Business case under consideration for Cityside Health and Social care Campus-McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA and chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Maeve McLaughlin speaking after meeting the new CEO of the Health and Social Care Board Valerie Watts Healthy Living Alliance and Greater Shantallow area Partnership to discuss a Health and Social care campus on the Westbank of the city.
Maeve McLaughlin said
 
It’s important that a health campus is established on the Westbank of the city.  Despite a site being identified in Derry a number of years ago and an overwhelming case being made for such a facility a decision was made at the start of the year to choose Lisburn and Newry as the priority locations. 
I am glad now that the cityside is clearly on the agenda and a business case is currently being considered for location.
 
I have made the case that in a catchment area of over 70,000 population  there should be enhanced services of the kind promised by the new Health Campus model .It would include provision such as primary care professionals from a range of disciplines, including GP’s working with modern equipment and advanced technologies to provide services that are easily accessible and responsive to client and patient needs.” 
 
It is important that we maximise this opportunities in terms of health outcomes and targeting the Health inequalities that exist in Derry.

Student Support Payment Methods Need to Be Changed – Logue

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Patricia Logue  has called for changes to be made to the way in which further and higher education students receive financial support.Patricia Logue new pic 22

She  said:

“The current financial situation facing students is gravely concerning, with incomes falling and the cost of living continuing to rise.Its particularly worrying for families of students from Derry who have moved to the likes of Belfast,Liverpool or Glasgow to study,where it is harder for the family support network to help.

“It is a long standing pattern for many students to avail of part-time employment to help them survive financially.

“However, with the high level of unemployment having a negative impact on prospects for students seeking work it is now harder than ever for students to make ends meet.

“This means that most students are now more reliant than ever on the income they receive through student loans and other support funds.

“However, these payments are made three times a year making it difficult for students to manage their budgets. I believe that if these sources of income for students were instead paid on a weekly or monthly basis it would be more manageable and relieve some of the pressures on students.

“There are also  stories in the press of  students  being forced to rely on food banks or short term loans at excessive interest rates to see them through until the next student loan instalment.

 

“We are  calling on the Employment & Learning Minister Stephen Farry to review the methods of student financial support so that students can access them in a more manageable way. I will be raising this issue with him at the earliest opportunity.”

New Zealand to vote on ditching Union Jack from flag

New Zealand to vote on ditching Union Jack from flag

New Zealand rugby fans in Dublin

NEW ZEALAND Prime Minister John Key has announced that the country will vote on whether or not to ditch the Union Jack from their national flag in a referendum in 2016.

He believes public opinion is split down the middle on keeping or removing the current version with a Union flag canton. 

The referendum will cost an estimated €20million and no official alternative design has been announced.

However, the National Party leader said his personal preference is a new flag depicting a single silver fern on a black background, the logo used by the All Blacks rugby team.

New Zealand Green Party co-leader Russel Norman also supports the idea and said wide-ranging public consultation is needed.

Socialist indigenous rights Mana Party MP Hone Harawira says he’d like to see the current flag replaced byMaori Flag the Tino Rangatiratanga flag (pictured), sometimes referred to as the Maori flag:

“It’s more reflective of our history, of our world, and it shows that we’re not just babies of Queen Victoria we are our own people, an independent nation,” he said.

“I think New Zealanders need to get a sense of their own national identity.”

Independent MP Peter Dunne added:

“I think what we’ve got at the moment is anachronistic. It smacks of British imperialism and we’ve given that away a long time ago. I think we should have something that reflects our own identity.”

James Connolly School 2014, Dublin –

James Connolly School 2014, Dublin –

Saturday 8 November, 1pm to 5pm

Sinn Féin Átha Cliath 
James Connolly School 2014
Saturday 8 November – 1pm to 5pm
UNITE Union Hall, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
 

1pm – Launch of Dublin Sinn Féin 1916 Committee

Talk on James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

1.45 pm – Saving Moore Street – The next stage in the battle

Barry Lyons – 1916 Relatives Association
James Connolly Heron – Great Grandson of James Connolly 

2.30pm – The Housing Crisis – Campaigning for Solutions

Eoin Ó Murchú – Recollections and  Lessons of Dublin Housing Action Committee of the 1960s 
Cllr. Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Cathaoirleach, Dublin City Council Housing Committee – Solutions for Today

3.30pm – The Right to Water – the next phase

Cllr. Daithi Doolan – Where to for the campaign in 2015?
Lynn Boylan MEP – The EU dimension and threat of privatisation 

4.15pm – Towards a New Republic

Seán Oliver (Belfast) – After Scotland – A Border Poll for Ireland.  
Cllr. Eoin Ó Broin – Towards a Left Republican Government. 

5pm Críoch

Tea and coffee available during the afternoon. 

British government must face responsibilities on the past – McGuinness

Martin McGuinness MLA has said the British government must face up to its responsibilities on dealing with the past. 

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

Speaking to relatives of victims of state violence at Stormont ahead of a human rights conference in Belfast next Thursday 6th November, which will be attended by the European Council’s Nils Muiznieks, Mr McGuinness said; 

“This has been a particularly difficult year for many families from across this society seeking truth and justice about the death of their loved ones. 

“We have witnessed families being denied an inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre, the inaction of the PSNI to investigate the actions Military Reaction Force, the call for a public inquiry into the deaths of 18 people at the hands of loyalists in Mid Ulster, the PSNI refusal to co-operate with the Gerard Lawlor inquest, the ongoing refusal to honour their commitment to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and the destruction of documents relating to shoot-to-kill deaths just weeks before an inquest was due to begin. 

“All of this is rooted in the British government’s failure to honour its Article 2 Right to Life obligations. It is clear that the British government fears the truth. 

“We in Sinn Féin will not tolerate the British government seeking to rewrite their role in the conflict. 

“There are many differing perspectives on the causes of the past conflict, what happened and who was responsible. We are up for a comprehensive discussion about the nature, causes and consequences of conflict. The question is, is the British government?

“In all of our deliberations we have sought to put the needs of victims first.” Ends/Críoch


Cooper welcomes £1m City of Culture legacy funding

Sinn Féin Councillor and local Tour Guide, Mickey Cooper has welcomed the latest tranche of funding from the Culture Minister, Carál NiChuilín, towards City of Culture legacy projects.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 
Councillor Cooper said:
 
“This latest  £1 million funding announcement will be welcomed by all of those involved in projects evolving from Derry’s City of Culture experience.
 
“The funding has been made available by the Minister in keeping with her pledge to assist in building on the legacy of the City of Culture. It is now incumbent on all of those involved in legacy projects to ensure that we get the maximum benefit from this funding for those for whom it is intended – the young people in the most disadvantaged areas.
 
“It is reassuring that Ministers NíChuilín and O’Dowd’s Departments are collaborating in this project to deliver programmes that will highlight the advantages of continuing education as well as provision for projects that will allow our youth to reach their full potential in arts, culture, creative industry and multi-media pathways. 
 
“This increased upskilling in STEM subjects will also increase the opportunities of our young people to step-up to further and Higher Education in line with the city’s ambition to expand the Magee Campus and NWRC.
 
“This funding, based on the cultural hubs concept which Sinn Féin  has been promoting with DCAL to advance across community areas and to  make the North West become a highly attractive location for employers in the digital economy.”
 
CRÍOCH/END 

40th Anniversary Volunteer Michael Meenan (Thursday 7.30pm)‏

On Thursday night a commemoration will take place in Shantallow to remember the 40th Anniversary of the death of IRA Volunteer Michael Meenan.

Michael died when the bomb he was transporting exploded accidentally on 30th October  1974

Councillor Elisha McCallion  said

These events are very important indeed .We will be gathering to remember with dignity and pride the memory of Michael and stand in solidarity with his family and friends. The commemoration will take place at 7.30pm at the Shantallow Monument and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend.

The commemoration is organised by the Shantallow Monument committee and Derry Republican Graves Association.

Fears over rat infestation Lone Moor Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  said colly new road pic

I have been contacted by residents  who live along the Lone Moor Road and several of the off streets and they have reported to me that a number of dead rats have been found in the back gardens of local homes and that’s rats have also been seen in the laneways.

Also people putting rubbish out  have had the misfortune off rats being in around their wheelie bins.It can be a very frightening experience for anyone to   lift the lid on the bin for a rat to jump out in front of them .So its important all lids on bins are secured.

With winter now on us I would urge that residents take every precaution to ensure that rats cannot get into their homes, out houses, garden sheds.  It is obvious that if anyone dumps the rubbish in the laneways they  have no regard for others because while they wanted rid of the rubbish they were prepared to dump it on other people’s doorsteps.

 

Ends

Paul Whitters killed by plastic bullet remembered at “In Their Footsteps” Stormont

Day of Action: In Their Footsteps organised by the Pat Finucane CentreIMG_9203(1)

At the Assembly yesterday this week

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin remembering her cousin Paul Whitters with family members at the event.

Paul Whitters was only 15 years old when he was struck in the back of the head by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC in Great James Street on 15th April 1981. He died in hospital ten days later.

Queen’s Irish Unity referendum a victory for democracy – McCrossan‏

The chair of Ógra Shinn Féin in Derry and  Queens Student Mickey McCrossan has hailed the Students’ Union Irish Unity referendum as a victory for the democratic process.

Mickey McCrossan was speaking after the Unity motion fell just short with 49% of the vote.

He said:

“The QUB Student Union Irish Unity Referendum vote was a success for self-determination and for the democratic process.

“Students were engaged, voter turnout was high, and every student on campus today could participate in an enthusiastic, positive, fun and respectful debate on the future of Ireland.

“Over 2,400 students voiced their opinion in a period of ten hours. The turnout recorded was the highest on record at QUBSU.

“This was an overwhelming victory for the concepts of free debate and discussion about essential issues. We want to thank everyone who voted and took part in the campaign.

“Ultimately it demonstrates the burgeoning appetite among young people to discuss and vote on the future of their country.

“This is the first vote of its kind in recent memory in Ireland, and we believe it has reenergised the discussion on the prospect of a reunified, inclusive, all-island Republic.

“This is but one step on a journey to engage wider society on the very viable alternative to the union with Britain, and a leap forward on the path to a progressive, equal and united Ireland.

“We respect the democratic decision of the student body but we will revisit this issue with renewed vigour at the earliest opportunity.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

1264 (49.6%) of students who voted QUB Irish Unity Poll said YES.

