Culmore PO to close in January for refurb –Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has urged residents in the Culmore area to plan ahead as to how they access postal services in the New Year.

He made his call after it was announced that the Culmore Post Office needs to close for refurbishment on Tuesday 30th  January 2018.

Councillor Hassan said “I would  just like to alert residents in Culmore that the Post Office there is to shut for a few weeks in January for refurbishment.

It will close on Tuesday 30th January and a new-look Post Office is scheduled to open at the current location on Thursday 8 February 2nd.

Residents can avail of postal services at the Shantallow Post Office, Northside Village Centre, Glengalliagh Road, and the Galliagh Post Office, 1 Fairview Road.

When this new branch opens, customers will benefit from a newly modernised Post Office service with longer opening hours: Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 20:00.

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Mc Callion meets Housing Executive over Bluebell Hill Gardens

Sinn Féin Foyle MP, Elisha Mc Callion has hosted a meeting with senior representatives from the Housing Executive and residents of Bluebell Hill Gardens in the Brandywell.

This meeting was requested after the news that the scheme to remedy serious problems with damp, which was due to begin in October this year was to be delayed even further.

“The meeting with Housing Executive was very constructive. We have been given assurances that this scheme should go ahead in February 2018. This is welcome news for the residents affected and I have asked the Housing Executive to fast track the installation of new kitchens and bathrooms for these dwellings, which are long overdue. The Housing Executive are confident that this is possible and have agreed to reconvene with residents in the New Year with a definitive timescale of when these works would be carried out.” Elisha Mc Callion commented.

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue, who has been campaigning on behalf of the residents to have these works completed, said “I am pleased with today’s meeting. I have been working on this issue now for several years and hopefully we will now see this program delivered without any further delays. The additional work including the bathroom and kitchen upgrades alongside a full review of the electrical wiring in these houses is welcome news .The  Housing Executive are now also exploring the possibility of installing gas in the area in the near future.”

Commenting further the Foyle MP said “We must now ensure that there is no further delay in the delivery of these much needed works and I am hopeful that at this time next year the residents of Bluebell will be living in the standard of homes that they deserve”

McKnight welcomes introduction of double yellows at Racecourse junction

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has welcomed the introduction of double lines at the entrance to a busy shopping complex on the Racecourse Road.

Councillor McKnight said “I would like to thank the Transport NI for installing these much need double yellow lines. This is a very busy area due to the number of different retail units in the area and is often extremely difficult for drivers to get out of this junction with cars parked on either side.

There have been numerous accidents in the area over the last few months and my party colleague Tony Hassan has been raising safety at this junction for some tme.So this will hopefully help the situation there .

We are hopeful that a traffic survey will soon be carried out along this stretch of road so that a new pedestrian crossing can also been installed to make this road safer to cross.

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Kelly encourages public to respond to consultation on social housing

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly  has expressed concerns about proposals in the Department for Communities for a review of social housing allocations.

Councillor Kelly  said:

“The crisis in housing provision, particularly the shortage of social housing, but also the lack of site accommodation and adapted homes should be a clarion call for change.

“Many of the proposals outlined are about hiding problems rather than tackling them.

“They are about getting those responsible for the provision of housing off the hook without changing conditions on the ground. They are about reducing the appearance of need not addressing it.

“People without a home or who are living in overcrowded conditions or who are living in poor quality housing without security or certainty, those paying unreasonable rents or without appropriate accommodation to meet their needs, will not find improvement and progress as a result of these proposals.

“Sinn Féin are encouraging people in Derry  to respond to the consultation and make their views known to the Department.

“Housing inequalities must be properly addressed. This consultation proposes removing points from families who have been on the housing waiting list for too long rather than supporting them.”

Katie Taylor inspiration to young Derry boxers

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has hailed Irish boxer Katie Taylor after she successfully defended her WBA world lightweight title with a unanimous points victory over American Jessica McCaskill.

sandra duffy

Sandra Duffy who is also the secretary of St Joseph’s ABC based in the Galliagh area of the city said

 “This is a great  achievement by Katie.

Katie is an inspiration to many young boxers in Derry and across Ireland, she has encouraged many girls to join the world or boxing.

Boxing is a big sport in this city and many people work away behind the scenes to provide a positive outlet for our young people.

During the year of City of Culture the then Culture Minister Minister Carál Ní Chuilín gave a £1million injection of funds for boxing in the then Derry City Council Area as part of the legacy from the yearlong celebration .

So once again well done Katie and hopefully it will attract more young people into the sport locally.

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Campbell welcomes Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme announcement

Sinn Féin Irish Language spokesperson Councillor Kevin Campbell  has welcomed an announcement from the Department for Communities that the 2018 Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme will open for applications from the 3rd of January 2018.

Kevin Campbell said

“I welcome the news that the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme will open in January.

“I congratulate Carál Ní Chuilín for the initiative, which has exceeded it’s 2020 target of 20,000 this year.

“Hopefully this announcement means that discrimination against Irish-speaking children will not be tolerated in the future.

“The Irish language belongs to us all and it is time that an Irish Language Act was introduced so that Irish speakers and learners are afforded the same rights as citizens across these islands.

“Application forms can be downloaded from the Líofa website www.liofa.eu or by contacting Líofa directly on 028 9051 5058.

“The scheme will close on the 28 of February and successful applicants will be notified in March 2018.”

Mullan demands answers over SuperValu fears

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan is seeking an urgent meeting with the operators of the SuperValu store in Waterloo Place amid reports it has been earmarked for closure.

Karen Mullan said:

“There is a responsibility on the Musgrave Group to publicly outline their future intentions for their store in Waterloo Place.

 “We have been contacted by workers expressing concern regarding the future of their jobs following speculation in local media that the store will closing next year. They have not been made aware of any plans for closure. 

“In the run up to Christmas, workers are rightly worried about this development and the impact it will have on their future. There is an onus on management to make their staff aware of any potential impact on their employment.

“In the current climate, any fear of job losses is a blow to any worker and their families and will only increase pressure on attempts to build economic stability in the north west. 

“I have written to senior Directors at Musgrave and have asked for an outline of their future intention for the Waterloo Place store and if this will impact on any of the other SuperValu stores throughout the city. I have also requested information on what this will mean for the staff currently employed there.

“It’s of great importance that in any circumstance, workers’ receive their full rights and entitlements.” Críoch/Ends

Council walk out on Jerusalem further indication of ‘rights denial’ – McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has said the DUP’s ‘walk out’ of December’s full meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council is a further indication that the DUP can’t come to terms with the need for justice and rights in the north of Ireland and across the world. 

 

The walk out came after Councillors voted unanimously against President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

Caoimhe McKnight said:

 

“I welcome the passing of a motion on the floor of the Council today condemning the crass and reckless decision by President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the ‘complete and united’ capital of Israel.

 

“The fact that DUP Councillors walked out of the chamber at the very mention of justice and rights of Palestinians living in Jerusalem is a further indication of their anti-rights, anti-justice agenda which is out of sync with a majority of people on these islands.

 

“But it’s hardly surprising. They are holding up the restoration of an Executive by denying language rights, marriage equality and access to legacy inquests.

 

“Even the Tories seen Trump’s decision as reckless, yet the DUP failed to condemn it. They need to come to terms with the principles of justice, rights and equality.

 

“People right across society recognise that the unilateral move by the US will have grave consequences for peace process and the two state solution, which was already on life support because of Israel’s continued colonisation of Palestine, continued illegal Israeli colonial settlement building, and the apartheid regime that Israel is enforcing in Palestine.

 

“The international community is rightly united in its rejection of Israel’s jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem. We have sent a clear message from Derry today, the city of Civil Rights, that we reject it also.

 

“We must continue to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters, condemn Israeli aggression, their violations of human rights and express our support for the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people for Statehood based on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

 

“The Irish government must send a clear signal and in line with the Programme for Government, recognise the State of Palestine.”

 

CRIOCH/ENDS

McCallion meets with Sajid Javid to discuss Derry and Strabane City Deal

British government support for the Derry Strategic Growth Plan is needed for the city and district, and the north-west of Ireland, Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion MP has said.

The Foyle MP was speaking following a meeting in Westminster with British Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.

Elisha McCallion said:

“The prospect of a City Deal for Derry city and district has real potential, but must be specific to the longstanding and unique economic needs of Derry.

“These needs have been outlined in a comprehensive Strategic Growth Plan, developed organically in partnership with key stakeholders in Derry city and throughout the district.

“As a result of my meeting today I have secured another meeting between Sajid Javid and these stakeholders in Derry to discuss how a City Deal can support our Strategic Growth Plan

“Any potential investment must address infrastructure deficiencies, and a lack of meaningful employment opportunities.

 “The British government must meaningfully contribute to the Strategic Growth Plan to encourage economic development in areas that have suffered under the weight of their relentless Tory cuts, now supported by the DUP.”

Greater PSNI response needed to ongoing criminal activity in the Ballymagroarty

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called for a greater PSNI response in relation to ongoing criminal activity in the Ballymagroarty area of the city.

eric mcginley

Cllr. McGinley said: “There is a growing sense of frustration from residents at the lack of action being taken in relation to arrests and prosecution of criminals who have been wreaking havoc within our communities.

These individuals have been responsible for break-ins, attempted burglaries and car crime and appear to be carrying out these activities with impunity.

Whilst we appreciate the PSNI requires credible evidence to bring these criminals to court there is a concern being expressed that not enough focus is being placed on this problem’

I have requested a meeting with the PSNI to raise our concerns and I will be asking for   more resources to be deployed to combat the criminal actions of a number of individuals who are plaguing our communities.

In most cases these criminals are gaining entry to homes through unlocked doors and I would appeal to residents to be vigilant at all times and ensure doors are properly secured.”

Appeal for safety fence on Lecky Road Flyover to be repair -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has contacted Transport NI to carry out urgent repairs to safety netting /fence which is damaged on the Lecky Road Flyover.

colly kelly

Councillor Kelly said “I am urging motorists to be careful whilst travelling up the Lecky Road Flyover due to the safety wire on the barriers which seems to have been damaged, is hanging off out onto the roadway.

I have reported this to Transport NI and asked them carry out urgent repairs to safety wire as a matter of urgency.

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Katie Taylor inspiration to young Derry boxers

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has hailed Irish boxer Katie Taylor after she successfully defended her WBA world lightweight title with a unanimous points victory over American Jessica McCaskill.

Sandra Duffy who is also the secretary of St Joseph’s ABC based in the Galliagh area of the city said

 “This is a great  achievement by Katie.

Katie is an inspiration to many young boxers in Derry and across Ireland, she has encouraged many girls to join the world or boxing.

Boxing is a big sport in this city and many people work away behind the scenes to provide a positive outlet for our young people.

During the year of City of Culture the then Culture Minister Minister Carál Ní Chuilín gave a £1million injection of funds for boxing in the then Derry City Council Area as part of the legacy from the yearlong celebration .

So once again well done Katie and hopefully it will attract more young people into the sport locally.

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Mullan calls for teaching payrise

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has called for teachers here to receive a pay increase.

The Foyle MLA was speaking after the Department of Finance confirmed that uplifts can be approved for public sector workers.

“Teachers should receive a pay increase,” she commented.

