Farmers concerned about impact of Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said farmers in the north are greatly concerned about the impact of the Tory Brexit agenda.

Martina Anderson said: 

“Farmers in the north are greatly concerned about the impact of Brexit on their future and livelihoods.

“Despite the commitments on future agriculture funding from the British government and DUP as part of their Westminster axis, those concerns remain.

“Fears about the future of the border, access to EU markets, food safety standards and regulations, labelling of produce and other issues have not been allayed.

“Given the fact that previous agreements have still not been implemented in full, some farmers are also concerned about whether this deal will be implemented.

“The best way to allay the fears of our farming and agricultural communities is for the north to secure designated special status within the EU which would allow the industry to continue to grow and prosper.”

Outstanding issues must be agreed if institutions are to be restored – Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD responding to this morning’s deal between the DUP and the Tory government said that, “if as they claim in today’s agreement, both the Tories and the DUP will adhere fully to the Good Friday Agreement and its successors, they need to deliver on this for the political institutions can be restored”.

Gerry Adams added; “there is work to be done by the DUP and only limited time to do this.”

The Sinn Féin leader said: gerry-adams

“The price of today’s DUP-Tory deal is DUP support for continued Tory Austerity and cuts to public services.

“It provides a blank cheque for a Tory Brexit which threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

“The DUP have agreed to support the Tory Government on all motions of confidence; and on the Queen’s speech; the Budget; finance bills; money bills, supply and appropriation legislation and estimates and all legislation pertaining to British national security and Brexit.

“The Tory government has slashed more than £1 billion from the block grant over the last seven years.

“The allocation of additional funds could help to ease the enormous pressure on our public services. The devil is in the detail.

“Sinn Féin will continue to prioritise the establishment of a credible, sustainable Executive which deals with all the challenges facing our society, including the failure to implement previous agreements.

“Sinn Féin will vigorously pursue the rights of citizens currently being denied by the DUP and the British government.

“We are committed to equality. Sinn Féin will resolutely oppose any attempt to give preferential treatment to British forces, either in terms of legacy or the provision of public services.

“If as they claim in today’s agreement, both the Tories and the DUP will fully adhere fully to the Good Friday Agreement and its successors, they need to deliver on this for the political institutions can be restored.

“So there is work to be done by the DUP and only limited time to do this. As they return to Ireland to meet with Sinn Féin and the other parties, the DUP should be minded of the words of Edward Carson speaking in 1921 on the Tory intrigues that had led him on a course that would partition Ireland: ‘What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in that political game that was to get the Conservative party into power’.”

Trees to be cut back on busy Northland Road –Kelly

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that Transport NI is to prioritise the trimming back of trees in an area along the Northland Road close to the AXA building.

 

Councillor Kelly said “I received a number of queries about overgrown trees along the main Northland Road close to the AXA building.

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

The area along the Northland Road, from the roundabout right up to the junction the trees are all overgrown and out over the footpath.

 

Pedestrians are being forced to walk right on edge of the kerb or step out onto the road to avoid them.

 

I am glad to receive the news from Transport NI the work is programmed, with a view to making it priority.

 

Hopefully this will improve road safety in this busy area of the city.

Ends

Mullan hails success of Cancer Research Relay for Life event held in Derry

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has congratulated all those involved in the Cancer Research Relay for Life at the weekend in St Columb’s Park.ddk4ai-waae5qpr

Karen Mullan said “I would like to congratulate Sharon Arbuckle, the organising committee and everyone who took part in Cancer Research Relay for Life at the weekend in St Columb’s Park.

This undoubtedly is one of the best events and fundraisers organised in the City, raising already over £115,000.

The massive amount raised by the teams who took part will go towards research into beating cancer.

As a volunteer with the Pink Ladies I have seen at firsthand how generous and supportive people in this City are, and was overwhelmed by the many people who took part and raised this enormous amount.

The event had a carnival atmosphere with a range of local talent taking part keeping spirits high.

Ends

Closure of Brooke Park 3G pitch –Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Rosemount area Mickey Cooper has had discussions with Derry City and Strabane District Council in relation to the problems with usage of the new 3G pitch at Brooke Park.

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said  “I have spoken to the Council following concerns after the news that the 3G pitch at Brooke Park is to be  closed for a temporary period. They have told me that this is due to ongoing health and safety issues with balls going over the fence of the 3G pitch area. Council is currently in the process of commissioning works to resolve this with a view to having the facility reopened as soon as possible.

 

I have asked council to give user groups a clear timetable of how long the anticipated work to resolve the issues is expected to take so that groups can plan their training programmes and other activities ahead.

 

Council officials have told me that they are   making every effort to accommodate user groups and are currently looking at a range of alternative locations for all clubs and sports organisations over the coming days.

New medical school for the Magee campus – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed a presentation made to Derry City and Strabane District Council by Professors Paddy Nixon and Hugh McKenna from the University of Ulster (UU) regarding the proposed new medical school for the Magee campus. He particularly welcomed the fact that the plans for the opening of the new school by September 2019 remains on course and said it would be one of the first building blocks in the wider development of the campus which Sinn Féin had been aggressively lobbying for over many years:

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

“I was delighted to offer the party’s continued support for the expansion of the campus and welcomed the fact that the University of Ulster has already committed £2 million pounds of funding to develop the medical school in the coming years. I also recognised that continued expansion was dependent on central government support and reassured them that Sinn Féin would continue to lobby our government and statutory  partners to ensure this would be the case.

 

In particular we welcomed the fact that the school of nursing was recently ranked in the top 40 nursing campuses in the world .And expressed hope that the additional niche subjects offered by the new medical school would further enhance the reputation of the campus in offering high quality teaching in subjects which are not offered elsewhere.

 

I also welcomed the UU’s plans to develop a wide range of niche faculties in subjects as diverse as data analytics, Irish Studies, precision medicine and Intelligence Based systems which will provide the Magee campus with a unique academic offer and opportunity to brand itself to a worldwide audience.

These proposals bode well for the future of the campus and we look forward to offering our continued support to make sure that the Magee campus is fit for purpose and an economic driver for the city in the coming years”

 

Ends

Elisha McCallion MP speech Derry Volunteers commemoration 2017

A chairde,

 

Is onóir mór agam a bheith anseo inniú

 

It is an honour and a privilege to address this commemoration here today to remember republicans from every generation who gave their lives for Irish freedom. ddlej3oxuaek1jz

 

In particular I’d like to welcome the families of our fallen comrades here today as we remember with pride the huge contribution they made to our struggle.

