Ard Fheis 2015

Two thousand republicans will gather in Derry at the weekend for the 2015 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.

The event will bring Sinn Féin activists from across Ireland together to vote on motions and determine party policy.

The Millennium Forum will be backed to capacity on Friday and Saturday with speeches, debates, workshops and fringe events.

It is the first time the Ard Fheis has been held in Derry in the history of Sinn Féin and preparations have been underway in the city for months to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The fact that it is being held in the city is a sign of the increasing political strength of Sinn Féin in Derry and reinforces the reality that Derry is now a republican city.

Derry has contributed greatly to the growth of Sinn Féin in recent years and party activists from the city are involved at every level of the party, providing leadership and shaping the decisions taken nationally.

As someone who has attended ard fheiseanna across Ireland for many years, it is a great honour to welcome the 2015 Ard Fheis to Derry and a privilege to take part in as the Sinn Féin candidate in the upcoming Westminster election.

As well as bringing together Sinn Féin activists and their families and guests, the Ard Fheis will also attract significant media attention with journalists and political correspondents, shining a light on the progressive politics of Sinn Féin in Derry.

Sections of the Ard Fheis will be broadcast live on television, allowing people throughout Ireland and further afield to join us and watch the speeches, including the Presidential Address from Gerry Adams TD on Saturday night.

This will provide an opportunity for us to showcase Derry as a venue for major conferences to a worldwide audience.

Hosting the Ard Fheis will also bring a huge economic boost to the city with an expected influx of around 2,000 people visiting the city over the weekend.

It is estimated that the Ard Fheis will bring more than £1 million to the city with hotels, restaurants, bars and others in the hospitality sector benefiting from the number of additional visitors.

This year’s Ard Fheis also falls within Seachtain na Gaeilge and on International Women’s Day and we will be marking both these occasions with events and workshops, celebrating the role of the Irish language and women in modern Irish republicanism.

We will also be recognising and celebrating the contribution of four inspirational republicans, one from each province, at the Le Chéile dinner in the City Hotel and it will be my great honour to play a part in the event on Saturday evening.

So join us at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry on Friday and Saturday, either in person at the Millennium Forum, online via our social media platforms, or on television during the live sections to ensure this will be one of the best ard fheiseanna ever and a weekend to remember in Derry.

Ard Fheis 2015

Baileoidh dhá mhíle poblachtánach i nDoire ag an deireadh seachtaine seo le haghaidh Ard Fheis Shinn Féin 2015.

Tabharfaidh an t-imeacht gníomhaithe Shinn Féin le chéile ó gach carn den tír chun vótáil ar rúin agus polasaí an pháirtí a shocrú.

Beidh Fóram na Mílaoise plodaithe go hiomlán Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn agus óráidí, díospóireachtaí, ceardlanna agus imeachtaí imeallacha ar siúl.

Is í an chéad uair ariamh dár reáchtáladh an Ard Fheis i nDoire le linn ré Shinn Fhéin agus tá ullmhúcháin idir lámha sa chathair le roinnt míonna anuas le cinntiú go mbeidh gach rud i gceart.

Is comhartha é an Ard Fheis a bheith sa chathair go bhfuil neart polaitiúil Shinn Féin ag méadú agus treisíonn sé an dearcadh gur cathair phoblachtach í Doire anois.

Chuir Doire go mór le fás Shinn Féin le blianta beaga anuas agus tá gníomhaithe ón chathair bainte le gach leibhéal den pháirtí, ag tabhairt ceannaireachta agus ag dul i bhfeidhm ar chinntí náisiúnta.

Mar dhuine a d’fhreastail ar ard fheiseanna ar fud na hÉireann le blianta anuas, is ónóir mhór domh é fáilte a chur roimh Ard Fheis 2015 go Doire agus a bheith páirteach inti mar iarrthóír Shinn Féin i dtoghchán Westminster atá chugainn.

Chomh maith le gníomhaithe Shinn Féin agus a dteaghlaigh agus aíonna a thabhairt le chéile, tarraingeoidh an Ard Fheis aird shuntasach na mean, agus iriseoirí agus comhfhreagraithe ag mionscrúdú polaitíocht fhorásach Shinn Féin i nDoire.

Craolfar codanna den Ard Fheis beo ar theilifís, ag tabhairt seans do dhaoine ar fud na hÉireann agus níos faide anonn amharc ar na hóráidí, aitheasc an Uachtaráin, Gearóid Mac Adhaimh TD oíche Dé Sathairn san áireamh.

Tabharfaidh sé seo deis dúinne Doire a chur chun cinn mar ionad faoi choinne mhórchomhdhálacha do lucht féachana domhanda.

Agus timpeall 2,000 duine ag tabhairt cuairt ar Dhoire le linn an deireadh seachtaine, cuirfidh óstáil na hArd Fheise borradh millteanach eacnamaíochta faoin chathair.

Meastar go dtabharfaidh an Ard Fheis níos mó ná £1 mhilliún isteach sa chathair agus óstáin, bialanna, beáir agus áiteacha eile san earnáil fháilteachais ag fáil sochair ó líon na gcuairteoirí breise.

Beidh Ard Fheis na bliana seo ar siúl le linn Seachtain na Gaeilge agus díreach roimh Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan agus déanfaidh muid an dá ócáid seo a chomóradh le himeachtaí agus ceardlanna, ag ceiliúradh ról na Gaeilge agus na mban i bpoblachtachas an lae inniu.

Beidh muid fosta ag ceiliúradh agus tabhairt aitheantais do cheathrar poblachtánach inspioráideach, duine as gach cúige ag Dinnéar Le Chéile in Óstán na Cathrach agus beidh sé ina ónóir mhór domhsa páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid oíche Dé Sathairn.

Mar sin de, bí linn ag Ard Fheis Shinn Féin i nDoire Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn beag seo, ach oiread san Fhóram féin, nó ar líne trí ardán meáin shóisialta s’againn nó ar an teilifís le linn na gcodanna beo le cinntiú go mbeidh sé seo ar na hard fheiseanna is fearr choíche agus ina dheireadh seachtaine nach ligfear i ndearmad.

Ó hEára calls on minister to lift MaSN cap at Magee

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has called on Employment and Learning minister Stephen Farry to lift the cap on the number of students at Magee. 10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

Mr Ó hEára said;

“Everyone is in agreement on the need to expand Magee and increasing the number of students is key to that.

“Lifting the Maximum Student Numbers (MaSN) cap is essential to ensuring the growth of Magee. This is something, which could be easily done, and it is within the power of the employment and learning minister to do so.

“This would be a clear indication of the minister’s commitment to the expansion of Magee.

“I welcome the fact Stephen Farry has said he intends to bid for additional funds to expand Magee in the next Comprehensive Spending Review but this now needs to be followed up with action by lifting the MaSN cap.

“Not only would this be a concrete step towards the full expansion of Magee, it would also help generate revenue to pay for that expansion through additional students.

“This is within the power of the minister and if he is serious about the expansion of Magee then he needs to show it by lifting the MaSN cap immediately.”

McGinley condemns ram raiding of a shop in Hazelbank

Derry Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has described the ram raiding of a shop in Hazelbank as ‘an attack on a local business and the community”.

“A shop in Rosskeen Park was the subject of a ram raid attack in the early hours of this morning.   The criminals responsible were able to gain access to the shop and lift a number of items.   This is the latest in a series of incidents in the wider area involving car crime and amounts to nothing more than an attack on a local business and the community”

 

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Kelly welcomes Bogside bulky lift initiative

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a bulky lift/clean up initiative is to take place in the Bogside area next Tuesday  3rd March  from 10.00am.

Organised by Derry City Council & the  Triax neighbourhood management teamCOLLY

The areas covered is a wide area from William Street right out to Dove Gardens, Stanley’s Walks and all streets in between.

Councillor Kelly said

“I welcome the news of this bulky lift scheme  next week. This comes on the back of other environmental initiatives in the area over the past year.

“I would appeal for people to take pride in their area and refrain from any type of fly tipping. There is no excuse for this indiscriminate dumping. If anyone has an item of furniture or bulky items that needs collected for disposal they should ring the City Council cleansing department to make arrangements for that to happen.

“These bulky lifts and clean ups give the local residents pride in their area and a sense of ownership and responsibility through community participation.

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Extra personal on Road Gritters after attempted highjacking in Derry –McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the news from DRD Roads Service that extra personal will travel on  road gritting lorries following attempts to hijack a lorry in the city on Friday morning.City centre walkabout

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said “Obviously following Friday morning’s incident workers and their families were extremely worried for their safety whilst out working alone in the middle of the night providing an essential service for the people of Derry.

I have received confirmation from Roads Service that an extra worker will be travelling with the gritter drivers over the next couple of weeks to give an added sense of security.

 

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NIE workers return to Creggan –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the decision by NIE to go back into Creggan to carry out emergency repairs after workers were threatened and a van was burned earlier in the week.B-7XLIoWkAA2Lqp

Councillor Kevin Campbell said” I have been talking with the management at NIE since the terrible incidents earlier in the week when workers were threatened and a van burned at Linsfort Drive.

I am glad to say following those discussions a team of workers are in here today carrying out repairs and restoring power to homes in Rinmore Drive .

I would like to commend staff at NIE for the work they are carrying out which is welcomed by the people of Creggan.

Stand up to criminal gangs – Gerry Adams at Burns/Moley Commemoration in South Armagh

Stand up to criminal gangs – Gerry Adams at Burns/Moley Commemoration in South Armagh

SINN FÉIN President Gerry Adams TD today spoke at the annual commemoration for IRA Volunteers Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley, who were killed in a premature bomb explosion in 1988.

The Sinn Féin leader extended best wishes to Francis McCabe Junior who was seriously injured in a bomb attack last week.

Gerry Adams condemned the actions of the criminal gangs active along the Border.

He also criticised the campaign of vilification of republicans by a section of the media, the SDLP, Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Sinn Féin leader appealed for anyone with any information on these gangs or the killing of Paul Quinn or Garda Aidan Donohoe or Keith Rogers to give it to the PSNI or An Garda Síochána. He urged citizens in Border communities to stand up to the criminal gangs.

The Sinn Fein leader said:

In recent times, a section of the media, the SDLP, the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have engaged in a deliberate campaign of vilification and demonisation against Sinn Féin, and the communities of north Louth and south Armagh.

Let me nail the lies of our political opponents.

·        Irish republicans are not involved in criminal actions along the Border or indeed anywhere else.

·        No republican is involved in fuel laundering or the destruction of our environment through the dumping of toxic sludge.

·        No republican is engaged in smuggling tobacco or any other product.

·        No republican is stealing farm equipment or animals.

·        Those who are involved in these actions are criminals.

In recent years the criminal gangs have grown bolder and more dangerous and better organised. They were responsible for the deaths of Garda Adrian Donohoe and Paul Quinn and Keith Rogers; the shooting of Michael Bellew and the brutal beatings of others and last week’s attempted murder of Francis McCabe Junior.

Those who placed the bomb didn’t care who they killed. Their intention was to intimidate and terrorise and coerce those in south Armagh who have been taking a stand against the criminal gangs.

The vast majority of people in south Armagh support Sinn Féin. An even greater number support the Peace Process. There is no support for criminality or for those who besmirch the republican cause.

The citizens of this state deserve and demand a proper policing service. Anyone with any information on these crimes or the killing of Paul Quinn or Garda Donohoe or Keith Rogers must give it to the PSNI or An Garda Síochána. Or give it to me or others like me who will pass it on.

But the PSNI also has a challenge to meet. It must demonstrate that it can police fairly and effectively and that they do support citizens who oppose criminality.

I have met senior PSNI figures and senior gardaí on the actions of the criminal gangs. But actions and delivery are key.

If the PSNI or An Garda Síochána require more resources to tackle this problem, then those resources must be made available to them.

We need to see greater co-operation between An Garda Siochána and the PSNI and other justice and policing agencies.

I know that Martin McGuinness will be raising these issues with the Taoiseach.

The Justice Ministers must co-operate to produce a clear strategy to tackle this problem.

I certainly intend pursuing these matters with the Garda Commissioner and the Justice Minister.

And Martin McGuinness is seeking a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable.

We must not allow criminals to destroy the opportunities for change and progress that exist. We need to stand by our neighbours. We need to ensure that the PSNI do the job they’re paid to do.

I urge the community, including the GAA and community groups and bodies, to come together and stand up for south Armagh.

Let’s make a stand together.”

WHY THE CITY & REGION NEEDS AN AIRPORT

The City of Derry has a long and proud history stretching back through the millennia but we also have a modern and forward looking perspective which seeks to place the city at the heart of the North West, making it the economic, social, cultural and political hub of the region.

If we are to realise these ambitions for our city and citizens we require the key infrastructure to facilitate inward investment creating employment opportunities, educational attainment and visitor access.

That is why Sinn Féin is committed to the development of the A5 and A6 and are to the fore in the fight for expansion at Magee. We will continue to lead the way in promoting Derry as a cultural hub through support for the Digital/Creative Industries and as a major tourist attraction.

Sinn Féin fully supports the retention and expansion of the City of Derry Airport as well as the rail link and sea port as vital components in the marketing and regeneration of the city and region.

While the Airport as with other facilities, faces significant challenges in these difficult economic circumstances, Sinn Féin believes that as part of a proactive marketing and development strategy the burden on the ratepayers of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council could be greatly relieved.

Not many cities across the island of Ireland can boast an airport with an exemplary safety record on their doorstep. It has been able to afford local citizens the opportunity to fly to a number of destinations but has the potential, if properly marketed, to be an essential factor in encouraging investors to locate in the region. It also has tremendous potential as part of a tourism strategy to be a gateway to the city and region for foreign visitors.

While direct central government subvention may contravene EU regulations, Sinn Féin is of the belief that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) could assist in efforts to attract new airlines and new routes to the area. In this context I am calling for both the abolition of Air Passenger Duty and for DETI to market City of Derry Airport as a central aspect of its tourism strategy.

These measures would help transform Derry, making it a more attractive place, not just to live in, but to invest, work, and visit. Sinn Féin believes that a first class airport would help make the transformation a reality.

An Fáth go bhfuil aerphort de dhíth ar an chathair agus an réigiún

Tá stair fhada agus bhródúil ag Cathair Dhoire a théann siar trí na mílaoiseanna ach tá dearcadh úraoise agus réamhbhreathnaitheacha againn fosta atá ag iarraidh an chathair a chur i gcroí-lár an iarthuaiscirt, an mol eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, cultúrtha agus polaitiúil den réigiún a dhéanamh di.
Má tá muid chun na cuspóirí seo a chur i gcrích dár gcathair agus dár saoránaigh tá an bonneagar ceart de dhíth orainn le infheistíocht isteach a éascú a chruthóidh deiseanna fostaíochta, ardchaighdeán oideachais agus rochtain do chuairteoirí.