“Teachers and other public sector workers provide a vital service and deserve a fair wage for their work in the delivery of vital services which have been subjected to years of relentless Tory austerity.

“John O’Dowd in his role as Education Minister set aside resources for teachers to be given a pay increase but his successor Peter Weir refused to implement it.”

Karen Mullan also reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for the public sector paycap to be lifted altogether.

She said: “The Tory Government should provide additional resources to ensure we have adequate finances to remove the paycap and to protect public services.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose austerity, defend frontline services and campaign for adequate funding for our public services and our public sector workers.

“I have personally engaged with representatives of teaching unions on this issue and will continue to do so.”

McCallion meets Palestinian activists in London

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has today met with Palestinian activists from the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), alongside party colleague Mickey Brady MP.

The Foyle MP said:

“Today Sinn Féin MPs met with Palestinian solidarity activists in London to discuss the major issues currently facing Palestinian society.

“Donald Trump’s flagrant breach of international law, by naming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, flies in the face of any prospect of securing human rights and of Palestinian nationhood.

“Sinn Féin is continuing to engage with Palestinian civic society and solidarity activists to offer our ongoing support for the Palestinian people facing military occupation, illegal Israeli settlements, and gross human rights abuses.”

‘DUP must end its blockade on power-sharing’ – O’Neill

The DUP could remove the barriers to the creation of a new Executive at Stormont by ending their anti-rights blockade, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has said.

 “Sinn Féin is determined to see the restoration of power-sharing institutions,” she commented.

“The vast majority of the public also want to see this and I very much welcome the initiative from civic nationalism this week calling for respect and equality at the heart of the process.

“Sinn Féin wants to see civic society empowered and participating in the political process.

“It is essential that every sector of society regardless of political allegiance, who want to protect our interests and future, make their voice heard and make it count.

“Ongoing cuts to hard-pressed public services is a consequence of propping up the Tory Government and its austerity project.

“The DUP need to start listening, because the challenges facing our public services, particularly our health and education systems, require the attention and knowledge of locally elected and accountable Ministers working collectively in the Executive.

“The need for cohesive political leadership to drive forward the transformation of our health service set out in the Bengoa Report is the most urgent example of this.

“But the anti-rights and anti-equality stance of the DUP is preventing this. The DUP is, in effect, putting unpopualr party and personal views ahead of our health, education and other essential public services.

“The majority of MLAs want to see marriage equality, language rights and legacy inquests delivered. The majority of MLAs are progressive in their thinking.

“The main block to the delivery of these basic rights and to the full and immediate restoration of the political institutions is the DUP. Its anti-rights agenda is entirely out of sync with public opinion across these islands. The DUP needs to end this stubborn anti-equality blockade which would allow us all to get back to the work that we were elected to do”.

“The British government also needs to stop pandering to the DUP by allowing them to block rights they afford their own constituents.”

Funding secured for major road resurface scheme outside Brandywell Stadium -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the news that funding has been secured to carry out road  major resurfacing and footpath replacements outside the Brandywell Stadium and at homes along the Lone Moor Road as well as  the introduction of new traffic calming measures there.

Councillor Logue said “It good news that the funding has been secured to carry out this essential piece of work.

Residents and anyone who travels this road on a daily basis will tell you it has been in a terrible state for some time.

Over two years ago I welcomed the news that the section of Lone Moor Road in the vicinity of the Showgrounds area had been deemed suitable for traffic calming measures.

It was assessed during 2016 and as a result was placed at number one in the Transport NI priority list.

This work will also complement the transformation underway at the Brandywell Stadium. the greyhound track and new play park.

I would like to thank the North West office of the Department of Communities, the Department of Infrastructure and TRIAX for getting this implemented.

As soon as I get the start date for the work I will let residents know as  with this being a main arterial route there will be a period of  disruption.

McCartney expresses solidarity with postal workers

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed solidarity with the vital role played by postal workers in our society to mark Postal Workers Day today 12thDecember.

raymond mccartney

 

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“Today is Postal Workers Day when we pay tribute to the role postal workers play in our society on a daily basis.

 

“It is particularly important that we stop and recognise the role of postal workers at this time of year, when their workload increases significantly as they make extra deliveries of Christmas cards and parcels.

 

“Postal workers are also a lifeline for older people and those who may be lonely and isolated, particularly in rural areas. Often the role of postal workers goes unnoticed but the fact is they play a key role in all of our daily lives.

 

“I’d like to pay tribute to all of our postal workers for the vital service they provide, not just at Christmas but all year round.”

 

CRIOCH/ENDS

Support operation snowball Christmas food appeal -Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue “I would like to commend everyone involved in doing collections across the city. For years there have been many people working away behind the scenes helping people in their hour of need and no more so at times such as Christmas. We are indebted to the tireless work they do.

The continuation of the Tory austerity agenda is leading to community organisations and likes of food banks being placed under pressure in the Derry area to help people.

As the old saying goes every little bit helps. So I would encourage people if they have one or two items they wish to give to the local Operation Snowball Christmas appeal they can leave them  at the front desk in our Ráth Mór office on the New Road until lunchtime on Friday 15th December .We will ensure that it is delivered in confidence to the team who are working on the ground in the TRIAX area which covers the  greater Bogside ,Brandywell, Creggan and Fountain districts.

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Welfare advices services in Derry require adequate funding and support – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has said it is crucial that welfare advice services working on the frontline in Derry receive adequate funding to provide their services.

She was speaking following a meeting with independent advice services and Kevin Higgins from Advice NI.

The Foyle MLA said:

“Over the past the number of weeks I have held meetings with the independent welfare advice service providers across the city to hear at first-hand, the work they do on a day-to-day basis and what plans are in place to deal ongoing changes within the welfare system.

“It’s quite apparent that workload being placed on these organisations is massive and they are stretched to the limits. Kevin Higgins from Advice NI heard the concerns from the services providers at first-hand at this weeks meeting.

“Amongst the concerns raised by groups was the introduction of the Tory Universal Credit policy and the impact it will have on people in our communities, this policy is riddled with faults, complications and delays including ridiculous waiting times for payments. It must be scrapped.

“Independent advice groups need adequate funding to be able to fulfil the vital role in providing help and assistance to members of the public. I offer my full support to their calls for this additional funding.”

I also raised these and other concerns with DFC, Permanent Secretary, Leo O’Reilly when I met with him and his staff.  They have agreed to look at this and come back to us.

Crioch/Ends

Road conditions at Cornshell dangerous -Duffy

Councillor Sandra Duffy 
“Sinn Féin have been contacted by a number of residents regarding Cornshell Lane and the dangerous and slippy surface there caused by the ice . I have contacted the local Teamworks project who have agreed to salt the area”

I would urge everyone out and about to take extra care over the next 24 hours due to the snow and black ice.

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Logue welcomes meeting over Iona Court, Old City Court housing conditions

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed a meeting between residents of Iona Court, Old City Court and Habinteg Housing Association in relation a number of issues raised about the condition of their homes.

The meeting was organised by Councillor Logue

Councillor Logue said “I have been working with residents to try and resolve a number of issues affecting their homes.

There have been ongoing complaints about draughty windows and doors, some homes have damp in them and in others the kitchens need replaced.

It was agreed that a house condition survey be carried out in Iona Court and Old City Court and Close.

I am glad to that this survey has now taken place.

Look forward to results of the surveys which hopefully will be early New Year.

It’s vital that the recommendations of the survey are included in 2018/19 planned maintenance schemes.

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Concerns over Affordable Warmth scheme threshold -McGinley

Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on the Department for Communities to ensure there are increased resources for any new Affordable Warmth scheme.

Cllr. McGinley said: “The Department for Communities has initiated a consultation which proposes a number of changes on how the Affordable Warmth scheme will be structured.   An initial view of the proposals would suggest that the scheme will be more accessible to a greater number of people though we would be concerned at the suggestion that the income threshold for single people would be lowered.

Affordable warmth is a necessity for many households in the North West considering the lack of wealth in the area and there will be many individuals and families who would welcome the opportunity to avail of assistance to more efficiently and effectively heat their homes.

At present there is a significant waiting list within the council area for work to be carried out on properties which have been deemed eligible for the scheme but for which there are a lack of resources.

Sinn Féin will argue very strongly that any new scheme must be accompanied by a significant increase in funding which will allow the Council and the Housing Executive to assess far more properties and allow for the necessary work to then be carried out in a timely manner.

Any new scheme will bring increased demand and increased expectation and we should ensure there is no increased disappointment because the Department has not made available enough funding.”

McCartney addresses rally against US decision on Jerusalem

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney addressed a rally in Derry on Thursday night condemning the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Speaking after the rally, Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

“This week, the US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intends to establish a US Embassy there.

“We felt it was important to mobilise the people of Derry on to the streets to highlight our opposition to this decision and to send our ongoing solidarity to the Palestinian people.

“The claim by Israel that Jerusalem is the ‘complete and united’ capital of Israel is in violation of international law and a flagrant breach of the international consensus around a two state solution.
“There is an onus on people and government’s alike to stand up and reject this crass decision.
“The Irish government must send a clear signal and inline with the programme for government, recognise the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS

Successful Tales & Trails Christmas event to return to Brooke Park – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for Rosemount Mickey Cooper  has welcomed  the news that  Tales & Trails Christmas event is return to the new Pavilion in Brooke Park on this year.

mickey cooper eric mcginley

Councillor Cooper said “I welcome the news that Christmas event entitled Tales & Trails is to return again to Brooke Park this year.

Last years event was an outstanding success with hundreds of people of all ages in attendance.It was great to see Christmas being brought into Brooke Park and getting such an event right into the heart of local communities.

I hope that this will be a yearly event more events can be staged in the surrounds of the park in 2018

Duffy welcomes drug seizures

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed a number of recent drugs seizures in the Derry and North West region.

She said “I am pleased about the amount of recent drugs seizures in the Derry and North West region.

The people who sell these drugs have no consideration for the impact it is having on the people who use them and their families.

I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it to the police so they can continue to protect communities in Derry from the scourge of drugs.

She went on to say

While these successful seizures  are to be welcomed it is also important to care for those who are addicted to various drugs. It’s vital that we support groups who are working hard in our city and district to help these people get their lives back on track.

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Campbell condemns Creggan shooting

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has condemned the shooting of a man in the Central Drive area of Creggan on Thursday night.

 

He  said “The shooting of this man is wrong and I condemn it.

 

“The people of Creggan and this city do not want these actions taking place on their streets.Just this week we had hundreds of children and people of all ages taking part in Christmas events and events to mark the 70th anniversary of Creggan ,celebrating all that is good about this community. 

 

“It’s clear those responsible have nothing to offer society and are at war with the local community.

 

“There can be no justification for such actions and I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it forward to the police.”

 

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An amnesty for British soldiers cannot be part of any resolution on legacy – O’Neill

Speaking after meeting the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors and the Victims Forum Sinn Féin Leader in the north Michelle O’Neill commented:

“Sinn Féin is committed to the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms.  At every stage of legacy negotiations dating from the Haass O’Sullivan Talks through to the Stormont House Agreement, victims made it clear that all options must be open to them as they pursue truth and justice.

“It is clear that any attempt to bring forward amnesty proposals goes directly against this wish.

“It has been the British government who have abdicated their international obligations to victims and failed to honour commitments made at Stormont House.