 

You have played a key role, together with those who lie in this cemetery, in taking republicanism forward.

 

As we look across this cemetery we see the flags above the graves of so many Irish republicans who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

In every generation, men and women from this city, young and old have stepped forward to work for the reunification of our country and give leadership to our community.

 

They did so at times of great danger and at great personal risk but they did so without thought for themselves.

 

Their dedication, courage and sacrifice is an inspiration to us all and lives on in their legacy.

 

Republicans in the city have been on a long journey – a hard road. We have travelled a long way on that road and we have lost a great many friends and comrades on that journey and we remember them all with pride here today.

 

We remain on that journey today but we still have a distance to go before we reach our destination and realise the society –  the Republic –  for which our brave friends and comrades died.

 

We carry their memory and their inspiration with us each and every step of the way as they continue to guide us.

 

In particular this year we remember our great friend, comrade and leader, Martin McGuinness, who passed away in March.

 

Martin remains an inspiration, not just to each of us here today, but to people in struggle across the world and he will rightly be remembered as a Colussus in the fight for freedom, justice and equality.

 

The huge crowds that attended his funeral reflect the high regard in which he is held, not just by republicans, but by everyone in this city and further afield.

 

And while he is not with us here today, his memory and legacy will be with us always, guiding us and shaping our actions in the future as we complete his vision of a new, united, reconciled and free Ireland.

 

He led the growth and development of republican in this city, guided by the legacy of his friends and comrades we commemorate here today, to the point where this is now recognised as a republican city.

 

That legacy, combined with your energy, was with us at the Assembly elections earlier this year when Sinn Féin became the largest party in this city for the first time and it was with us just weeks ago in the Westminster elections when I was honoured and proud to have been elected as the first Sinn Féin MP in this city for a century and the first woman ever to hold the post.

 

That growth would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and efforts of those republicans we remember here today.

 

But despite our growth and strength, we continue to face challenges. And just as republicans from previous generations never shirked in the face of danger or overwhelming odds, we will meet those challenges head on.

 

There is no doubt of the challenge posed by Brexit and the prospect of a Tory/DUP axis at Westminster, as well as the challenge of delivering political institutions that deliver good government for everyone on the basis of equality, integrity and respect.

 

But we are up for that challenge. And just like the volunteers we remember here today, we will not stint in our efforts.

 

We will continue to oppose austerity, to oppose the Tory Brexit agenda, to oppose borders on this island and to work tirelessly for Irish unity.

 

In that task, I and my colleagues continue to draw inspiration from the commitment of those republicans we commemorate here today. In every meeting, in every engagement, whether in Belfast, London, Dublin or Brussels, their memory is with us as we work to deliver the Ireland they died for and the Ireland our people deserve.

 

Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

New medical school for the Magee campus – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed a presentation made to Derry City and Strabane District Council by Professors Paddy Nixon and Hugh McKenna from the University of Ulster (UU) regarding the proposed new medical school for the Magee campus. He particularly welcomed the fact that the plans for the opening of the new school by September 2019 remains on course and said it would be one of the first building blocks in the wider development of the campus which Sinn Féin had been aggressively lobbying for over many years:

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

“I was delighted to offer the party’s continued support for the expansion of the campus and welcomed the fact that the University of Ulster has already committed £2 million pounds of funding to develop the medical school in the coming years. I also recognised that continued expansion was dependent on central government support and reassured them that Sinn Féin would continue to lobby our government and statutory  partners to ensure this would be the case.

In particular we welcomed the fact that the school of nursing was recently ranked in the top 40 nursing campuses in the world .And expressed hope that the additional niche subjects offered by the new medical school would further enhance the reputation of the campus in offering high quality teaching in subjects which are not offered elsewhere.

I also welcomed the UU’s plans to develop a wide range of niche faculties in subjects as diverse as data analytics, Irish Studies, precision medicine and Intelligence Based systems which will provide the Magee campus with a unique academic offer and opportunity to brand itself to a worldwide audience.

These proposals bode well for the future of the campus and we look forward to offering our continued support to make sure that the Magee campus is fit for purpose and an economic driver for the city in the coming years”

£1m funding cut counter to health transformation agenda -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has raised concerns over the decision taken by the Department of Health to cut £1m to funding for training specialist nurses.

He  said:_dsc8219

“The cut to training is counter to the transformation agenda set forth by the Professor Bengoa’s Expert Panel report and my Sinn Féin colleague, former Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill.

“Everyone recognises the clear need to increase the capacity of HSC staff to meet ever-growing demands placed on the health service. Cutting resources for specialist training for nurses goes against this.

“I have particular concerns that the commitments made in Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together plan, namely the allocation of a District Nurse and Health Visitors to every GP practice is being abandoned by the Department of Health. This undermines efforts to deliver multi-disciplinary teams in primary care at a time when GPs are under increasing pressure.

“Furthermore it seems that a central pillar of the transformation process prioritised by Minister O’Neill, which is to involve those who deliver and use HSC services in designing transformation, has been ignored with a decision being made without proper engagement from the department.

“I would encourage the Department of Health to engage meaningfully with nurse and other representative bodies to explore the potential implications before making such a decision.”

Anderson launches Brexit newsletter

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today launched the first in a series of monthly newsletters designed  to keep people here updated on the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at the launch in Newry, Martina Anderson said: ddaralywsaa-3ii

“With the Brexit negotiations now formally underway it is vitally important that people know what is happening.

“These negotiations will shape our future, our relationships on this island and with Europe.

“The British government wanted these negotiations to be conducted in secret but I and my Sinn Féin colleagues worked hard to ensure there would be openness and transparency.

“As part of that commitment to transparency I will be publishing a monthly newsletter on what is happening in the negotiations and how its impact on Ireland.

“The first issue of that newsletter was launched today in Newry where I and my party colleagues Sinead Ennis, Mickey Brady and John O’Dowd gave an update on Brexit and our demand for designated special status for the north within the EU.