Balmoral conf 5115251175137_aa21579d1d_o1234090_10152158334668642_543777002_nDerry Dongeal repsBwnGlOUIMAA5Zln.jpg large

Sinn Féin Councillors Sandra Duffy, Eric McGinley and Paul Fleming taking part in the Risk Assessment roadshow at Waterloo Place in Derry

Sinn Féin Councillors Sandra Duffy, Eric McGinley and Paul Fleming taking part in the Risk Assessment roadshow at Waterloo Place in Derry

DSC_0589

Fear criminals targeting Garden City /Kingsfort

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has warned residents in the Garden City /Kingsfort Park to be on alert following a number of attempted burglaries in Ardnarea/Lisnarea area.Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said

“I have been contacted by residents in the area following concerns people had been seen acting suspiciously   around homes and cars there. A number of local people have told me they are very concerned about this development and ask me to highlight it in the local press in the hope it will prevent someone falling victim to these criminals.

We all know one of the worse things that can happen to anyone is to have their home broken into and personal items stolen. It can also have an impact on people wishing to live in the house after the event. Many feel vulnerable, unsafe and can have a detrimental effect on their health and if this warning prevents even one incident happening then it will be worth it.

I have also raised resident concerns with the PSNI.

McGinley welcomes the resurfacing of footpaths in Ballymagroarty.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed the resurfacing of footpaths in Ballymagroarty.

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “Residents towards the top of Ballymagroarty had expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of the footpaths particularly the sections leading towards the school and chapel.

 

I welcome the work that has been carried out by Roads Service recently and I will be in regular contact to ensure that other footpaths in the Ballymagroarty area are subject to repair and remedial work as required.”

Derry and Strabane to receive £7.54Million from rural fund -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the Priority 6 Budget of almost £70million announced by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill will go towards tackling rural inequalities and is to be welcomed.raymond mccartney

LAG Geographical Area

The Derry and Strabane areas will receive £7.54Million (Indicative Budget Allocation)

 

Raymond McCartney said.

 

    “This money delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme will help tackle some of the rural inequalities like poverty, improving rural infrastructure, supporting business development, basic services, the renewal of villages and activities aimed at the restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of rural areas.

 

    “The money divided across ten areas managed by the newly formed Local Action Groups has been allocated on the basis of rural population levels, poverty and deprivation while a minimum level of funding has been set to ensure the effectiveness of the new LAGs.

 

    “As part of the Sinn Féin promise to tackle inequality and disparity, the Minister has shown that targeting the most vulnerable areas of our society will allow rural communities to come together to become more economically sustainable while providing greater availability and access to basic services.

 

    ‘’While the program now awaits European approval, I would encourage community groups and organisations to begin engaging with their Local Action Groups once they are established in the coming months so that the positive impact of these funds can be maximised.”

NIO enabling unionist and Orange extremists’ veto over progress in North

Declan Kearney: ‘The DUP is dictating Villiers’ and the NIO’s approach’

THERESA VILLIERS chose the Ulster Unionist Party conference last Saturday to restate this British Government’s pro-unionism.

Nine days earlier, on the BBC, the British Secretary of State talked down a role for the US administration and explicitly excluded the Irish Government from a role in discussing ‘Strand One’ issues.

She represented her role as that of a facilitator rather than a talks participant.

The DUP is dictating Villiers’ and the NIO’s approach.

JimAllisterTUV

DUP leader Peter Robinson has set down preconditions in the form of welfare cuts, parades and the role of the Irish Government. The DUP excluded the first talks plenary session from Parliament Buildings because Jim Allister (pictured) of the inflexible Traditional Unionist Voice party ‘cracked the whip’.  Then they contemptuously boycotted the same session.

British Government pandering to unionist intransigence damages the political process. It undermines the Good Friday and other Agreements’ process and principles, and it strengthens the ascendant unionist anti-Agreement axis.

The British Government led by John Major in the mid-1990s adopted a very partisan and negative approach to the Peace Process before the 1997 election.

Worrying parallels exist between this British Government’s role and Major’s administration. There are also increasing similarities between the current DUP’s behaviour, and the UUP of that period. Significantly, a Fine Gael-led coalition also existed in Dublin then.

Republicans have no confidence in the commitment of the British Government to the political process.

Its approach has been characterised by explicit political bias towards unionism; negative indifference to the rights of all citizens, instead of some; and a relegation of the North to a political backwater.

Without an agreed work-plan the current talks are not credible. They will not succeed if this British Government refuses to accept its co-equal obligations to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and implement the elements of all extant agreements.

This British Government should be part of a pro-Agreement axis, and it is not. While that remains the case its political agenda will be set by the extremists.

Orange Order logo

The NIO is in fact enabling unionist and Orange extremists’ veto over progress.

All the evidence points towards this round of talks being negatively shaped and trammelled. Equally negative default options are being put into the political mix by both the DUP and the British Government regarding the New Year, if not before.

Pro-Agreement politics and democratic imperatives should have primacy.

There must be no diminution of the Irish Government’s co-equal involvement in these talks. That would be a subversion of Irish democracy.

The political process and institutions must be robustly defended and sustained.

Trilateral Irish, American and British Government commitment to the Good Friday Agreement political model and momentum is critical to the success of these talks.

Speech by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Saturday 25 October, in Belfast

Gerry_A_1

Gerry Adams TD speaking at the Balmoral Hotel on Saturday (Photos by Peadar Whelan)

THE ALLEGATIONS of Maíria Cahill have been at the centre of the media and political system, North and South, in recent times.

Nobody doubts that Maíria has been through great distress. I have never doubted that she suffered abuse. And, like every citizen, she is fully entitled to truth and justice.

Over the course of the past week, Maíria Cahill has made serious allegations against myself and named Sinn Féin members.

While I am very mindful of the trauma she has suffered, I and the others she has named reject those allegations.

The allegations made by Maíria Cahill have been seized upon in the most cynical, calculated and opportunistic way by our political opponents.

Their aim has little to do with helping victims of abuse but everything to do with furthering their own narrow political agendas.

The serious and sensitive issues of abuse should be dealt with in a victim-centred way by the appropriate authorities. Instead, they have been politicised in the Dáil, the Assembly chamber and in the media.

I am very conscious that a young woman is at the centre of this controversy.

So, let me be very, very clear – abuse is wrong; it cannot and must not be tolerated.

Let me be equally clear – Sinn Féin has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of this party.

This accusation is a vile slur on thousands of decent, upstanding republican people right across this island.

Those Sinn Féin members to whom Maíria Cahill spoke have said that they believed that she had been a victim of abuse and that she had suffered trauma.

They assure me that they did all that they could to support her.

That is what I did also.

The Taoiseach, the Fianna Fáil leader and some media commentators have also tried to draw comparisons between the actions of Sinn Féin representatives in this case and that of the Catholic Church in dealing with abuse allegations.

A cursory examination of the facts gives the lie to that ridiculous assertion.

The Catholic Church Hierarchy and the state presided over institutional abuse for decades.

It was a systemic and deliberate practice. In stark contrast, Sinn Féin has encouraged victims to speak out.

All the Sinn Féin members who spoke to Maíria Cahill acted in good faith to support her.

They advised her to speak to her family, to seek counselling or to approach social services.

Her uncle, Joe Cahill – at my request – asked her to go to the RUC.

Now even Joe is shamefully depicted as a sex abuser by some of the media. This has been deeply hurtful to his wife Annie, their children and grandchildren

Whose agenda is served by this despicable rubbish?

Some sections of the media – and in particular the Independent Group – have taken these allegations against Sinn Féin, added to them, and reported them as fact.

They speculate with ill-concealed glee about how much damage this controversy will do to me and to Sinn Féin.

While rightfully criticising the idea of ‘kangaroo courts’, they have set themselves up as judge and jury on this issue.

This is not journalism in the normal sense but a campaign with a clear political agenda.

This society is still emerging from decades of conflict.

That conflict caused widespread hurt and suffering, as did the absence of the structures and institutions which are the norm in peaceful democratic societies.

There are many legacy issues arising from the conflict. Sinn Féin accepts our responsibility to help bring about the resolution of these issues. That is not our responsibility alone. The governments and others must deal with the past also.

Victims include a wider category than those killed or injured.

They include those badly served or mistreated by the forces of the state or by armed groups, including the IRA.

How the various protagonists dealt with the issue of sexual abuse is clearly one of the legacy issues which needs to be resolved as part of the necessary business of dealing with the past.

However, there is an onus on us all to meet the needs of victims of abuse and the concerns of the community in the here and now, to do what we can today.

To the maximum extent that this can be dealt with now, it should be dealt with.

I have already set out the circumstances in which the IRA sought to deal with some cases of abuse when asked to do so by families and victims.

I have acknowledged that while IRA Volunteers were acting in good faith, the IRA was not equipped to deal with these difficult matters.

But the clock cannot be turned back. Sinn Féin cannot change what happened in the past. But we can acknowledge failure.

That is what I have done.

GA at Balmoral Hotel Oct 2014 2

Everyone, including us, has a duty to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. That is not the responsibility only of Sinn Féin.

IRA actions failed victims of abuse. As Uacharáin Shinn Féin I have acknowledged that. I am sorry for that. And I apologise for that.

This week in the Dáil, the Taoiseach disgracefully twisted and sought to misrepresent what I have said on this issue.

He and the Fianna Fáil leader have shown a callous disregard for the facts as they turned the Dáil chamber into an episode of reality television.

Neither the Taoiseach nor the Fianna Fáil leader has ever sought to meet with me to address the false allegations that they have levelled against me and others in Sinn Féin.

Instead, they have rushed into media with their vindictive claims.

Mr Kenny and Mr Martin have done the very thing they accuse republicans of – they have set aside the judicial process and the rights of citizens before the law; they have ignored the acquittal of those they have accused.

The Taoiseach has claimed that sexual abusers were ‘moved’ – his words, not mine – to “Dublin, Donegal, Louth”.

The Taoiseach has repeatedly claimed that he has knowledge of alleged child abusers from the North but living in the South.

He says that others have given him information identifying these alleged child abusers. He has raised alarm and concern on this issue.

Has the Taoiseach gone to the Garda with this information?

Has he insisted that those who gave him this information go to the Garda?

If not – why not?

It is up to the Garda or the PSNI to investigate and to prosecute anyone they suspect of child abuse, irrespective of who they are, where they come from or what organisation they may belong to.

I have no knowledge of the claims that the Taoiseach is making.

I have already called on anyone who has any information whatsoever about any case of sexual abuse to come forward to the authorities, North or South.

They will have the full support of Sinn Féin in so doing.

No one should be living in fear and no child should be at risk.

I am calling on any former IRA Volunteers who may have any information about any allegations of sexual abuse to pass this on to the appropriate authorities – the PSNI, An Garda Síochána, Social Services, the HSE or any of the advocacy groups or helplines which deal with sexual abuse cases.

This could also be done through any of the statutory and voluntary organisations which offer confidential 24-hour helplines.

These agencies are properly equipped to pursue these matters.