“It is important that the public momentum around legacy matters and the proposed NIO legacy consultation is not lost.  There can be no more false dawns or unfulfilled commitments for victims and their families.

“I, like the members’ of the Victims Forum, want to see the NIO consultation on legacy go live immediately and without further delay.  It is essential that all victims have their say.  However any section of the consultation that makes reference or seeks views to a ‘statute of limitation’ for British forces must be removed. An amnesty for British soldiers cannot be part of any resolution on legacy.

“Theresa May is also fully aware of the immediate need to fund the Lord Chief Justice’s Legacy Inquest Plan to deal with the backlog in legacy cases.

“Sinn Féin will continue to consult and engagement with families, campaign groups and NGOs during the consultation process.”

Mullan seeks assurances on special educational needs provision

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has sought assurances from the Education Authority that children with special educational needs (SEN) have access to appropriate provision and support in schools particularly children with autism.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Karen Mullan said:

“I have been working with families and children with autism and special educational needs. All of those families have highlighted the need for greater provision and support for their children.

“It is essential that the Education Authority listens to children with special educational needs and their families and take steps to ensure their needs and requirements are properly addressed.

“I have sought assurances from them that there will be improvements in assessments, classroom assistants and early years intervention.

“I emphasised that schools need to be better equipped to deal with the needs of pupils with special educational needs and autism.

“I am pleased  the Authority has agreed to explore ways of providing additional support to children.

“Special educational needs provision is a priority for Sinn Féin. We have argued the case for investment in resources to provide support to SEN children and young people. It is essential that the Education Authority acts in the interest of these children and their families.”

Campbell urges attendance at Day of Reflection ceremony on Friday

Former Sinn Féin Mayor of Derry Councillor Kevin Campbell has urged people in the city and district to attend a Day of Reflection ceremony hosted by the current Mayor Maoliosa McHugh this Friday at Guildhall Square at 1pm.

The former mayor insisted that the event is designed to include everyone who died in conflict and insisted “there is no hierarchy of victims.”

Colr. Campbell said it is important to remember the past. “We all want to move on but we cannot do that by forgetting the past. The Day of Reflection gives everyone the opportunity to remember the past, and everyone who died as a result of conflict, in an open and inclusive way. It is open to all sections of the community and everyone is invited.

“It is a short ceremony with a period of reflection to allow people to remember all victims in silence,” he said.

“By remembering the past we are not blocking the future. It is something that we need to do. We need to be able to remember the past together and remind ourselves of the pain and suffering that went before. It cannot be forgotten as we move forward and this is what the Day of Reflection is all about,” he said.

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GFA must be protected in all its parts during the Brexit negotiations -Foyle MP

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said the Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all its parts during the Brexit negotiations.

elisha mccallion

Speaking ahead of a planned demonstration at Bridgend at 11am on Saturday morning The Foyle MP said:

“It is clear the current Brexit negotiations are at a critical stage as the events this week have shown.

“In all of this it is key that the Good Friday Agreement needs to be protected in all of its parts. This is about more than just trade, it is also about citizens rights and the Agreement.

“The fact is that the people of the North voted to remain in the EU and Sinn Féin have made it clear to the key players in the negotiations that the DUP do not represent that view.

“Unless the outstanding issues around Ireland, the border, citizens rights and the Good Friday Agreement are addressed then the Taoiseach should be prepared to use his veto to prevent the negotiations from moving to the next stage.

“There is a way to address all of these issues is for the north to secure special status for the north within the EU.”

Irish citizens must have rights protected immediately – McCallion

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has said that the rights and entitlements of Irish citizens living in Britain must be protected in the context of Brexit.

The Foyle MP was speaking following the launch of a Traveller Movement report in Westminster on the rights of Irish citizens after Brexit, entitled ‘How to safeguard the rights of Irish citizens in an uncertain future’.

elisha mccallion

Elisha McCallion MP said:

“The Traveller Movement has launched this important paper outlining the challenges faced by Irish citizens living in Britain after Brexit.

“18 months after the Brexit vote, Irish migrants in Britain have yet to receive any legal guarantees of their rights and entitlements. Without these guarantees Irish and other migrants communities will be socially and economically impacted.

“Irish and other citizens in Britain must now have their full entitlements respected and protected.”

Campbell slams tampering of lifebelts along Derry riverfront

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has slammed those behind tampering with lifebelts located on the riverfront in Derry .

His comments follows news from the  Foyle Search and Rescue that lifebelts have been removed and tampered with over recent weeks.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said “I am disgusted that someone has been tampering with the lifebelts along the riverfront.

It’s a very sad state of affairs that anyone would even contemplate doing  this sort of thing. I saw throughout my year as Mayor the work and dedication of the volunteers of  Foyle Search and Rescue and the importance of having  lifebelts along the riverfront and the Peace Bridge.

I would urge anyone with information on the culprits to contact the PSNI straight away.

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Logue welcomes local initiative to highlight global Gender-Based Violence

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed an initiative this week to light up the Council offices on the Strand Road in the colour of purple to support the campaign to highlight  global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

Councillor Logue said “This is an excellent initiative at local level. It’s very important that we  highlight and tackle all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination against women.

 Despite the progress that women have made in all parts of society there are still millions of women and young girls who are suffering horrendous forms of violence, abuse and discrimination because of their sex.

More needs to be done to challenge the culture of discrimination that allows women and young girls to be raped, beaten, trafficked and mutilated on a daily basis.

All of us have a part to play by raising awareness of these crimes and calling on governments to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to eradicate gender based violence.

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Clear that British government has no strategy on Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is clear the British government has no clear plan or strategy on Brexit.
Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“The fact that the Tory Brexit secretary, David Davis, has admitted that the British government has not carried out any impact assessments on the consequences of Brexit on the economy shows the chaos they are in.
“Eighteen months on from the EU referendum, the fact that the Tories still do not have a clear idea of what they are doing should be astonishing, but unfortunately it isn’t to those of us who have been involved in this process.
“It is clear the British government have not even done the basics on Brexit so how can they expect to handle complex negotiations, let alone plan for the future.
“And if the Tories have shown this level of disregard for the British economy then we can guess how little thought they have put into the concerns of the people of the north of Ireland.
“David Davis may not have done his homework but we have. We know how Brexit will impact jobs, trade, health, energy, and agriculture.
“David Davis has seldom visited the north and has no concept of the concerns of people living in border areas on Brexit. He can’t simply ignore those concerns.
“The best way to protect the Good Friday Agreement, the right of citizens and the interests of people in the north from all this chaos is to secure special status for the north within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Poll shows majority support special status – Anderson 

Poll shows majority support special status – Anderson 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the results of an influential opinion poll showing that a majority of people in the north now support special status for the north within the EU.

Martina Anderson was speaking following a Lucidtalk opinion poll, commissioned bu GUE/NGL which shows that a majority in the north support the north securing special status within the EU.

The poll also shows that a majority also supports remaining in the EU through Irish unity in the event of a ‘hard Brexit.’

Key findings: 

martina anderson

–  57.8 per cent support special status for the north within the EU

– A majority of 47.9 per cent support the north remaining in the EU by joining a united Ireland

– 52.4 per cent believe there will be a reduction in rights as a result of Brexit

– 75.8 per cent believe EU standards should be maintained post-Brexit

Commenting on the poll, Martina Anderson said:

“The results of this opinion poll, which was carried out by Lucidtalk and commissioned by GUE/NGL, shows that a majority of people, 57.8 per cent, believe that the north should be given special status within the EU, including remaining in the customs union and single market.

“This vote, just like that of the majority who voted to remain in the EU in last year’s referendum, is drawn from all sections of society across the north.

“The poll also shows that a majority, 47.9 per cent, believe that the north should remain in the EU by becoming part of a united Ireland in the event of a ‘hard Brexit.’

“It also found that 52.4 per cent of people believe that there will be a decrease in rights as a result of Brexit.

“This shows the deep level of concern about the Tory/DUP Brexit agenda and reinforces that the DUP do not represent the views of the people of the people of the north.

“While of course this is an opinion poll, it also chimes with what we have been hearing in our engagements with people from all sections of society from across the north.

“What this shows is that more and more people now realise that securing special status for the north within the EU is achievable and offers the best protection for the Good Friday Agreement and citizens rights.” Ends/Crioch

Duffy welcomes Off The Streets new hi tech state of the art mobile hub.

Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy, has welcomed the launch of Off The Streets new hi tech state of the art mobile hub.

She said

sandra duffy

This mobile hub will allow Off The Streets to reach more young people not just in the Galliagh/ Shantallow area but also across the City, bringing their particular unique brand of youth work to an area near you.

The hub has already had its debut, with services being provided from it on Halloween night at Ebrington. The staff have many great things planned for it now over the coming weeks with youth work programmes planned in some of our new estates, areas such as Knockena and Clon Elagh, areas that at this stage have no static site or building that services can be provided from.

Off The Streets are a service that is going from strength to strength and as a committee member I see first-hand the great work that they do with many young people .

This mobile hub can only enhance this work, I wish them every success with it.

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McCartney urges support for rally against US decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney MLA has condemned the US Government’s reckless decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to begin establishing a US Embassy there.

raymond mccartney

Israel’s claim that Jerusalem is the ‘complete and united’ capital of Israel is in violation of numerous international laws.

He also called on people to support a rally being held in Derry’s Guildhall Sq on Thursday 7th December at 7pm.
Raymond McCartney said:

“I want to add my voice to global condemnation of the reports that US President Donald Trump will today declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is an extremely dangerous, reckless, and worrying move.

“The status of the city of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in the region as East Jerusalem is the future capital of the State of Palestine, but it is illegally occupied by Israel.

“This unilateral move by the US will have grave consequences for the Israel-Palestine peace process, which was already on life support because of Israel’s continued colonisation of Palestine, continued illegal Israeli colonial settlement building, and the apartheid regime that Israel is enforcing in Palestine.

“The international community is rightly united in its rejection of Israel’s jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem. No country currently has its Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and plans to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a very dangerous and reckless step.

“I would urge people to show their support for the Palestinian people and join the rally on Thursday 7th December, 7pm in the Guildhall Square.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS 

Anderson meets Puigdemont in Brussels as arrest warrant withdrawn

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in Brussels today to discuss Catalan independence.

Martina Andersons said:

Martina Anderson and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

“I met with Catalan President Charles Puigdemont in Brussels today to discuss the independence referendum and the upcoming elections in Catalonia.

“I welcome the fact that the international arrest warrant issued against him has now been withdrawn.

“I also welcome the fact that a number of Catalan ministers detained following the referendum have now been released on bail but they should never have been charged in the first place.

“Others, however, remain in custody. All charges against them should be dropped and they should be released immediately.

“I assured Carles Puigdemont that I will be in Barcelona for the elections in December just as I was for the referendum in October and of our continuing solidarity with the Catalan people.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson meets Verhofstadt on Brexit and special status

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met with the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt today to discuss special status for the north within the EU.
Speaking from Brussels, Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

“I met today with Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator in light of Monday’s developments in the Brexit negotiations.
“I impressed on him that this is about more than trade and the need for the Good Friday Agreement to be protected in all its parts, and also the need to protect citizens rights.
“I also reminded him that the majority of people in the north voted to remain and that the DUP do not represent this view.
“The best way to protect those rights and the Good Friday Agreement is for the north to secure special status within the EU, including remaining in the customs union and single market.
“These negotiations are still at a critical stage and unless the issues around Ireland, the border and citizens rights are addressed then the Taoiseach must be prepared to use his veto.” Ends/Críoch

Logue welcomes installation of a new cash machine in the Brandywell

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the installation of a new cash machine in the Brandywell.