“The newsletter can be accessed at http://martinamep.eu/new-monthly-brexit-newsletter/  ” Ends/Críoch

Sinn Féin welcome Irish Government’s special status commitment – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed confirmation from the Irish Government that it is seeking special status for the North of Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.dsc_3461-copy

Ms. Anderson was speaking after Dublin’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the Irish Government is demanding ‘special status’ for the North after Brexit. The Minister also dismissed ‘language coming from London’ in recent days that technology alone  could bypass the need for border posts.

“It is a very welcome development that the Dublin Government is now coming onto the ground of special status as the only way to prevent a hard border in Ireland in the event of Brexit,” she said.

“Special status within the EU would also give effect to the democratic wishes of the majority in the North who voted to remain so Dublin should join us in making that case.

“Sinn Féin has been lobbying every EU member state on the need for special status and there is a great deal of empathy with our position. if the Dublin Government is now also coming on board it will greatly strengthen our case, particularly in the face of Britain’s increasingly chaotic Brexit agenda.”

Viable explosive device find very worrying –Duffy

Commenting on the news that a suspect device found at Cornshell Fields last night has turned out to be a viable explosive devicedsc_0638

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said

“The actions of those involved in leaving this device are to be “condemned outright”.

We are now into the bright summer nights and Cornshell Fields is an area with a very high young population with a lot of children out playing in the street. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a child had lifted this device and it had exploded.

She went on to say

There is no logic to this act and those behind it need to realise there is no support for this type of action in our city.

Ends

Mullan condemns Marlborough /Oakfield car thefts

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA  Karen Mullan has called on local residents to be vigilant after a number of car thefts and attempted break ins ,  in  the Marlborough and Oakfield areas of the city.
Karen Mullan said:19420689_1481744315202119_2558256730074034732_n
“I am aware of a number of incidents of car crime and attempted burglaries in the Oakfield and Marlborough areas in recent weeks and would appeal to residents to be extra vigilant following more incidents this week.
“I have been contacted by a number of local residents and community workers who are concerned at the problem.
“I have also met with local Neighbourhood Watch representatives in the area who appealed for vigilance.
“I would advise residents to ensure that their doors and windows are closed and locked at night and when people are out during the day. I would also advise people to ensure they are not leaving valuables in cars, as this seems to be a key target for thieves.
“There is no place for this type of behaviour in our society and I would call on anyone with information on these incidents to bring it forward to the PSNI.”
CRÍOCH/ENDS

Irish Government must open passport facility in the North –Kelly

Commenting on figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs to thejournal.ie today that there are currently 65,916 passport applications awaiting processing, Councillor Colly Kelly has reiterated his call for the Irish Government to invest to meet the rising demand for Irish passports.And for a passport office to be opened  in the North.

Councillor Colly Kelly said;

Councillor Colly Kelly

Councillor Colly Kelly

“Today’s figures are startling but not entirely surprising when we consider the detrimental impact Brexit is having on Ireland and Irish people who wish to reaffirm and retain their Irish and EU citizenship.

“The figures released to thejournal.ie show yet again, the upward trend in passport applications, which Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile and others have been flagging to the Irish Government since the vote on Brexit took place last June.

“There is no question that Passport Office staff have been working diligently, under unprecedented demand and pressures since the Brexit vote and our sincerest thanks goes to them. Our constituency offices in Derry have been very busy over recent weeks dealing with passport queries.

“What the Irish Government can no longer deny however is the ever increasing demand being placed on staff within the Passport Office as a result of this huge increase in applications. The Government must urgently review their resourcing of this office in order to support staff and meet the identifiable need that will continue to rise.

“Given the fact that over ten thousand of the current applications awaiting processing are coming from the North, it makes absolute sense for the Minister to look at my long-standing appeal to his predecessor, that his Department open a dedicated Passport Office facility in the North that can meet the demand there as well as act as a further support for the applications coming from the rest of Ireland and Britain.  I have been constant in calling for an office to be opened up here in Derry.

“Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile will be seeking a meeting with Minister Coveney to discuss this matter as soon as possible, as well raising it with wider Government on the floor of the Seanad once again.”

Logue welcomes news on Lone Moor Road safety measures

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue commenting on the news that Conor Loughrey, TransportNI’s Western Divisional Roads Manager told  a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee this week that the implementation of traffic calming on the Lone Moor Road later this year will improve road safety and motoring in the Bogside, Brandywell.

Councillor Patricia Logue saidPatricia Logue new pic 22

“Last year I welcomed the news that the section of Lone Moor Road in the vicinity of the Showgrounds area had been deemed suitable for traffic calming measures.

“Lone Moor Road was assessed for traffic calming during 2016 and as a result was placed at number one in Transport NI priority list.


“It good news that Transport NI have now  said that the work will be carried out before the end of this year.

Ends

Time running out for Stormont talks – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said today that the British government’s attempt to get the DUP to shore up Theresa May’s administration was making it increasingly difficult to get a resolution in the talks at Stormont.

Raymond McCartney  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“The British government set Thursday 29th June as a statutory deadline to the talks.

“Then they arrested any potential progress by calling an election in the self interest of the Tory Party.

“Since that initiative dramatically backfired they have engaged in negotiations for the past two weeks with the DUP.

“Media speculation suggests the conclusion to this will not be revealed until Thursday 29th June.

“Yesterday the two governments said that the actual deadline for the talks is Tuesday June 27th.

“The British government is content to go through the motions at Stormont but their main focus is elsewhere.

“Given the lack of progress in the Stormont Talks and the lack of knowledge about the impact of any Tory/DUP deal on our public services, on agreements and on the political institutions, Sinn Féin is concerned that time is running out.”

Suspect device found at Cornshell Fields

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy commenting on the news that a suspect device has been found at the entrance of Cornshell Fields.

She said “Once again we have disruption caused to a local community due to  a suspect device.Sandra Duffy Head shot 1

It’s very upsetting for local residents caught up with all this disruption.

Whoever is responsible for leaving this device needs to get off the backs of this community.

Ends

New Sinn Féin MLAs first day at Stormont:

 

dcws6dwxgaeofptNew Foyle MLA Karen Mullan with the  Sinn Féin leader in the North Michelle ONeill ,MLAs Emma Rogan , Catherine Kelly and  Colm Gildernew

Sec pic with Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Hundreds expected at annual Volunteers Sunday commemoration in Derry

This coming weekend hundreds of republicans in the city will gather for their annual Volunteers Sunday where they will remember their patriot dead.

