.
When the One Plan was finally completed, apart from the enormous amount of work that went in to it, we all heralded it as Derry speaking with one voice.  No more would we be accused of not having a clear set of strategic demands and they would be the focus of all our endeavours.
Of course the SDLP believe that this applies to everyone but them.
One of the 11 Catalyst Projects, is the Foyle Valley Gateway, which has 36 regeneration initiatives and incorporates the Brandywell stadium, Showgrounds and Daisyfield and the wider area stretching along the river to Craigavon bridge.
No part of it should stand in isolation to the other and that the people who live in the Greater Brandywell, Bishop Street and Fountain area would be the focus of the need for change and improvement. As someone who lives in the area it is my belief that is what people here want to see unfold.
Indeed my recollection from the time was that there was a degree of opposition to the Foyle Valley Gateway being included as one of the Cataylst Projects, although Sinn Féin argued strongly that it had to be included. Others can put forward where they stood on its inclusion, needless to say, included it was.
Sinn Féin believed that this was the best and most strategic way to maximise funding opportunities and thus address and seek redress to the long term underdevelopment and neglect of the area over many years.
I suppose at this juncture I could remind people that the SDLP in Derry City Council voted down a number of Sinn Féin proposals to develop not only the stadium but the general area as well.
That said, the recent decisions made across a number of bodies and departments is vindication of the One Plan approach, a strategic approach.  It points to the successes to date and points the way forward in continuing the programme of delivery.
Derry City Council has committed £2.75m for the initial phase of the stadium development.  This is not subject to, despite ill informed claims, match funding.  The works schedule will be announced with full consultation with Derry City FC to ensure minimum disruption to their fixture list.  Indeed some of the already scheduled demolition work has been postponed to ensure that when the contractors go on site best use of resources and maximum progress will be made in the best timeline possible.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure through CarálNíChuilín as Minister has announced £2m for the Daisyfield and its environs.
From Martin McGuinness’s office, the Social Investment Fund as part of its £9.6m package to address underdevelopment in deprived areas in Derry has earmarked over £1m for pitch and play facilities in the Brandywell and Showgrounds.
Aras Cholmcille in the former Wee Nuns’ school, the improvement work to the Flyover, the extension to the Gasyard centre with funding secured from the City of Culture pot and  the inclusion of shops and business premises on Bishop Street without in the next round of the RESTORE Project key to ongoing social and economic development of this area.
Other applications to the Boxing Strategy Fund and DSD will see major redevelopment of the Showgrounds and the Riverside Walk to include the opening up of the river for social access, childrens play and leisure facilities.  This has the potential to open the area for much need economic investment and jobs.
Sinn Féin has consistently contended that we must at all times seek to maximise opportunities to deliver across the range of needs of the people of Derry and beyond.  That work continues.
Narrow interest, lack of vision and strategic thinking only leads to lack of delivery.
So whereas it may be populist and help fill column inches to play make believe and pretend politics of promise much but deliver little.  It is not the Sinn Féin way.
In terms of querying Carál Ní Chuilín’s delivery record for Derry, I simply urge people to bear the following in mind.
If funding of over £12 million had not been delivered by her Department for the City of Culture, would 2013 been the magnificent year it was?  Don’t take my word for it simply ask the Culture Company and the citizens of Derry.
Also be reminded of how Carál has responded each and every time issues are raised around funding, she has outlined all that she has done and finishes with, “and we are not done yet.”
Sinn Féin remains committed to the delivery of the Foyle Valley Gateway project as outlined and agreed upon in the One Plan.  Be assured, as we continue on our programme of delivery it will include the required development of the stadium and much more besides.
We are not done yet, indeed.

Sinn Féin pump over £3.5m into Derry and Strabane schools

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor  Patricia Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor and Education Spokesperson Patricia Logue has welcomed the announcement by John O’Dowd Sinn Fein Minister for Education that schools in Derry and Strabane will receive over £3.5 million in their budgets as a result of changes to the way schools are funded.

As a member of the Board of Governors at St Cecilia’s College and Chairperson of Bligh’s Lane Nursery I am particularly pleased to see that they will receive very close to £250000 per annum.  I am sure that this extra funding will go a long way to improving the educational experience and life chances of the pupils and children in Creggan.

In total, there is almost £30 million in additional funds being pumped into school budgets across the North and this money is being targeted at those in greatest need. Its vital that school governors, teachers, parents and pupils understand the reasons behind this reform and why change is needed.

Perhaps one of the greatest inequalities currently facing our society is the fact that children from a disadvantaged background are much less likely to do well in school. The facts speak for themselves, 64% of children, not in receipt of Free School Meals achieve 5 good GCSEs whilst only 32% of those on Free School Meals achieve this level of attainment. In effect, a child from a lower income household, has only half the chance of leaving school with a good standard of qualifications. The Minister cannot ignore that inequality. None of us should ignore it.

The evidence and international experience have shown that the best way to break this cycle is by creating a network of good, well-led schools, which are properly resourced to do the job we want them to do and Sinn Féin through our programme of change is committed to this.

Toronto in Canada embarked upon a similar reform process in 2003. They faced a lot of resistance to change but they persisted and now have one of the most equal and high performing systems in the world. Their experience showed that, by targeting those children in greatest need and raising their attainment levels, this actually helped create a cycle of achievement in schools, raising standards for all children, including those who were already high achievers.

That is our aim and we have a whole suite of policies in place, which are aimed at improving educational attainment and creating that network of good schools. The year-on-year increase in attainment under successive Sinn Féin ministers is testament to the success of those policies. But there is still much to be done and we can never become complacent.

Sinn Féin are changing the way we do education. We now need to change the way we fund education so as to address the needs of the most disadvantaged.  And there is nothing to fear in that for anyone. The international experience clearly shows that targeting disadvantage in this will improve outcomes for all children.

It’s also important to remember that this is not about ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. When the planned reform of the formula was first publicised, there was a great deal of public comment and, it’s fair to say, concern among some schools that their budgets would be decreased.

However, the Minister has listened to those concerns and addressed them. In the budgets, confirmed yesterday, no school is losing a penny as a result of his changes. He has injected additional funds into the system and take other steps to ensure that is the case.

That is incredible leadership. He has remained true to the policy aim of targeting disadvantage and making a real difference to thousands of children who need our help, while at the same time ensuring that no other school loses out.

This is the kind of leadership that Sinn Féin brings to every area of work we are involved in, be it in the Executive, the Assembly, the Council or the community and we will continue working tirelessly on your behalf until we achieve a society centred on fairness and equality where every child has the chance to fulfil their potential in life.

Sinn Féin Derry Offices

European Office:

Unit 2 Spencer House

18-22 Spencer Road

Derry BT47 6QA

028 7131 8683

 

Derry Sinn Féin Office:

Ráth Mór, Eastway

Derry City BT48 9QA

028 7137 7551

 

Shantallow / Culmore Office:

64B Racecourse Road

Derry, BT48 8DS

028 7135 9747