Secrecy has surrounded abuse in Ireland.

It was taboo to discuss and some victims were very fearful to disclose.
The only way to face this problem is to support victims and to empower them to speak out.

Republicans are reflective of wider Irish society. Abusers can be found in all walks of life. Any abuser within republicanism has done grievous wrongs to their victims and sullied our cause.

But they are not in any way representative of the thousands or tens of thousands of republican activists who served the republican cause in the ranks of the IRA and Sinn Féin.

They are not representative of the tens of thousands of republican prisoners who served hard time for the republican cause. Or of our patriot dead.

There are republican families in every parish in Ireland. Good men and women who have kept faith in hard times.

There are ten thousand citizens in the ranks of Sinn Féin today representing hundreds of thousands of republican voters the length and breadth of this island.

The politicisation of this issue by An Taoiseach and the Fiánna Fail leader comes at a time when we present a real alternative to the conservative parties that have failed citizens since partition.  

When challenged by me in the Dáil, Mr Kenny conceded that there are many decent people in Sinn Féin.

Let me tell you, Taoiseach, we don’t need you to tell us that.

We know that.

We also know that we are not part of any conspiracy to protect child abusers or to cover up abuse.

So the difficult issues raised by Maíria Cahill must be addressed.

But there are processes for doing this. They should be applied and respected.

Let us be clear – this is not achievable by exploiting her story in a blatant effort to demonise Sinn Féin.

Taoiseach and media accused of ignoring court judgment and rule of law in Maíria Cahill case

Taoiseach and media accused of ignoring court judgment and rule of law in Maíria Cahill case

SOLICITOR Peter Madden says in a letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Friday evening on behalf of his clients Padraic Wilson, Seamus Finucane, Briege Wright and Maura McCrory regarding the Maíria Cahill allegations that “the rule of law has been subverted by the ongoing trial by the media and others against my clients”, adding that “their acquittals have been either ignored or devalued”.

In relation to comments in the Dáil made by An Taoiseach himself this week, Peter Madden of Madden & Finucane says:

“During the course of exchanges in Dáil Éireann on October 22nd, An Taoiseach set aside the judicial process and ignored the findings of a court of law.”

The full text of the letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings reads (with our emphasis):

Enda Kenny media

“On October 22nd 2014, I issued a statement on behalf of my clients in response to the unprecedented media onslaught that they have had to endure since the recent BBC Spotlight broadcast.

“Copies of that statement were released to the press and to your office via email.

“I feel it necessary to reiterate the core points of that statement:-

● The cases against my clients were the subject of an intensive and lengthy high-ranking police investigation. They were then prosecuted by the office of the PPS, which was represented at all times in court by an experienced Senior and Junior counsel. The complainant Maíria Cahill was therefore afforded every available resource the state could offer.

● There were protracted legal arguments relating to the procedures and evidence in these cases.

● The charges were to be contested and ultimately Maíria Cahill, the main prosecution witness, was to be cross-examined about her version of events which was not accepted by my clients.

● She refused to allow this to take place and would not participate in the normal method of giving evidence at a trial, where the truth of her version of events would be tested by cross-examination.

● My clients were therefore found not guilty of these offences.

● In any normal society that would be the end of the matter.

● However, the rule of law has been subverted by the ongoing trial by the media and others against my clients.

● Their acquittals have been either ignored or devalued.

“During the course of exchanges in Dáil Éireann on October 22nd, An Taoiseach set aside the judicial process and ignored the findings of a court of law.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions in Belfast has announced the setting up of a review of the prosecution of these cases.

“The Police Ombudsman is to also review aspects of the prosecution of these cases referred to him.

“Both of these processes have been undermined before they have even begun.

“Dáil Éireann is set to debate these cases.

“The Assembly at Stormont is set to debate these cases.

“There have been calls for the Justice Committees in both institutions to debate these cases.

“My clients have had any chance of fairness jeopardised by the continuing blatant disregard for the rule of law.

“An Taoiseach concluded his comments in Dáil Éireann by saying that he would meet “the four people . . . who are named” and that he “would not stand in judgment over them”.

“He has already passed judgment on them.

Dáil Éireann is not a court of law, neither is the media.

“I am seriously concerned that in the course of the parliamentary debates some will seek to hide behind ‘parliamentary privilege’ and conduct their own ‘kangaroo court’.

“I am advising my clients not to meet with An Taoiseach, at this stage, while the reviews and processes detailed above are ongoing.

I must also remind An Taoiseach and others that there are still unresolved legal matters on this issue in relation to one of my clients. 

“There are other matters and very dangerous precedents involved in all that has transpired over recent days and I intend to address these with the relevant offices and individuals.”

Thwart the oil thieves –Councillor Colly Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has warned householders across the city to be on their guard against home heating oil thieves in the run up to Christmas. 

His appeal follows a number of oil thefts in the Bogside in the past week

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

Councillor Kelly said

“I feel it’s timely to warn people across the city to be on their guard against home heating oil thieves in the run up to Christmas .With now being into the month of October, temperatures dropping and nights and mornings getting a lot darker we have seen in previous years a marked increase in oil thefts at this time.

“With the cost of home heating oil so expensive, having oil stolen is causing severe hardship to many families who cannot afford to refill their tanks

“This type of crime takes time and special equipment such as a tanker or large tank in the back of a van and siphoning equipment.We have had a number of homes targeted in the Bogside area in the past week.

“I would call on people to be observant. If you see suspicious activity in the laneways around a neighbour’s house, particularly if there is no one at home, to call the police.”

 

Ends

Ó hEára welcomes Seagate jobs announcement

Derry Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Geároid Ó hEára has welcomed the creation of 35 jobs by Seagate in Derry. 

 

Speaking after the jobs were announced this morning, Mr Ó hEára said; 

 

“This announcement that Seagate is creating 35 high tech jobs in the city is very welcome.

 

“These high-end jobs are what Derry needs to help boost our economy. 

 

“This is a significant commitment to the city by a major market leading global firm. 

 

“Seagate is one of the largest employers in the city and the fact that they have chosen to make this significant investment of almost £35million in their future in Derry is a hugely positive development which recognises the high quality of employee available in the North West

 

“I met with the global president of Seagate, Dave Mosely, last week in advance of this announcement at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner and we discussed the need for further investment in the city. 

 

“Attracting investment from international companies, as well as encouraging our own small and medium sized enterprises and fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship, is crucial to growing and developing our economy n Derry. 

 

“This is a very encouraging jobs boost and hopefully there will be many more positive announcements in the future.”    CRÍOCH/END 

 

Cooper welcomes Omniplex £1Million investment /jobs announcement

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that the Omniplex cinema on the Strand Road is set to get a £1m refurbishment with the creation of fifteen new jobs.omniplex

 

He said “This is good news for the city.

 

It’s great to see such a substantial investment in a business on the Lower Strand Road and the creation of fifteen news jobs.

 

In the current world economic climate every new job brought to this city is valued.

 

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McGuinness appeals for common approach to achieve maximum decision-making powers

McGuinness appeals for common approach to achieve maximum decision-making powersDSC_0877

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has appealed for a common approach with Scotland and Wales to ensure maximum decision-making powers in the three Assemblies.

Mr McGuinness was speaking after discussions between the First and deputy First Minister and their Scottish and ahead of a meeting with their Welsh counterparts.

Martin McGuinness said:

“No one should be under any illusions about the scale of the financial crisis which is facing the Executive as a direct result of the British Government’s austerity agenda.

“The Block Grant has been raided every year since the Tory-led coalition came into power in Westminster.

“But there is worse still to come. The Tories have made it abundantly clear that they are ideologically committed to dismantling the welfare state and the destruction of public services. They intend to slash the North’s budget even further in the years ahead.

“Scotland and Wales are facing the same challenges and these discussions with Alex Salmond and Carwyn Jones provide an opportunity to agree a joint approach to the challenges ahead.

“There is no reason why we cannot do that because there is already a great deal of common ground between ourselves, the Welsh and the Scottish.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson welcomes declaration of EU support for talks.‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a statement made by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, urging all parties in the North to enter into talks.??????????

Schulz made a statement at the opening of this month’s parliamentary session in Strasbourg, saying he wanted the EU to accompany Irelands successful Peace Process and urged all parties to contribute towards finding peaceful solutions.

The statement comes following Martin McGuinness’ engagements with various European Parliamentary leaders where he highlighted the need for continued international support for the peace process.

Martina Anderson spoke in response from Strasbourg this evening saying:

“Many people in Europe and around the world view the Irish Peace Process as a success; however, we must not take this success for granted”

“For a number of years the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement have been working successfully but for the institutions to continue to work there needs to be a political will from all sides. In recent years that political will has been absent.”

“I welcome the statement made by President Schulz calling on all parties to contribute to finding peaceful solutions and to engage in new talks.

“The EU can play an important role in reminding people in the north of Ireland of the importance of the peace process. The successful advancement of our peace process can be of benefit, not just for the people of Ireland, but also for the EU, as an example for the resolution of other conflicts throughout the world.

ENDS

McCartney welcomes PPS review of cases

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the announcement of a review of cases linked to abuse allegations by Mairia Cahill. raymond mccartney

Speaking after the Director of Public Prosecutions announced the review, the Foyle MLA said; 

“The Director of Public Prosecutions has said there will be an independent review of these cases and that is to be welcomed. 

“The review will be carried out by an independent legal expert and that is entirely appropriate as these are sensitive legal issues that need to be dealt with professionally. 

“It will also examine whether any lessons can be learned from the way this has been handled to date. 

“The needs of victims must always be paramount in dealing with cases of this nature. 

“I look forward to the completion of this review.”

Legislation needed to deal with legal highs – Anderson‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said legislation is needed to deal with so-called legal highs. 
Speaking after meeting Attorney General John Larkin to discuss legal highs, Ms Anderson said; 
“It will shock many that Ireland has the highest use of so-called legal highs in Europe. 
“These substances are toxic, they can kill and unfortunately have tragically taken the lives of too may so far.
“It is clear that action is needed urgently to remove these toxic substances from sale in order to protect young people. 
“I met with Attorney General John Larkin to explore all the legal options available to deal with legal highs. 
“I also met with councillors Deirdre Hargey and Ciaran Beattie  who working on the ground in Belfast dealing with legal highs to discuss how they have been successful in preventing shops selling these substances. 
“Europe also has a role to play and I will following up on this meeting by asking the European Commission to explore all options, legislative and otherwise, to deal with the scourge of legal highs.” Ends/Críoch

Report all cases of abuse – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has appealed for anyone who has been the victim of abuse – or suspects that abuse is taking place – to report it to the PSNI or relevant statutory service.

Mr McGuinness said; Martin McGuinness outside the Dáil giving press statement.