Ahead of the Annual Volunteers Sunday commemoration a spokesperson for the Derry Republican Graves Association said

“Like every commemoration or event we do, we always try to ensure that as much planning goes into them as possible and that they are carried out with dignity and respect. Apart from Easter this weekend would be the next biggest event outside of our annual dinner and local commemorations.

I would encourage people to assemble at Central Drive Creggan at 2.30pm before proceeding to the City Cemetery.

The main speaker this year will be the new Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion.

The spokesperson went  on to explain some of the work the Derry Graves Association does

“The association would tend to the Republican plot in the city cemetery; it’s a massive undertaken on an annual basis .But it’s vital that it’s kept in pristine condition.

Our primary objective is to honour the memory of all those who have given their lives for Irish Freedom. Their selfless dedication and courage is an inspiration to us all and it’s very important that their memories are passed onto the next generation. We are  heartened to see the amount of young people who have been become involved in the past few years with the association and are working away in their areas.

Everyone’s rights must be respected and protected – McCallion MP

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has said that the rights of all those living here must be respected and protected if there is to be progress on establishing a new Executive.elisha-head-shot-1

Speaking prior to travelling to London today, the Sinn Féin MP commented:

“This week we seen three important events relating to the reestablishment of the Executive and the beginning of Brexit negotiations. On Monday talks in Stormont between the parties and the two governments resumed, the Brexit negotiations between the British government and the EU began in Brussels and the new Taoiseach met with the British Prime Minister in Downing Street.

“Amidst all of this Sinn Féin’s focus and priority remains the establishment of a credible and sustainable Executive delivering quality public services for all of society.  

“Sinn Féin is engaged and working for an agreement. We want to see an executive which can deliver first-class services on the basis of equality, respect and integrity up and running.

“Resolution is possible but implementation of previous agreements is pivotal if people are to have confidence in the institutions.

“The Stormont talks are taking place against the backdrop of the DUP-Tory Party negotiations and the Brexit talks, both of which have the potential to negatively impact on the process.

“Therefore we are going to need more than assurances from Arlene Foster and Theresa May that any deal between them won’t undermine the process of re-establishing the Assembly and Executive or the Good Friday Agreement.

“We want to see an Executive in place which is dealing with health, education, housing and the economy, delivering for all because that is what people want and are entitled to.

“But they are also entitled to see their individual and collective rights respected and protected. That includes language and marriage equality rights, as well as their rights as European citizens to remain within the EU structures.

“Therefore we need to see the detail of any deal considering it was the Tories who undermined the Executive in the first place by pandering to the DUP’s actions in government and slashing over £1 billion from the Block Grant.

“So there needs to be a change in attitude towards how government is conducted here. Sinn Féin is up for that but it remains to be seen if the DUP is ready to embrace a rights based system of government.

“There is also an obligation on the new Taoiseach and his government to step up to the plate to assert their role as co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is fundamentally wrong that Irish citizens in the north should be denied the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

International community must do more to help refugees – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the international community must take action to tackle the growing refugee crisis.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking today on World Refugee Day, Martina Anderson said:

“This year more than ever we need the international community to take real action to solve the growing refugee and humanitarian crisis.

“Every minute, 24 people are displaced by war, persecution and terror. The United Nations Agency for Refugees estimates that there are over 22 million refugees worldwide. There are a further 40 million people internally displaced in their own countries.

“Last year, over 75,000 unaccompanied or separated children sought asylum as refugees. This record of shame is not just statistics; they are people.

“We cannot stand idly by and just let this humanitarian crisis unfold before our eyes. The Irish people share a common history with those escaping conflict and hunger.

“Today, on World Refugee Day, I am calling on the Irish government and the governments of Europe to do more.

“They must safely relocate and resettle more refugees, end Direct Provision, and invest in sufficient housing and public services for everyone.

“The international community must also do more to stop the conflicts, and protect those who come desperately seeking shelter from persecution.” Ends/Críoch

Housing report demonstrates need for prioritising equality’ – Hassan

The latest evidence of persistent inequalities in housing are further proof of the need to enshrine equality within all areas of public policy, Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan  has said.

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The Derry Housing spokesperson was reacting to the Equality Commission’s latest assessment of inequalities and experiences of the housing system faced by people from different backgrounds.

He said:

“The report again demonstrates the persistent inequalities that exist in relation to housing and I very much welcome the work the Equality Commission has done on this important issue.

“The report details the longer waiting lists faced by Catholic applicants, attacks and the threat of attack on newcomer and LGBT communities, lack of accommodation for Travellers and substandard accommodation for migrant workers and those living with disabilities.

“All of that underscores the need for equality to be enshrined at every level of government and public policy. Housing accommodation – like all public spending – should be allocated on the basis of objective need.

“More should also be done to ringfence protection for the vulnerable groups identified in this report. That is a case which my party has been making for some time and it’s unfortunate that some of these key protections were removed by the then SDLP Minister in 2010.”

Rights must be respected and protected – O’Neill

The rights of citizens must be respected and protected if there is to be any deal to form a new Executive, Sinn Féin’s Northern Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

Speaking from the Stormont talks today, the Mid-Ulster MLA commented:dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“There are three important discussions taking place today – here in Stormont between the parties and the two governments, the Brexit talks in Europe and the Taoiseach meeting with the British Prime Minister later.

“Sinn Féin’s priority remains the establishment of a credible and sustainable Executive delivering quality public services for all citizens.

“We want to see an Executive in place which is dealing with health, education, housing, the economy and delivering for all citizens because that is what people are entitled to.

“They are also entitled to see their rights respected and protected. That includes language rights, marriage equality and their rights as European citizens.

“So there needs to be a step-change in how government is done here. Sinn Féin is up for that.

“There is also a particular onus on the new Taoiseach to step up and assert his government’s role as co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is fundamentally wrong that Irish citizens in the north should be denied the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island.”

Concern over repeated attack at former Thornhill College –Hassan

Speaking after another attack on the former Thornhill College school site on the Culmore Road last night

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan saidlg_tony_hassan_copy2

 

The former Thornhill College on the Culmore Road was the subject of yet another break-in last night by vandals who came prepared with equipment to pull off shutters and then go on a wrecking spree within the buildings.