Councillor Logue said it is important such facilities are available for local communities.

“I am very pleased that the new ATM Cash machine is now in operation beside the shop on the Lecky Road.

This new service will be welcomed by users of the local businesses ,residents and tourists to the area. It’s very important that such facilities are available in the heart of our communities and that people have access to such banking services,” she said.

Ends 

Hassan welcomes news on Buncrana Road carriageway

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that consultants have begun work on a new junction strategy and environmental surveys in connection with a proposed carriageway along the length of the Buncrana Road.

tony hassan

Councillor Hassan said “I welcome this news on the proposed Buncrana Road carriageway. I have long campaigned for action to be taken on this key road in our city.

It is the main road corridor into Donegal and its upgrade would see the transformation of that part of the city and would open up opportunities for the development of the H2 site.

We need to come up with workable solutions to easing the traffic gridlock along this road and at the same time unlock the key to the regeneration of that area in the next five to ten years.

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Mullan congratulates schools, children and parents on excellence in reading and literacy

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has congratulated local schools, children and parents following the announcement the performance of local primary school children has been ranked 6th in the world in The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Karen Mullan said:

“PIRLS involves 320,000 children in 50 countries.

“These fantastic results are a testament to the hard work of local schools, children and parents on excellence in reading and literacy.

“The report’s authors found that, globally, children who achieved the best reading and comprehension scores, had parents who liked to read to them and had access to books at home.

“These children attended well-resourced schools where reading was prioritised, attended school regularly and were not tired or hungry at school and liked reading in and out of school.

“These results are to be welcomed and reflect the hard work and commitment of former Sinn Féin Ministers.”

Launch of Irelands Hunger For Justice

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris was in the city this week to launch a new book Irelands Hunger For Justice remembering all 22 Republicans who died on hunger strike from Thomas Ash in 1917 right up to Mickey Devine from Derry in 1981.

The Kerry TD announced at the recent Sinn Féin Ard Fheis he was to retire from office with Gerry Adams at the next Dail election.

Speaking to a packed audience in the Ráth Mór offices in Creggan at the launch he said he was “honoured” to be launching the book in Derry and paid tribute to the late Martin McGuiness.

He said

It was very important that this book was written to ensure that the memory of the twenty two hunger strikers was not forgotten. Earlier this year a committee was set up in Kerry to research and pull all the various aspects of the book together, it was mighty task but we got there in the end.

From Thomas Ashe in 1917 to Bobby Sands and his  nine other comrades in 1981 all parts of the world rightly uphold and recognise their sacrifice .All these years later, the Irish hungers-strikes continue to inspire the down –trodden, the oppressed and those who struggle for justice and freedom in Ireland and across the world.

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McCallion secures meeting over Bluebell Hill Gardens delay

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has secured a meeting with Housing Executives and residents to discuss continued delays to a major refurbishment scheme for Bluebell Hill Gardens in the Brandywell area of the city

The Foyle MP said

I was extremely dissapointed to learn that the scheme to improve homes in Bluebell Hill Gardens that are currentlty in an acceptable living standard will be delayed yet again until the New Year as far as March. This is unacceptable and I and my colleague Patricia Logue have demanded that senior officials from the Housing Executive come to the Brandywell and explain to you their failings in delivering this work.

The Housing Executive has said that there are more remedial works that must be carried out than first envisaged. I have questioned this as two full site surveys were carried out by the Housing Executive.

This simply isn’t good enough.

I have secured a meeting with senior officials from the Housing Executive and residents on Monday 11th December at 10am in the Gasyard Centre.

I would encourage all residents to attend.

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Days of using political institutions to show disrespect are over- McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said today that the days of anyone using the political institutions in the north of Ireland to show disrespect, and contempt or to deny rights are over.

The Foyle  MLA was speaking after his party launched a new Sinn Féin booklet entitled ‘No return to the Status Quo’ which analyses the evolution of the peace process since 2010.

Raymond McCartney  said:

raymond mccartney

“The British government and DUP alliance is based upon a unionist agenda defined in terms of support for Brexit, austerity and opposition to a rights-based framework for government.

“They have created the current crisis and, as a result, the entire basis of the Good Friday Agreement is now faced with its most serious threat in the history of the peace process.

“A successful resolution hinges on whether political unionism can accept, and co-exist in partnership, with the Irish cultural tradition, and Irish nationalist and republican identity.

“The only way this can be achieved is through the implementation of the equality based framework of the Good Friday Agreement to guarantee the rights of all citizens and sections of society, regardless of creed, culture, colour, class, political allegiance or sexual orientation.

“The political institutions will either be reestablished and sustained on this basis, or they will not.

“Fifty years on from the Civil Rights campaign the rights and equality agenda must not be short changed. The days of anyone using the political institutions in the north of Ireland to show disrespect, and contempt or to deny rights are over.

“This much is certain, the new momentum for full delivery of rights for all citizens will not be going away.”

Mullan hosts advice services meeting

inn Féin MLA Karen Mullan facilitated meeting with the Independent Advice Services across Derry City to discuss the impact Universal Credit and further Tory austerity will have on our community.

Karen Mullan said:

“I facilitated a meeting with the various advice services who quite rightly raised concern regarding the impact that the introduction of Universal Credit will have on people living in our communities.

“Amongst the concerns raised, was the five week delay for the first payment of Universal Credit, this will do little to prevent more people being driven into hardship.

“The serious flaws at the heart of Universal Credit still exist. It’s implementation and the five week wait should be stopped immediately.

“Another key concern raised was the process of demeaning claimants and ‘stressful’ assessments, which is appearing at the heart of the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) system. It’s increasing anxiety and making conditions  significantly worse.

“The growth in Food Bank dependency witnessed in the last couple of years is a direct consequence of the Tory assault on living standards and their attack on public services and the welfare state witch is set to get worse with further cuts to come.

“Advice services provide vital support to people in receiving their full benefit entitlement and assisting the application process, cuts to advice service funding only adds to the extreme pressure already placed on advice workers. They need extra resource, not cut backs.

“The answer to ending the attacks on the most vulnerable in our society, is ending Tory/DUP austerity and their ideologically driven attacks on our public services.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Brooke Park work to start on Monday – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that planned work on the 3G pitch/netting  at Brooke Park is to start on Monday.

Councillor Cooper said

michael mickey cooper

“I pleased to have received written confirmation from the Council that contractors will be on site this coming Monday, 4th December 2017 to commence the planned works on the 3G pitch/netting  at Brooke Park. As per the original schedule, these works are planned to be completed prior to Christmas, subject to how quickly the work can be carried out.

 The Council have also said that they aim to give you further updates as the works progress and discuss the transition back to using the pitch once work has been completed.

Ends

‘Huge opportunities from China relationship’ – McCallion

Derry’s strengthening relationship with China opens up huge potential economic opportunities for the city, Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

Speaking after welcoming a delegation from China to Derry today, she commented: “I was delighted to join the Mayor and other local representatives to welcome the delegation from Dalian City.

“They are here as part of a major summit taking place in Belfast so it was very important that they also came to Derry.

“There was a lot of positive engagement around the key assets we have in the North West and very encouraging feedback about the region and the opportunities it presents.

“This relationship has been growing since my time as Mayor and it is great to see it strengthening all the time. I have no doubt that it will lead to major opportunities in the future which will be mutually beneficial for both economies.

“Discussions are already ongoing around the next step which is for a deputation from the north west to visit Dalian with our university, local industry and the business sector.”

Residents parking in Bogside

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said “I am glad that the Permanent secretary to the Department of Infrastructure has now set out a timeline in a written to response to Karen Mullan MLA .Sinn Féin have been campaigning for a residents parking scheme in the Bogside from as far back as 2007.They have met with residents from the area on many occasions over the years.

patricia logue colly kelly

The Triax management team have also been working very hard on the issue and have collected surveys of resident’s views on any proposed scheme and facilitated a public consultation on behalf of the then DRD Roads Service.

This has been a very long campaign and the issue of residents parking has constantly been caught up in red tape.Its good to finally see light at the end of the tunnel.

McGinley -Caution against unfounded allegations

Following the report from the NI Audit Office into waste management contracts Eric McGinley – Chairperson of Council’s Assurance, Audit & Risk Committee – said:

“This Committee has responsibility for ensuring that the Council conducts all its business in a proper manner.   Members are entitled to raise issues of concern when sufficient grounds exist to do so.

What we all must caution against is councillors being party to unfounded allegations against council on behalf of another individual or business.

Unfortunately, in this instance, we have had members at Committee meetings accusing senior council officers of acting improperly and accusing Council of being responsible for the loss of jobs at a particular company.

These accusation and allegations were demonstrated to be without foundation and those members responsible may wish to consider their own positions on this Committee.

For my part – as Chairperson of the Committee – I want to take this opportunity to extend our support to the council officer whose character and professionalism was called into question and I have asked that these sentiments are conveyed to the individual along with a copy of the Audit Office findings.

This case – which was not of Council’s making – placed a considerable strain on our human resources and disrupted other areas of Audit work.   It is important that we now draw a firm line under this matter and move forward without any further delay or distraction.”

 

Cooper organises meeting over Strand Road traffic and boy racer issues

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has confirmed he is in the process of organising a meeting with residents and the PSNI,

Councillor Mickey Cooper

to discuss how residents can report boy racer incidents in the most effective way and to address other traffic issues in the area.

 

Councillor Cooper said “A large body of work has been going on now for a number of years to try and address the problem of boy racers in the Lower Strand Road area of Derry.

 

Central to that is been the input of local residents. They are the people who have to live with the late night problems in the area.

 

Now that CCTV has been installed we have to move to the next stage where residents and the police are working together to ensure that incidents are both reported and also followed up in the most effective way by the PSNI.

 

The meeting will also allow discuss the implementing of initiatives to allow residents to report parking infringements much more effectively similar to schemes I have secured for other areas.

 

I will inform residents for the time and date of the meeting and would urge them to come along.

 

Ends

Lobbying pays off as Killea bus shelter installed – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed the  installation  of a new bus shelter in the village of Killea just outside city.

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said

 “This is welcome news for  residents living  in the Killea area.I have been lobbying for some time now to have this bus shelter introduced .

The new bus shelter will make life more comfortable for those residents of the area who depend on public transport to get around. It will also be of special benefit to the youth of the area who have to stand out in the open in all-weathers waiting for school buses.

I had received complaints from parents and grandparents of children from the area that  in the bad weather they were going into school soaked to the skin even before they started the school day and that is not what we want in 2017.

I would like to thank all those involved in the process to make this possible local residents and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Sinn Féin Christmas Post stamp in memory of Martin McGuinness launched

The annual Sinn Féin Christmas Post has been launched in the city.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said 

“This year it was decided by the party membership that the commemorative stamp should be in honour of Martin McGuinness.

Martin has left to us all his memory, the legacy of his activism in our quest for a new Ireland.