Sin an fáth go bhfuil Sinn Féin tiomanta d’fhorbairt an A5 agus an A6 agus chun tosaigh san fheachtas le haghaidh leathnú Mhig Aoidh. Leanfaidh muid de bheith chun tosaigh i gcur chun cinn Dhoire mar mhol cultúrtha trí thacú leis na Tionsclaíochtaí Digiteacha/Cruthaitheacha agus mar mhórtharraingt thurasóireachta.

Tacaíonn Sinn Féin go hiomlán le coinneáil agus forbairt Aerphort Chathair Dhoire chomh maith leis an nasc iarnróid agus an chalafort atá ríthábhachtach i margaíocht agus athghiniúint na cathrach agus an réigiúin.

Cé go bhfuil dúshláin shuntasacha ag an Aerphort mar atá ag áiseanna eile sna cúinsí eacnamaíochta doiligh seo, creideann Sinn Féin go bhféadfaí an t-ualach ar íocóirí rátaí Comhairle Chathair Dhoire agus Cheantar an tSratha Báin a laghdú go mór trí straitéis réamhghníomhach mhargaíochta agus fhorbartha.

Is beag cathair ar oileán na hÉireann ina bhfuil aerphort le stair shármhaith sabháilteachta béal dorais. Tugtar an deis do shaoránaigh áitiúla eitilt chuig roinnt áiteacha ach má mhargaítear i gceart é, d’fhéadfaí an-tionchar a bheith ag an aerphort infheisteoirí a spreagadh chun lonnú sa réigiún. Mar chuid de straitéis thurasóireachta, d’fhéadfaí an-tionchar a bheith aige fosta mar thairseach chuig an chathair agus an réigiún do chuaiteoirí eachtracha.

Cé gur féidir go sáraíonn fóirdheontas díreach an rialtais láir rialacha an AE, creideann Sinn Féin go bhféadfadh an Roinn Fiontraíochta, Trádála agus Infheistíochta (RFTI) cuidiú le hiarrachtaí aerlínte agus bealaí nua a mhealladh chuig an limistéir. Sa chomhthéacs seo, tá mé ag éileamh go ndíothaítear Cáin Phaisinéara Aeir agus go gcuireann RFTI Aerphort Chathair Dhoire chun cinn mar chuid lárnach dá straitéis thurasóireachta.

Chuideodh na céimeanna seo le Doire a athrú go hiomlán, áit níos tarraingtí a dhéanamh di chan amháin mar áit chónaithe ach mar áit infheistíochta, oibre agus thurais fosta. Creideann Sinn Féin go gcuideodh aerphort den chéad scoth leis an mhór-athrú seo a fhíorú.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness welcomes Derry jobs announcement‏

Speaking today after it was announced today  that Kainos Software Ltd is creating new jobs in Derry and Belfast with 30 new  IT  jobs coming to Derry gerry and martin

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Today is just the latest chapter in the Kainos success story. I congratulate Kainos for this investment with the new jobs contributing £12.4 million annually in salaries to the local economy. These jobs will create opportunities for both highly experienced technical staff as well as graduates entering the world of work.

“Kainos has kept a sharp customer focus with an emphasis on delivering quality products and services. This, backed up by attracting and retaining the very best people in digital technology, has fuelled their momentum. The £5million investment in staff skills will prepare their employees for the company’s expansion in both existing and new markets.

“The Executive is determined to keep creating jobs in the private sector and create an environment which is ‘pro-business’. I am pleased 30 of these new jobs will be based in Derry. We are working to ensure the appropriate support infrastructure for both existing and potential investors is in place across the north of Ireland.”

Warning over counterfeit money circulating in Derry -Cllr Tony Hassan

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has  warned  small businesses and residents in the Shantallow area and throughout the city to be on their guard against counterfeit currency, in particular £20 notes which have been circulating over the last 48 hours.???????????????????????????????

Councillor Hassan said “I have been contacted by a number of small businesses in the locality who have been caught with counterfeit money in the last 48 hours. They have told me it is has been with £20 Bank of England notes and said that they are of very good quality.

They asked me to put a warning out through the local media  to prevent other businesses and members of the public  getting  caught out. Many small businesses are working on very tight margins so the loss of  even £40 -£60 in one day is a big hit.

NIE van burned and worker threatened in Creggan

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said B-uUFcVW8AAJbHL

“What happened to this worker in Creggan tonight is absolutely disgraceful. I visited the scene and local residents are  very angry about what has gone here.

An NIE worker was in the Linsfort Drive area carrying out essential repairs when he was approached by a number of masked men and threatened to take a suspect device to Strand Road PSNI station.

The worker  left the scene and the van was set on fire a short time later.

People in Rinmore Drive are now without electric and understandably NIE have said they will not be back out tonight again.

The people behind this attack  need to step forward  and explain the rational behind it to this community.

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Anderson appeals for assistance for Gaza Toy Drive

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for immediate assistance to ensure that toys collected by Irish people for children in Gaza can be delivered as soon as possible.

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said; ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“The people of Ireland, like millions of others around the world, were moved by the plight of the the children of Gaza who bore the brunt of the Israeli onslaught.

“Thousands of people across Ireland raised funds and donated toys for the children in Gaza as part of the Gaza Toy Drive.

“Seven shipping containers will be filled in a warehouse before being shipped to Alexandria in a journey that will take more than three weeks.

“All of this costs money of course and additional funding is now urgently needed to cover the storage and shipping costs associated with the delivery of these toys to the children.

“It is important that these toys get to the children in Gaza and bring some joy into their lives and let them know that the international community cares.

“I would call for organisations and individuals who are in a position to help to show some generosity and assist the Gaza Toy Drive. Anyone wishing to help find more information at www.gazatoydrive.orgEnds/Críoch

Official reopening of the Shantallow /Culmore constituency office

Cllr Tony Hassan said “It’s a big day for the party locally to see the official reopening of our offices .And great to see it happening in the 40th Anniversary year of Sinn Féin setting up an advice and constituency services in this area. IMG_9837

The area has grown vastly since 1975 with a rising population of over 30,000 people which stretches from the Buncrana Road right down to the Culmore /Muff border. So it’s a big undertaking to meet the growing needs of the people on a daily basis.

It’s important to have such facilities located right in the heart of the community with easy access.

Thursday 12pm All Welcome

Britain must fund investigations into human rights abuses – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the British government to fund investigations into human rights abuses carried out by Britain during the conflict.

Ms Anderson said;

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The latest annual report from Amnesty International into human rights abuses has highlighted the lack of resources for mechanisms to deal with the past.

“The report describes the institutions in place to deal with the legacy of the conflict as being carried out in a ‘fragmented and incremental manner.’

“It specifically mentions the lack of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane and the case of the hooded men.

“The British government cannot hide from its human rights responsibilities in relation to the legacy of the conflict here, particularly its Article 2, right to life obligations in cases of collusion and its shoot-to-kill policy.

“It cannot continue to use excuses of financial pressures as an excuse to deny relatives access to truth and justice.

“Last year I brought the Council of Europe’s Human Right’s Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, to a conference in Belfast where called on Britain to live up to its responsibilities to deal with its human rights failures in Ireland.

“I reiterate his call for the British government to foot the bill for effective investigations into state killings and other human rights abuses.”

“I will continue to work with relatives who are campaigning for truth and justice.” Ends/Críoch

Working together will deliver Magee-McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the project to expand the campus to Magee can be delivered through collective support across the party divide.DIGITAL CAMERA

Speaking in the debate today in the Assembly Mr McCartney said,

“The project to increase the number of students and the physical expansion of Magee is gathering pace and I believe it will be delivered in the near future.

“The recent announcement by Martin McGuinness that a sub group, including the Minister for Employment and Learning, has been set up in order to address the inequalities in investment to the North West can be the catalyst on which we deliver the expansion of Magee.

“The best way to see the expansion of Magee come to fruition is for all party support for the project and work together with all campaign groups over the weeks and months ahead.

“The expansion of Magee is too an important issue for any party to attempt to make it a political football but I am confident we can garner the necessary support to see it delivered in the near future.”

Sinn Féin will stop 40 shades of green turning to 50 shades of gray – Anderson

Sinn Féin will stop 40 shades of green turning to 50 shades of gray – Anderson ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Sinn Féin will block any attempts to carry out controversial fracking in the North. 

Speaking at the launch of a major international fracking conference in Fermanagh this morning, Ms Anderson said;

“If an application is made to drill a test well to carry out fracking anywhere in the North of Ireland such an application would require full planning permission which would make it an Executive matter.

“That takes it out of the hands of supporters of fracking and puts the decision in the safe hands of Sinn Féin ministers who will block it.

“Be assured, Sinn Féin will use its voting strength in the Executive to block fracking.

“Sinn Féin has been to the fore in the campaign against fracking, not just in Fermanagh, but across Ireland.

“For many years now my concern has been that fracking could turn the fields of Ireland from 40 shades of green to 50 shades of gray.

“It would have the potential to damage valuable agricultural land with cropland polluted with groundwater contaminated with methane.

“I am the only MEP from the North who has consistently opposed exploration and exploitation of hydraulic fracking and have voted consistently in favour of mandatory environmental impact assessments.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose fracking and to support communities that are opposed to this controversial and unsafe process.” Ends/Críoch

Waste collection issuesin the Triangle area of the Waterside -Jackson

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has  called for urgent  action to be taken to resolve the waste collection issues that are facing some residents in the Triangle area of the Waterside

Councillor Jackson saidChristopher TOH 1

“Residents in Duddys Court have told me that they  haven’t had their household waste collected for almost a month as council are refusing to lift the brown bags that they use to dispose of their waste for health and safety reasons.

This has resulted in dozens of these bags left sitting outside the homes of those affected. They believe that this poses a serious environmental health risk, and worryingly there is also the risk that these bags could be set on fire, trapping residents inside their homes.

The Housing Executive are currently planning to install rubbish shoots in the area that would help solve this problem but this work isn’t due to be completed for at least three months.

The fact that these residents are required to use the brown bags to dispose of their waste is unacceptable in 2015 , as everywhere else in the can  city avail of wheelie bins. This area seems to have been left behind when it comes to waste collection.I will be doing all i can to have this resolved as quickly as possible.

Sinn Féin welcomes PSNI Human Rights Report

Sinn Féin candidate for Foyle Gearóid Ó hEára has welcomed the launch and publication of the Policing Board’s Human Rights Annual Report.10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n

 Speaking after the launch of the report at Crumlin Road Gaol Mr Ó hEára said,

“The report deals with a broad range of topics, including victims, the use of force, covert policing, treatment of suspects, Policing with the Community, and human rights awareness in the PSNI.

“The issues of domestic violence and hate crime feature prominently in the report as does policing with and for young people.

“It’s important that the PSNI recognises the need to tackle these issues with the seriousness they deserve.

“Human rights must be at the heart of policing and a key role is to monitor PSNI performance in this respect.  We have seen a lot of progress over the years in accountability, training, and the way the police carry out their everyday role.

“Legacy inquests remain an area of deep concern and PSNI must ensure that all information is provided to the coroner in a timely fashion to uphold the rights of the families of those killed.

“It is crucial the policing service is fully human right compliant and I will continue to work to ensure human rights are at the highest standard possible.”

Blucher Street residents appeal over anti community activity

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly  issue saidCOLLY

 

“A number of years ago gates were installed at both ends of the street and this greatly reduced the problems with anti-community activity, bins being stolen and  nighttime noise with young people running up and down the laneway late on.

 

Residents have told me that all sorts of carry on is taking place in the laneway at night, drinking, drugs and they expressed fears over the personal safety issues for young girls. Many of the residents have been living in this  street for years and don’t need to be putting up with this .

 

 

The problem is that young people are gaining access to the laneway by just stepping up on a smaller wall and it’s very easy to get over it.I have now carried out a petition with residents to see if we can get the wall made higher  or a small fence added along it to take away the easy access.

 

Hassan welcomes investment in new play park at Ballyarnett Country Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that a new play park is to be constructed at the Ballyarnett Country Park as part of £2.8million investment from the Executive’s Social Investment Fund and £300,000 from Derry City Council at four sites across the city.IMG_6017

Councillor Hassan said “I welcome the news that a new play park facility is to built in Ballyarnett Country Park.

The Ballyarnett Country Park can provide a wide range of opportunities and act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

This is one of best assets this city has but has been underutilised for many years .And I believe it has nowhere reached its full potential yet in providing parklands and facilities for residents in the local area and for the city as a whole.

It offers a real opportunity to build the foundation’s for the next 5-10 years and put in place something the entire community can be proud of .

Sinn Féin slam those behind Waterside alerts

Sinn Féin slam  those behind Waterside alerts

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned those responsible for leaving a number of suspect devices in the  Waterside  area of Derry  today.Christopher TOH 1

He said “These incidents have brought widespread disruption to this area of the city and must be condemned.

“Whoever was behind these incidents should explain to local residents what they have achieved by forcing families from their homes.

The people of the Waterside  want to get on with their lives and trying to improve the future for their children without elements causing distress and inconvenience.”

Ends

Call for safety assessment as tree falls on one of Derry’s busiest roads

“I was contacted on Wednesday night by a number of residents concerned that a large tree had come down on the road between the Hatfield shopping complex and Cashlemore Park.IMG_7306[1]

I went to the scene straight away .This was a very dangerous situation as its one of the busiest roads in the city on what was a dark and very wet night.

It is difficult to anticipate all the consequences of the extreme weather conditions we have been exposed to over the past few months and we should be thankful that no-one was seriously hurt as a result of the fallen tree.

Thanks must go to the  Roads Service for their quick response and a number of local residents who helped direct traffic whilst efforts were made to get the tree off the road.

I will be following this up with Roads Service to make sure that  an urgent inspection of other trees along this section of road  is carried out and take whatever action is needed to make them safe.

 

Where has the specialised drug money been spent? – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the health minister to explain publicly where the money received from the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme has been spent.?????????????????????????????????

Speaking following a meeting of the Health Committee today at which the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) gave evidence Ms McLaughlin, chair of the health committee said:

“The ABPI were in front of the committee today on the health minister’s statement during the week on greater access to specialised drugs.

“During this evidence session the ABPI said that £14m had been returned to the north in 2014 and as much as £30m may be returned this year.

“This money is meant to be targeted at specialised drugs. The glaring question is that while this fund is in operation where has this money been spent?

“The committee today asked for a breakdown of where this money has gone.

“The health minister is proposing the re-introduction of prescription charges in order to pay for specialised drugs, including cancer drugs. There is a need therefore for the minister to explain where the money from the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme has been spent.

“Following concerns raised by the Finance Minister about how the health budget is managed this is a legitimate and fair question.”

Sinn Féin to block discrimination bill – McCartney

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said today  that Sinn Féin will block the so-called ‘Conscience Clause Bill’ when it comes before the Assembly.Raymond head shot 22

“Sinn Féin said we would oppose any attempt to undermine the rights of all people in our society to have equal and fair service when buying goods and services.