 

This former school complex has been a magnet for anti-social activity and thieves over the past few months.

 

It has been subjected to numerous arson attempts and the latest attack last night saw materials piled together to prepare for a fire but by sheer good luck it either didn’t take hold or the culprits were disturbed.

 

There have been reports that youths are being dropped off in cars to congregate on this area, this behaviour and use of this redundant school complex is a huge concern for residents and the local community.

 

Sinn Féin would urge parents to know where their children are and advise them to stay away from this precarious site. These buildings and lands are in a very dangerous state and are not a playground or safe place to congregate.

Anderson to attend Brexit hearings in Brussels

Anderson to attend Brexit hearings in Brussels 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said a series of hearings on the impact of Brexit will take place in the European Parliament in Brussels this week.

Martina Anderson said:

“This week, as the formal Brexit

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

negotiations begin, a series of hearings will be taking place in the European Parliament to look at the impact of Brexit.

“There is widespread concern about the Tory Brexit agenda and the total lack of direction coming from the British government about its approach.

“The hearings will look at various implications of Brexit, including the constitutional challenges and implications, the impact on fisheries, culture and many other aspects of Brexit.

“They will be addressed by a range of experts and I and other members of the Sinn Féin European Parliament team will be in attendance to make sure the views of people in Ireland are heard.

“Given the disastrous impact Brexit will have on the island of Ireland, it is more important than ever now that the formal Brexit negotiation process has started that we secure designated special status for the North within the EU and that the Irish government joins in the efforts to secure that.”  Ends/Críoch

Derry rally for marriage equality -Kelly

inn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly speaking after Sinn Féin Youth held a rally in support of equal marriage being extended to the North of Ireland.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said19149412_1351236084983566_7789435055301525078_n

“I would like to thank Sinn Féin Youth for organising the event and everyone who showed their support for the rally on Saturday afternoon in Derry City centre.

Citizens living in Derry and across the North should have the same rights as those living everywhere else on the island, including marriage equality.

We need to see progressive politics here and equal marriage threatens no one.

Sinn Féin is committed to seeing it extended across the island and to opposing homophobia, sectarianism, sexism and all other forms of discrimination wherever they occur.

We want pluralist rights based society as set out in numerous agreements, not a return to the status quo.”

Ends

Anderson addresses first EH Bildu conference in Bilbao

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressed the first conference of EH Bildu in Bilbao today and stressed the importance of building a broad-based party with strong links to local communities.

Speaking in Bilbao, Martina Anderson said: dch-nw3xuaabubh

“I was honoured to address the first EH Bildu conference alongside international representatives from Colombia, Kurdistan, Catalonia, Aragón and the Canaries.

“It is great to see a stronger, more united, vibrant left force in the Basque Country.

“It is a positive step forward in the fight against the neoliberal austerity agenda and for a left, democratic, and independent alternative.

“Building a strong party, based in the community, the people and social movements, is an important step towards fighting for freedom and justice.

“This is even more important in places like the Basque Country and Ireland, where we are both still struggling for national independence as well as social justice.

“I told the delegates that they can always rely on Sinn Fein to be a constant ally and friend to the Basque struggle and the Basque people.

“I hope that in the time ahead E H Bildu can seize the opportunity to represent and unite all the Basque people in a peaceful struggle for liberation, independence and social justice.”

McCartney welcomes Equality Commission investigation into Líofa decision

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney  has welcomed confirmation that the Equality Commission is to formally investigate controversial decisions within a DUP-controlled department, which helped fuel the collapse of the power-sharing institutions.

The Foyle representative was speaking after the Commission confirmed the probe into the decision to axe the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme and the Community Halls Pilot Programme, which heavily benefitted Orange Halls.

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Raymond McCartney  said:

“My party colleague Michelle Gildernew MP had written to the Equality Commission to express concerns about the decision to axe the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme and about how funding was provided for the Community Halls Pilot Programme.

“I welcome the Equality Commission’s decision to investigate the handling of these schemes, both of which were located within the Department of Communities under DUP Minister Paul Givan.

“The scrapping of the Líofa scheme was an appalling decision and contributed significantly towards the collapse of power-sharing as it was widely seen within the nationalist community as a blatant sectarian and cynical act.

“Similarly, the operation of the £1.9m Community Halls scheme has raised widespread public concern, given that the vast majority of the beneficiaries were from the unionist tradition.

“Sinn Féin have previously addressed this matter and pointed at real concerns which exist regarding the practice of institutionalised bigotry directing public policy and disbursal of public funds.

“There needs to be integrity in government.

“The public needs to have confidence that public money is allocated fairly and on the basis of need not creed.

“It is essential that public policy and the direction of funds and resources are based upon objective need criteria. This investigation is a very important process to ensure transparency and accountability are brought to bear on how these decisions have been made.”

Ends

Anderson raises Good Friday Agreement concerns with EU Brexit negotiator

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to ensure the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its parts. 

Martina Anderson said:Martina news

“The Good Friday Agreement has never been under such serious threat as it is now with the potential axis between the Tories and the DUP.

“As we approach the start of the Brexit negotiations, this is a matter of great concern.

“The Agreement – an internationally binding agreement – states that the British government needs to act with rigorous impartiality, something it clearly hasn’t done to date and is now definitely casting aside with its prospective alliance with the DUP.

“Sinn Féin wants to see the re-establishment of political institutions in the north based on equality and respect and is involved in negotiations to achieve that but it is clear that the British government is not, and never has been an honest broker.

“It is clearly in breach of the Good Friday Agreement and I have now written to the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, expressing my concerns and calling on the EU to ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I am calling on Michel Barnier to put in place a series of regular engagements with Sinn Féin so we can make sure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its parts in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.”Ends/Críoch

Brexit could mean continued roaming charges – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the benefits of the abolition of EU mobile roaming charges could be lost as a result of the Tory Brexit agenda.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“For many years we have campaigned against unfair mobile phone roaming charges at the European Parliament.

“This week roaming charges are set to end throughout the EU but customers in the north may not benefit from this if we are dragged out of the EU against our will as a result of the Tory Brexit agenda.