“The recent publicity surrounding the case of Maíria Cahill has again highlighted the issue of sexual abuse within Irish society and I would urge anyone who has any information whatsoever about abuse to bring it forward so that cases can be properly investigated and victims properly supported.

“If, for any reason, victims are reluctant to speak to the police, as was initially the case with Maíria Cahill, there are a number of statutory and voluntary organisations which offer confidential 24-hour helplines through which abuse can be reported.

“These organisations will also help support the victim and help ensure they receive the ongoing after-care which is required.

“As a society, I think we all have to acknowledge that victims of abuse have been failed in the past. Only now is society beginning to accept and deal with the true extent and horror of what has been perpetrated across the island of Ireland.

“However, there are now support structures in place and the relevant agencies are properly equipped to pursue complaints and assist victims. I would again appeal to anyone with concerns about abuse to use them.” Ends/Críoch

The Nexus Institute which provides support to victims of abuse advise that the following organisations offer 24-hour helplines:

The Rowan: 08003894424

Lifeline 0808 808 8000

The Samaritans 0845 790 9090

Childline 0808 802 1414

NSPCC 0808 800 5000

McCartney welcomes deferral of RTÉ long wave closure‏

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed a commitment from RTÉ to continue broadcasting on long wave. rte-logo-web

The Foyle MLA said; 

“RTÉ’s long wave service is hugely important to people living in rural areas who cannot access the FM signal. 

“News that RTÉ were closing this service caused distress among some listeners who were concerned about losing their service altogether. 

“I welcome the news that RTÉ will continue this service until next year.

“I would also encourage RTÉ to use this additional time to consult with listeners and provide alternatives so listeners in the North can continue to access their programming. 

“RTÉ also needs to invest in their broadcast infrastructure to ensure that people throughout the island can enjoy equal access to its services.”

Ends

Vandals torch Madams Bank Road Traffic lights –Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has condemned the wanton vandalism that took place at traffic lights at Madam Bank Road this week

Councillor Tony Hassan

Councillor Tony Hassan

.

Councillor Hassan said

A number of young people  set fire to the traffic lights at around 8.30pm .It caused problems for road users, and is the second time these lights have been set on fire in the last six weeks.

These lights have been repeatedly attacked since they were introduced in 2012.They provide safety for pedestrians, particularly children going to school.

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

I am appealing to whoever is carrying out this nonsense to stop. Attacking any sort of road safety measure is placing the lives of motorists and pedestrians in danger.

It is local people who are suffering and their lives being disrupted by these senseless incidents and that is something no one wants.

 

Ends

Moves to address speed of traffic on Park Avenue-Councillor Mickey Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for Rosemount Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from DRD Roads Service that they will examine a number of traffic issues along Rosemount/Park Avenue to improve safety for pedestrians.

He said a number of residents, including many with young children, had complained about the speed and conduct of traffic driving through the area:

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

He said

“I met with DRD Roads Service staff in the area this  week to discuss a range of issues.

I am pleased that they are going to conduct a traffic survey in front of Brooke Park as a number of residents have expressed concerns that cars were driving too fast in this area.

In addition I have been assured that they will also bring forward proposals to address other safety issues caused by the high volume of traffic going through the area which will hopefully alleviate some of the problems being experienced by local residents”

Ends

Hassan shocked at scale of damage at Temple Park fire

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said he was “shocked” at the scale of the damage caused by a fire to homes in the Temple Park area just off the Skeoge Road in the early hours of Friday morning.

He said “The scale of the damage caused by this fire is quite extensive” lg_tony_hassan_copy2

“When I went to visit the homes affected I was shocked by what I seen”

“We could have had a very serious situation on our hands here .I have seen video footage of the fire and it was very intense. Had this spread to adjacent homes, it doesn’t bare thinking about what could have happened here.

The home owners will now be left with a hefty repair bill just a couple of weeks before  Christmas .People put a lot of time, energy and money into building up a family home and for this to happen must be heartbreaking.

I would urge anyone with even the slightest piece of information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI straight away.

End

McLaughlin praises handling of Ebola scare

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has praised the way staff at Altnagelvin Hospital’s accident and emergency department dealt with an Ebola scare. 

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

“Staff at Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department was faced with a patient who was concerned about Ebola. 

“The response from the staff in the emergency department was professional and impressive. 

“They followed the procedures in place for dealing with this scenario and liaised closely with the Public Health Agency and took advice from health experts. 

“Thankfully this patient did not have Ebola and no patients in the hospital currently have the disease. 

“The professionalism and diligence of the staff at the hospital in dealing with this patient is to be commended.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

Talks begin at Stormont

Child poverty levels in Derry show need to stand against Tory cuts –Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue responding to the End Child Poverty report published with new figures (October 2014) which showed that in the Brandywell Ward before housing costs   31.44% and after housing costs 48.72% of children are living in poverty.Patricia Logue new pic 22

Councillor Patricia Logue said

“These figures have once again highlighted the fears in this city that any proposed Tory cuts would have on children not only living in the Brandywell ward, but throughout the city and across the north.

Child poverty cannot be seen in isolation of the overall poverty that affects families. We all know the impact that poverty can have on a child’s life chances and there will never be equality of opportunity for all children unless we tackle poverty and disadvantage.

Growing numbers of people are joining us in the campaign against these proposed cuts as they realise the devastating impact they would have across a wide range of benefits.

Benefits many people  need just to get by day to day ,keep them in work ,put food on the table or pay fuel bills.

Sinn Féin is very clear in our opposition to the welfare cuts agenda of the Tory-led coalition which would punish the poor and the most vulnerable in our society.

Ends

Long term solution needed at Caw Roundabout -Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson said “It’s been quite evident that there has been a problem at this roundabout for years. The speed and the volume of traffic merging onto the roundabout can make the journey for any motorist accessing  from Limavady Road ,Clooney Road and Crescent Link  very difficult.1238129961

Back in February the Journal’ reported that residents of Waterfoot Park faced a daily traffic nightmare because the only way both in and out of the area is via the three lanes of the roundabout.

It’s vital that a long term solution is found here for both motorists and local residents to improve road safety and make it easier to access housing developments along the Limavady Road.

 

Ends

Bloody Sunday investigation must be properly resourced – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday must be properly resourced. 

Speaking after the number of detectives working on the murder investigation was reduced, Mr McCartney said;

“The families of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday are entitled to justice.

“I am concerned about the way in which this investigation is currently being handled by the PSNI.

“The PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday is a major inquiry and must be properly resourced.

“There can be no question of this important investigation being downgraded or scaled down. The families deserve access to justice.

“I will be raising my concerns over this investigation with the PSNI and urging them to ensure it is adequately resourced.

“The relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday have fought a long campaign for truth and justice. Sinn Féin has always supported that campaign and will continue to do so.”ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson elected as chair of European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine‏

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the Irish government to follow the example of Sweden in giving full recognition to the state of Palestine. 

Martina Anderson said the international community has a responsibility to help the people of Palestine. Speaking after being elected as chairperson of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine, Ms Anderson said; 

“It is an honour to have been elected as chairperson of the EU’s delegation to Palestine and I will use the position to work everyday to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. 

“From our experience in the peace process, we know the importance of dialogue and inclusivity and I will bring that experience to this position. 

“I welcome the fact that the Palestinian unity government held its first meeting in Gaza last week. That sends a clear message to the world and I am encouraging the international community to recognise that. 

“In particular, I am calling on the Irish government to follow the example of Sweden in giving full recognition to the state of Palestine. 

“The international community, and the European Union in particular, has a responsibility to act to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and help find a sustainable solution to the problems in region. 

“I am calling for the European Union to implement the recommendations of the Russell Tribunal, which held a hearing on Palestine in Brussels recently. 

“The Israel-EU Association Agreement should be suspended immediately because of the human rights abuses carried out by Israel. The EU-Israeli scientific agreement must also be suspended. 

“I look forward to working with the chair of the EU’s delegation to Israel. Clearly we have differing views but we need to find a way to work together as MEPs to find common ground.”

McLaughlin welcomes certainty on Radiotherapy and Children’s cardiac surgery

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the health minister’s statement today giving certainty to two significantly important issues – children’s cardiac surgery and radiotherapy services at Altnagelvin.
 
The Chair of the Assembly Health Committee said:_66665109_surgery
 
“I welcome this announcement by health minister Jim Wells. It will bring a degree of certainty to these two crucial health issues. 
 
“I accept that many parents have expressed anxiety around the prospect of Children’s cardiac surgical procedures no longer being carried out in Belfast. However, I believe the assurance that a cardiac centre of excellence will be set up in the city to provide diagnostics and aftercare to northern-based children with congenital heart defects will be reassuring to those parents.
 
“I would urge the Minister to include positions on his governance group through which parents voices will be heard. He also needs to ensure that contingency measures are in place to cater for unforeseen circumstances during the transition between ending surgical procedures in Belfast and Dublin becoming fully operational.
 
“I believe that the single all-Ireland surgical unit to be based in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital at Crumlin, Dublin once fully operational will provide a more professional and superior standard of provision than a unit in Belfast which is underutilised.
 
“I am also delighted that the minister has confirmed the Radiotherapy Unit for Altnagelvin will proceed as planned to be operational by 2016.
 
“This will be a great relief to those many cancer patients from Derry, Donegal, Sligo and the rest of the north west, who presently have to undergo long and arduous journeys to Belfast or Dublin for treatment.” CRÍOCH/END

DUP needs to get real on talks – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said that if the DUP is serious about tackling the growing crisis in the political process then they should be at the table this week with the other parties and the Irish and British governments. 

Martin McGuinness MLA was speaking after meeting EU leaders to brief them on the current challenges facing the political process during a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.

Martin McGuinness said:

“I’m taking this opportunity to brief the party group leaders about the growing crisis in the political process in the North.

 “The political institutions in the North established by the Good Friday Agreement have been undermined over the past number of years by the convergence of a number of factors.

“First mainstream political unionism has shifted towards an anti-agreement position. Second a partisan Tory-led British government is seeking to impose its policy of welfare and public service cuts on the North while pandering to a growing list of unionist demands. Alongside that the Irish government, a co-equal guarantor of the agreements has been focused on domestic economic issues.

“These three factors have encouraged anti-agreement unionists to frustrate the implementation of agreements, walk out of talks on the past, parades and flags and undermine the institutions by threatening to bring them down.

“We have consistently called on the Irish government to re-assert its role as a co-equal guarantor of the agreements and for the two governments to begin immediate, all-party talks and to reengage the American administration.

“Both governments have now called for talks.

“The DUP leader had called for talks but now appears to be preparing to walk out of talks before they have even begun.