“We have lobbied other MLAs in the Assembly to back a Petition of Concern to block what in our view is an attempt to bring in discriminatory legislation.

“Caitríona Ruane has called on the SDLP and Alliance parties to support us but we are now confident that we can reach the threshold to block this bill from becoming law.

‘’In the past signs read, no dogs no blacks no Irish, those signs were wrong, that discrimination was wrong.

“Any attempt to recreate that type of discrimination today against the LGB & T community is also wrong.

“It’s important therefore we as a society send out a very clear signal that the days of banning certain sections of society from shops or services are long gone.”

Ends

Unity of Purpose required to deliver on Magee

The 50th anniversary of the Lockwood Report which recommended the establishment of a new University in Coleraine instead of Derry will focus much attention on the present campaign for expansion of Magee.

I agree that we need to increase pressure on DEL Minister Stephen Farry to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to the ‘One Plan’ which has expansion of Magee as a central plank for regional economic regeneration.

But this must be done, not in a point scoring exercise by individual politicians but with a Unity of Purpose and a single voice coming out of the North West region demanding what should have been delivered 50 years ago.

The injustice of the decision to deprive Derry of university status in 1965 needs redressed.

While we can all point fingers in whatever direction suits us politically it will not deliver the change in focus required to deliver the result that we all want. What was missing over the past 50 years was the political will to achieve a University for Derry. That political will now exists.

We are now in a new situation with the deputy First Minister determined to deliver on the Magee project, we have the new expanded Council with increased powers coming on stream in April and the political landscape reconfigured.

All of this allows for a new focus, and the establishment of the Executive Ministerial Sub-Group on the North West by Martin Mc Guinness will drive the process of change that will deliver the political authority needed in the Magee campaign.

It is no accident that Martin invited the Further Education Minister onto the sub-group and I believe that the acceptance to be part of the group by Stephen Farry demonstrates that he is at least willing to pursue the case for expansion. He has already indicated his intention to bid, within months, for the £11 million required to construct the new teaching block at Magee this year. That bid will certainly be supported by Sinn Fein and would represent a major investment and physical expansion at Magee.

The Minister has also signalled the potential for a significant increase in student numbers in the new Assembly mandate which begins next year. In order to achieve that, we need to consolidate the political will which the sub group initiative by Martin McGuinness has helped to generate. That is the best way to ensure that Magee is prioritised by all Executive Ministers.

While some politicians prefer to deflect any responsibility for the failures of the past from their own party – despite having held the Universities ministerial portfolio in previous Executives – I believe what is required is a unity of purpose to ensure the expansion of Magee is delivered.

In the immediate term, that means focusing pressure where the decision making power lies. That is at the door of the Ulster University (UU) who have ultimate responsibility for dispersal of finance allocated to it by Minister Farry.  It also has the option of approaching the European Investment Bank as they did to fund its new Belfast Campus.

I hope the new Vice Chancellor of UU is radical in his ambition and vision in terms of growing Magee.  If so he should begin by reversing last week’s decision to cut a number of courses at Magee.

There is now a well drafted and constructed business case for expansion with Minister Farry which has been signed off by the Chamber of Commerce, Derry City Council and Ulster University Magee. I believe the new UU Vice-Chancellor should take cognisance of this consensus and deliver on the critical requirement to the economic regeneration of the North West region that Magee expansion is.

Magee is a cross border campus in terms of attracting students and plays a major part in the North West Education Gateway initiative. The new Derry Strabane Council’s integrated economic strategy will also have a clear focus on Magee expansion which, in turn, would be complemented by the ambitions of the North West Regional College to provide accreditation for its pupils in STEM subjects to allow step up to degree courses at Magee.

Half a century on from Lockwood, Derry is still dealing with the legacy of that scandalous decision. However, I believe the political will and conditions now exist for us to finally redress that legacy by securing the expansion to Magee. This city and our young people deserve nothing less.

By working together we can achieve it.

Cur le chéile ag teastáil chun beart a dhéanamh de réir bhriathair ar Mhag Aoidh

10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n50 bliain tar éis Thuairisc Lockwood a mhol bunú Ollscoil nua i gCúil Raithin in ionad Dhoire, beidh an-aird ar an fheachtas reatha le haghaidh leathnú Mhig Aoidh.

Aontaím nach mór dúinn an brú a mhéadú ar an Aire FL Stephen Farry chun an gealltanas don ‘One Plan’ sa Chlár um Rialtas a sheachadadh, agus ina bhfuil leathnú Mhig Aoidh ina chuid thábhachtach maidir le hathghiniúint réigiúnach.

Ach ní mór seo a dhéanamh, chan trí phointí a scóráil ag polaiteoirí aonair ach le cur le chéile agus guth amháin ag teacht amach as réigiún an iarthuaiscirt ag éileamh an mhéid ar chóir a bheith againn 50 bliain ó shin.

Tá gá le héagóir an chinnte stadás ollscoile a bhaint de Dhoire i 1965 a cheartú.

Thig linn go léir méara a dhíriú i gcibé treo a oireann dúinn go polaitiúil ach ní bhainfidh sé sin amach an t-athrú atá de dhíth chun an toradh atá uainn uilig a chur i gcrích.  An rud a bhí ar iarraidh le caoga bliain anuas ná an toil phoilaitiúil chun Ollscoil do Dhoire a bhaint amach.  Tá an toil pholaitiúil sin ann anois.

Tá cúrsaí difriúil anois agus an leasChéad Aire ar a dhícheall cur lena focal maidir le tionscadal Mhig Aoidh, beidh an Chomhairle leathnaithe nua agus cumhachtaí méadaithe aici ag feidhmiú in Aibreán agus tá an tírdhreach polaitiúil athraithe go hiomlán.

Tugann sé seo ar fad fócas nua don scéal, agus brúfaidh bunú an Fhoghrúpa Aireachta ar an Iarthuaisceart ag Martin McGuinness an próiseas athraithe a thabharfaidh an t-údarás polaitiúil atá ag teastáil i bhfeachtas Mhig Aoidh.

Ní de thaisme gur thug Martin cuireadh don Aire Breis-Oideachais a bheith ar an fhoghrúpa agus ó d’aontaigh Stephen Farry a bheith páirteach credim go léiríonn sin go bhfuil sé toilteanach ar a laghad tabhairt faoin chás ar son leathnaithe.  Chuir sé in iúl cheana go bhfuil sé de rún aige faoi cheann cúpla mí tairiscint don £11 mhílliún atá de dhíth chun an bloc nua teagaisc a thógáil ag Mag Aoidh i mbliana.  Tacóidh Sinn Féin don tairiscint sin a bheidh ina mórinfheistíocht agus leathnú fisiciúil ag Mag Aoidh.

Dhírigh an tAire fosta aird ar an phoitéinseal de mhéadú suntasach i líon na mac léinn i mandáid an Tionóil nua a thosnaíonn ar an bhliain seo chugainn.  Chun sin a bhaint amach, ní mór dúinn an toil pholaitiúil atá ginte ag tionscnamh foghrúpa Mhartin McGuinness a neartú.  Is í sin an dóigh is fearr le cinntiú go bhfuil Mag Aoidh  ina phríoracht ag gach Aire san Fheidhmeannas.

Cé gur fearr le cuid polaiteoirí aon fhreagracht as chliseadh roimhe a shraonadh óna bpáirtí féin – in ainneoin chúram aireachta na nOllscoileanna a bheith acu sna Feidhmeannais roimhe seo – creidim go bhfuil cur le chéile de dhíth le cinntiú go bhfaighfear leathnú Mhig Aoidh.

Láithreach, ní mór brú a dhíriú ar an áit a bhfuil an chumhacht chinnteoireacht.  Is é sin le hOllscoil Uladh a bhfuil an fhreagracht dheiridh aici as scaipeadh an mhaoinithe a thugtar di ag an Aire Farry.  Tá rogha aici fosta úsáid a bhaint as Banc Infheistíochta na hEorpa mar a rinneadh chun a Campas úr i mBéal Feirste a mhaoiniú.

Tá súil agam go mbeidh Leas-Seansailéir nua OU radacach ina uaillmhian agus ina fhís maidir le forbairt Mhig Aoidh.  Más ea, ba chóir dó tosnú le cinneadh na seachtaine seo caite líon cúrsaí ag Mag Aoidh a ghearradh a mhalartú.

Tá cás gnó an-láidir ar son leathnaithe faoi láthair ag an Aire Farry, cás atá aontaithe ag an Comhlachas Tráchtála, Comhairle Cathrach Dhoire agus Ollscoil Uladh Mag Aoidh.  Ceapaim gur chóir do Leas-Seansailéir nua OU an chomhaontú seo a aithint agus leathnú Mhig Aoidh a sheachadadh, rud atá ríthábhachtach d’athghiniúint eacnamaíochta an iarthuaiscirt.

Is campas trasteorann é Mag Aoigh maidir le mic léinn a tharraingt agus tá ról mór aige i dtionscnamh Thairseach Oideachais an Iarthuaiscirt.  Beidh fócas glan ag straitéis eacnamaíochta iomlánaithe Chomhairle nua Dhoire agus an tSratha Báin ar leathnú Mhig Aoidh a chomhlánófar, dá réir sin, ag uaillmhianta Choláiste Réigiúnach an Iarthuaiscirt creidiúnú a sholáthar dá mhic léinn in ábhair ETIM chun cúrsaí uaschéime a éascú ag Mag Aoidh.

Leathchéad tar éis Lockwood, tá Doire fós ag déileáil le leagáid an chinnte scannalaigh úd.  Creidim, áfach go bhfuil an toil pholaitiúil agus na coinníolacha againn anois an leagáid úd a cheartú trí leathnú Mhig Aoidh a chinntiú.  Tá sé seo agus níos mó tuillte ag an chathair seo agus óige s’againne.

Trí chur le chéile, thig linn a dhéanamh.

Anderson calls for Basque prisoner release

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met members of a Basque youth committee in Belfast today to discuss concerns over the conditions in which imprisoned Basques are being held.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Anderson said; IMG_0388 (1)

“I met with members of a Basque youth committee campaigning on behalf of Basque prisoners being held in Spanish jails.

“In many cases these prisoners are being held hundreds of miles away from their homes and families.

“As a former political prisoner who spent more than 13 years in English jails I could fully empathise with the plight of these prisoners.

“Not only is the continued imprisonment of Basque prisoners an unnecessary obstacle to progress in the Basque peace process, detaining them so far from their homes created huge practical difficulties for the prisoners and their families.

“I repeat the call for the release of the remaining Basque prisoners in order to create confidence in the Basque peace process and will continue to support that process in the European Parliament.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Welcome for ESF application rethink – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed Minister Stephen Farry’s rethink on rejection for ESF funding to some groups whose applications were deemed not have included management accounts while others in the same position were given the opportunity to resubmit the additional information.

Raymond McCartney said:City centre walkabout

“I made a call last week for the Minister to reopen the process for the European Social Fund (ESF) following representation from groups who felt that their applications had been treated less fairly than others who had submitted similar information.

Mr McCartney explained:

“While some community groups had their applications rejected because they had not included Management Accounts others were allowed to resubmit the additional information.

“Clearly this was a flaw in the processing system that required redress. I am pleased that this issue has now been rectified and the affected groups will now be able to submit the required Management Accounts and have their applications reassessed.

“Had this issue not been properly remedied it could result in not only significant job losses in the community and voluntary sector but loss of all the experience built up over many years of dealing with the marginalised and disadvantaged in our communities.

“I therefore welcome the decision to accept the additional information so that a proper, fully informed assessment of all applications can be made on a fair and equal basis.” 

CRÍOCH/END

McLaughlin welcomes Minister’s statement of intent on Magee

Sinn Féin’s Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has welcomed Universities Minister Stephen Farry’s clear statement of intent on expansion at Magee contained in an answer to a written question she posed to him.

Maeve McLaughlin said:

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin

“I very much welcome Minister Farry’s clear statement of intent regarding future expansion at Magee Campus contained in an answer to a written question I posed to him.

“My question asked if the minister intended to bid for funding for Magee expansion in the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and I am very encouraged by his response.

“Minister Farry acknowledged that his Department was now in possession of the business plan for the expansion and that it is presently being assessed as to whether it meets guidelines for Expenditure, Appraisal and Evaluation.

“Mr Farry committed that if the business plan meets this criteria – and I have no reason to believe that it won’t – that he would proceed with a bid for funding the project in the next CSR.

“This is the most promising statement that the Minister has made to date and I believe it will be welcomed as progress by all of those campaigning for University expansion in Derry.

Notes to Editor

Question to Minister Farry and his response.

Q) To ask the Minister for Employment and Learning whether he intends to bid for funding for the expansion of Ulster University at Magee in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

A) You will know that a business case for the expansion of the Magee campus was submitted to my Department in December. The business case is currently being scrutinised to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Northern Ireland Guide to Expenditure Appraisal and Evaluation. If it does and we also obtain approval from the Department of Finance and Personnel, I would intend to submit a bid in the next Comprehensive Spending Review to secure funding for the expansion on a sustainable basis.

One of Derry’s busiest roads top get “dog fouling box”-Cllr Colly Kelly

Chair of Derry Councils Environmental services committee Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a Dog fouling box has been installed on one of the city’s busiest streets on the Lone Moor Road outside Celtic Park GAA ground  .

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

Colly Kelly  said “This is one of the busiest stretches of footpath in the city .Hundreds of walkers, runners, dog walkers would use it on a daily basis as well as local residents. Because of its location beside Celtic Park GAA ground, the Brandywell Stadium and City Cemetery its is always a very busy area, just last weekend we had hundreds of people at Celtic Park for the game between Derry and Kerry.

I receive complaints regularly from residents about a small number of dog owners who let their pets foul without cleaning up along this section of pathway particularly from the top of Stanley’s Walk right out to the Brandywell Stadium, it can be particularly bad.

Hopefully the installation of this new bin will help alleviate some of these  health hazards and I would encourage dog owners to make use of it to dispose of their pets waste.

 

Ends

Hypocrisy of SDLP and UUP astounding – Martin McGuinness MLA

This week the Assembly debated the difficult issue of benefits for the most vulnerable in our society. I had hoped, based on the consensus and inclusive approach which characterized the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) and its implementation since, that we would have had a mature and responsible debate dealing directly and effectively with the issues preventing agreement up to this point.Gearóid Ó hEára and Martin McGuinness

I was deeply disappointed by what I witnessed in the Assembly from the SDLP and the Ulster Unionist Party. This was the most disingenuous display of self-serving party politicking from two parties putting their electoral ambitions over the needs of the people they claim to represent.