The annual Sinn Féin post has been a feature of the Christmas period in Derry now for over thirty years and I would encourage people to make use of it. Christmas cards will be delivered to any part of Derry City for the minimal price of 20p.

The Christmas Post is now operating.Cards can be left at the Sinn Féin Office on the Racecourse Road Shantallow, Ráth Mór office on the New Road and at the Spencer Road and Strand Road offices.

Concern over time to fix street lights –Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has appealed to Transport NI to speed up the time it is taking to rep-lace broken street lights.

Councillor Hassan said “I am concerned that in some cases broken street lights which I and other elected reps have reported five and six weeks ago are still not working.

It can be very worrying for anyone living along a street or road where the lights have not been working for weeks, particularly as we enter the dark winter nights.

I understand that it is a big task to be constantly repairing these lights across the city but there needs to be a reduction in the amount of time it is taking for these repairs.

Ends

Be vigilant against car crime -McGinley

Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on the community to be vigilant against car crime.

Cllr. McGinley said: “There have been number of car crime incidents in the Ballymagroarty, Hazelbank, Foyle Springs and Springtown Road areas over the past number of days.

These incidents involved individuals driving recklessly through built up residential areas endangering people’s lives in the process, the burglary of properties with the intention of stealing family cars and the attempted theft of cars parked outside homes.

I have raised these concerns with the PSNI and have been given assurances that they are working on a number of lines of inquiries in relation to this recent upsurge in crime in the area.   Thankfully the PSNI has also seized a number of these vehicles and taken them off the road.

I would encourage residents within our communities to be vigilant against this type of criminal behaviour and to report any dangerous or suspicious activity as soon as possible.   The quicker we can respond to these incidents the safer our streets will become.”

Ends

World AIDS Day this Friday 1st Dec-Logue

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said its important that we all   remember World Aids Day, which takes place this Friday December 1st


Councillor Patricia Logue  said 



“World AIDS Day, is a day in which the world comes out in solidarity and support for those who are living with HIV and AIDS.

“The Red Ribbon is the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness and is used to promote awareness and support of a worthy cause and to remind others of the need for their continued support and commitment.

“We must constantly be proactive in supporting prevention awareness programmes for HIV in Derry and across Ireland, these programmes must be sustained and given the proper funding to help reduce the levels of new infections and put in place the support services that are needed for caring for those suffering with HIV.”

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‘A5 announcement will provide construction boost’ – McCartney

Confirmation that work is set to begin on the A5 Derry to Dublin road upgrade will provide a much-needed boost to the construction industry, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA  Raymond McCartney  has said.

The Foyle MLA was commenting after the Department of Infrastructure  published its decision to proceed with the first phase of the project following a lengthy planning process.

raymond mccartney

“The A5 dual carriageway is an essential lifeline for addressing the infrastructural deficit west of the Bann and for connecting the North West region of Ireland to Dublin.

“It will also be a huge benefit to our construction industry, given that this phase of the route, from Newbuildings to Strabane, is a £150million project.

“It also represents the realisation of the commitment within the Fresh Start Agreement to proceed with the A5, funded on an all-Ireland basis by the Executive and the Dublin Government.

“The importance of this project has never been more important given the implications of Brexit.

“The Derry and the North West region needs to reinforce its connections with the capital city through projects such as the A5 rather than the imposition of border tariffs and other financial penalties which Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and others are working on daily to try to counteract by securing Designated Status for the north.”

Ends

McCallion meets Invest NI officials in London

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion  who was part of a Sinn Féin delegation of MPs who held a meeting in London on Wednesday  with Invest NI CEO and Regional Director of Europe  said the meeting was ‘thorough and productive’.
The Foyle  MP said:
“The meeting was an opportunity to receive and update from, and ask questions of, Invest NI’s work in the north of Ireland.
“Invest NI has an important effect on our local economy, but must redouble its efforts to encourage economic activity in deprived urban communities and isolated rural areas.
“While serious challenges will be caused by Brexit, Invest NI also has a role to play in protecting border communities from economic disruption.”
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Logue welcomes Euro funds for older people’s health

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Patricia Logue has welcomed confirmation that €3.5 million of European funding has been allocated to assist older people living along the border communities.

The money is part of an overall €8.7 million health project for older people with long term conditions. It will focus on developing digital technologies to support health and wellbeing especially in a person’s own home

Councillor Patricia Logue

.

Patricia Logue  commented:“We want to acknowledge all the hard work done by those who have helped put this project together. Greater cross border cooperation in health will lead to better health outcomes for everyone on the island especially those living in border communities.

“We know that we have an ever increasing age profile of society. Estimates for 2026 say there will be more over 65s than under 16s.

“This is another example to the benefits local people get out of membership of the EU. This project also includes the Scottish NHS as a partner, Brexit puts future projects and investment like this at risk.

“There is a real case that needs to be made on securing designated special status for the future of similar funding but also on a whole range of cross border health arrangements.

“Older people as well as the rest of the population face daily problems accessing primary care, some areas are worse than others and projects like this hopefully will play a role in relieving this pressure.

“Those demanding a hard Brexit are putting future cooperation and projects like this at risk

Duffy welcomes new domestic abuse app

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the launch of a new app to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

She was commenting after the app was launched by the Belfast area Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse Partnership.

“I would encourage anyone who is experiencing an abusive relationship to download this app,” Sandra Duffy said.

“It is free to download and provides vital information on domestic violence and sexual violence within an intimate partner relationship, information on how to recognise the warning signs of an abusive relationship and where to go for support.”

‘Haven: Belfast’ can be downloaded at the App store or on Google Play from today.

Workforce strategy is needed now more than ever following RQIA notification – Logue

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Councillor Patricia Logue has said a comprehensive workforce strategy is needed now more than ever.

Speaking on the RQIA notification to the Department of Health,  she  said, 

“The serious nursing shortage in hospital and community services in the north must be addressed by the health department in a comprehensive workforce strategy as committed to by former Health Minister Michelle O’Neill.”

“The workforce challenges facing the HSC are not new.”

“However, the RQIA’s formal identification of staffing levels in hospitals and nursing homes as being a problem in almost every area emphasises just how pronounced this problem has become.

“Staff are, and always have been, the HSC’s greatest asset.

“The much needed transformation of our health and social care system can only be achieved with a strong and well supported HSC workforce.

“This means retaining existing staff and attracting new staff to the HSC by ensuring the workforce is fully valued and supported.”

A United Ireland is achievable – Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD is in Cork tonight for a public meeting.

Speaking to a packed audience the Sinn Féin leader said:

“There isn’t an iota of difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Both parties are champions of economic and social conservatism, austerity and cuts to the living standards of working people.

“The days of these two conservative parties completely dominating politics is over. This week’s events around Frances Fitzgerald are proof of that.

“The Taoiseach failed to show any leadership and refused to hold the Tánaiste to account. The handling of this debacle has highlighted his poor judgement.

“There are clearly many more questions to be answered, including around the role of current Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, the withholding of information from the Tribunal and the collaboration between the Department of Justice and the Gardaí to smear Sergeant McCabe.

“While Sinn Féin sought to hold former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to account, both Fianna Fáil and the government offered her unquestioning confidence.

“This last week was the first real test of the Taoiseach’s leadership. He failed that test. The same lack of accountability and bad governance and incompetence is evident in the refusal to end the housing crisis; the crisis in homelessness, and the crisis within our health services.

“But more and more people now know this. They are looking for an alternative. Sinn Féin is that alternative. Sinn Féin is the only party that can lead a government to transform the political, social and economic life of citizens.

“However, at this point there are many people out there who do not support any of the establishment parties but who don’t support Sinn Féin either. Winning these people over must be a priority in the time ahead. So too must be the task of mobilising and registering the thousands upon thousands of citizens who do not vote.

“This is essential to ensure that we win the referendum on the eighth amendment. Making republican politics is a team game.

“I love hurling. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll see that. Cork has had some brilliant hurling teams. Cork hurling is now on the rise again. Follow their example. Sinn Féin need to be the all-Ireland winning political team here in the rebel county.”

Commenting on the situation in the North Gerry Adams said:

“So far, political talks to restore the institutions in the North have not succeeded. But let me be very clear, Sinn Féin wants to be back in the political institutions.

“Michelle O’Neill and her comrades are working hard to achieving that objective. But it cannot be on the basis of a return to the status quo.

“Sinn Féin wants to make the power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions work, based on the rights that should be at the heart of these structures. In the meantime, we seek to build a progressive consensus on key rights issues and to oppose Brexit.

“It is crucially important that we continue to campaign for the entire island to remain within the European Union, notwithstanding our correct criticism of the EU and our desire for a rights based, social European Union, Brexit on English Tory terms will be devastating for the Irish economy North and South.

“We must persuade more and more people that Sinn Féin’s vision of a more equal, socially just and united Ireland is achievable.”

Mullan marks International Day of Solidarity with Palestine

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said her party will continue to work to build international solidarity in support of the Palestinian people.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

 

Speaking on International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, Karen Mullan MLA said:

 

“Today, 29th November, marks the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

 

“We are fifty years on from the annexation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and we have had fifty years of injustice.  It has to end.

 

“Leo Varadkar and the Irish government must move to formally recognise Palestinian statehood without further delay.

 

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

 

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

 

“We will continue to support the people of Palestine and efforts to secure a just and lasting peace in the region.

 

“I would like to extend our warmest solidarity greetings to the Palestinian people. Today we commend you for your resolve, your bravery, in your long and just struggle for freedom, self-determination and independence.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Derry meeting hears Loughinisland campaign

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the relatives of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre are entitled to know the truth about the death of their loved ones.

Speaking following a Q+A with the Loughlinisland Campaign held in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on Saturday afternoon., the Foyle MLA said;

raymond mccartney

“On June 18, 1994, loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and indiscriminately opened fire killing six men who were watching Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

“This disgraceful attack not only shocked people in the local area, but throughout Ireland and across the world.

“To compound the awful brutality of the attack, it soon emerged that the UVF gunmen responsible for the murders were linked to British security forces.

“There was clear collusion in the planning and carrying out of the attack. The RUC also attempted to deny justice to the relatives of those killed by destroying evidence and covering up the truth.

“Twenty three years on the families are still campaigning for truth and are still being frustrated.

“The families of those killed at Loughinisland deserve justice and we will continue to support them in their campaign.”

‘Onus remains on both governments’ – O’Neill

Commenting after meeting with British Secretary of State James Brokenshire today, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill said:

elisha mccallion

“When the last phase of talks ended, we made clear that the issues at the heart of the crisis were not going away and needed to be addressed.

“We met the British Government today but they did not produce any firm proposals to move the process forward.

“I want to lead Sinn Féin back into a new Executive but the issues of rights and outstanding agreements must be addressed.

“In the absence of agreement, the onus remains on the two Governments to spell out how they intend to ensure the implementation of previous agreements, end the DUP’s denial of rights and pave a pathway to restore the institutions.”

ENDS

Double yellows to reduce parking problems in Aberfoyle/Dungreggan – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that Transport NI are to install new double yellow lines at the junction of Aberfoyle Crescent and Duncreggan Road in Derry to improve traffic flow and remove parking obstructions affecting local residents.