 “Yesterday they refused to stand by the agreement to appoint Mitchel McLaughlin as Speaker of the Assembly.This is yet another broken agreement. They are also seeking to deny the role of the Irish Government as co-equal guarantors of the agreements. The Irish Government has played a constructive role in each successful negotiation from Good Friday, through to St Andrews and Hillsborough. This is a vain attempt to wind the clock back. This is unacceptable. It is unsustainable.

“Let me be clear Sinn Féin operates the institutions to deliver change. We are entering these talks to address the issues facing the political process; the need to honour agreements, the need for a working budget for the Executive and additional powers to safeguard public services and welfare for all our people.

“The leaders of Unionism however, are seeking to hide from talks and avoid addressing the pressing issues facing all in our community.

“It is clear that the British Government’s partisan handling of these matters has encouraged unionists to undermine the agreements.

“Both the British Government and the DUP needs to demonstrate by word and deed that it is committed to the implementation of the agreements, to powersharing, and to equality

“If the DUP is serious they will be at the talks on Thursday with the rest of the parties and the two governments.

“What is required is an immediate start to all-party talks, free from preconditions and threats and the implementation of all previous agreements. The political institutions need to function as intended and agreed. Budgeting and fiscal powers need to be addressed, And the issues addressed in the talks chaired by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan need to be dealt with.

“I believe that the full operation of all the agreed political institutions is the best way forward for all in our society. In my opinion all can be resolved if the political will to do so exists. That requires positive forward-looking political leadership. At this minute it is unclear if that leadership exists within Unionism or the British Government.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

“Absolute mess” at Letterkenny Road site- Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly has described the site of rubbish dumped at the entrance to the former traveller site on the Letterkenny Road as an “Absolute mess”

Councillor Kelly said WP_20141009_11_21_40_Pro

“The amount of rubbish at the entrance to this site is shocking. It’s an absolute mess with rubbish strewn all over the place.

As well as being a health hazard it is an unsightly scene on what is one of the main arterial routes from Donegal into our city.

It ridiculous that in this day and age with various amenity sites across the city that people still driving into the countryside to carry out this dumping.

I would also ask the public to highlight any incidents where illegal dumping is taking place.”

Anderson welcomes recognition of Palestine

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Britain’s recognition of the state of Palestine. 

Speaking after the vote in Westminster, the newly elected chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine said; 

“This latest recognition of the state of Palestine is to be welcomed. 

“The international community has an important role to play, both in terms of supporting the Palestinian people, and in helping to find a long-term peaceful solution to the problems in the region. 

“The number of countries recognising the right of the Palestinian people to statehood adds to the growing demands on Israel to recognise the democratically elected unity government in Palestine. 

“As chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Palestine I will continue to support the people of Palestine. 

“I would call on other governments, particularly the Irish government to follow this example and recognise Palestine.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Break-in gangs poisoning family pets‏ -Cllr Sandra Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy  has warned pet owners to be vigilant after reports that thieves are targeting dogs during break-ins. Councillor Sandra Duffy
 
“I have become aware of a number of incidents where it appears that dogs have been poisoned by would-be thieves to prevent them from barking during break-ins. 
 
“Unfortunately on a number of occasions beloved family pets have been killed by this poison leaving their owners, including young children, heartbroken. 
 
“This is really a new low in criminality, targeting defenceless pets in order to break into people’s homes and businesses. 
 
“This criminal activity must be condemned and I would call on anyone with information on such incidents to bring it to the PSNI. 
 
“I would encourage all pet owners to be vigilant and to keep an eye on their pets to make sure they do not fall victim to this crime.”

Rally against Tory cuts -Campbell

Kevin Campbell said -It was an incredible weekend of people power across Ireland .We had hundreds attend the rally in Belfast and a staggering 100,000 people attend a march in Dublin over water charges.IMAG1015(1)

Saturday’s rally was organised by the community and voluntary sector, and provided an opportunity for people from all communities to come together and send out a clear message to the Tory-led coalition that these cuts are completely unacceptable.

I thinks it’s important for people to go behind the headlines and find out in what way these Tory cuts will affect them ,because the reality is it will impact on them in some way .There is little talk about  what it will mean for people in receipt of working or child tax credits. It’s estimated that nearly a quarter of a million families here will have their child benefit cut.

The example in the south is that it wasn’t until the water charge  demands landed on peoples mats or builders moved in to install water meters that the reality of the situation hit home.

We have a chance now for people to have their say and tell some  Unionist politicians who seem hell bent on trying to push these cuts through its time to stop.

Ballyarnett bomb alert –Cllr Sandra Duffy

Speaking following attending the scene of a bomb alert at Ballyarnett Village  Sinn Féin Councillor for the area Sandra Duffy said

Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

 

“I have just visited the scene of the bomb alert .The  cordon has now been reduced to just one cul-de-sac of the development and it is hoped it will be cleared shortly. At this stage it is still unknown what has been the cause of the alert but it is non the less very upsetting for local residents caught up in all this.”

Ends

McCartney congratulates Derry City FC on reaching FAI Cup final‏

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA and Derry City FC supporter Raymond McCartney congratulates the club on getting to the FAI Cup Final.Raymond head shot 22

 

He said

“I would like to congratulate the team, manager Peter Hutton and all the backroom staff on getting to the 2014 FAI Cup Final .It’s a major boost for the city and club,  the final at the Aviva Stadium will be a great day out for the club and supporters. I wish them well.

Ends

Ó hOisín welcomes progress on North West Gateway Initiative

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed progress on several cross-border issues following the most recent meeting of the North South Ministerial Council. 1174901_10152240490953642_1298589685_n

The East Derry MLA said; 

“I welcome the fact the North South Ministerial Council reaffirmed its commitment to the North West Gateway Initiative. 

“This was set up to encourage economic growth in the Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Donegal areas, which have suffered from chronic underinvestment in the past. 

“Progress was also made on enhancing cross-border connections in the north west area with further opportunities for transport co-operation identified. 

“An effective all-Ireland infrastructure system is vital to growing the economies of border areas such as north west. 

“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for increased all-Ireland co-operation in all areas.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH 

Villiers should reconsider position on prisoners kept in isolation – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLAs Raymond McCartney and Jennifer McCann met with the British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers at Stormont House this morning to discuss the situation of a number of dissident prisoners being held in isolation at Maghberry Prison.

Following the meeting Justice Committee vice-Chair, Raymond McCartney said:

DIGITAL CAMERA

“Myself and Jennifer McCann made Sinn Féin’s position concerning these prisoners crystal clear to the British Secretary of State.

“Prisoners at all times must be treated with dignity and respect. Holding these prisoners in isolation does not fulfil these requirements and Ms Villiers should reconsider her position.

“The wishes of these prisoners to be housed with other prisoners must be respected and they should be moved out of isolation without further delay.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

O hÉara selected to represent Sinn Féin in Westminster Election

Accepting the nomination Mr O hEára thanked the delegates and pledged to work in the interests of everyone in the community if elected.

He said, “In my opinion the role of the local MP should be to champion the interests of all of the people of the city in the pursuit of job creation, youth opportunities and the development of the infrastructure of the city, such as the A5, the A6,  the airport, the railway system, Third level education and the Port.

“This city has a wealth of talent, elected and non-elected, and what is required is that we harness all of those skills and political influence to achieve economic and social prosperity for this city. Unity of purpose and the building of an inclusive city should be the goal of all of us who live here. The One-Plan and the creation of the new council gives us guidance on what the issues are and how we should go about tackling them.

“Sinn Féin believes that many of our economic, infrastructural, tourism and social economy deficits – particularly in the North West – emanate from the political divisions of the past. And while the Peace Process hasn’t totally eradicated discrimination against the North-West we have to be vigilant as we work to build Derry’s future. We must endeavour to deliver a better future, job opportunities and infrastructural investment now.

“This presents significant challenges requiring strong leadership in Derry and the North West if we are to provide an inclusive and strategic approach to the regeneration of the region.

“Sinn Féin is demonstrating that leadership and my track record on delivery of projects in this City is a matter of record. Sinn Féin is determined to create a work environment driven by local entrepreneurial endeavour that will project a picture of confidence and pride which will in turn attract other investment.”CRÍOCH/END

JTI Gallagher’s closure due to profit margins – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is irresponsible to link the closure of Gallagher’s tobacco factory to an EU directive geared to prevent children from smoking. 

Ms Anderson said; ??????????

“Obviously this is devastating news for the workers involved and their families and my thoughts are with them. 

“However, We need to be very clear about the reasons for the relocation of JTI at the cost of 900 jobs.

“The EU tobacco directive does not take effect until 2016. JTI have also stated they are locating to other EU member states. These too will be equally affected by the directive.

“The reason for JTI Gallaher’s closing their plant in Ballymena is to increase its profit margins and save money on labour costs by moving to a country with lower wages.

“It is irresponsible for elected representatives to provide cover for JTI or seek to score inaccurate political points on the back of job losses.

“We should be standing together as elected representatives in order to provide those who have lost their jobs with a focused retraining and reskilling package.

“Our focus should be asking very clearly as to why the British Government has never applied to the European Union’s Globalisation fund for workers in the north of Ireland, which is designed to help those who have been made redundant.” 

Logue appeals for attacks to stop

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue commenting following reports of a number of weekend incidents in the Fountain /Bishop Street area.

She said Councillor  Patricia Logue

“It’s important that the message goes out to whoever was involved that it was totally wrong. We cannot allow these sorts of senseless actions to occur in this day and age nor be used to heighten tensions in and around the greater Bishop Street/Fountain area, which is something no one wants

Hassan calls for information following Culmore incident

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan commenting after Police in Derry appealed for information following the report of a suspicious approach of a child in the Elmvale area of the city.lg_tony_hassan_copy2

He said “There are concerns in the local community on hearing this news. Parents are rightly worried and I would appeal to anyone with information, or seen anyone acting suspiciously to contact the police straight away.

It’s also important for parents to remind their children of dangers of talking to strangers and what they should do if approached.

City mews lanes set for clean-up –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for Rosemount and Lower Strand Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from Derry City Council that they will conduct a one off weeding and rubbish collection in a number of mews lanes in both areas over the next few weeks. He said the clean-up would address a number of issues in both areas:DSC_0043

He said ” I am delighted that Derry City Council (DCC) have agreed to my proposal that the mews lanes behind a number of streets in both Rosemount and lower Strand Road will be addressed in the next couple of weeks. The scheme will see DCC work in collaboration with community groups and local residents to make progress on the weeding of lanes, collection of dumped rubbish and the replacement of any missing keys or locks from the gates which are in place along these streets.

The streets in question are not normally cleaned by council as they are private addresses meaning council has no remit to clean them. However council have agreed to a one off programme to deal with these issues and have urged residents including landlords of rental properties to look after the areas behind their property ensure that the same problems do not repeat themselves in future.