Both are members of the Executive. Both negotiated and signed up to the SHA. Their respective party leaders – Mike Nesbitt and Alasdair McDonnell – gave commitments to implement the agreement and bring proposed amendments to the party leaders’ implementation group in order to maintain the five party consensus so instrumental in securing agreement in the first place

.

Both parties reneged on those commitments to engage in meaningless posturing aimed at securing headlines. Their hypocrisy is astounding!

On December 17, during the SHA, both parties buckled and agreed to a welfare package falling well short of that achieved by Sinn Féin and the DUP on December 19 presently going through the Assembly.

The deficient deal, which the SDLP and UUP agreed to, did not include the supplementary payment fund – worth £125m over six years – did not include protection for children with disabilities or adults with severe disabilities or the long-term sick. They did however agree a two year loss of benefit sanction.

In contrast, Sinn Féin stood firm and achieved protections unique to the north of Ireland. £565million will remain in the pockets of the most vulnerable in our society over the next six years.

The UUP is a party which stood with the Conservatives on a Tory manifesto that has delivered vicious cuts to public services and unprecedented assaults on the welfare state.

Therefore, for the SDLP and UUP to table amendments on the pretence they are defending the most vulnerable would be laughable if it was not so serious.

The package we have negotiated, protect the most vulnerable from the UUP and from the welfare cuts which their electoral partners in Britain have attempted to impose on our society.

What we witnessed was not a genuine attempt to improve legislation but party political stunts and posturing. Why else did the SDLP leader ignore my repeated requests over a period of three weeks for discussions on possible amendments? Why did neither the SDLP nor the UUP raise these amendments at the Executive – or at the weekly implementation group meetings in the weeks since Stormont House? Why did the SDLP after almost six weeks of refusing to engage, send proposed amendments at the very last minute, 10 hours before the dead-line?

They did this because they were never interested in agreed amendments, only in scoring political points. In order to achieve that, they were prepared, not only to renege on agreements and commitments, but to jeopardise the entire agreement itself.

It is my view that the SDLP have gone down this road because their leader has lost control to such an extent that we are now dealing with two parties within the SDLP.

One party negotiated and signed up to the implementation of the SHA. The other broke those commitments and dishonoured their leader’s commitment that any amendments would be pursued and agreed through the party leaders group.

The SDLP dissidents are clearly now in charge and are prepared to risk the collapse of the Agreement – and thereby the power-sharing institutions – for the sake of party political grandstanding.

If Sinn Fein had taken the approach advocated by the SDLP and UUP in relation to the Welfare Bill and before that, the budget, there would be no agreement and no power sharing institutions. What we would have today is Direct Rule by the Tories and all that would mean in terms of austerity, welfare cuts and water charges.

Who knows, maybe that’s what the UUP wants? But is it what the SDLP or its electorate want?

The fact is that neither of these parties were honest with the electorate. For all their grandstanding, they didn’t tell the public what they agreed at Stormont Castle on December 17th. They didn’t tell the electorate that they both signed up to a welfare package that was far less than the one going through the Assembly.

It is clear that in their approach to this issue both parties are driven by one over-riding priority, not to protect the vulnerable in our society, but to protect their own narrow party political interests. People can and will make their own judgement on this approach in the time ahead. I look forward to that.

Britain should comply with EU ruling on prisoners’ votes – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the British government’s continued refusal to allow prisoners to vote is an affront to democracy.

Ms Anderson said;

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The European Court of Human Rights has found that Britain has breached the human rights of more than 1,000 prisoners by denying them the right to vote.

“This is the fourth time the court has ruled against the British government’s refusal, stating that the ban violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“This latest case was brought by 1,015 prisoners who were denied their democratic right to vote between 2009 and 2011, including during the last general election.

“The British government cannot continue to ignore the ruling of the court and deny people their basic human rights.

“As a former political prisoner I believe that all prisoners deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and this includes access to democracy.

“The continued denial of this right is an affront to democracy and places Britain alongside states with the worst human rights records in the world.

“I am calling on the British government to recognise the ruling of this court and give prisoners their human rights by allowing them to vote.”

Jackson condemns attack on Waterside home

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has condemned  a criminal attack on the home of a long standing and respected family in Top of the Hill area.Christopher TOH 1

 

Councillor Jackson said “Last Wednesday night this family home had an iron bar thrown through the kitchen window and had paint smeared over the front door.

 

“The damage caused to the kitchen gives an indication of the force this iron bar was thrown at the window and it doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if someone had been in the kitchen at the time.

 

Understandably this horrific attack has had a devastating impact on this family and has sent shock waves through this small tight knit community. This is the latest of a number of attacks on this family who are determined not to allow criminals drive them from their home.

Concluding he said

Given the upsurge in burglaries and criminal activity in the area over recent weeks I would call on everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the PSNI.

Summer reprieve for the Cottages –Health chair McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee and Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said that the provision of care at The Cottages facility will continue over the Summer period .She made her comments after continuing to lobby the Health Minister Jim Wells and the Western Trust (WHSCT)on the future of the centre

The chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Maeve McLaughlin said

I felt it was very important to continue my lobbying and engagements with the Minister and the Trust on the future status of the Cottages.

The Trust have now told me that they have been meeting with families on a case by case basis  and will extend the bookings for the Cottages to cover summer holidays/needs.
This will allow them time to consider further options as part of the respite review and they  will engage further with families on this in due course.

 

Ends

One of Derry’s busiest roads top get “dog fouling box”-Cllr Colly Kelly

Chair of Derry Councils Environmental services committee Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a Dog fouling box has been installed on one of the city’s busiest streets on the Lone Moor Road outside Celtic Park GAA ground  .

Colly Kelly  said “This is one of the busiest stretches of footpath in the city .Hundreds of walkers, runners, dog walkers would use it on a daily basis as well as local residents. Because of its location beside Celtic Park GAA ground, the Brandywell Stadium and City Cemetery its is always a very busy area, just last weekend we had hundreds of people at Celtic Park for the game between Derry and Kerry.

I receive complaints regularly from residents about a small number of dog owners who let their pets foul without cleaning up along this section of pathway particularly from the top of Stanley’s Walk right out to the Brandywell Stadium, it can be particularly bad.

Hopefully the installation of this new bin will help alleviate some of these  health hazards and I would encourage dog owners to make use of it to dispose of their pets waste.

 

Ends

Fleming condemns Currynierin security alert

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming has condemned those responsible for a causing a security alert in Currynierin.
Councillor Fleming said; 
“Those behind this security alert must be condemned.
“This has achieved absolutely nothing except bringing disruption to the community in Currynierin, particularly those evacuated from their homes.
“There is only one entrance and exit to the estate and, as a result of this alert the residents had to remain in the area.
“This is a city moving forward and the wider community has made it clear that there is no support for this type of activity.
“Those responsible need to listen to the will of the vast majority of people and end these futile actions immediately.” Ends/Críoch

Foyle MLA calls for clarity on future of Lisahally Jobs

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin is to raise with the Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey concerns about the future of jobs of Social Security Agency staff based at Lisahally.

She said?????????????????????????????????

“On December the 3rd of last year I highlighted the concerns of staff at the Lisahally office, after we were told that up to 30 jobs could be lost as a result of moving records to a central location.

I subsequently raised this is a question to the DSD Minister  in December looking for clarity on the future of the Derry jobs and urged management at the Social Security Agency to engage with staff and trade unions to discuss their concerns about this.

I have been contacted by worried workers over the weekend concerned they have had very little news on what the future holds for them and fears they could be out of a job in a couple of weeks’ time.

The workers need clarity and I will be raising this again with the Minister as a matter of urgency.

Ends

Academic excellence can be achieved without selection-Logue‏

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said that the latest results in GCSE prove that academic excellence can be achieved without selection.

She said,
“The latest figures of exam data recently published show that schools that have moved from selection are improving and achieving equal grades with those who still practice selection.
“Sinn Féin has consistently stated that there is no need to put children through the stress of sitting a selection test when all schools adhere to the same curriculum.
“This is positive proof that academic excellence can be achieved without selection and I am calling on more schools to now abandon selection and move education into the 21st century.”

Anderson meets President Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg. MartinaAndersonMEP

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said;

“I held a very useful and constructive meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Strasbourg to discuss the latest situation in Palestine.

“We discussed the ongoing impact of the Israeli occupation and the unwillingness of some in the international community to address the consequences of the onslaught on Gaza last summer.

“The international community has a key role to play in supporting the Palestinian people and holding Israel to account for its breaches of human rights legislation.

“President Abbas also gave me an update on the latest developments in Palestine’s bid for full membership of the International Criminal Court.

“We also discussed the release of Palestinian political prisoners, which is a major issue in efforts towards securing a lasting peace in the region. I was in Ramallah with President Abbas in October 2013 when Palestinian prisoners were released and that needs to be repeated.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Palestinian people in their campaign for statehood, justice and human rights.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Cooper condemns robbery of shop on Park Ave

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has condemned the robbery of a shop in the  Park Avenue area around 9.30pm on Saturday night .

Its report two men, one armed with a knife made off with a small amount of money after threatening a female member of staff.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said “Sadly once again a small business servicing the local community in Rosemount has been targeted and a member of staff put through a terrible ordeal.

I would appeal for anyone with even the slightest piece of information to come forward straight away to the police in Derry.

Ends

Council striking of new Rate -Cllr Elisha McCallion‏

CHALLENGE, OPPORTUNITY, GROWTH

 

Cllr. Elisha McCallion said: “The striking of this rate takes place just 6 weeks before the vesting of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council.   It is a historic time, a time of challenge, a time of opportunity.IMG_6017

 

The main challenge lies in the reduction of support from the DoE and DFP Departments which has placed a significant burden on domestic ratepayers across the new council area but particularly in Strabane.

 

The Non-Domestic Revaluation in the Strabane area has led to an absurd anomaly which means that we now have a reduction in the convergence funding and one of the first tasks for the new Council is to challenge DFP on this unfair system which penalises domestic rate payers.

 

The 15% reduction in the Rates Support Grant by the DoE again penalises our Council which already faces up to some of the highest levels of deprivation and economic need across the north.   Again this needs to be challenged.

 

The Rates increase, therefore, is largely down to factors beyond our Council’s control.   Despite these challenges what we have attempted to do, however, is build for the future.

 

Our Capital Plan amounts to £130m worth of projects across many facets of Council activity – all of these designed to improve the quality of life for our citizens.

 

Economic Development & Town Centre Regeneration, Leisure & Sports, Community Centres & Parks – all of this will be part of our new Council’s ambition on behalf of those we represent.   And we will pursue these objectives in conjunction with continuing to provide ratepayers with high quality front line services.”

 

On the 1st April we will move into a new era for Local Government.   As the largest party Sinn Féin is up for the challenge of leading Derry City and Strabane District Council towards a better future – a future which will serve all our citizens better than anything which has gone before.”

 

Cruthú fostaíochta

Gan amhras is í an cheist is mó i dtoghcheantar an Fheabhail ná an an géarghá le méadú ar dheiseanna fostaíochta go háirithe dár gcéimithe agus óige.  Iarrtar orm go minic cén saghas fostaíochta atá ag teastáil agus conas a tharraingíonn muid iad?

Réimse amháin a bhfuil acmhainneacht mór aici ná na tionscail chruthaitheacha. Agus níos mó comhluchtaí mar HBO ag amharc ar shuíomhanna i dtuaisceart na hÉireann le haghaidh léirithe mórscannán tá deiseanna as cuimse againn áiseanna na dtionscal cruthaitheach atá anseo cheana féin a fhorbairt.

Le linn bhliain an chultúir 2013 cuireadh focás láidir ar ghnéithe de na Tionscail Chruthaitheacha cosúil le dearadh grafach, greannáin dhigiteacha, ceol digiteach agus léiriú scannáin.  Tá orainn cur leis an obair a rinneadh ag an am sin.

Cé go raibh méadú ar an éileamh ar ábhar margaíochta le linn imeachtaí Chathair an Chultúir, ba thairbhe bhreise í don gheilleagar áitiúil gur FBManna  le nascanna daingne don réigiún an mhórchuid díobh siúd a bhain leis sin.  Tugadh aitheantas cuí don rath sin nuair a bunaíodh Mol na dTionscal Cruthaitheach in Ebrington.

Trí mhaoiniú RCEF do na moil chruthaitheacha i gceantair phobail ar fud an iarthuaiscirt agus soláthar na n-áiseanna nua agus an spáis oibre ag Campas Eolaíochta an Iarthuaiscirt cuirfear deiseanna fostaíochta eile ar fáil dár gcéimithe ETIM.

Chomh maith méadaíonn an Campas Eolaíochta ag Dún Sheoirse acmhainn do chomhluchtaí a dhíríonn ar innealtóireacht bhogearraí atá ina ADN den earnáila dhigiteach ar go leor bealaí.  Tá aonad scannánaíochta Gaeilge dá cuid féin ag Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, rud dar liom atá ríthábhachtach maidir leis an Ghaeilge a thabhairt isteach san aois dhigiteach.  Oibreoidh mé chun leathadh na hearnála seo a chinntiú.

Má tá muid le tairbhe a bhaint as fás na dtionscal cruthaitheach ní mór dúinn clárú do chúrsaí breis-oideachais a spreagadh, rud a thabharfaidh dár gcéimithe an saineolas i bhforbairt bogearraí agus dhearadh grafach is arl.

Tá leathnú Champas Mhig Aoidh agus líon suntasach áiteacha MasN d’ábhair ETIM ríthábhachtach.  Tá mé sásta go bhfuil an plean gnó le haghaidh an leathaidh ag an Aire anois.  Tá ról suntasach fosta ag Coláiste Réigiúnach an Iarthuaiscirt an beart seo a chur le briathar.

Tá an Campas Eolaíochta lena hionad glanscartha sonraí agus a nasc le Project Kelvin le spreagadh chun Infheistíocht Dhíreach Eachtrach a thabhairt isteach chomh maith le gnóthas nuathionscanta a spreagadh.

Chun seo a éascú tá sainstraitéis mhargaíochta ag teastáil a bhainfidh leas as saineolas na ngníomhaireachtaí reachtúla uilig mar InvestNI, TourismNI agus an Fóghrúpa Aireachta nua ar an Iarthuaisceart a bhunaigh an leasPhríomhAire Martin McGuinness.  Ní mór dúinn na háiseanna atá ar fáil i bhFeabhal le haghaidh chomhluchtaí forbartha bog-earraí agus ghnóthais eile san earnáil dhigiteach a chur chun cinn go hiomaíoch.

Tá togcheantar an Fheabhail san áit is fearr chun infheistíocht eachtrach a mhealladh chomh maith le fás áitiúil a spreagadh.