Councillor Cooper said “The efforts to reduce parking problems in this area have been a work in progress for a considerable period of time. During that time I have been working very closely with local residents, the PSNI and Transport NI to see if we could collectively come up with solutions to resolve the long running problem of parking in this area.

New double yellow lines will be installed at the junction of Aberfoyle Crescent and Duncreggan Road to prevent cars parking at corners which has been causing major issues for local residents. A further request is in place for lines to be installed in other parts of the area to prevent further obstructions and I am confident that this will be legislated for in the coming weeks”

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Logue hails success of all-Ireland health cooperation

The success of all-Ireland co-operation in improving treatment for children needing heart surgery can be expanded into other areas of health and public services, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor  Patricia Logue  was speaking after an international conference in Belfast heard that the all-island Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Network is delivering better outcomes for children across Ireland.

Councillor Patricia Logue

She said “We welcome the news that increased cross border cooperation in healthcare is delivering better health outcomes not only for the service user but their families and carers,”

“I am not surprised that a logically approach to healthcare provision on the island of Ireland is producing better health outcomes and the demand for these services are rising.”

“We have been arguing for years that two health systems on the island of Ireland, doesn’t make sense. There are so many possibilities for further development for example, a Perinatal mental health service, covering the island of Ireland would provide a much needed and sustainable service.

“There is a great capacity in border areas to cooperate together but cooperation in health can benefit all communities. This is more important than ever, given the threat posed by Brexit.

“The all-island Congenital Heart Disease Network are leading the way but there are other services we could be looking at especially as we set about a process for much needed transformation under Michelle O’Neill’s Delivering Together plan.”

Dangers presented by wet leaves at busy riverside walkway –Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has contacted Transport NI and Derry City and Strabane District Council to look at ways of resolving the issue where vast amounts of leaves have fallen along the riverside walkway between the Foyle Valley Railway Station, Coshowen and the area around Foyle Park.

Karen Mullan said:

“Over the past few days I have been contacted by residents of Foyle Park and also by walkers and runners who would use the riverside walkway on a daily basis, about the dangers presented by the large amount of leaves along the pathways.

“Whilst at this time of the year it can be beautiful to see the all the fallen leaves across our green spaces, it can also bring a big hazard. The complaints I have received, is the fear that anyone using the walkways or footpaths in the area could have a nasty fall slipping on wet leaves.

“I know it’s impossible to cover the entire city in clearing leaves but I believe in areas which see a large footfall of people Transport NI and the DCSDC must endeavour to make them as safe as possible.

Martin Ferris to launch a book on the history of Irish Hunger Strike

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris will be in Derry on Thursday night to launch- Ireland’s Hunger for Justice, the story of Ireland’s 22 martyred hunger strikers.

Martin Ferris said

“I am looking forward to visiting Derry on Thursday night to launch the book.

“What we set out to do was to honour the memory of Lispole native Thomas Ashe, and while we discussed Ashe’s life and death we realised that there were 21 others who also gave their lives on hunger strike from 1917 to 1981,” said Kerry Sinn Féin TD, Martin Ferris.

“We decided to write a short book detailing, as much as possible, the story of each of these brave men. Some died in British jails but others too died in Irish jails and have almost been written out of history.

“I am honoured to have played a small role in bringing this book to print. Hunger strike was sometimes the only option republican prisoners had to use. The suffering and sacrifice of these 22 brave men should never be forgotten.

“Neither should the sacrifice of the thousands of men and women who also took part in prison protests throughout the decades.

“They all had the same goal of a free Ireland. Some, like Ashe, died after being force fed while others like Kieran Doherty TD, died after spending 73 excruciating days on hunger strike, we salute them all.

“The book will launch take place at our  Ráth Mór office on Thursday night at 7.00pm all welcome.

Duffy calls out Tory welfare culture of ‘shame and punishment’

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said PIP assessment procedures  reflects a Tory culture of ‘shame and punishment’ towards welfare recipients.

Councillor Sandra Duffy  said:

sandra duffy

“Fundamental flaws and a culture of demeaning claimants is appearing at the heart of the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) system.

“Our elected representatives are receiving regular updates  and observations about  serious procedural problems that reflect a wider culture of shame and punishment with which the Tories treat welfare recipients.

“The forms involved are extremely and deliberately complex. The feedback we are getting is that some assessments are degrading and ridiculous in their nature.

“The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) of over 80 charities and organisations surveyed over 1700 PIP claimants and found that almost 90% of respondents described their assessment as ‘stressful’.

 “Over 75% of respondents agreed that the stress and anxiety associated with their PIP assessment had made their condition worse.

“This is unacceptable, and Sinn Féin will be seeking a meeting with Capita in the time ahead to demand immediate changes to how PIP recipients are treated.”

Kelly urges support for annual Trocaire Christmas appeal

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed to people in Derry ,Donegal and Tyrone to support the  annual Trocaire Christmas appeal.

colly kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly said “”The annual Christmas Trócaire appeal is a very worthwhile cause as it helps to bring about positive and lasting changes in some of the world’s poorest places.

I would appeal to as many people as possible to purchase  a sustainable and ethical gift from the Trócaire Gifts range for Christmas 2017. The recipient receives a beautiful card with details of the gift. The gift is sourced in the country and given to a family in need.

“I would like to congratulate Trócaire for all their efforts and help in emergencies and disasters that have affected many parts of world in the past twelve months .The work they carry out is invaluable.

“British Government covering up DUP dark money’ – Sinn Féin

The British Government’s refusal to backdate new laws on political donations is aimed at covering-up so-called Brexit ‘dark money’ that was paid to the DUP, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

Elisha McCallion

The Foyle MP was speaking after the British Government today introduced an order to lift the ban on naming political donors here, but did not backdate it.

“The British Government is only now bringing forward this Order after it was severely criticised by the Electoral Commission,” Elisha McCallion commented.

“However, they are still refusing to make it retrospective and that is the crucial point because it means there will be no transparency around the vast sums that were paid to the DUP during the Brexit referendum.

“Thanks mainly to the work of investigative journalists, we know that the DUP received £425,000 but they and the pro-Brexit campaign are still refusing to provide full details about the shadowy group of British corporate business interests who paid the money.

“Today’s announcement will do nothing to shine any light on this ‘dark money’ because the law will only apply to donations from July of this year forward.

“If the DUP and the British Government were serious about transparency in government then they would support the retrospective publication from January 2014 of all donations over the reportable threshold. That is the position adopted by Sinn Féin and all the Executive parties except the DUP.

“However, rather than compelling them to come clean, the British Government have today confirmed their intention to assist the ongoing cover-up of the DUP’s dark money.”

Human rights-compliant public inquiry into allegations at former mother /baby homes across the North-Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue brought forward the following motion before DCSDC at Thursdays monthly meeting.

This Council recognises the citizens of this districts commitment to human rights and will therefore support those seeking a human rights-compliant public inquiry into allegations of forced labour, arbitrary detention, ill treatment and the illegal adoption of babies in former mother and baby homes in this district and across the North.

 

Speaking to the motion Councillor Patricia Logue

 

Involuntary detention ,Rape, torture, severe beatings, food and sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, drug and vaccine trials, coercion, malnourishment, neglect little or no pre or post-natal medical care, humiliation, long hours of manual unpaid labour at all stages of pregnancy, forced and illegal adoptions, fraud, corruption, human trafficking, falsification and withholding of information, records, files and documents.

 

You would be forgiven in thinking I was describing concentration camps of Guatamino Bay of Kosavo indeed no this is all part of our shameful past and present history.

Mother and baby homes were run by many organizations including The Catholic Church, The Church of Ireland and the Salvation Army until 1996.  The conditions that those woman and young girls some as young as thirteen years of age and their babies were made to endure would in the words of the campaign group “Shock this Society to its Core”

Children born outside marriage were lapelled as illegitimate, infant mortality rate in the North of  Ireland during this period was 72 per 1,000 births for those children labeled as illegitimate it was 157 more than double.

Records show that at least 43 of the 67 children who died in 1year in two Belfast homes died from severe malnutrition. It has also come to light that 474 unclaimed infants’ remains were transferred to medical schools.

The women and young girls who had the misfortune of having to endure all of this then had to live lives filled with unjustifiable guild and shame that was in some cases beaten into them.  They were unable to disclose to their future partners and children for fear of their reactions.

Children taken illegally from their mother cannot find their birth mother  due to the clandestine nature of so many adoptions trace their birth mothers.  The dehumanization of these mothers and children has adversely impacted on their mental and physical health and in some cases with profound consequences.

Testimonies from an ever growing number of women and children are evidence of the barbaric and dismissive cruelty towards these human beings, by those in charge of such institutions, whether it be in the Mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, Industrial reform schools or orphanages.

We now also know of sufficient evidence of abuse through the various reports of such abuse in other parts of this island.

 What has been disclosed in places like Dublin, Galway, Donegal and Tuam raises the question of whether such abuse has not occurred in Belfast, Newry and our own city of Derry. Hence the need for answers to the questions now being asked by the survivors and relatives of those detained in such places.

What evidence exists of alleged abuse must be protected and forensically preserved.  In addition as part of any investigation where the deaths of Mothers, children and infants occurred, the sites of burials of these victims requires the expertise of competent personnel.

To begin with I am requesting that the group come in and present to Council so that we can begin to ascertain who this council can do to help them on their onward very difficult journey.

 I am calling for cross community and party support and assistant for this campaign for a Human  rights compliant public inquiry which is victim centered and time bound, and that these victims are part of the drawing up the terms of reference.

I appeal to you to al here today to support this motion.

 

 

Ends 

Mullan calls for sustainable university funding

Sinn Féin  Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has said universities should be sustainably resourced.

The Foyle  MLA was speaking after reports that universities here face ‘critical’ funding cuts from the Department of the Economy over the next two years.

Karen Mullan  said:

“Since the Tories came into power we have seen over a billion pounds cut from the North’s block grant and students and young people are paying the price for this.

“These cuts to public services are set to continue supported by the DUP.

“Any cuts to universities is a threat to our highly educated workforce and the future opportunities of our young people.

“Sinn Féin will continue to fight for proper resources for universities.”

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‘Substantial inequalities need tackled’ -McCartney

The latest Multiple Deprivation figures published by NISRA demonstrate the need for an anti-poverty strategy to combat ongoing inequalities, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  has said.

“Whilst the figures have just been published and need to be carefully studied, it is already evident from them that substantial inequalities still exist between and within communities,” he commented.

“For instance, the highest levels of multiple deprivation are still occurring in the Belfast and Derry/Strabane Council areas.

“These inequalities need to be robustly tackled if we are going to improve the lives of everyone and help them fulfil their true potential.

“It will be imperative that any incoming Executive utilises the most recent data to fully develop an anti-poverty strategy which clearly targets those most in need, setting out the actions and outcomes they plan to achieve alongside a budget for ensuring the work is carried out.

“That needs to be a priority and Sinn Féin is  continuing to engage with departmental officials as they prepare proposals for the anti-poverty strategy.”

DUP want parity on Brexit but not people’s rights’ – Foyle MP

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion  has accused the DUP of contradicting itself by seeking parity with Britain on Brexit arrangements but not on people’s rights.

The Foyle  MP was commenting after DUP Leader Arlene Foster said Brexit cannot be allowed to lead to different arrangements here than in Britain.