“This is something that has been won for local customers at the European Parliament but the benefits may be short lived as a result of Brexit.

“Not only will this mean the possible return of roaming charges for customers, but it will also hit small businesses in border areas who depend on mobile phones for their business.

“This is yet another example of the disastrous impact Brexit will have on our communities and highlights the need for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson welcomes commitment on protecting Good Friday Agreement

 

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a commitment from the European Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit that protecting the Good Friday Agreement is a priority.

Martina Anderson said: Martina news

“The Tory Brexit agenda clearly threatens the Good Friday Agreement and the emerging axis between the Tories and the DUP highlights the need for it to be protected.

“Following reports of the deal I called on the European Union to ensure the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its parts.

“Today’s comments from the European Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, that protecting the Good Friday Agreement should be ‘more of a priority’ now since the election are welcome.

“As a result of pressure from the Sinn Féin team in Europe, the European Parliament in its Brexit negotiating guidelines set it out that the Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all its parts.

“There is an onus now on the EU, and the Irish government, to ensure that the Agreement is protected from DUP/Tory attempts to undermine it through Brexit.

“The best way to protect the Good Friday Agreement is for the north to achieve designated special status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Brexit could mean continued roaming charges – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the benefits of the abolition of EU mobile roaming charges could be lost as a result of the Tory Brexit agenda.

Martina Anderson said: CWrWZ7UWUAEjEpO

“For many years we have campaigned against unfair mobile phone roaming charges at the European Parliament.

“This week roaming charges are set to end throughout the EU but customers in the north may not benefit from this if we are dragged out of the EU against our will as a result of the Tory Brexit agenda.

“This is something that has been won for local customers at the European Parliament but the benefits may be short lived as a result of Brexit.

“Not only will this mean the possible return of roaming charges for customers, but it will also hit small businesses in border areas who depend on mobile phones for their business.

“This is yet another example of the disastrous impact Brexit will have on our communities and highlights the need for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

Karen Mullan selected for co-option in Foyle

Sinn Féin have selected Karen Mullan for co-option to replace newly elected MP Elisha McCallion as a Foyle MLA.

Speaking after being selected at a selection convention in Derry, Ms Mullan said:

Karen Mullan, who has been selected for co-option for the Assembly to replace Elisha McCallion with Raymond McCartney MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin, and Cliona O'Kane.

Karen Mullan, who has been selected for co-option for the Assembly to replace Elisha McCallion with Raymond McCartney MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin, and Cliona O’Kane.

“I am proud and honoured to have been chosen by Derry Sinn Féin for co-option to the Assembly to replace Elisha McCallion, who has just been elected as MP for the city.

“I want to thank my colleagues for placing their faith in me to represent this constituency alongside Raymond McCartney.

“There is no doubt that momentum has been building behind Sinn Féin in the city in recent years and, if my selection is approved by the Ard Chomhairle, I will play my part in continuing the growth of Sinn Féin in Derry.

“We are in a new era of politics in this city and I look forward to providing a new voice, alongside other Sinn Féin representatives, to ensure the people of Derry get the first class representation they deserve.” Ends/Críoch

Adams calls on parties to consider independent chair for talks

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams commenting on remarks by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny following his conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“The Taoiseach is right to express concerns about any deal between the DUP and the Tory party. Sinn Féin’s view is that such a deal will not be in the best interests of the people of Ireland, and in particular the people of the north, regardless of their political allegiances.gerry-adams

“The flaw in the Taoiseach’s position is his refusal to recognise that the British government has never been impartial or objective in its relationship with Ireland.

“Sinn Féin has never accepted that the British government is impartial or neutral.

“The arrangements to restore the political institutions need not be protracted. The issues are well known, they are rooted in agreements already made, and the onus is clearly on the DUP to drop its opposition to the implementation of the rights-related issues, which are at the core of the current difficulties.

“The period of continuous Tory rule since 2010 has been a constant source of instability for the political process.

“The pro-unionist and partisan nature of this British government has contributed directly to the current deep political crisis in the North.

“If the DUP don’t prioritise the restoration of the institutions, and instead decide to become a prop for a dysfunctional minority government in London, then the parties should consider inviting an independent chairperson to oversee proceedings.

“Sinn Féin has already raised this at the beginning of the talks process some months ago.

“Sinn Féin will be meeting the governments and the other parties tomorrow. We will continue to press ahead for a speedy return to the institutions while monitoring closely the machinations in London.

“On a more positive note the focus by the mainstream British media on the DUP’s policies and history is belated but a welcome education for people in Britain.”

McCartney opposed to attempts to privatise fire service

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said Sinn Féin will oppose any attempts to privatise the Fire and Rescue Service.

Raymond McCartney said;

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“I have been contacted by members of the Fire and Rescue Service who are concerned about attempts to privatise the service.

“Recruitment ads have been posted online to recruit staff for the Fire and Rescue Service but when people ring the telephone number included they are told the recruits would be used for contingency arrangements, including strikes.

“This is causing considerable concern among firefighters and trade unionists who see this as an attempt at privatisation.

“I will be in contact with the Fire and Rescue Service to discuss this and raise our concerns about any attempt to privatise this vital service.”

Taylor decision a denial of justice and due process – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney has strongly criticised the decision of the Parole Commissioners that Tony Taylor should continue to be detained in Maghaberry prison.

He said:tony_taylor-copy

“The decision to deny parole to Tony Taylor arising from hearings at Laganside Court, Belfast in recent weeks is a denial of justice and due process.

“No evidence was submitted to justify his continued detention in Maghaberry prison.

“The quasi judicial process which occurred was a travesty and has acted in subordination to the political primacy of the NIO.

“The refusal to release Tony Taylor raises very serious concerns about political interference in the criminal justice system in the North.

“Tony Taylor’s detention continues to be wrong and is a violation of his human rights. He should be released immediately.

“I will be making very robust representations to the NIO regarding this decision and its deeply negative implications for the justice system in the North”.

McCallion to attend Messines memorial event

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion will attend a memorial service in Derry tomorrow to remember all those killed in the battle of Messines 100 years ago.

The Foyle MP said: elisha-head-shot-1

“100 years ago thousands of men from across Ireland fought and died at the Battle of Messines.

“The First World War is part of our shared history and it is important to recognise its significance and remember those who were killed.