 

Hundreds of homes in the Culmore Road area to get gas supply -Cooper

Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed news that Firmus gas will be extended to hundreds of homes in the Culmore Road area.
Councillor Cooper said; Mickey Cooper
“Following negotiations with Firmus I am happy to announce that they have confirmed that gas will be available to all homes along the Culmore Road from Ardnashee right up to the Culmore Road Roundabout at Foyle Bridge.
“As well as streets leading directly off the Culmore Road, gas will also be extended to the Greenhaw Road, Castleview Park and Steelstown road.
“This will provide hundreds of homes with the option of switching to gas energy.
“Work will begin on he gas pipeline next week and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“I will continue to lobby Firmus to extend the gas pipelines to areas close to the Culmore Road such as Farren Park and Garden City Lower to ensure everyone in the area has access to gas.
“I and other Sinn Féin representatives from across Derry will also be meeting with Firmus to discuss extending the gag pipeline network right across the city.”

North Wing development at Altnagelvin Hospital to begin 2015.

News on this development came in a reply to a question Health Minister Jim Wells from Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin ?????????????????????????????????
She said “I put forward a question in the Assembly to ask the Health Minister for  an update on timeline for the North Wing development at Altnagelvin Hospital.

He has replied to say the detailed design work and tender preparation are progressing well and it is currently planned to award the contract and commence construction on site by late Summer/early Autumn 2015.
This is positive news for the North West region that this work is to progress in the coming months.
I visited Altnagelvin recently and was amazed at the amount of work that is taking place. This coupled with the new Radiotherapy unit is much need investment in our health estate and it is important that we maximise this benefit to the wider economy.

Campbell calls for bilingual bus signs in Derry‏‎

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called on Translink to introduce a pilot scheme of using bilingual destination screens on a number of bus routes  in the city and to also adopt bilingual bus signs in both English and Irish.

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

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

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

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

I will be seeking a meeting with Translink in Derry to see if we can move this on here locally .There are hundreds of children going to schools in the city learning through the medium of Irish and hundreds of people of all ages attending night classes and hundreds taking part in cultural musical and sporting activities This was magnified tenfold when Derry hosted the Fleadh in 2013.

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

 

New Fencing /Trees targeted in Ballymagowan vandalism spree -Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has slammed vandals who have damaged fencing and cut down trees and caused  damage in a new green area at the back of the new housing development Ballymagowan in Creggan.COLLY

The back entrance to the Ballymagowan estate and hasn’t been opened yet to the public.

Councillor Kelly said

“I was contacted by a number of residents angered by these wanton acts of vandalism.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would even contemplate ripping up fences and cutting down trees. A lot of time, money and effort has gone into getting this modern housing development just right and making this area a good place to live in .

I have been in touch with Apex to try and get this damage repaired and i would urge anyone with information on the culprits to bring it forward.

Problems under Lecky Road Flyover

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said Patricia Logue new pic 22

I received a number of complaints from people going to Mass in the Long Tower who had to walk through a  lot of broken glass and cans and the left overs of rubbish getting burnt. I have been in touch with Derry City  Council to try and get this cleaned up, but they are facing an uphill battle.

There have been on- going issues at the pathway which runs under the Lecky Road Flyover for many years. Much of this has been anti-community, underage drinking; burning of Wheelie Bins and a lot of local people would avoid using this walkway during the hours of darkness.

It’s the main pedestrian link between the Bishop Street area and the Bogside and is widely used throughout the day by people going to Mass in the Long Tower Chapel, children and parents going to several local schools and shops.And we have the beautiful recently opened Áras Cholmcille ,The St Columba Heritage centre.

Over recent year a lot of work has gone in the area to address many of the issues in and around the under pass .Trees and bushes have been removed and cut back, new lights have also been installed and graffiti cleaned up.The local TRIAX community team also have done an immense amount of work with community improvement schemes.

I hope this latest incident is just a blip and would appeal for these types of activities to stop and for those involved to think of the best interests of the community.

Job Creation

Job creation

Without a doubt the biggest issue facing the Foyle constituency is the need for increased employment opportunities particularly for our graduates and young people. The question I am often asked is what type of jobs do we need and how do we attract them?

One area that has enormous potential is in the creative industries. With more production companies such as HBO looking at locations in the North of Ireland for major film productions we have tremendous opportunities to develop the creative industry facilities that already exist here.

During the year of Culture 2013 a strong focus was placed on elements of the Creative Industries such as graphic design, digital comics, digital music and film production. We need to build on the work done during that period.

While there was increased demand for promotional material during City of Culture events an added benefit to the local economy was the fact that most of those involved were SME’s with firm links to the region. Their success is now being rightly recognised by the establishment of the Creative Industries Hub at Ebrington.

The funding of creative hubs in community areas across the North West by DCAL and the availability of new facilities and workspace at the new North West Science Park will all provide job creation opportunities for our STEM graduates.

The Science Park at Fort George also increases capacity for companies focussing on software engineering which in many ways is the DNA of the digital sector. Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin also contains its own Irish language film unit which I feel is key to bringing the Irish language into the digital age. I will work to ensure the expansion of this sector.

But if we are to capitalise on the growth of the creative industries we must encourage take up of further education courses that will equip our graduates with expertise in software development and graphic design etc.

The expansion of the Magee campus, with a significant number of MasN places for STEM subjects is crucial. I welcome the fact that the business plan for expansion is now with the Minister. The North West Regional College (NWRC) also has a significant role to play in making this potential a reality.

The Science Park with its self-contained data centre and connection to Project Kelvin needs to be exploited to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as encourage start-up business.

To make all of this possible we need a comprehensive marketing strategy which calls on the expertise of all the statutory agencies such as InvestNI, TourismNI and the new Ministerial Sub- Group on the North West established by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. We must aggressively promote the facilities that are available in Foyle for software development companies and other businesses in the digital sector.

The Foyle constituency is in the best possible position to attract both foreign investment and also encourage local growth.

Le Chéile 2015

Le Cheile 2015 1

Le Chéile, the event at which people’s contribution to the struggle for Irish freedom is honoured by the republican family

Take out an advertisement in the Le Chéile brochure

To show appreciation for this year’s honourees

le-cheile-2015

Brochure advertisement prices are:

Full Page – €200/£180

Half Page – €100/£90 

Quarter Page – €50/£45

Gold Page – €500/£500

Personalised Ads – €10/£10

For more information contact:

briandowling@sinnfein.ie

The deadline for receiving ads is 4pm Friday 21st February.

‘I want my memorial to be Peace with Justice’ – Frank Stagg

‘I want my memorial to be Peace with Justice’ – Frank Stagg, died in an English prison, 12 February 1976

‘We are a risen people. This time we must not be driven into the gutter, even if this should mean dying for justice. The fight must go on. I want my memorial to be Peace with Justice’

OF THE 22 Irish republicans who died on hunger strike, three died in prisons in England. They were Terence Mac Swiney in Brixton Prison, London, in 1920; Michael Gaughan in Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight, in 1974; and Frank Stagg in Wakefield Prison, Yorkshire, in 1976. 

Gaughan and Stagg were both Mayomen, two of the many thousands who emigrated from their native county in the 1960s and 1970s.

Frank Stagg was born near Hollymount, County Mayo, in 1941. He emigrated to England where he worked as a bus conductor and driver. He married Bridie Armstrong in 1970. Frank Stagg joined Sinn Féin in Luton in 1972 and shortly afterwards joined the IRA. The Six Counties were in political turmoil as the British Government tried to suppress the republican people with brutal military force. Solidarity with the struggle reached across the Irish Diaspora, not least among the Irish in Britain.

• Frank Stagg was known for his prowess at Gaelic football and handball

 Frank Stagg was known for his prowess at Gaelic football and handball

The IRA began a bombing campaign in Britain in 1972. Widespread arrests and jailings followed, with the British authorities making  use of catch-all conspiracy laws that allowed judges to convict with little or no evidence beyond the word of the police. Frank Stagg was arrested in April 1973 and charged with conspiring to commit arson.  The following November he was sentenced to ten years in prison, having been described at his trial as the Officer Commanding the Coventry unit of the IRA.

Irish republican prisoners in England faced brutality, isolation and frequent moves from prison to prison. This was Stagg’s experience from the beginning and from his first day in prison he asserted his right to be treated as a political prisoner. In Albany, Parkhurst, Long Lartin and Wakefield prisons he was held in solitary confinement. Another republican prisoner held in solitary in that period was the late Raymond McLaughlin from Donegal, father of Sinn Féin Donegal North-East candidate Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, He described his feelings:

“The political prisoner has an advantage over ordinary prisoners here because of his strong feelings of comradeship with his comrades who may be languishing in the same prison or in any one of the British and Irish prisons.

“He thinks about the guerrilla campaign, its successes and failures; about his own operations and any mistakes he resolves never to make again. He brushes up on the theory of guerrilla warfare as adopted by himself; he makes mental notes about questions he will ask his comrades when he gets back into circulation again.

“He ponders over the hypocrisy and sheer opportunism of the average politician and vows that this type of politician will never emerge in ‘Eire Nua’.”

In March 1974, Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan joined the hunger strike of their comrades from Belfast, the Price sisters, Hugh Feeney and Gerry Kelly, now an MLA for North Belfast and a junior minister in the Assembly Executive. The prisoners were brutally force-fed, a form of torture in which prison doctors participated. This resulted in the death of Michael Gaughan on June 3rd 1974. Frank Stagg fasted for 70 days during that strike.

Ballymurphy POWs show support

Ballymurphy POWs show support

In 1975, Stagg wrote to his father, reflecting on the political situation in Ireland. (The politicians referred to in the letter are members of the Fine Gael/Labour Government: Paddy Cooney, Conor Cruise O’Brien and Garret FitzGerald, Emmet is Emmet Stagg, Frank’s brother, today a Labour TD.)
“I see our men in Portlaoise and the Curragh are still on hunger strike and Cooney seems as determined as ever to let them die… I have started on a seven-day token fast in sympathy with them this week myself.
“It really is a scandal that the people allow this man Cooney to carry on the way he does. I suppose Emmet is still clinging to the coat-tails of Conor Cruise O’Brien and FitzGerald. God help Ireland to be in the hands of such traitors.”
Frank Stagg’s final hunger strike began on December 14th 1975. It was endured in appalling conditions. The Catholic Bishop of Leeds, Dr Wheeler, ordered that the republican prisoner be denied the sacraments of the church. Among the psychological efforts to break Stagg was the placing of an empty coffin across the landing within sight of his cell.

In a message to the Republican Movement, Frank Stagg wrote:
“We are a risen people. This time we must not be driven into the gutter, even if this should mean dying for justice. The fight must go on. I want my memorial to be Peace with Justice.”

Protest in Dublin after Frank's death

Protest in Dublin after Frank’s death

On February 12th 1976, Frank Stagg died after fasting for 62 days. His ordeal was not over. Against his own expressed wishes and those of his family, his body was hijacked by the Fine Gael/Labour Government who had it flown to Shannon Airport and locked in the mortuary from which famly members were excluded.

Frank’s body was then taken to Ballina where it was buried by the Garda Special Branch who had six feet of concrete poured on the coffin to prevent reburial. This was all to stop him being honoured with a republican funeral as his comrade Michael Gaughan had been, with thousands of people paying their respects in London, Dublin and across Ireland to Ballina.

But Frank Stagg’s wishes were fulfilled on November 6th 1976 when IRA Volunteers re-interred him in the Republican Plot beside Michael Gaughan in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina.

Frank Stagg

Volunteer Frank Stagg died on hunger strike 35 years ago this month

Derry rally in support of Syriza Government Greece held -Gearóid Ó hEára

Sinn Féin’s  Gearóid Ó hEára speaking   after a Sinn Féin held a  solidarity rally (at Free Derry Wall Wednesday)  with the Greek people ahead of the emergency meeting of the Eurozone Finance MinistersDSC_4813(1)

Gearóid Ó hEára  said 

“People in Derry are always very clued into world politics and have been watching the developments in Greece.

“The are the first Government of a highly indebted country to stand up to the EU and the institutions forcing austerity on the country.”

“The Troika’s bailout programme and forced austerity has only resulted in low growth, high unemployment, and rising inequality in Greece and Ireland.”

“This rally is to show solidarity with the Greece people and that this Irish Government does not represent us.”

“Sinn Féin will continue to support Syriza’s demands for a write down of Greece’s unsustainable debt burden because it makes sense for Greece and for Europe, but more importantly, because the same would makes sense for Ireland.”

SDLP leader has lost control of his party – McGuinness

The SDLP is prepared to jeopardise the Stormont House Agreement and the power-sharing institutions because their leader has lost control of his own party, Sinn Fein MLA Martin McGuinness has said.

Martin McGuinness and Sandra Duffy

Martin McGuinness and Sandra Duffy

“The sham politics of the last 24 hours has clearly demonstrated that we are now dealing with two parties within the SDLP,” Mr McGuinness declared.

“One party negotiated and signed up to the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.

“The other party has today broken those commitments and dishonoured their own leader’s commitment that any amendments to legislation in the Agreement would be pursued and agreed through the party leader’s implementation group.

“The SDLP dissidents are clearly now in charge of the party and are prepared to risk the collapse of the Stormont House Agreement – and thereby the power-sharing institutions themselves – for the sake of party political grandstanding.

“If Sinn Féin had taken the approach advocated by the SDLP in relation to the Welfare Bill and the budget, there would be no agreement and no power sharing institutions. What we would have is Direct Rule by the Tories and all that would mean in terms of austerity, welfare cuts and water charges.

“But the SDLP rhetoric in the chamber today is nothing more than empty political posturing because what they didn’t tell the public is what they really did at Stormont House.

“The SDLP signed up to a welfare package that was far less that the one going through the Assembly today.

“They signed up to a package which did not include a multi-million pound supplementary payment fund and did not include protections for children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities and the long-term sick.

“The SDLP are being entirely disingenuous and they are shamefully putting the electoral ambitions of their own disjointed party over the needs of the people they claim to represent.”

Acht Na Gaeilge consultation begins -Ó hEára‏

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has said that the consultation launched by DCAl Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is an opportunity for the Irish language community to help shape Acht Na Gaeilge.
Mr Ó hEára said; 10943651_349116878605532_19972503230405095_n
“The consultation launched by Carál Ní Chuilín provides an opportunity to shape legislation to protect the rights of Irish speakers.

“The Irish language is a living language with more and more people using Irish on a daily basis and these people have a right to conduct all their business through Irish.

 

“Acht na Gaeilge is a commitment under the St Andrews Agreement and will help bring equality for the Irish language community, including access legal rights.

“The Irish language is a threat to no one and people should embrace diversity by engaging with the consultation which will last for twelve weeks.

 

“The consultation can be accessed on www.dcaini.gov.uk/index/quick-links/consultation.htm and I would urge people to make a submission before the 12 week consultation period ends.”

Warning after Hampstead homes burgled –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has urged residents in the Greenhaw Road, Hampstead Park area to be on the alert after a number of homes there were burgled.

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

“Over the past week there have been a number of break- ins at homes in the general Hampstead Park area.