I will be providing a leaflet to the residents of each affected street in the next couple of weeks which will also provide information on what types of weed killers and other repellents can be safely used to ensure weeds do not return once the works are complete”

Duffy calls on people of Derry to support Community Against Cuts rally

Duffy calls on people of Derry to support Community Against Cuts rally

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has called on people in Derry to mobilise for the Community Against Cuts rally to be held in Writers Square in Belfast on the 11th October at 1pm.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said,

“The Tory Welfare Cuts are having a damaging effect on frontline services right across all departments as well as severely penalising those on benefits and low incomes.

“The rally organised by Community Against Cuts is an opportunity for eBx-WSYICIAAC9g2.jpg largeveryone from right across the North to stand up and tell the Tory government that these cuts are unacceptable.

“I would appeal to the trade unions, campaign groups, resident associations, community organisations, disability advocates and individuals who will be affected by these cutbacks to attend the rally.

“It is important that we mobilise a large crowd of people from right across the political and religious divide to oppose these vicious cuts. They will impact upon all sections of the community whether it is in Shantallow or Newbuildings .

“The rally to be held at 1pm in Writers Square Belfast is one part of the campaign to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in society and support frontline services.”

 

She also announced the party locally will be taking part in a six county day of action and rally in Belfast next Saturday 11th October against Welfare cuts .

“There will be a major rally in Belfast next Saturday and we are running a number of buses from Derry.We would ask as many people as possible to attend to send a clear message people here are opposed to these Tory cuts.For more information people should  call 028 7137 7551/7135 97477131 8683

Fears of gap in Top of the Hill youth provision-Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside councillor Christopher Jackson has called for urgent action to be taken to get the youth facilities opened up again in the grounds of Immaculate Conception College.1238129961

 Councillor Jackson said

During the summer the building  was partially damaged in a fire and essential repairs are being carried out to bring the facility up to fire safety standards.

I have been in contact with WELB over a number of weeks who have assured me that the repair work being carried out has been prioritised.

The reality on the ground is that sporting groups such as Top of the Hill Celtic and Na Piarsaigh Doire Trasna as well as the youth club rely on these facilities and haven’t been able to start up since the summer break.

The whole community is suffering as a result, with children eager to get back to training after the holidays. There is now a real danger that the local clubs could potentially suffer as the children start to go elsewhere. And then there is the added expense of transport to get to other area of the city.

For an area with a very young population, youth facilities are essential and coming into the dark nights there is a real danger that a gap in youth provision could lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour.  

I would like to praise the work of youth workers who are currently forced to take children out of the area to run any programs, and I would like to ask parents to be patient as we hope to have the situation resolved as soon as possible.

Gaeltacht will die unless Irish Government acts — Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the Irish Government must act fast or the Gaeltacht will cease to exist. He was speaking today at the Sinn Féin Slógadh in Derry.

Gerry Adams said:

“The experts say the Gaeltacht will cease to exist within 30 years if action is not taken now. The Irish Government is doing the bare minimum for the Gaeltacht and for the Irish language.

Mr Adams praised the work of the former language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin and promised Sinn Féin’s support to his successor Rónan Ó Domhnaill. He also praised the work of Caral Ní Chuilín and the Líofa campaign and the North’s Education Minister John O’Dowd for given strong support to the Irish language education sector.

He said:

“This year the Irish Language Commissioner was forced to leave his post due to the Government’s inaction. We wish Seán Ó Cuirreáin all the best and fully agree with his observations of the failure of the government in relation to the language.15251175137_aa21579d1d_o

“I wish Rónán Ó Domhnaill all the very best and he will receive every support from Sinn Féin in his new role.

“Sinn Féin agrees with the former commissioner that the Government is not meeting the needs of the Irish language community. Sinn Féin will continue to engage on behalf of the language rights of citizens across this island.

“In relation to Acht na Gaeilge in the North, I have written to the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister in the context of the upcoming talks, confirming that all parts of the Good Friday and other agreements must be addressed – that includes the introduction of an Acht na Gaeilge.

On the ongoing Seanad by election controversy, Gerry Adams said:

“The Government, and particularly the Taoiseach, has reduced the Seanad by-election to a farce.

“The decision of the Labour Party leadership to vote for John McNulty despite his request – reinforced by the Taoiseach – that no one should vote for him is bizarre.

“The Taoiseach has created a mess that only Flann O Brien could have bettered.”

Duffy condemns petrol bomb attack


Sinn Féin councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned a petrol bomb attack on a car in the Glengalliagh Road area of Derry. 

Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

Speaking after the attack on the car on Friday night, councillor Duffy said; 

“This attack on a car being driven along the Glengalliagh Road must be condemned. 

“This must have been a very frightening and traumatic experience for the woman driving the car. It is only through good fortune that she was not injured and that her car was not damaged. 

“Whoever was behind this attack should consider what the consequences could have been. 

“These types of attacks need to stop before someone is injured or worse. 

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

Bloody Sunday investigation must not be scaled down – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday must not be scaled down. 

The Foyle MLA said; 

“The Bloody Sunday families have been told that agency staff who were involved in the investigation into the murder of their loved ones have now been withdrawn. 

“The families are now concerned about the current status of the investigation and Sinn Féin shares those concerns. 

“There must be no scaling down of this investigation and I am calling on the PSNI to ensure it is properly resourced so that the families can get justice at long last. 

“Access to justice should not come with a price tag. 

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Bloody Sunday families in their campaign for truth and justice.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

Trade Unions Oppose Tory Welfare Cuts

Sinn Féin remains committed to institutions and GFA – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said today the party remains 100 per cent committed to the political institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement.DIGITAL CAMERA

Raymond McCartney said:

“Sinn Féin remains totally committed to the political institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement.

“We have consistently called for all-party negotiations to tackle the logjam in the political process.

“Martin McGuinness has called for a lifting of the penalties being imposed by Tory millionaires to allow negotiations to proceed in a constructive manner.

 “Sinn Féin has also been lobbying for increased powers to be transferred to the Assembly and the all-island bodies.

“The whole notion of the Assembly being suspended for a ‘devolution holiday’ is frankly insulting to the people who elect us.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to direct rule in any form. 

“I would challenge any politician to highlight the benefits British direct rule ministers have brought to the North of Ireland. And given that the Tory government in London is driving millions of people further into poverty who would seriously want to hand them over the reins of power?

“I challenge those who are semi-detached from responsibility and engaged in backroom briefing to work directly with Sinn Féin and other parties rather than being engaged in the sound-bite politics of despair.” 

Sinn Féin calls for cross-border postal tariff‏-Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has called for postal companies in the North to offer an all-Ireland tariff in order to reduce the cost of sending cross-border letters.Derry Dongeal reps

 

Speaking  after the publication of Ofcom’s annual Communication Markets Report, which found that almost half of respondents believe the cost of sending a letter across the border is too expensive,  Derry Sinn Féin Councillor  Colly Kelly  said;

“This report flags some very interesting findings, none more so than the attitudes of people towards the cost of posting a letter to the rest of Ireland.

“Ultimately we want to see an all-island postal service but until that happens we must ensure that all steps are taken to give the best value for money and service for people.

“I fully agree with the 47% of people who believe that the former price of 87p (now 97p) to post a letter to the rest of Ireland represents poor value for money. Although the report didn’t consider this, the length of time it takes to deliver post crossing the border is also unacceptable, with a delivery aim of 5-7 working days.

“This is an issue that Sinn Féin have been raising for some time and have received agreement within the Assembly’s All-Party Group on Postal Service to look into in the coming year.”

Donegal Councillor Jack Murray said

 “It makes no sense for letters being sent from Derry going to Donegal to cost nearly twice as much as those going to London and for it to take far longer.

 “The only solution to this is for postal companies based in the north to offer an all-island tariff, similar to that offered by An Post, with no additional charges or delays for post crossing the border.

All-Ireland approach needed to tackle legal highs – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will be attending a conference on so-called ‘legal highs’ in Derry on Friday. ??????????

Speaking ahead of the conference, which will be held in the Tower Hotel as part of Legal High Awareness Week, Ms Anderson said; 

“The dangers of legal highs are well known and unfortunately there are families who have lost loved ones as a result of these substances. 

“Many others, particularly young people, have also been severely damaged by taking legal highs. 

“And the problem is these substances continue to be sold legally over the counter. 

“I am glad to see that this awareness week includes events in Derry and Donegal because the devastating impact of legal highs is the same everywhere. 

“That is why we need an all-Ireland approach to dealing with legal highs. 

“Currently, once a substance is banned in the North it can go back on the market if a single ingredient is changed. In the South a new license must be obtained before a product can be sold. 

“Effective legislation is needed right across the island to protect people from these potentially deadly substances. 

“I have been raising the dangers of legal highs in the European Parliament and will continue to have these products banned.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Cooper secures funding for Christmas events programmes across Derry

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed council approval for a funding package of £25,000 for Christmas programmes across the city which he secured following negotiations with the legacy department of Derry City Council.

He said the funding, which will be combined with funding from the Dept of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)would allow all four neighbourhood areas in Derry as well as the rural areas to enjoy a full programme of Christmas events in their areas:

Mickey Cooper new head shot 2013 888

Councillor Cooper said
“I am delighted that council have approved this allocation. I have been in negotiations with council, the Department  of Culture, Arts and Leisure(DCAL) and community engagement officers for a number of weeks to identify funding opportunities and also draw up suggested programmes for each community area across the city and in the rural areas of the Waterside.

As a result of this funding, which will be combined with a pot of money provided by DCAL we will be able to host co-ordinated Christmas events in all areas of the city.

I am particularly looking forward to the launch of the events programme for the Outerwest . Areas like Rosemount, Hazelbank, the Glen and Ballymagroarty will be able to avail of a co-ordinated Christmas programme for the first time.

I’d like to thank Derry City Councils legacy deptartment, DCAL and all the community representatives involved in making this happen and look forward to further details being released in the next few weeks”

Ends

Where exactly do the SDLP stand on a border poll? – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on the SDLP to state clearly where they stand on the issue of a border poll following the recent historic referendum in Scotland.

He said:Who Fears logo(2)

“The SDLP need to state clearly as a party whether they are in favour of a border poll or not.

“On one hand Colum Eastwood in the Belfast Telegraph and Derry Journal says now is the right time for the debate given the recent Scottish poll while on the other hand Alasdair McDonnell said at the British Labour party conference this week that it would be a distraction?

“People will clearly be asking the question where do the SDLP stand on this question. Given the historic nature of the Scottish independence vote now is the time to begin the debate in earnest.

“Sinn Féin has called for a border poll in the lifetime of the next assembly. We do not want a rushed job but a meaningful and informed debate.  The SDLP should join with us in this campaign.”