“Tomorrow, alongside former Speaker of the Assembly Michel McLaughlin and Martina Anderson MEP, I will attend a memorial event in the Diamond in Derry to remember all of those from across the island of Ireland killed at Messines.

“I previously attended this memorial as mayor, also alongside Mitchel McLaughlin, and tomorrow I will attend it as MP for everyone in the city.

“While, as Irish republicans we regard the First World War as an imperialist conflict which led to the slaughter of millions of people, it is important to remember its importance in our history, particularly to the unionist community.

“Everyone has a right to remember their dead in a dignified and respectful manner.”

People of the north will pay the price of DUP deal – O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has said the DUP is betraying the interests of the people of the north in its agreement to prop up the pro-Brexit and pro-austerity Tory government of Theresa May.

Michelle O’Neill said:dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“It is no surprise that the DUP has agreed to prop up the pro-Brexit and pro-austerity Tory government of Theresa May

“They have once again betrayed the interests of the people of the north by supporting a Tory party which has cut funding to our public services year on year to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.

“Experience shows us that unionists have minimal influence on any British government.

“They have achieved little propping up Tory governments in the past and put their own interests before those of the people.

“This new arrangement between the DUP and the Tories will be transitory and will end in tears.

“But it will be the people of the north who will have to pay the price for the DUP’s support for Brexit and for cuts.

“Given the Tory government’s increasingly partisan approach it is more important than ever that the Taoiseach and the Irish government stand up for the rights of all citizens in the north.

“The Irish government needs to seize the initiative to secure designated special status for the North within the EU as part of the Brexit negotiations.

“It has also a responsibility to ensure that the British government ends its support for the DUP’s denial of rights to Irish citizens which are the norm in every other part of these islands.

“Sinn Féin’s focus remains on entering talks to re-establish an Executive which delivers for all on the basis of equality, respect and integrity and this requires the full implementation of agreements on rights and legacy.”

VANDALS GO ON WRECKING SPREE OLD THORNHILL BUILDING

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Culmore area Tony Hassan has condemned those people who vandalised and tried to et fire the former Thornhill College on Culmore Road on Friday night.

 

Councillor Tony  Hassan said,lg_tony_hassan_copy2

 

The former Thornhill College on the Culmore Road was the subject of yet another break-in at the weekend by vandals who came prepared with equipment to pull off shutters and then go on a wrecking spree within the buildings.

 

This former school complex has been a magnet for anti-social activity and thieves over the past year. It has been subjected to numerous arson attempts and the latest attack on Friday night saw materials piled together to prepare for a fire but by sheer good luck it either didn’t take hold or the culprits were disturbed.

 

There have been reports that youths are being dropped off in cars to congregate on this area, this behaviour and use of this redundant school complex is a huge concern for residents and the community.

 

We would urge parents to know where their young ones are and advise them to stay away from this precarious site. These buildings and lands are in a very dangerous state and are not a playground or safe place to congregate.

 

There is a planning application lodged with Derry and Strabane District Council with proposals to convert this redundant site into a retirement village and riverside walk etc. Under the newly released Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane 2017-2032 it predicts the over 65+ population in the district will increase by 66% in that period.

 

Sinn Féin are committed to ensuring that we plan for this projected growth in the aging population within our area and we are actively working to ensure our elderly are catered for in terms of suitable accommodation and care.

 

With this in mind we will be asking Derry and Strabane Council to expedite processing the planning application for this site so as the anti-social activity is dealt with immediately and that bespoke retirement facilities and infrastructure for our aging population is further provided for.

DUP appears to have given up on power sharing for Tory rule – O’Neill

Sinn Féin leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill MLA has said it appears the DUP have given up on power sharing with nationalists and republicans in favour of Tory rule. dafvr2ixoaagvd0

Michelle O’Neill was writing for the Eamonn Mallie website, read the full article at http://eamonnmallie.com/2017/06/sinn-feins-michelle-oneill-argues-dup-election-manifesto-blueprint-return-direct-rule/

Michelle O’Neill said:

“The re-establishment of the Executive is a matter of agreeing the implementation of previous agreements. It could and should happen without delay.

“It now appears that DUP support for the Executive has a whole new series of conditions.

“Their Westminster manifesto sets out five tests for the negotiations and ten commitments. All, from a party that says, it has no red lines for agreement.

“These tests and commitments make reaching agreement more difficult and read like a manifesto for a return to British direct rule.

“It appears that the DUP has given up on power sharing with nationalists and republicans in favour of Tory rule.

“They are either living in denial about the step change that is required or have made the judgement that they would rather have Tory direct rule ministers than equal partnership Government based on the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Brexit puts rights of children and young people in jeopardy – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Tory Brexit agenda threatens the rights of children and young people. dawph6oxsaas5mo

Speaking after meeting representatives from the Children’s Law Centre in Belfast, Martina Anderson said:

“I met today with Paddy Kelly from the Children’s Law Centre in Belfast to discuss their concerns over the impact of the Tory Brexit agenda on children and young people.

“EU directives and legislation covers child protection services, deals with child abduction cases, ensures the safety of young people in the work place, guarantees the rights of child migrants, ensures rigorous safety standards for toys, food and other products and many other key protections.

“The EU is also the vehicle for the implementation of the UN Convention of Rights of the Child.

“These rights will be lost if the Tories succeed in dragging us out of the EU against our will.

“Children and young people will not have the same level of rights and protections from a Tory government committed to undermining rights.

“The best way to secure these and other rights is through the north securing designated special status within the EU.”

Strand Road installation of CCTV camera “boy racers”-Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that proposals  are to come before Derry City and Strabane District Council shortly which would see the installation a  CCTV camera for an area of the Strand Road which has been blighted with the issue of “boy racers”.

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Cooper said “I welcome the news that this proposal is being made. The Lower Strand Road has been area of the city which has been blighted by the issue of “boy racers”.

Whilst CCTV will not be the answer to all the late night problems being created there it will act as a deterrent .And also offer follow up evidence for some of the activity which is endangering other motorists and causing a nuisance and noise problems.

I hope this initiative is successful and as we move forward brings peace of mind to local residents and improves road safety in that part of the city.

I am currently working with the Council on further initiatives to curb the issue, which will be announced in the coming weeks and have worked  with the  PSNI to run enforcement campaigns in the area.