I have spoken to several residents who are very concerned on hearing news of these burglary’s .And I would urge anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation or hears, sees anything suspicious outside their home to call the police straight away.

“Thieves have no respect for you or your property; helping to catch them is the best way of safeguarding your own property and your neighbours.

I would also appeal to anyone with information or who may have seen anything in their area to pass this to the PSNI. People like this cannot be allowed to prey on our community.

Ends

£2m phase of the Museum of Free Derry redevelopment

Speaking as the Bloody Sunday Trust  embarks upon the second and final £2m phase of the Museum of Free Derry redevelopment – a capital build project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, NI Tourist Board and the Department for Social Development.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said “The Museum of Free Derry is instrumental in telling the story of our recent history in Derry, particularly the events from the start of the civil rights era through to Bloody Sunday.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Councillor Colly Kelly meeting world renowned Irish singer Damien Dempsey on a visit to  Museum of Free Derry.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Councillor Colly Kelly meeting world renowned Irish singer Damien Dempsey on a visit to Museum of Free Derry.

“Countless visitors from across the world have come to the current museum at Glenfada Park, the scene of a number of the murders carried out on Bloody Sunday, and have been hugely impressed by the facility.

“This development will allow the museum to grow and develop to meet the rising demand from international and local visitors.

“The Museum of Free Derry is an important facility in the city as it tells the story of the community.

“It is also a key to attracting tourists to the city, and the Bogside area in particular, and the redevelopment of the museum will help draw even more visitors.”

McCartney calls for a review of “Non-Domestic rates”

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to explore the possibility of overhauling the non-domestic rating system in the North, with a view to relieving the pressures on those small businesses working on a very narrow profit margin.


The Foyle MLA  said:
City centre walkabout

“I have spoken to many in the businesses community in the city and they were all equally concerned and frustrated about their rates re-evaluation. They believe that there is the unfairness of the proposed re-evaluation.

“I am calling on the Minister to explore the possibility of an overhaul of the rating system with a view to relieving the pressures being felt by many SMEs.

“I believe that there is scope for the introduction of a form of progressive rating measures that are reflective of the ability to pay. This could be assessed on a number of criteria such as audited accounts, VAT returns or other methods of determining the profitability of businesses and organisations. Basing rates on the value of a property, particularly in a fluctuating market, is a regressive system in need of review.

There is a fear that these inequities will force the closure of many small businesses in Derry who work on very narrow profit margins.

I call on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to review the present system for assessing rateable value and explore more equitable and progressive ways of calculating business rates.”

McCallion condemns attack on Galliagh Play Park /Rainbow Playgroup

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion has condemned a number of incidents of vandalism in the Galliagh area in the last number of days including an overnight fire at a play park on Heather Road and the theft of a  fence from the Rainbow playgroup project.

Councillor McCallion said “People in the area are shocked on hearing the news that thieves removed the fence from the Rainbow playgroup which only had its  grand opening last week.

Today we hear now that someone has set fire to and caused damage to the play park at Heather Road.

Galliagh has a large young population and needs facilities like this, so it’s hard to contemplate why anyone would even think about targeting a play park that is there for the benefit of the entire community .

I would like to state clearly that those involved in these attacks are totally unrepresentative of the local community .

Ends

Grangemore /Ardgrange traffic fears – Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has written to DRD Roads Service to take up  a number of complaints from residents in Grangemore and Ardgrange  over the speed ,volume of traffic and lack of road markings there .COLLY

He was speaking after meeting with a number of residents.

Councillor Kelly said

“I have been contacted by a number of local residents over the past few months and meet with some this week to discuss a number of concerns they have over the speed, volume of traffic travelling through the area and lack of road markings.

“These are two very large developments with several hundred homes, so it always very busy with traffic anytime of the day or night .I would urge motorists to slow down whilst travelling through the area and to adhere to the speed limits in place in a built up.

 

The Grangemore and Ardgrange areas have grown considerably in recent years and residents with young families have expressed their concerns to me over speeding cars in the area which pose an obvious risk to children and other pedestrians.And that due to no road markings in some places motorists are actually driving on the wrong side of the road and the residents  i spoke to this week told me its only sheer luck there hasn’t been a serious accident particularly on the bend on the way out of the development.

Fears over hike in Housing Executive rents in Derry –Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan speaking after the Housing Executive has announced it is to increase its rents for 2015/16 by 4.85%, an average of £3.08 per week

Councillor Hassan saidlg_tony_hassan_copy2

I have been contacted by a number of housing executive tenants concerned that their rents are set to rise by just under 5% a week.

People are saying how on earth they could be facing a rent rise when in the past  they have heard  media reports the Housing Executive has handed back  an estimated £40 Million   pounds they couldn’t spend in a financial year.

Locally I have very serious concerns about the number of people currently facing difficulties with their rent and mortgages. Many people are finding themselves unemployed for the first time or having their hours at work reduced which impacts on their weekly income .It can be several months before people get all the benefits and help they are entitled which in turn has a knock-on effect in their ability to pay their housing costs and is causing major financial hardship.

I would encourage anyone facing problems with their rent or mortgage to go and seek straight away.

 

 

Ends

McGuinness criticises government on preservation of Moore Street

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s National Programme of Events for the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness challenged the Irish government on their failure to properly preserve and respect the Dublin battlefield site of Moore St.

Deputy First Minister McGuinness said:16271664897_9737ce5da3_k

“Moore St. was the last redoubt of the leaders of the rising. It belongs to the citizens of an Irish Republic.”

“It is our heritage and our legacy. It is not a gift for developers. The government must move to secure the site for future generations.”

Full text of his speech follows:

Dia daoibh go leor.

It is a huge honour, pleasure and privilege for me to be joining all of you here today for the launch of our party’s 1916 centenary programme in this historic venue – Wynn’s Hotel – which in itself has witnessed many of the events which have shaped the republican history of this island over the past century, including the formation of Cumman na mBan and the Irish Volunteers.

The 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic is a hugely significant moment for us all during this decade of centenaries period.

I want to welcome what is an impressive range of national events presented here today.

This programme is about republicans facing outwards and positively reaching out to engage the public, communities, including political opponents in a national conversation which examines where we have come from and where we are going as a country and an Irish nation in 2016 and beyond.

Easter 1916 was so hugely significant in both Irish and republican history because it captured not only the public imagination, but also the spirit of generation’s since, who have over a century of revolutionary struggle worked, fought and died for Irish freedom.

The centenary of 1916 will be proudly commemorated and remembered of course here in Dublin, but also nationally throughout Ireland north and south and abroad amongst our diaspora.

Today 100 years on, Irish republicans continue to strive towards the New Republic as imagined by the Citizen Army and Irish Volunteers of 1913 and Cumman na mBan in 1914, the Leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916, the First Dáil in the Democratic Programme of 1919 and the modern day republican icons of 1981.

The political, social and cultural consequences of what occurred during the decade of 1912 -1922 still reverberate across our society to this day.

In 2016 the Irish people’s focus will be centred on those who lost their lives during the Easter Rising.

For us it is about national reconciliation, an end to partition and the achievement of a New Ireland – A real Republic where there is a place and space for everyone on the basis of equality to express identity, culture and rights.

It is about translating and applying the principles and ideals of the Proclamation to our own time.

Moore Street – National Treasure

I want to pay tribute and acknowledge the presence here today of the descendants of the 1916 leaders and the relatives of the rank and file volunteers who participated in the Rising itself.

Just over two years ago now in the winter of 2012 I had the huge honour, alongside our Culture Minister Carál NíChuilín, of welcoming some of the descendants of the 1916 Leaders, including relatives of Eamonn Ceannt, The O’Rahilly, James Connolly, Seán MacDiarmada and Joseph Plunkett to Parliament Buildings in Belfast.

It is fantastic to see you all here today. Ceád mile failte.

I met and listened to the relatives about the campaign to save Moore Street from demolition by developers.

This year marks their 14th year campaigning against proposals for its crude destruction by developers, and the need to preserve and protect what are the “lanes of history” around the historic GPO and battlefield area.

Moore Street was the last redoubt for the leaders of the rising. It belongs to the citizens of an Ireland.  It is our heritage and our legacy.  It is not a gift for developers. The government must move to secure the site for future generations.

I, like all of you share the deep concerns about the proposals for the Moore Street area and the detrimental effects on the historic heritage of the area, including the National Monument known as 14-17 Moore Street.

I believe that there would be nothing more fitting for the centenary of 1916 than for the State to stop plans for the historical, political and cultural wipe-out of what should be a national treasure we can all be proud of.

This entire area must be designated as a 1916 revolutionary and cultural quarter and have national monument status which, make no mistake about it, will become a mecca tourist attraction for visitors worldwide and contribute significantly to the local economy.

It is now time that the Irish people got energised about this campaign which is a non-party political project.

I would contend that all parties and traditions who do not necessarily share our republican ideology or viewpoint, would in fact recognise the importance of this site in the context of world heritage and history, like we do the importance of the Battle of the Boyne site where we have injected massive investment.

The GPO Moore Street battlefield is an all-Ireland heritage site which has enormous symbolism for the people of the entire island.

The time for the State to act on Moore Street is now.

Conclusion

This decade of centenaries is an important time for us all and from all traditions.

The 1916 Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic is being eagerly anticipated by Irish people throughout Ireland and among the diaspora and friends of Ireland abroad.

Over this decade we will commemorate the centenaries of many of the seminal moments that have defined modern Irish-British relations.

It would be very easy for each of us to only select our versions of that history and celebrate and commemorate that with little regard to other events and indeed the legacy of that entire period.

I would therefore invite people from all traditions on this island to embrace the issues, not as a challenge, but as issues that can be dealt with in an understanding and respectful way which is inclusive and dignified and which allows us to complete our journey to true national reconciliation.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh16270137550_49c8bffd31_k

Martin McGuinness expresses condolences to family of Martin McCrossan

Deputy First Minister, Martrin McGuinness MLA has expressed condolences to the family, friends and work colleagues of well known Derry Tour operator Martin McCrossan.

.

Mr McGuinness said;City centre walkabout

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Martin McCrossan.  Martin was the driving force behind the tour industry in Derry. Through his innovative, informative tours which made a lasting impression on all who took part in them Martin promoted Derry throughout the world.

A familar face to anyone who frequented the City centre Martin always had a smile and a positive word for those he met.

“Of course his loss will be felt greatest by his wife Sharon, his immediate family and work colleagues in the tourism industry. I extend my sincerest condolences and those of my Party to them at this very sad time.” CRÍOCH/END

Ex-prisoners still marginalised, says QUB study

Seventeen years after Good Friday Agreement

• The report on the experiences of conflict-related prisoners was launched on 23 January

Many former prisoners have been refused employment and others suffer psychologically, emotionally and physically as a result of their experiences of the conflict and their imprisonment

AT A TIME when funding for groups supporting political ex-prisoners is under threat, a major new study into the experiences of republican POWs has found that they still face discrimination because of their convictions.

Released on Friday 23 January, A Survey of Conflict-Related Prisoners’ Experiences reports that many former prisoners have been refused employment because of their imprisonment and others suffer psychologically, emotionally and physically as a result of their experiences of the conflict and their imprisonment.

Carried out by Queen’s University’s Professor Pete Shirlow and Ciarán Hughes, the findings maintain it is “prescient and crucial” to protect and develop the capacity of ex-prisoner support groups.

Significantly, the study also states that the “issues that affect former prisoners are NOT (author’s emphasis) merely personal issues they influence family life, community development and the speed at which progress occurs”.

pg21-2

• Gerry Kelly MLA and other ex-POWs listen to the contributions 

Speaking at the launch in the NI Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) building in Duncairn Gardens, north Belfast, Paul O’Neill of ex-POW group Tar Isteach which commissioned the report told An Phoblacht:

“The ex-prisoner issue is off the radar, it has been pushed to the margins and this doesn’t send out a good message to the communities we come from.

“People are seeing ex-prisoners being treated badly and demonised – and to a large extent blamed for the conflict, by the unionists in particular. If conflict resolution is to mean anything then the issues of imprisonment must be dealt with.”

Geoff Loane, of the Belfast office of the International Committee of the Red Cross, also spoke and outlined the work of the ICRC, in particular the committee’s engagement with armed groups throughout the world, as it attempts to safeguards the rights of people in conflict zones.

He also spoke of the group’s work in the North during the conflict when delegations visited the prisons and spoke with POWs about the situation in the prisons.

Choices for 2015 and beyond – Sinn Féin Republican Youth National Congress

Choices for 2015 and beyond – Sinn Féin Republican Youth National Congress

Orla O’Leary (Cork), National Youth Committee

By Joe Dwyer

This article first appeared on Student Broad Left

THE Sinn Féin Republican Youth National Congress in Dundalk, County Louth, last Sunday reaffirmed that radical Left youth and student politics is alive and well in Ireland.

Buoyed by SYRIZA’s ascension to power in Greece and Sinn Féin’s own steady rise in opinion polls, the day saw a wide range of debate and discussion on what a Sinn Féin government would mean for the 26 Counties and how the party has delivered in the Six Counties.

The day paid particular attention to how Sinn Féin can best defend and appeal to the youth of Ireland.

Under the Troika’s austerity programme, more than 300,000 people have left Southern Ireland in pursuit of work or better life prospects. Roughly 41% of these people are aged between 15 and 24. This has been dubbed Ireland’s ‘Youth Exodus’. It is therefore little surprise that over a quarter of the population has been directly affected by the emigration of a close family member.

SFRY Congress 2015

As evident across Europe, austerity has hit young people hard.

The Irish third-level “Student Contribution” fee is set to rise from €2,750 to €3,000 for the 2015/2016 academic year.

Youth unemployment currently stands at 21.6%.

Motions passed at the Sinn Féin Youth Congress reflected how young people are struggling economically. These included:-

◼︎ Opposition to any raise in tuitions fees North or South;

◼︎ A call for the introduction of enhanced student schemes to reduce transport costs;

◼︎ Support for the implementation of monthly student support payments;

◼︎ A call on insurance companies to cease the exploitation of young people with extortionate car insurance policies.

Congress also expressed solidarity with NUI Galway lecturer Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington and her pursuit of gender equality within the university, and called for the extension of voting rights to 16-year-olds.

SFRY Congress 2015

In the North, where Sinn Féin is in power, albeit within a power-sharing Executive, the party has worked to protect the interests of young people.

In the recently-passed budget, the Department of Education received an extra £500million in funding for the development of shared and integrated education projects for the next 10 years. The Department of Employment & Learning received £33.2million in additional funding – £20million of this is targeted towards the North’s universities and colleges and the remaining £13.2million tasked to develop a United Youth programme pilot and apprenticeship training scheme.

Sinn Féin has also rallied, alongside the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, to oppose any cut to the subsidiary received by St Mary’s and Stranmillis teacher training colleges in Belfast, a cut widely considered to be politically motivated and posing a threat to the very continuation of both valued institutions.