“Arlene Foster’s comments expose the contradiction at the heart of DUP policy,” Elisha McCallion  said.

“They don’t want any divergence when it comes to Brexit but they are quite happy to go a different way when it comes to the rights and entitlements of citizens in the North of Ireland.

“Language rights, marriage equality and the right to proper inquests are all taken for granted in Britain but they are not available here because the DUP is denying them to citizens.

“Like the pro-Brexit camp in general, they are trying to have it both ways but I am confident they will find out in time, that is not a credible position.

“Similarly, their denial of rights is not sustainable given the fact that these rights are now supported by the majority of Assembly parties and wider society.”

Ends

Mc Callion to meet Airporter over Concessionary fare withdrawal

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion  has accused the DUP of contradicting itself by seeking parity with Britain on Brexit arrangements but not on people’s rights.

The Foyle  MP was commenting after DUP Leader Arlene Foster said Brexit cannot be allowed to lead to different arrangements here than in Britain.

“Arlene Foster’s comments expose the contradiction at the heart of DUP policy,” Elisha McCallion  said.

“They don’t want any divergence when it comes to Brexit but they are quite happy to go a different way when it comes to the rights and entitlements of citizens in the North of Ireland.

“Language rights, marriage equality and the right to proper inquests are all taken for granted in Britain but they are not available here because the DUP is denying them to citizens.

“Like the pro-Brexit camp in general, they are trying to have it both ways but I am confident they will find out in time, that is not a credible position.

“Similarly, their denial of rights is not sustainable given the fact that these rights are now supported by the majority of Assembly parties and wider society.”

Ends

Duffy hails Doherty on winning TG4 AllStar award

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has congratulated Emma Doherty from Steelstown Brian Og’s GAC on winning the 2017 TG4 junior Players’ Player of the Year award.

She was named All-Ireland Junior Player of the Year at the TG4 All Stars last night in Dublin.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said “I would like to congratulate Emma on winning this award, it’s a great achievement .It will hopefully act as an inspiration for more girls in the city to get involved in Gaelic games.

Ends

Foyle MP condemns attack on SDLP councillor’s car

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has condemned an attempted arson attack on a car belonging to SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney in Galliagh on Friday night.

The Foyle MP who visited the Tierney home following the attack last night said

“Firstly I would like to offer my full to support to Brian and his family following this attempted arson attack on the family car.

What happened last night was not only an attempt to intimidate an elected representative and his family but also threatening and intimidating the entire community by anti democratic groups.

Elected representatives have to be able to go about their work and the cut and thrust of politics without being targeted in this way.

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

European Capital of Culture bid can still be rescued – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is possible to rescue the joint bid for Derry and Belfast to be named as European Capital of Culture.

Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

“The news that the joint bid by Derry and Strabane District Council and Belfast City Council for European Capital of Culture status was rejected as a result of Brexit was very disappointing after so much hard work by both councils and others.

“Unfortunately, it provided yet another example of how damaging the Tory Brexit agenda is for all of the people of the north.

“But it does not mean that the bid is finished; it is still rescuable.

“If the British government make a declaration to the EU that the north can stay in the customs union and single market then the bid could continue.

“We also need to explore options with the Irish government to see if they can take this bid forward under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and the bodies it established.

“I have also written to the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsis, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the bid.

“All of this shows the absolute necessity to secure special status for the north within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Appeal for new road safety measures outside St Pauls Primary school

Appeal for new road safety measures outside St Pauls Primary school

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has urged Transport NI to introduce of a number of new road safety measures outside St Pauls Primary School in the Galliagh area of the city.

The appeal comes following safety concerns raised by parents of children who attend the school after two cars collided outside the school on Thursday.

The Foyle MLA said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“I am making this appeal following another road traffic accident involving two vehicles outside the school on Thursday. Thankfully no one was seriously injured.

“I held a meeting at the school with Transport NI and the Education Authority last month asking for traffic calming measures to be implemented and for new car parking and drop off point arrangements at the school.

“At present the traffic survey is being carried out and the school has submitted an application to Education Authority for the car park.

“I will be asking them to fast track any results of this survey to improve and enhance safety outside the school as a matter of urgency before someone is seriously hurt.”

Mullan welcomes progress on availability of Flash Glucose Sensing

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed a response she has received from the Health and Social Care Board concerning the availability of Flash Glucose Sensing system to diabetes patients here.

Karen Mullan said:

“I wrote to the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) after approaches by a number of constituents regarding the availability of the Flash Glucose Sensing system for Diabetes patients here. The device allows patients to gauge their blood sugar level by a scanning sensor worn on a person’s arm that monitors their blood Glucose levels rather than by the traditional method of finger-prick blood glucose testing.

“I am pleased to report that in its reply the Board has assured me that the flash glucose monitoring system has now been made available in the North of Ireland since November 1st.

“The Board said that in order to ensure it is prescribed appropriately, the HSCB has been working collaboratively with Trust diabetes clinical staff, primary care colleagues and Diabetes UK NI, to develop a regional pathway for its availability. This regional pathway will be for use by secondary care diabetes teams, to assess if patients are suitable for a trial period of the flash glucose monitoring system.

“The pathway will set out criteria, to support diabetes specialists to make an informed clinical decision about a patient’s eligibility to trial the flash glucose monitoring system. HSCB has been advised that this pathway should be finalised in the next few weeks and, once agreed by the Regional Diabetes Network, will be circulated to Trusts for implementation.

“I have no doubt that this will be a welcome advancement in the monitoring of Blood Sugar levels for all those presently needing to regularly go through the process of finger-prick blood glucose testing, I will also be contacting the Western Trust to confirm that this will be rolled out in the north west.”

Exclusion of Belfast,Derry and Strabane from EU Capital of Culture the cost of BREXIT- Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor and group leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Paul Fleming  has called on Europe to recognise that the people of the North voted to remain and that the Belfast, Derry and Strabane bid for European Capital of Culture should not be excluded.

Councillor Paul Fleming

Speaking following the decision by the European Commission that cities in Britain and the North of Ireland will not be eligible to apply Cllr Fleming said:

“The decision to exclude the bid of Belfast, Derry and Strabane from the European Capital of Culture decisions is wrong and short sighted.

“It is yet another example of the disaster that Brexit continues to be for Ireland.

“In 2008 the Liverpool economy benefited to the tune of close to a billion pounds and visitor numbers increased by 34%.

“The potential of this for Belfast, Derry and Strabane in 2023 is now gone and the DUP, the Tories and other local pro-Brexit parties need to bear the blame.

“It highlights clearly the need for Designated Special Status within the EU for the north of Ireland.

“If this decision is allowed to stand it will have a massive negative impact on our tourism and hospitality sector and will affect the potential creation of a huge number of jobs.

“Every effort must be made to overturn this decision and Sinn Féin will play its part in opposing this decision.

“It is now incumbent upon businesses, tourism organisations and the public to stand up and speak out for special status and against those whose support for Brexit is causing serious economic damage to the economy.”

McCartney -Universal Credit changes too little too late for those suffering from welfare cuts

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney  has said the British government’s budget announcements on Universal Credit are too little too late for those already suffering from Tory-DUP backed cuts to welfare.

The Foyle MLA said:

“The changes to Universal Credit announced by the British Chancellor come much too late for families struggling with years of relentless attacks on benefits.

“Most of the inherent problems with Universal Credit have not been addressed. No benefit should start as a loan regardless of when you’re forced to repay it.

“A five week delay for the first payment of Universal Credit will do little to prevent more people being driven into hardship. This waiting period should be scrapped immediately.

“£1.5 billion returned to a benefits system already decimated by Tory cuts is nothing but a sticking plaster.

“The serious flaws at the heart of Universal Credit remain. It’s implementation should be stopped immediately.”

Ebrington Square Maritime Museum game changer –Cooper

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Tourism, Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that the Department for Infrastructure has given planning approval for the Ebrington Square Maritime Museum.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said “I welcome the news that planning permission has been approved for the museum. Taken in tandem  with the awarding of Heritage Lottery funding for the project to compliment council funding which has already been allocated, brings the project another step closer. We need now to look towards  Tourism NI providing their match funding to allow the project to move to the construction stage.

I believe that this project will be a game changer for the local tourism economy by providing another unique selling point for Derry by attracting visitors interested in pursuing their genealogical connections to the North West. It will give the city a major attraction which I am confident will attract a range of coach operators and tour agencies to send their groups to the city alongside the many private travellers who will visit the new facility.

Ends

McKnight calls for fixed odds betting terminals to be banned

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has reiterated a call to ban fixed odds betting terminals.

She said:

“Gambling is a problem throughout society but these machines are widely regarded as a highly addictive and accessible outlet which allow people to lose huge sums of money in a small space of time with no real control or regulation driving them into debt and quite often poverty.

“There are almost 1000 of these machines in outlets across the North and countless examples of the misery they have caused. They should be banned and greater regulation of online gambling put in place.

“Everyone should be educated around gambling and the dangers that exist with it. They should know that there is help and advice available for those affected by gambling.”

DUP attempting to mislead public over Brexit trade proposals – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the DUP are attempting to mislead the public over proposals on post-Brexit trade.

Martina Anderson said:

elisha mccallion martina anderson

“There is a growing acceptance that the imposition of an EU frontier on the island of Ireland would devastate trade.

“That is why more and more people are now accepting the fact that the north should remain in the single market and customs union. This is the best solution for our economy, safeguards and political agreements.

“Despite what Nigel Dodds claims in his attempts to mislead the public, there is nothing in that proposal that would impact on west-east trade.

“The only way it would impact on trade between the north and Britain is if Britain made it an issue.

“It would also be consistent with the Good Friday Agreement which may explain Nigel Dodds’ hostility as the DUP have never supported that Agreement.

“Once again it shows that the DUP are attempting to put their own politics and that of the Tories ahead of the best interests of the people of the north.

“Instead of engaging in petty party politics, we need to see everyone working collectively to secure special status for the north within the EU.”

Duffy encourages companies to invest in renewable energy

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Energy, Environment  Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the announcement by NI water that construction has started on their Solar Farm, which will power their water treatment plant.

She commented:

“It is encouraging to see NI water take positive steps to decrease their carbon footprint and promote renewable energy. The use of solar energy is even more encouraging as more needs to be done to diversify our renewable energy portfolio in the North.

“The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically in the last few years, this together with the benefits of renewable energy will hopefully encourage NI water to look at installing Solar Farms in some of their other facilities.

“I would encourage more companies to invest in renewable energy, especially on the back of the Bonn climate change conference held in Germany last week. It threw into stark reality that we need more action and more ambition to tackle climate change.”

McCallion welcomes Derry jobs announcement

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed news that technology company Metacompliance which is located at Patrick Street in Derry City Centre is to create 69 new jobs over the next three years. 

Metacompliance has been developing software and content for the Cyber Security and Compliance market since 2005.

The Foyle MP said:

“I very much welcome the news of this investment by Metacompliance with the help of Invest NI at its Derry operation on Patrick Street.