 

Ends

McCartney condemns hate crime

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned a racist hate crime in the Fountain area of Derry. raymond mccartney

Speaking after graffiti was painted on the home of a Romanian family in the predominantly loyalist estate, the Foyle MLA said; 

“Racism in all its forms is wrong and must be condemned. 

“The fact that this incident happened in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon is concerning. 

“Derry is renowned for the warm and friendly welcome it extends to visitors and this incident is not reflective of the city. 

“I would call for anyone with information on this incident to bring it to the PSNI.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Anderson addresses Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressed the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in the European Parliament in Brussels today. ??????????

Speaking to the tribunal, which is made up of international jurists including South Africa’s Ronnie Kasrils and Pink Floyd frontman and human rights campaigner Roger Waters, Ms Anderson said; 

“The moving insight that has come before this tribunal on the 51-day onslaught on Gaza has reinforced my determination to do all I can as chair of the European Parliament’s Palestinian delegation to help the people of Palestine. 

“The imagery from Gaza, showing the full scale of the destruction, reaffirms the reason why the delegation of MEPs which I recently led to Palestine was refused entry to Gaza. This Tribunal allows us to present the facts of what is happening in Palestine. 

“The facts I witnessed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are clear. It is a fact that what we are witnessing is apartheid at its worst. 

“It is a fact that Israel has occupied 170,000 acres of Palestinian land since the Oslo accord in 1993.  It is a fact that Israel has breached international law by moving its population into the occupied territories. 

“It is fact that 34 Palestinian parliamentarians are among 7,000 Palestinians who are interned under what Israel calls administrative detention. 

“All of these facts are ignored by the majority of MEPs who should act immediately to suspend the European Parliament’s Association agreement with Israel in light of these gross human rights abuses.

“I will not ignore these facts and will continue to campaign for justice for the people of Palestine.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Logue welcomes Minister’s pledge to tackle pupil absence

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has welcomed what she describes as a ‘positive response’ from the Department of Education in regards to a recent Public Accounts Committee report into pupil absenteeism.

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

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

 

Patricia Logue said:

 

“The Minister has accepted all six of the Public Accounts Commitee’s recommendations regarding the urgent need to tackle the enduring issue of pupil absence . Significantly the decision to establish an over-arching Absence Strategy will be vital in tackling this issue.

 

“In light of this the Education department have begun to engage with a wide range of stakeholders so that a far-reaching and extensive consultation will inform such an important strategy in future.

 

“The department have also confirmed that they will now review guidelines for Extended Schools Programmes to ensure that, where appropriate, they will include specific reference to supporting attendance and promoting engagement and involvement by vulnerable children at greatest risk of underachievement.

 

“Furthermore the Minister has signalled his intention to commission a fundamental review of the Education Welfare Service.

 

She concluded:

 

“I would agree with the Minister that the issue of absenteeism extends beyond the reach of education interests, so I further welcome confirmation that the department of Education will examine how interdepartmental structures might be harnessed to promote the importance of school attendance.

 

“I would also reiterate the importance of parents and families taking an active interest in their young people’s education, as an encouraging educational environment at home can have a hugely positive effect on the learning process in school.”

Bring welfare legislation to the Assembly- Foyle MLA

inn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on Nelson McCausland to bring welfare legislation to the floor of the Assembly.Raymond head shot 22

Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion on the disastrous impact on welfare cuts was debated at the Assembly ,Raymond McCartney  said;

 

“We have already seen the disastrous impact of welfare cuts in Britain, particularly on the most vulnerable in society, including families on low income, those with disabilities and the unemployed.

 

“The implementation of these cuts in Britain have been a disaster and even the coalition parties are split on key  aspects of the welfare legislation.

 

“Sinn Féin is opposed to Toryism and austerity north and south because we are an all Ireland party and because it is the right thing to do.

 

“In this day and age the need for food banks should be a badge of shame for any government. The numbers of people made homeless or driven into poverty should make any party unfit for government. That is why Sinn Féin is opposed to welfare cuts.

 

“Supporters of these cuts have told us that there is no other option and that we have already secured the best deal of all the devolved administrations but this ignores the opportunity presented to us with the promises made to Scotland in the days leading up to the referendum vote.

 

“If Nelson McCausland believes these cuts are acceptable then he should bring the legislation to the floor of the Assembly and allow the representatives of the people to have their say.

 

“We do have a choice. Sinn Féin supports the calls made by trade unions, church leaders, charities and a wide range of community groups who work to tackle poverty on a daily basis.

 

“The cuts that are now being imposed on services across departments are due to reductions in the block grant over a number of years. Adding welfare cuts on top of that would be a hammer blow to our communities.

 

“It is our job to protect our communities against these cuts and I would urge all parties to get together and present a united front against this agenda.”

 

Ends

Community shock over theft from Parochial House- Logue

Sinn Fein Councillor Patricia Logue has said there is shock in the Long Tower parish on hearing the news that a charity box was stolen from the Parochial House on Pump Street.

She said Patricia Logue new pic 22

 

“People in the local community are rightly shocked on hearing this news. The Parochial house  is always very busy with people coming and going , getting passports signed ,buying Mass cards or on parish business .So hopefully someone will have seen something that can lead to apprehending the culprit.

Ends

Logue urges victims to report domestic abuse

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has urged victims of domestic abuse in Derry to report their abusers to the police or a support group.violence1

She made her call after PSNI figures showed there had been 27,000 domestic abuse incidents in the last year.

Councillor Logue said :

 

“Campaigners representing victims and survivors of domestic abuse believe this figure greatly under-represents the total number of cases of domestic abuse, which occur every year.

 

“I believe the majority of cases of domestic abuse go unreported as evidence suggests that one in three women has been a victim of abuse in their own homes.

 

“The only way to end this disgraceful cycle of violence is to report the offenders.

 

“The silent victims of domestic abuse need to be aware that there are support services available to them and should feel no fear in speaking to someone.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Avail of Free pet neutering and microchip services- Cllr McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has encouraged dog owners to avail of the free  neutering and microchip services being provided in the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas.

 

Cllr. McGinley said: “There have been longstanding problems across the city from unwanted litters and stray dogs which cannot be identified and the Dogs Trust initiative has proven in the past to be an effective way to address these difficulties.

 

Neutering will prevent unwanted litters whilst micro-chipping allows stray dogs to be quickly identified and returned to owners.   It is important to note also that micro-chipping is a requirement for possession of a dog licence.national-microchipping

 

The Dogs Trust will shortly be providing a very welcome free service in the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas and I would encourage dog owners to take this opportunity and bring their dogs along to the locations highlighted below.”

 

11.00-12.30 p.m.   Monday, 29th September – Lay by @ St. Eithne’s Primary School.

 

11.00-12.30 p.m.   Thursday, 2nd October – Holy Family Car Park.

 

11.00-12.30 p.m.    Monday, 6th October- Lay by @ St. Eithne’s Primary School.

 

11.00-12.30 p.m.   Thursday, 9th October – Holy Family Car Park.

Campbell slams theft of Foyle Search and Rescue charity boxes.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell commenting on the news that a number of charity boxes belonging to Foyle Search and Rescue have been stolen from  business premises across  the city. 

Foyle Seach and Rescue was the Mayors charity during his year in office. Charity-Box-e1307568122598

Councillor Kevin Campbell said

 

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.

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

Ends

Destruction of files an attempt to block justice – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the destruction of secret files into shoot-to-kill deaths ahead of inquests was an attempt to block justice. top-secret-files_iStock_000004093101Small1-300x198

Speaking after it was revealed that files on shoot-to-kill deaths were destroyed weeks before inquests were due to begin, Mr McCartney said; 

“The fact that secret files into the killings of nine people in Armagh, including five republicans, were destroyed just weeks before fresh inquests into their deaths is shocking but sadly it is not surprising. 

“Over several decades the British state has gone to great lengths to cover up its role in the conflict and this is yet another example of that. 

“While it is unclear whether it was the Ministry of Defence, MI5 or another agency who ordered the destruction of these files, it highlights the lengths to which the British government will go to cover up the truth. 

“It should be remembered that at the heart of this there are families who are being denied the truth about what happened to their loved ones. 

“The British government is clearly denying the families of those killed in these incidents their basic human rights by blocking access to the truth. 

“It also exposes the lie that the British government was not a protagonist in the conflict. 

“All of this highlights the need to for an appropriate method of dealing with the past.”ENDS/CRÍOCH

McLaughlin welcomes children’s heart surgery move proposals

 

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed proposals to move children’s heart surgery services to Dublin rather than England. 

 

 

Speaking after reports that a panel of experts recommended moving children’s heart surgery services from Belfast to Dublin, the health committee chair said; _66665109_surgery

 

 

“It is clear that we need an All-Ireland solution to this issue. 

 

 

“Children should not have to travel to England for surgery when it is available on the island. 

 

 

“This report has not been made public yet and I am calling for parents of children affected to have access to it. 

 

 

“This will be the first item I will be raising with the new health minister at the health committee meeting today.”

 

All persecution must be condemned – McCartney

 

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said persecution against any group must be condemned. raymond mccartney

Speaking after a debate in the Assembly on the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria. 

“Persecution against any group, wherever it occurs and for whatever reason, is wrong and must be condemned. 

“Many minority groups are being persecuted in this region and that needs to stop. 

“It should also be remembered that the suffering in this region is not confined to one faith group or ethnic community. Tens of thousands of people from all backgrounds have been killed in the ongoing conflicts there. 

“Unfortunately such persecution exists across the world. Persecution of minorities in northern Iraq is no different to the persecution of minorities in north Belfast and elsewhere.” Ends/Críoch

Lower the voting age -Cllr Colly Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  has said that the involvement of 16 and 17 year-olds in the Scottish Referendum has shown that the voting age should be lowered.colly new road pic

He said; 

“It is important that the voices of young people are heard and lowering the age to sixteen would be an important step in allowing more people to participate in the democratic process.

“Scotland has shown that young people are eager to participate in the democratic process.

“In other countries, such as Austria, where younger people have the vote the indications are that they are more likely than other age groups to vote.

“It is now time that young people were given the right and responsibility to vote.”

Demilitarisation needed across North – Ó hOisín

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has said there is a need for demilitarisation all across the North. 

Speaking ahead of a large scale British military exercise on Binevenagh mountain next week, the East Derry MLA said; 06-17-2010 071

“The decision by the British army to hold large scale war games in Binevenagh is a backward step. 

“We want to see demilitarisation right across the North, not hundreds of heavily armed British forces marauding across a public forest park which has been classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   

“We want to see demilitarisation in all its forms, with no exceptions, and this decision flies in the face of that. 