The party has also called for the expansion of the Magee campus of the University of Ulster in Derry.

The budget also saw the continuation of the £3,685 cap of on tuition fees as opposed to the £9,000 sum inflicted by the Westminster Coalition Government.

Through the Stormont House Agreement the party has also guaranteed that, under the Supplementary Benefits Fund, nobody on benefits will lose any money as a consequence of the Toryies’ ‘Welfare Reform’ programme.

The Agreement concluded over Christmas demonstrated Sinn Féin’s commitment to protecting the vulnerable. Claims from some quarters that 20,000 public sector jobs will be cut are false as any redundancies will be voluntary as stipulated and no figure has been set to it.

Young people in the rest of Ireland could soon benefit from such protection and political representation as Sinn Féin gears towards Government south of the border.

Joe Dwyer at the Youth Congress with delegates from NUI Galway

Joe Dwyer at the Youth Congress with delegates from NUI Galway

MEPs’ support for Peace Process and implementing Stormont House Agreement

MEPs’ support for Peace Process and implementing Stormont House Agreement

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson with Podemos leader Pablo Iglesia Turrión MEP, Declan Kearney and SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Padimoulis at the European Parliament

THE European Parliament is a huge institution. It can be a brake upon or a catalyst for change. Its global centrality to politics, economics, culture and the environment, however, makes it an essential site of struggle for its vast diplomatic and political influence to be positively and progressively employed.

In December, the Parliament passed an unprecedented resolution on the Irish Peace Process as a result of constructive lobbying by Sinn Féin’s European team and a wide range of other concerned MEPs from all groups and across the political spectrum.

This demonstrated two things:

1) The continued level of support for the Irish Peace Process and reconciliation;

2) The Parliament’s willingness to use its considerable influence to be helpful to the peace and political processes.

During a two-day visit to the Parliament in Brussels last week, I emphasised that the Peace Process could not be taken for granted and acknowledged the importance of last December’s resolution encouraging the negotiations which led to the Stormont House Agreement (SHA).

The resolution pledged renewed political, economic and social support by the Parliament for the Peace Process. That included, in the event of a successful talks outcome, a commitment to invite both Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson to jointly address the Parliament at the invitation of its President, Martin Schultz.

The European Union has an important role – alongside all political parties, and the US administration, and the British Labour Party – to ensure that the democratic process in the North now moves forward decisively on the basis of implementing the SHA and establishing real power-sharing.

The Peace Process itself must never again be subject to the negative mismanagement and disengagement which has been a hallmark of both the British and Irish governments’ strategy and policy over the last five years.

The two governments now need to measure up to their obligations – but that will not happen in the absence of political pressure and accountability.

Gabi Zimmer

Gabi Zimmer (pictured above), the GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) Group President, and the GUE/NGL secretariat arranged for a detailed political analysis to be presented to the GUE/NGL Group MEPs, political advisers and staff meeting on political developments since the Stormont House Agreement was concluded.

A comprehensive plenary discussion ensued on the political and economic situation in Ireland, North and South. Very important contributions were made by Dimitrious Papadimoulis MEP, leader of the Syriza MEPs; Pablo Iglesias Turrión MEP, leader of Podemos; and Josu Juaristi, MEP, from EH Bildu (Basque Country); as well other MEPs from Portugal, Cyprus, Galicia, Finland and Germany, among many others.

As a result, GUE/NGL has agreed to strongly encourage all other groups in the Parliament to support bringing forward the December 2014 resolution. Importantly, the GUE/NGL Group confirmed that it would send a fact-finding delegation to the Ireland without delay to assess progress in the political process.

DK at EU Parliament Jan 2015

Peace Process Inter Group meeting at the European Parliament

The same day, a meeting was held with the Peace Process Inter Group. It has agreed to draft a formal cross-group and party letter to President Schultz requesting him to immediately progress the commitments in the resolution. Its members will be engaging directly with the British Government and Irish Government representatives to the Parliament. They will also be actively exploring how a strategic focus can be sustained upon the Peace Process.

The assistance committed by both the GUE/NGL and Inter Group meetings will be crucial forms of international influence in the coming period. They will be key to the ongoing positive engagement of the EU.

Other meetings were also held with Basque representatives and the Palestinian Ambassador to the European Parliament, during which they described the latest political challenges being posed against achieving democratic political settlements in those countries.

There is a clear understanding among significant sections of opinion in the European Parliament that the peace and political processes in the North have just faced their greatest challenge in many years.

Whilst a road map for renewed political stability has been agreed, it is recognised there can be no complacency in moving forward.

The EU helped to guide the North away from conflict and instability; now it has a vital, strategic role in helping to open a new phase of the Peace Process based upon reconciliation.

The increased mandate of Sinn Féin in Europe (and evident credibility of and respect for the party’s team in Brussels) will be essential to maximising this important influence.

SF team at Euro Parliament Jan 2015

The Sinn Féin team at the European Parliament

DUP blood donation ban must be abandoned immediately – McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA and health spokesperson, Maeve McLaughlin, has stated the appeal lodged by the Health Minister Jim Wells against gay men giving blood must be dropped immediately.  1234090_10152158334668642_543777002_n

His call follows the revelation that the department of health has no evidence.

Speaking today Ms McLaughlin said:

“People were clearly amazed when it was revealed the department of health have no evidence to support the continuation of an outright ban on gay men giving blood in the north of Ireland.

“The minister has chosen to challenge in the courts what a judge has called an ‘irrational decision’ which is ‘infected with apparent bias’.

“This only reinforces the very clear perception in the mind of the public that this decision, by subsequent DUP health ministers, is being made in terms of personal religious beliefs rather than medical evidence.

“What we see is public money being flushed away by the health minister to go to court despite having no evidence to present.

“This legal challenge by the department should be withdrawn immediately. It is clear that any blood donated from anyone is thoroughly screened yet here we have a health minister operating on bias rather than fact.”

Anderson backs moves to tackle legal highs

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has voted in favour of moves to combat so-called legal highs at the European Parliament. 

Ms Anderson said;

“At today’s sitting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs I voted in favour of the European Parliament opening negotiations with the European Council on two very important files dealing with legal highs.

“Both these files are an important part of dealing with the increasing threat posed by these toxic substances.

“Every week across the EU approximately two new legal high substances are discovered.

“One particularly positive aspect to the legislation is the sharing of information and best practices in dealing with legal highs between the member states.

“Progress on these files have been held up in the Council since the beginning of the of the parliamentary term.

“However, the vote today should illustrate the European Parliament’s intent intent in pushing forward with this legislation in a timely manner as part of much broader strategy to tackle legal highs.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

SDLP move undermined the Good Friday Agreement – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said the SDLP had jumped too early in a negotiation to create robust accountability mechanisms for the National Crime Agency.raymond mccartney

 

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“We were involved in a negotiation on the NCA and significant gains had been made on accountability of the NCA to the Policing Board and the Police Ombudsman, the Criminal Justice Inspectorate and the HMIC.

 

“However, in my view the SDLP has jumped too soon as they did on Patten and gave away the leverage to achieve more.

 

“The issue of accountability is at the core of the debate on the NCA.

 

“It is the view of Sinn Féin that the PSNI is more than capable and has the duty to tackle all crime and we fully support them in that endeavour, however, they must be accountable.

 

“Under this proposal, the British Home Secretary can extend the powers and remit of the NCA without reference to the Executive, the Assembly or even Westminster.

 

“This opens up questions about the NCA’s relationship with MI5 and other security services.

 

“MI5 have no arresting arm in the North and we do not want the NCA to assume that role.

 

“Sinn Féin has also problems with the process used to bring this motion to the Assembly. The Justice Minister’s name is not on the motion.

 

“This process was about circumventing the Executive and in my opinion the SDLP should have not been involved in undermining the Good Friday Agreement.”

 

Irish medium Children with Special Educational Needs intervention welcomed-Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell   has welcomed the news that a resource file will be made available to assist children with special educational needs being educated through the medium of Irish.

Kevin Campbell said,


“Like all sectors within education there are children within the Irish medium sector who need more specific attention in order to maximise their learning experience.

“This resource will include strategies and techniques are developed to allow teachers and class room assistants to support children with special educational needs in a way that will assist these children to fulfil their potential.”

End

SDLP move undermined the Good Friday Agreement – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said the SDLP had jumped too early in a negotiation to create robust accountability mechanisms for the National Crime Agency.DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Raymond McCartney said:

 

“We were involved in a negotiation on the NCA and significant gains had been made on accountability of the NCA to the Policing Board and the Police Ombudsman, the Criminal Justice Inspectorate and the HMIC.

 

“However, in my view the SDLP has jumped too soon as they did on Patten and gave away the leverage to achieve more.

 

“The issue of accountability is at the core of the debate on the NCA.

 

“It is the view of Sinn Féin that the PSNI is more than capable and has the duty to tackle all crime and we fully support them in that endeavour, however, they must be accountable.

 

“Under this proposal, the British Home Secretary can extend the powers and remit of the NCA without reference to the Executive, the Assembly or even Westminster.

 

“This opens up questions about the NCA’s relationship with MI5 and other security services.

 

“MI5 have no arresting arm in the North and we do not want the NCA to assume that role.

 

“Sinn Féin has also problems with the process used to bring this motion to the Assembly. The Justice Minister’s name is not on the motion.

 

“This process was about circumventing the Executive and in my opinion the SDLP should have not been involved in undermining the Good Friday Agreement.”

New chapter for Sinn Féin in Shantallow/Culmore

Councillor Sandra Duffy  said  IMG_6017

“It is very important that we modernise and update our facility on the Racecourse Road so that we can enhance our constituency services. This year will mark the 40th Anniversary of Sinn Féin setting up this service in the locality.

The area has grown vastly since 1975 with a rising population of over 30,000 people which stretches from the Buncrana Road right down to the Culmore /Muff border. So it’s a big undertaking to meet the growing needs of the people on a daily basis.

It’s important to have such facilities located right in the heart of the community with easy access. We are hoping that the work will be fully completed  in the next few weeks.

 

Anderson welcomes plain packaging announcement

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the announcement that plain packaging for tobacco products will be introduced in the North. 

Ms Anderson said; 

“I welcome today’s announcement from health minister Jim Wells that plain packaging for tobacco products will now be introduced in the North.

“International examples have shown that introducing plain packaging can help prevent young people from taking up smoking.

“Plain packaging contributes to removing the temptation on young people to take up this deadly habit.

“Cigarette packaging is one of the last promotional devices available to the tobacco industry to entice new smokers and efforts to remove that are welcome.

“The fact the North will be brought into line with other jurisdictions by May 2016 is also welcome and I look forward to the implementation of this announcement.

Ends/Críoch

Oil thieves target 5 Creggan homes –Cllr Kevin Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell  has warned householders in Creggan to be on the alert for oil thieves .He made his appeal after five homes along  Creggan Heights were targeted in the last 24 hours.colly and kevin

Councillor Kevin Campbell  said

“It’s not uncommon nowadays to hear of heating oil being stolen from homes, but I think it’s unusual for so many to be targeted in one night.Five homes were targeted in Creggan Heights.

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.

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

Israeli military leaders not welcome at European Parliament – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Israeli military leaders should not be made welcome at the European Parliament. MartinaAndersonMEP

Ms Anderson, the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestine Legislative Council, said;

“Top Israeli military officer, Major General Yoav Mordechai was set to meet the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Israel today but it was cancelled at the last minute.

“This man led the worst arm of the Israeli military in its assault on the people of Palestine when he was a battalion commander with the Golani Brigade, which led the Operation Cast Lead assault on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.

“More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during that bombardment.

“As a result, this man should not be made welcome at the European Parliament. Put plainly, this man has the wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians on his hands, including men, women and children.

“Although the reasons for the cancellation of this meeting are not clear we welcome the fact it will not now take place but it should never have been organised in the first instance.

“Welcoming this man to the European Parliament would give legitimacy to the actions of the Israeli military against the Palestinian people.

“The international community, and the European Parliament in particular, have a responsibility to defend and uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in the face of human rights abuses carried out by Israel.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Duffy condemns attempted robbery of shop in Carnhill

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned the attempted robbery of a mobile shop in the Carnhill area of Derry on Monday night around 8pm.

She said DSC_0627

“I utterly condemn this attempted robbery .This must have been a very frightening experience for anyone caught up in this ordeal.

Whoever carried out this attack are enemies of our community and must not be allowed to terrorise people attempting to provide a service for the people of the area.

I would appeal for anyone with even the slightest piece of information to come forward straight away to the police in Derry.

 

Ends

McCartney calls for full investigation into Maghaberry stand-off

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has called for a full investigation into an incident in Maghaberry prison, which led to a stand off between prisoners and staff.

Mr McCartney said; BwnGlOUIMAA5Zln.jpg large

“A full investigation must be carried out into Monday’s incident in Maghaberry prison, which led to a stand off between prisoners in Roe House and prison staff.

“The Prisoner Ombudsman should also carry out a separate investigation into what happened.

“No one wants to see an escalation of tensions in Maghaberry and the best way to improve the situation is to implement the August 2010 agreement between prisoners and prison authorities.

“Everyone should do all in their power to ensure a conflict free environment for prisoners, their families and prison staff.”

Ag cur Dhoire ar an bhóthar ceart

Déan tagairt don easpa infheistíochta san iarthuaisceart agus deirtear i gcónaí linn nach mór dúinn ár bpriorachtaí a fháil i gceart – cuirtear ina luí go bhfuil siad comheisiach. Ar ndóigh, tig na tuairimí seo ós na daoine céanna nach doiligh dóibh glacadh leis go bhfuil moltaí mar seo do thionscadail i mBéal Feirste comhlántach.

Tá mé tar éis caipéis a léamh ón Roinn um Fhorbairt Shóisialta agus Translink dar teideal, “Belfast – Creating a World Class Transport Hub” a mholann infheistíocht ollmhór le mol il-iompair a chruthú chun busáras Europa a nascadh le stáisiún treanach Mhórshráid Victoria, ag tabhairt treanacha Átha Cliath isteach sa lár. Moladh uaillmhianach cinnte agus guím gach rath ar Bhéal Feirste. Ní mór do Dhoire agus don iarthuaisceart a bheith chomh huaillmhianach agus físeach céanna sa mhéid atá uainn don réigiún seo.

Glactar leis go bhfuil líonra úraoiseach bóithre atá óiriúnach don 21ú céad de dhíth ar an iarthuaisceart. Caithfear dul chun cinn a dhéanamh ar dhébhealaí A5 agus A6 go Béal Feirste agus Baile Átha Cliath má tá acmhainneacht eacnamaíochta an cheantair seo le cur i gcrích. Ach ní le bóithre amháin a bhaineann straitéis inmharthana agus chuimsitheach iompair.