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

Sinn Féin delegation meets Theresa May – McCallion

A Sinn Féin delegation this morning met the British Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing St.
The delegation included Gerry Adams TD, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Michelle O’Neill MLA, Elisha McCallion MP and Conor Murphy MLA.
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said:
“The roots of this crisis is the refusal of the British and Irish governments to honour their commitments under the terms of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements, and to ensure that the rights of citizens are respected.
“We told the British Prime Minister Theresa May this morning that her government must bear the greater responsibility for the failure to reach agreement on the restoration of the institutions.
“The provision of an Irish Language Act, Marriage Equality, a Bill of Rights and funding for legacy inquests are all British government obligations. 
“Progress is only possible if her government honours those commitments.
“We told Mrs May that direct rule is not an option and that she must look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement for the establishment of an intergovernmental conference involving the Irish and British governments.
“It has also emerged that the British government intend to include a statute of limitations ‘covering all troubles related incidents’ for British crown forces in a new section in their consultation on the Stormont House Agreement Bill. Such a proposition is no part of the Stormont House Agreement and despite being involved for the last ten months in negotiations with British officials Sinn Féin was never informed of this intention.
“We understand the Irish government was not informed either until we brought it to their attention.
“We told Mrs May that this is an act of bad faith and is unacceptable”.
Concluding Elisha McCallion MP said: 

“We also raised with the British Prime Minister the widespread concern on the island of Ireland about the impact of Brexit on our economies and communities. Brexit is the single biggest threat to our economies. 
“We challenged Mrs May to spell out how she believes a so-called seamless and frictionless border is possible. Sinn Féin believes this is only possible if the north is given designated special status within the Europea

Fleming calls on support from the EU27 over Designated Special status

Sinn Féin Group leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Paul Fleming is to bring forward a motion to the  monthly council meeting on Thursday calling on the council to write to each Head of Government of the EU 27, including the Taoiseach, on behalf of the people of this border Council area who will be drastically affected by any hard border as a result of Brexit.

Councillor Fleming said

Given the crucial EU Council meeting on 14th/15th December, its important that the  Council calls on the  twenty seven EU countries involved in Brexit negotiations to ensure that the British Government proposals on Brexit leads to no hardening of Britain’s border in Ireland, that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all of its parts and that there is no regression in the rights of the people of this Council region.

The best way to do this would be through Designated Special status for the north of Ireland within the EU.

Our motion calls on the EU 27 to hold to this position and if the British Government do not deliver on these issues then sufficient progress will not have been met and the negotiations cannot move on to the future relations between the EU and British Government. And that the council  writes to each Head of Government of the EU 27, including the Taoiseach, on behalf of the people of this border Council area who will be drastically affected by any hard border as a result of Brexit.

He went on to say

“The British Government must commit to avoiding a hard border, protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, while ensuring that the rules of the single market and customs union are met.

“The only way to do this is  for the North of Ireland to be afforded designated special status within the European Union.

“The North must remain within the single market and customs union.

 “The Irish Government must not waver or deviate from this position in the Brexit negotiations. They need to stand up for Ireland’s interests, the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.”

Housing Executive Homelessness strategy has failed -Duffy

Speaking after the launch of the Audit Office report on homeless Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy said “it is clear from this report that the Department for Communities Homelessness Strategy 2012/17 has failed.”

sandra duffy

“The Audit Office report notes that homelessness is more than simply people sleeping in the streets, it is also about people and families having to live with relatives, in temporary accommodation or living in properties not suitable to their needs.

“The report makes it clear that not only has there been a 32% increase in the number of households designated as statutory homeless over the last five years but that the Housing Executive was unable to produce first hand evidence or published statistics to show why the rate of homelessness is so high or that they had been able to prevent people from becoming homeless.”

Councillor Duffy said that:

“Whilst the report voices a concern about the possible abuse of the Housing Selection Scheme it also needs to take account of a recent UN report which highlighted the impact of unequal access to social housing behind the high proportion of Catholic households on the waiting list and registered as statutory homeless

“As we have seen all to recently sectarian hostility and unionist territorial claims restricts access to social housing at the same time as there is a growing nationalist population with greater need to establish new households. This is leading to increasing overcrowding in many nationalist areas, with two and even three generations forced to share a home.”

Commenting on that section of the report which states; “Sometimes homelessness is the result of personal difficulty or tragedy, family breakdown, ill health or addiction Sandra Duffy  said;

“More often homelessness is the result of structural disadvantage, poor wages and high housing costs, negative equity and rising mortgage payments, unequal access to social housing, the negative impact of Tory benefit cuts and changes.

“Everyone should have a right to a home and there is a particular emphasis on the Housing Executive to address what the Audit Office report has identified and which many of us have been pointing out for years, we need to build more social homes.

“The Housing Executive are persistently failing to reduce demand for social housing through increasing the supply of homes and this is having a direct impact on the levels of homelessness in Derry and  across the North.

Sinn Féin back public sector pay campaign

Sinn Féin will vigorously support a major new trade union campaign against the public sector pay gap SF MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

The  Foyle MLA was speaking as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions launched the ‘Better Work, Better Lives’ campaign involving 30 trade unions demanding an end to the 1% cap.

“Sinn Féin fully recognise the detrimental impact of the Tory Pay Cap on public sector staff,” he commented.

“It is our firm position that the pay cap should be scrapped and that the Tory Government should reverse its cuts to the North’s block grant to ensure we can provide proper public services and proper public sector wages.

“Since the Tories imposed austerity in 2010 some £1 billion has been lost in real terms from the Executive’s budget for day-to-day spending. A further 3% cut is planned over the next two years. Austerity has caused unnecessary hardship, contributed to falling real wages, and consolidated inequality. The British Chancellor’s statement tomorrow provides an opportunity to abandon the failed ideology of austerity in favour of an economic stimulus.

“Sinn Féin regularly and routinely engage with the trade union movement so we greatly welcome this campaign and will vigorously support it.

“It is vital that as many voices as possible within wider civic society oppose the Tory austerity agenda which is an ideologically driven assault on frontline public services, workers and the most vulnerable in society.”

More support is needed for those battling addiction and substance abuse – McCallion

Elisha McCallion MP has called for more support for people struggling with addiction and substance abuse problems, following a meeting alongside Chris Hazzard MP with Addiction NI representatives in Westminster on Tuesday.

McCallion said:

“Addiction and substance abuse are issues we still struggle with as a society and continue to afflict too many citizens.

“In recent times there has been a significant increase in drug-related deaths. As we approach what can be a difficult time of year for many, we must be vigilant and compassionate it caring for vulnerable citizens.

“Today was an important opportunity to explore the many different problems linked to addiction, including homelessness and mental health, and I look forward to continuing with this engagement in the future.”

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Anderson launches special status legal opinion at Stormont

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said there is growing support for special status across the EU and called on the Irish government to work to secure it.

Speaking at the launch of independent legal advice, written by Doughty Street Chambers, at Stormont today, Martina Anderson said:

martina anderson

“At Stormont this morning I launched independent legal advice on Brexit, commissioned by GUE/NGL, and written by Doughty Street Chambers.

“I was joined at the launch by the solicitors who wrote the legal opinion which found that there is no legal barrier to securing special status for the north within the EU.

“MEPs and Brexit negotiators from across Europe get that and recognise the need for the north to secure special status within the EU in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement and citizens rights.

“If there is a political will, securing special status for the north within the EU is possible.

“What we now need to see is the Irish government stepping up to the plate, defending Irish interests and working for special status.

“We have a small window of opportunity to make our case and that requires action from everyone interested in defending and promoting the rights of Ireland and its citizens.”

Serious concerns over the disposal of waste in the Triangle development-Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has said there are serious health and safety issues around the removal of household waste from flats in the Triangle development in the Waterside.

Councillor Jackson said 

There’s an ongoing concern from residents that the temporary bins that have been provided aren’t sufficient to handle the waste generated from the flats in the triangle.

The bins were provided for residents in upstairs flats as they had no other means of disposing of their household waste, this was a temporary measure while NIHE explored options to install a rubbish shoot.

That was over two years ago and we don’t seem to be any further forward. Meanwhile residents continue to experience rubbish piled up next to the bins, dumped in stairwells and even left outside their homes.

It’s not surprising to learn that this is attracting rats which is obviously a very real concern for residents but on top of that it is also posing a very serious fire risk .I believe immediate steps need to be taken to address it as a matter of urgency.

We are eagerly awaiting the implementation of a wider scheme to improve all of the homes in this area but in the interim period the Housing Executive have a duty to provide residents with adequate facilities to dispose of their waste.

Kelly welcomes preparations for winter roads in Bogside

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the introduction of salt/grit boxes on some of the steepest streets in the Bogside area well in advance of the winter period

colly kelly

Councillor Kelly said “I would like to commend Transport NI for the introduction of these grit boxes well in advance of the winter freeze.

They have been installed in side streets just of the Lonemoor Road where residents always find it difficult to manage getting in and out of their homes in heavy frost or snow because the streets are very steep. The same goes for delivery lorries or the emergency services.

I would appeal to all communities to ensure that their local salt /grit boxes are not vandalised.

There have been occasions in recent years with groups going home late at night or someone thinking it’s a funny to kick the contents of the grit box out or move it down a street. But clearly it isn’t.

Its takes a lot of lobbying with Transport NI to get these boxes put in place.

They serve a very practical but important essential service and are there for the specific reason of safety of residents, motorists and pedestrians.

 

 

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‘Families should not be pressured into direct payments’ – Logue

Direct payments for families to source their own domiciliary care packages should only be used when this is their informed and willing choice, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Patricia Logue  has said.

She was speaking after the latest Health Trust figures showed a sharp increase in the number of direct payments being made.

He commented: “Between June and September this year in Belfast, the number jumped from 515 to 709 and in the Western Trust the number increased from 615 to 829 over a 12-month period and

“That in itself is not a bad thing but this option should only be pursued when it is through an informed and willing choice by the family concerned.

“There is a risk that families and carers struggling to get the care packages they need may feel pressurised into accepting direct payments and try to sort arrangements themselves.

“That should never be the case and the Trusts should ensure that steps are taken to ensure the most effective direct payments model is in place as part of the ongoing review into adult social care.

Appeal following local workers having to work in freezing conditions

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has appealed to businesses in the retail and hospitality sector in the city to show consideration for workers who have to spend their working day at the entrance to their premises during the winter months.

 Councillor Kelly said  “It was brought to my attention in a conversations i had with  local workers who have to sit with  coats and fleeces on them all day it was that cold because they had to work at a  till right beside the door.

If you happen to go to many of the businesses in our city you will find a lot of workers in similar situations. They are working beside electric sliding or revolving doors and they are getting the full elements of cold weather  off and on all day. People don’t like complaining or don’t want any hassle at work so they just grin and bear it.

But they shouldn’t have to work in these conditions. It’s important that businesses ensure that they have adequate heating beside workers on the front line. The temperature of a work place should provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing.

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Lobbying pays off as Killea set to get bus shelter – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomd the decision to install a bus shelter in the village of Killea just outside city.

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said

 “This is welcome news for  residents living  in the Killea area.I have been lobbying for some time now to have this bus shelter introduced .

The new bus shelter will make life more comfortable for those residents of the area who depend on public transport to get around. It will also be of special benefit to the youth of the area who have to stand out in the open in all-weathers waiting for school buses.

I had received complaints from parents and grandparents of children from the area that  in the bad weather they were going into school soaked to the skin even before they started the school day and that is not what we want in 2017.

I would like to thank all those involved in the process to make this possible local residents and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

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