“As Irish republicans we do not believe that British forces should be on the streets of any cities, towns or villages anywhere in the North.  

“The people of this area have suffered at the hands of British forces for decades and it is completely insensitive to bring this exercise to Binevenagh.” Ends/Críoch

Increasing number unable to pay household rates-McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said more and more people in the North are finding themselves in debt and unable to afford to pay household rates as a result of the recession and Tory austerity policies.

Raymond McCartney said:

Foyle MLA Raymond McCarttney and Michael McCrossan

Foyle MLA Raymond McCarttney and Michael McCrossan

 

“There is no doubt that householders have been hit hard by austerity and cuts brought in by the Tory-led coalition since 2010.

 

“There has been a six-fold increase in the number of people forced to seek special arrangements for household rates payments due to financial difficulties.

 

“Last year court action was taken by Land and Property Services against almost 49,000 households who found themselves in arrears.

 

“These increasing debts are an indication of the pressure families are under as a result of Tory cuts and austerity.

 

“Those who are calling for further vicious cuts to welfare would do well to remember that additional cuts would push many of these families into further poverty and hardship.”

Anderson calls for EU action on Ebola

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised the European Union’s reaction to the Ebola outbreak in west African and called for the deployment of immediate medical aid. 
Speaking after voting for for immediate action on Ebola in Strasbourg, Ms Anderson said; ??????????
“The Ebola virus is now affecting the whole west African region yet the response from the international community has been dangerously inadequate. 
“We are in the grip of a public health crisis of international concern. 
“Sinn Féin is concerned about the slow and derisory reaction from Europe to this Ebola outbreak. 
“The European council of ministers need to meet and mobilise an immediate medial response to provide humanitarian aid by deploying medical staff. 
“The EU could learn  from Cuba which has already deployed 165 specialised medical staff. Europe needs to at least match that response before it is too late.” Ends/Críoch

Salmond will be a loss to Scottish politics – McGuinness

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said that Alex Salmond will be a loss to Scottish politics and the Scottish people after he announced his intention to stand down as First Minister.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Martin McGuinness said:

“I have been privileged to work with Alex Salmond over the last number of years.

“I found him to be a successful and inspirational leader of the people of Scotland.

“He has been a giant in the political life of Scotland and its people.

“He stood shoulder to shoulder with me in meetings with David Cameron in opposing Tory welfare cuts.

“I send my very best wishes for whatever the future holds for him.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Sinn Féin day of action in Derry against Tory cuts this Saturday

Sinn Féin is to hold a day of action against proposed Tory Welfare Cuts in Derry this Saturday as part of a six county campaign this weekend.

Martin McGuinness and Sandra Duffy

Martin McGuinness and Sandra Duffy

 

Outlining the campaign Councillor Sandra Duffy said

 

“We have been out across the city this week delivering thousands of leaflets outlining our opposition to the Tory welfare cuts agenda and asking people to sign a petition .The response we have got on the door step has been great and people are telling us they are glad to see Sinn Féin taking such a robust approach on the issue.

 

On Saturday we will launching a billboard at Free Derry Wall and our activists will be in the city centre with the petition and we would ask many people as possible to sign it ,to send a clear message to the DUP and others to join with us in  tackling  this issue head on.

 

“Martin McGuinness said earlier this week that Sinn Féin is of the view that the Executive parties should stand together against vicious welfare cuts being imposed by a cabinet of Tory millionaires.

 

“The people of Scotland have shown what can be achieved by standing up to the Tories. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent a ‘Yes’ vote, the British establishment is now offering them the increased fiscal and tax-raising powers, as well as control over welfare, which Sinn Fein is demanding for the people of the North.

 

“People should have a choice on this. In Sinn Féin we have made our choice. We reject this attack on the poor, people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in our society. We will defend and stand with the working class-communities that the Tories are targeting.

DUP must use influence to relieve pressure on policing budget – McCartney‏

Sinn Féin Vice-Chair of the Justice Committee, Raymond McCartney MLA has called on the DUP leadership to use its influence positively to relieve the pressures on the Policing budget.Raymond head shot 22

Commenting after the appearance of Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA before the Assembly Finance committee Raymond McCartney said:

“I agree wholeheartedly with the Finance Minister’s call for ‘more transparency around the pressures facing the policing budget’.

“But what should be obviously transparent to the Minister is the unacceptable waste of millions of pounds policing the illegal protest camp at Twaddell and the proliferation of marches being organised by groups protesting the democratic decision by Belfast City Council on the flying of the Union Flag.

“Perhaps the Minister should focus his attention on those members of his own party who encourage and actually participate in this unacceptable drain on the policing budget and resources.

“If the Minister and his Party colleagues would use their influence positively on this issue I have no doubt that it would go a long way towards relieving many of the pressures affecting the ability of the PSNI to deliver the effective community policing that we all signed up to.” CRÍOCH/END

McGuinness calls for border poll

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has called for a border poll in the North following the Scottish independence referendum. 
Mr McGuinness said; 10157312_10152784476263642_2844411426185871120_n
“The debate around the referendum ensures that things will never be the same again for Scotland or elsewhere. 
“It showed that it is possible to discuss important constitutional issues in a spirit of respect for all sides. I believe we could do that without opening up divisions which would be detrimental to the institutions. 
“We also need to get our approach to working those institutions right. We have many challenges to face and it is clear that there is a rump within the DUP of between nine and 12 powerful individuals who have been blocking progress in the Assembly. 
“But with agreement and a united front we can overcome those challenges. 
“We have huge budgetary challenges facing us and Peter Robinson and I are in agreement that the decisions taken by this Conservative-led administration has amounted to a gutting of the block grant. 
There is agreement on a number of issues. All of the parties are agreed that we should have the power to set our levels of corporation tax. 
 
“We will also be calling on the British government to transfer full fiscal powers to the Assembly. 
 
We have to find agreement on what extra powers would benefit the people we represent. 
“There is a debate to be had and I enter into that in a spirit of positivity and constructiveness to find an approach we can all agree on.” Ends/Críoch

Increasing number unable to pay household rates-McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said more and more people in the North are finding themselves in debt and unable to afford to pay household rates as a result of the recession and Tory austerity policies.Raymond head shot 22

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“There is no doubt that householders have been hit hard by austerity and cuts brought in by the Tory-led coalition since 2010.

 

“There has been a six-fold increase in the number of people forced to seek special arrangements for household rates payments due to financial difficulties.

 

“Last year court action was taken by Land and Property Services against almost 49,000 households who found themselves in arrears.

 

“These increasing debts are an indication of the pressure families are under as a result of Tory cuts and austerity.

 

“Those who are calling for further vicious cuts to welfare would do well to remember that additional cuts would push many of these families into further poverty and hardship.”

Ends

Need to stop rising road deaths – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  has said we need urgent action to stop the carnage on the roads and get us back to the downward trend in deaths of recent years.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

 

Councillor Kelly   said,

 

“Last year 56 people died on our roads yet this year we have now seen 57 people killed before we enter what are usually the months when more fatalities occur.

 

“Over the past few years we were on a downward cycle with less people killed on the roads year on year. Now we are back to a position that has seen an increase both this year and last year.

 

“We now need to have a serious look at how, why and where these fatalities are occurring and devise a strategy that will save lives on the roads.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Rosemount gates installed after long campaign

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the installation of gates at Epworth Street, Ernest Street and Lower Nassau Street  DSC_0043

He said “It’s been a long process to get to this stage, my party colleague Maeve McLaughlin has also been working on this issue for some time.

This will hopefully address many of the long standing issues around anti-social behaviour that sadly has blighted the area in recent years.

I have already received positive feedback from local residents.

It is important to thank Derry City Council  for processing the issue, Glen Development Initiative, Housing Executive, the  PSNI for funding and contractor for their help.

All residents will have their keys and locks issued in next week.

Ends

Women at heart of EU decision making – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said women are at the heart of decision making as part of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament. 

Speaking as the group, which includes four Sinn Féin MEPs, made history when it counted more women than men in its membership, Ms Anderson said; ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“Gender equality is a key priority for Sinn Féin on councils, in the Assembly, in the Dáil, in the Seanad, at Westminster and in Europe. 

“I am delighted that the GUE/NGL group we sit with in the European Parliament now has more women than men. 

“After the May elections, not only did the group’s representation in the parliament increase by 50 per cent, the gender balance became equal for the first time. Now, as Tania González Peñas has joined the group, the number of women has risen to 27. 

“This puts women at the heart of decision making in the European Parliament and is yet another example of Sinn Féin’s commitment to equality.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Campbell calls for threat against NIE workers to be lifted

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has expressed his concern that meter readers from NIE have been threatened not to enter parts of Creggan.3895995549

 

He called for the immediate lifting of any threat against the  workers.

 

Councillor Campbell said:

 

“I was contacted by a number of residents who informed me that they were only receiving estimated billings and when they contacted NIE they were told that because of a threat against their workers they would not be sending staff into read meters in these areas.  I have subsequently been told of other parts of the city where workers have to go in pairs for personal safety.

 

 

This has caused grave concern among these residents as sending out estimated bills based on the last bill is not a true reading.  We are now entering the winter months and the amount of electricity people use in regards to lighting and heating their homes can double at this time of year.

 

 

“People normally budget for these bills but if they are receiving estimates based on the summer period there will no doubt be a shortfall. And when this issue is resolved, people will be faced with debt they have not budgeted for .This is very concerning  especially in the economic times we find ourselves in,people simply just do not have surplus money for any type of large unexpected  bill.

 

Concluding he said

 

I have been in contact with the PSNI and NIE in regards to these threats.

 

It is absolutely ridiculous that workers are being targeted in this way.

 

The people behind these threats firstly need to withdraw them and need to realise that in the long run they are damaging this community and creating a financial burden down the line for local residents.”   

Personal debt levels very worrying –Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor  Sandra Duffy has said levels of personal debt in the North are very worrying.

Sandra Duffy

Sandra Duffy

 

Speaking after a report by charity, StepChange, highlighted the high rates of personal debt in the she said;

 

“The level of personal debt highlighted in this report in very worrying.

 

“The fact that almost 2,000 people sought help from this charity in the first six months of this year demonstrates the huge financial pressures people are facing.

 

“I’m very concerned that more and more people are turning to money lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. That locks them into crippling repayments and even more debt.

 

“This situation will only get worse for people in Derry and across the north  if the drastic welfare cuts proposed by the Tory-led government are implemented.

 

“Sinn Féin are opposing these Tory cuts to protect people from spiralling cycles of debt where they are at the mercy of money lenders and modern-day gombeen men.

 

“I would urge anyone in Derry experiencing financial difficulty to seek help as soon as possible by speaking to independent debt charities.”

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