Agus geilleagar áitiúil s’againne faoi bhrú agus an bhéim is mó ar an bhoinneagar bóithre, bheadh sé furasta botún a dhéanamh agus neamhaird a thabhairt ar an chur chuige bunúsach a dhéanfaidh nasc úraoiseach iarnróid don athghiniúint.

Is é atá de dhíth ná straitéis ilghnéitheach iompair don réigiún agus tá ról mór ag iarnród i gcruthú na straitéise sin.

Ag aithint go bhfuil mór-infheistíocht sna bóithre de dhíth chun Infheistíocht Dhíreach Eachtrach a tharraingt, amharcann comhluchtaí fosta ar eagsúlacht agus iontaofacht modhanna eile iompair chun seasmhacht rochtana a chinntiú.

Curtha chun cinn i gceart, bheadh ról ríthábhachtach ag iarnród mar aon le radharc tire eisceachtúil, i bhfás na táirge turasóireachta agus laghdú tranglain ar na bóithre, agus ar an chaoi sin ag cuidiú linn riachtanais AE s’againne maidir le hastuithe carbóin a bhaint amach. Féadann fiú na leaganacha giorra 3 charráiste de na treanacha nua atá i seirbhís anois 212 phaisinéir a ghlacadh. Tá sé soiléir gur féidir trácht bóthair a laghdú dá réir.

I dteannta a chéile, cuirfidh na gnéithe seo uilig le tógail gheilleagair agus acmhainneachta s’againne chun an infheistíocht atá de dhíth do chruthú jabanna a tharraingt.

In ainneoin go leor tagairtí don ‘líonra iarnróid’ is í an fhírinne ná go bhfuil líne iarnróid amháin go Béal Feirste atá ina staid uafásach de bharr easpa infheistíochta stairiúil – níl ‘líonrá iarnróid ar fáil dúinn. Ba chóir go mbeadh fís straitéiseach fhadtéarmach againn chun ‘líonrá’ a chruthú a cheanglóidh Doire leis an chuid eile den tír trí Thír Chonaill, Shlígeach, Ghaillimh agus mar sin de.

Faoi láthair glacann sé 2 uair agus 20 bomaite taisteal ó Dhoire go Béal Feirste ar thraein. Chun fad an turais seo a ghearradh (ag amanna buaice ar a laghad), ní bheadh infheistíocht ró-mhór de dhíth.

Cuirfidh an lúb thrasnaithe mholta acmhainneacht ar fáil láithreach faoi choinne níos mó turas. Dá mbeadh seirbhís luais agus stopanna teoranta aici go agus ó Dhoire ag amanna buaice, bheadh taisteal iarnróid níos tarraingtí trí amanna turais a laghdú níos mó fiú.

Bheadh luasanna níos airde mar gheall ar na feabhsúcháin ar chomharthaíocht atá pleanáilte faoi láthair ag cur amanna seirbhíse luais ar chomhchéim le modhanna eile taistil. Ag an phointe sin beidh sé tarraingteach do dhaoine ag taisteal go nó ó Bhéal Feirste le haghaidh ghnó, oibre nó oideachais agus do thurasóirí fosta. Má tá turas suaimhneach agat agus spás le bogadh thart agus áiseanna ríomhairí glúine agus mar sin de, beidh sé sin tarraingteach do thurasóirí. Seo linn! Cuirimis Doire ar an bhóthar ceart arís!

Getting Derry on Track

Mention underinvestment in the North West and we are invariably told that we need to get our priorities right and they are presented as being mutually exclusive. The irony is that those suggesting this are the same people who have no difficulty in accepting that similar proposals for numerous developments in Belfast are in fact, complementary.

I have just read a document from the Department for Social Development (DSD) and Translink, titled, “Belfast – Creating a World Class Transport Hub” proposing a huge investment to create a multi-transport hub to link the Europa bus terminal and the Gt Victoria St rail station, bringing the Dublin trains into the city centre. A truly ambitious proposal and I wish Belfast every success. Derry and the greater North West need to be similarly ambitious and visionary in what we want for this region.

It is a given that the North west needs a modern roads network fit for the 21st century. We need to see progress on the A5 and A6 dual carriageways to Belfast and Dublin if we are to realise the economic potential of this part of the island. But a sustainable and comprehensive transport strategy is not just about roads.

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

What is required is a multi-faceted transport strategy for the region and rail has a major role to play in formulating that strategy.

While major investment in roads is required to attract Foreign Direct Investment, companies also look at the variety and dependability of other modes of transport to ensure security of access.

Properly marketed, Rail can play a pivotal role, along with the exceptional scenery, in expanding our tourism offer and reducing congestion on the roads thereby assisting us to achieve our EU requirements on carbon emissions. Even the short 3 coach versions of the new trains now in service can accommodate 212 passengers. The potential reduction in road traffic is obvious.

All of these elements will collectively contribute to building our economy and capacity to attract the investment needed for job creation.

Despite frequent reference to ‘the rail network’ the fact is we have a single railway line to Belfast which is in a pitiful state due to historic under investment – we don’t have access to a ‘rail network’. But we should have a long-term strategic vision of creating a ‘network’ linking up to the rest of the country via Donegal, Sligo, Galway etc.

Currently it takes some 2 hours and 20 minutes to travel from Derry to Belfast by train. However to cut this journey time (at least at peak hours) would not require huge investment.

The proposed passing loop, allowing trains to pass each other, will provide capacity for increased frequency of journeys immediately. The introduction of a limited-stop express service to and from Derry at peak times would increase attractiveness of rail travel by reducing journey times even further.

Improvements currently planned to signalling will allow for higher speeds bringing express service times into line with other modes of travel. At that point it becomes attractive to people travelling to or from Belfast for business, work or education as well as to tourists. A relaxed journey with space to move about and facilities for operation of lap tops etc. would be attractive to travellers. Come on! Let’s get Derry back on track!

Illegal dumpers creating a mess in laneways after recent clean up –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Back in November a  massive amount of work was done by Derry City Council contractors to carry out a clean-up of private mews lanes in the Rosemount and Lower Strand area.This followed on from me receiving a high number of complaints from residents about the state of the laneways with requests to see what could be done to do a major clean up.

After direct talks with officials from Derry City Council they agreed to facilitate the clean up and they did a great job. The council  only did this as a good will gesture and do not have normal powers to clean mews lanes in private streets.

Sadly it appears that some people are now again involved in illegal dumping in the same laneways after the major clean-up has taken place. They should expect a visit from council officials as its totally unacceptable a small minority involve themselves in illegal dumping.

Cultural strategies need to be embraced-Campbell

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the publication of the Irish Language and Ulster Scots strategies by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.

 

He said,

 

“Language is a massive part of people’s cultural identity and therefore should be treated with equality and respect.

 

“I welcome the fact the strategies to enhance and develop the Irish Language and Ulster Scots culture have now been published. These will allow us to begin a sensible debate in promoting culture across the North.

 

“Not only will it add to the educational and learning experience of those involved in the indigenous languages and culture but will allow us to amalgamate culture into enhancing the economy.

 

“Experiencing different cultures enhances people’s life experience whether it is the language, the music or dance.

 

“I would encourage people to take time to read the strategies and come forward with positive suggestions in how we can all embrace difference while maintaining our own identities and traditions.”

 

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Political unionism more concerned with outdated tests than children’s development – Logue

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said she is amazed that certain unionist political parties are more focused on maintaining an outdated, unjust and unregulated testing system for 11 year-olds than the development of our children’s education.

She said:

“For years with the 11+ much of P6 and a significant part of P7 years were taken up with coaching children within the class room for the test.

“With the abolition of this unfair test some schools have continued to coach children for unregulated tests established by the grammar sector in order to maintain their elitist position.

“This could be time spent in improving numeracy and literacy, developing linguistics and languages or IT skills.

“Many of these grammars while making these unregulated tests a prerequisite for entering the school will take all grades from A to D making a nonsense of the argument being put forward by Grammars for the need for tests.

“The TUV and UUP are now critical that the Department of Education is warning schools not to waste valuable class time to coach children for these unregulated tests.

“If any other sectors within Departments such as Health, Justice, or Regional Development were wilfully ignoring guidance these politicians would be the first out screaming from the roof tops.

“However in order to score political points over a Sinn Féin controlled department the wellbeing of children and their families are being used as a political football. This is a disgrace.

“It is as simple as this. Schools should not be placing the education of our children at jeopardy in order to coach for unregulated tests.

Anderson welcomes plain packaging announcement

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the announcement that plain packaging for tobacco products will be introduced in the North. 

Ms Anderson said; 

“I welcome today’s announcement from health minister Jim Wells that plain packaging for tobacco products will now be introduced in the North.

“International examples have shown that introducing plain packaging can help prevent young people from taking up smoking.

“Plain packaging contributes to removing the temptation on young people to take up this deadly habit.

“Cigarette packaging is one of the last promotional devices available to the tobacco industry to entice new smokers and efforts to remove that are welcome.

“The fact the North will be brought into line with other jurisdictions by May 2016 is also welcome and I look forward to the implementation of this announcement.

Ends/Críoch

Potential of sports tourism must be realised – Ó hEára

Sinn Féin’s Gearóid Ó hEára has said the Derry’s potential for sports-driven tourism must be realised to attract more visitors to the city.
Mr Ó hEára said; IMG_9290
“Each year tens of thousands of people come to this city to attend or take part in sporting events.
“GAA events in particular attract many visitors to our city throughout the spring and summer months.
“Next weekend the city will see an influx of visitors from Kerry for the clash between the All-Ireland champions and Derry at Celtic Park.
“This first of the home National League games heralds the start of a series of games which will see up to 40,000 visitors coming to the city.
“As well as bringing a significant economic boost to the city, it also provides an opportunity to showcase Derry as a tourist destination.
“While they are coming for a specific sporting purpose, no doubt many will be impressed by the city and will want to return for leisure and short breaks.
“This, combined with the numbers who attend soccer games at the Brandywell and those who the city’s excellent golfing facilities, creates the potential to increase the number of visitors we attract to the city annually.”

McLaughlin to lead addiction taskforce delegation to meet health minister

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin will bring representatives of Derry’s addiction taskforce to meet health minister Jim Wells to discuss treatment services in the north west.

The Foyle MLA said; ?????????????????????????????????

“Providing effective treatment and services to those struggling with addiction is a key issue for all communities and one that we are all too aware of in the north west.

“I will be bringing representatives of the addiction taskforce to Stormont on Tuesday to meet with Health Minister Jim Wells to discuss concerns over addiction treatment services in Derry and the north west.

“The delegation will include those currently involved in delivering treatment services as well as parents of young people ‎struggling with addiction.

“It is important that the minister is aware of these important issues so that any gaps which exist in the current service will be addressed.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work with others from all sectors to ensure that appropriate addiction treatment ‎services are in place for everyone who needs them.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Creggan homes given priority status for new windows –Campbell

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the news that homes in the Rinmore Drive area of Creggan are to receive priority status for the provision of new windows
 
 
He said3895995549

 

After receiving a series of complaints from a large number of residents regarding the state of the windows in their homes I have been lobbying senior management in the Housing Executive to have them replaced. 

 

The District Manager has been in contact to inform me that Rinmore Drive will now be given priority status for a window replacement scheme in their budget of 2015 – 2016 and will replace the wooden windows with white PVC windows. 

 

She has assured me that when a date is fixed to start the scheme she will inform me and in return I will keep residents up to date .
 
If anyone has  queries regarding this information please do not hesitate  contacting me on 028 7137 7551.

Support Conscience Clause Bill rally in Derry -Fleming

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has  called on people to support the rallies in Derry ,Newry and Belfast in opposition to the so-called ‘Conscience Clause Bill’
He said,
“It is imperative that as many people come out and protest against the DUP ‘Conscience Clause Bill’ and protect the rights of minorities in our society.

“On Saturday the 31st of January three rallies will take place in Derry ,Belfast, and Newry in opposition to the so called ‘Conscience Clause Bill’.  The rally in Derry will take place at 2pm in front of the Guildhall ; whilst in Belfast and Newry the rallies will commence at 3pm outside their respective city halls.

‘’We need as many people as possible to come out, loud and proud and say that discrimination against our LGB & T community is unacceptable.  We as a society must send out a very clear message that the days of banning certain sections of society from shops or services are long gone.’

‘’In the past signs read, no dogs no blacks no Irish, those signs were wrong, that discrimination was wrong and any attempt to recreate that type of discrimination today against the LGB & T community is also wrong.

“Sinn Féin will oppose any attempt to undermine the rights of all people in our society to have equal and fair service when buying goods and services.

Hassan calls for clarity on gritting policy of city centre car parks

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has called on Transport NI (formerly known as Roads Service) to clarify its policy on gritting its car parks during cold spells.???????????????????????????????

He made his comments following being contacted by users of the car parks in the city  who said they felt the  surface of the car parks were  at times dangerous with snow and ice.

Councillor Tony Hassan said “Everyone has been trying to deal with the all the various aspects that the current bad weather has caused particularly with the snow and ice and all the dangers that presents on our roads, footpaths and laneways.

I have been contacted by several people in the city who have used a number of car parks during this time and they have brought to me their concerns about the slippery surfaces in several of these car parks.

I am calling on Transport NI (formerly known as Roads Service) to clarify its policy on gritting its car parks during cold spells. These car parks are used by hundreds of people daily and they may not be a key priority when trying to keep our roads open but none the less it important  that they are included in whatever plan the  agencies use during extreme weather conditions.

Protect the elderly in periods of bad weather-Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has called on local communities to be extra vigilant in the care of elderly and vulnerable neighbours who may be affected by poor weather conditions over the next couple of days.10915352_10200278352677797_7714536170891800871_n(1)

 

Speaking today after a warning was issued for snow and ice across the North for next 48-72  hours, Councillor Kevin Campbell said

 

“It’s imperative that we take care of vulnerable neighbours in the face of these weather warnings. Tasks as simple as going to the shop can prove inconvenient for some and it is up to the local communities to take steps to aid those in need.

 

“I would call on all to go the extra mile to provide the necessary support required. We ask that residents take a minute to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours and friends to ensure that their safety is in check during the adverse conditions.”

Ends

Concern over of spate of car crime in city –McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has expressed concern at the recent spate of car crime in the Ballymagroarty and Foyle Springs areas of the city.Eric new head shot 20144

Cllr. McGinley said: “Over the past number of days there have been a number of car crime incidents which have caused great concern to residents in the affected areas.

A car was burned out in Foyle Springs just last night after careering through the Ballymagroarty estate and this followed on from a similar incident where a car was destroyed in close proximity to Holy Family Primary School at the weekend.

There have been other incidents of so-called joy riding in recent times and residents are rightly worried that someone will be seriously harmed by the actions of the reckless individuals involved in these car crimes.

It is vitally important that we identify and hold to account those responsible and I would encourage residents to provide us with any information which will assist us in removing these criminals from our streets.”

 

Ends

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