Only cash to come from Brexit was DUP ‘dark money’ – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the only money to come into the north as a result of Brexit was the ‘dark money’ the DUP received to back leaving the EU.

Speaking in Brussels, Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“The only money that came to the North of Ireland through BREXIT was dark, shadowy and unaccountable.

“The DUP received  the grand total of £425,622 to advertise support for BREXIT and the vast majority was spent in Britain, not in Ireland.

“The unanswered questioned is – who paid the DUP?

“The DUP has been asked to report on the original source of this money bit so far we have not had any answers.

“Serious allegations by Open Democracy linked the previously unheard of Constitutional Research Council and  Saudi intelligence to the cash.

“Whoever the donors are, we know that the DUP took the money for Brexit but we’ll all pay the price.” Ends/Críoch

Concern over Ballymagroarty disturbances -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts following disturbances at the top of the Ballymagroarty estate.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “In recent times large crowds of teenagers have been gathering in the field towards the top of Ballymagroarty and evidence exists that alcohol is being consumed.

It would appear that crowds are gathering from late afternoon until late at night with  some of the young people then making their way home in an intoxicated state.

Whilst there has been some efforts from youth and community workers to engage with the teenagers the onus is on parents to ensure that they are aware of their children’s whereabouts and that they check on their condition when they arrive home.

I have asked the PSNI to concentrate on this area in the short term and to make the necessary interventions to prevent young people from harming themselves through the consumption of alcohol but I would again appeal to parents not to allow their children to be exposed to these dangers.”

 

Ends

McCallion backs bid for Celtic Park to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

“I am pleased to support the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and that Celtic Park in Derry is one of the stadia used for hosting the tournament.

 

Martin McGuinness was to the fore in championing Ireland as a country to host this showcase sporting event.18765626_1402523869803673_2571259256566282828_n

 

Martin represented the Executive as Ireland’s entry into the ‘Candidate’ phase of the selection process to determine the host for the 2023 Rugby World Cup when it was formally announced at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

 

During my time as Mayor I facilitated a number of meetings with the GAA and IRFU to look at the possibility of using Celtic Park to host games as part of bringing the competition to Ireland.

 

It has already been shown in the North we have a proven track record of hosting major global events including the G8, Giro d’Italia, MTV Music Awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and the Irish Open Golf Championship.

 

It is estimated some 445,000 are predicted to travel to Ireland for the tournament so it would be of immense benefit to the economy with a massive worldwide TV audience.

 

Like everyone in this City I would like to see nothing more than Celtic Park being part of all that. We all have seen the immense value of Derry being able to hold showcase events with a positive spin off for our neighbouring counties of Donegal and Tyrone.

Foster can’t dictate on unity referendum – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has  said Arlene Foster and the DUP can’t dictate when the people have their say on an Irish unity referendum.12998349_1037714449617952_1759881580700105285_o

The Foyle MLA was  responding to Arlene Foster’s comments at her party’s Election Manifesto launch today.

He said:

“Arlene Foster and the DUP are running scared of public opinion on an Irish unity referendum.

“Arlene Foster and the DUP can’t wish away the right of the people to have their say on Irish unity.

“Her comments today are another example of the arrogance and contempt the DUP have for the electorate.

“The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be put to the side by the DUP.

“Sinn Féin has called for a referendum on unity to be held within the next five years and support for that position is growing.”

Brokenshire can’t wish away Irish unity despite bizarre comments – McCallion

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion said today it will be for the people of this island to decide their future and not James Brokenshire or the British Tory party who have no mandate in Ireland.

Elisha McCallion was speaking after bizarre comments by Mr Brokenshire that nationalists and republicans don’t necessarily support a United Ireland.

Elisha McCallion said:5

“The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be wished away by James Brokenshire and his Tory colleagues.

“It will be up to the people of Ireland to decide their future not the man from Old Bexley and Sidcup and his Tory party who have no mandate in Ireland.

“His bizarre comments on Irish nationalist and republican voters beggar belief.

“In the recent Assembly election Sinn Féin received a huge mandate of more than 224,000 votes for our platform of equality, respect and integrity in the political institutions and for our support for Irish unity.

“Support for Irish unity is growing, a recent Lucidtalk opinion poll showed that a majority of people in the North are in favour of holding a referendum on Irish unity.

“Sinn Féin has called for a referendum on Irish unity to be held within the next five years.

“The outgoing Tory government has pandered to the DUP and political unionism since coming to office in 2010, James Brokenshire’s comments are simply more of the same nonsense.”

Taking the demand for designated status to the heart of Europe – Anderson

Taking the demand for designated status to the heart of Europe – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said securing designated status for the north within the EU is essential for businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

Speaking after hosting a meeting in Derry on what designated special status within the EU would look like, Martina Anderson said:

“It’s very important that we hear from the business sector and the community sector and their views on Brexit and how it will impact us here.

“We had a positive engagement with many representatives of these sectors in Derry today and heard their concern about the Tory Brexit agenda and Theresa May’s plans to drag us out of the EU against our will.

“It is essential that the negotiators hear our voice and our demand for special designated status for the North within the EU.

“I and my Sinn Féin colleagues in the European Parliament have been engaging with the negotiators and key players to make sure they are aware of the need for the north to secure designated special status within the EU.

“We will continue to ensure that the voice of the business community and the community and voluntary sector is heard where it matters in Europe.” Ends/Crío

Adams welcomes SDLP Leader’s Call for an Irish Unity Referendum

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the call by the SDLP leader Colm Eastwood for an Irish Unity Referendum as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement.

Gerry Adams said:2 gerrys

“I welcome the reported call by Colm Eastwood for an Irish Unity Referendum. Sinn Féin have called for such a vote to be held within the next five years

“All parties that claim to support Irish Unity, including Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour, should now make the call for referendums North and South in line with the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The imposition of Brexit underlines the undemocratic nature of partition and its impact on citizens, the economy, and public services. A Unity Referendum is an opportunity for the people to have their say and to build a new, united, and agreed Ireland.

“So, parties should support the call and make the case for unity.”

Raymond McCartney welcomes agreement that ends Palestinian hunger strike

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney today welcomed the agreement between the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners movement, led by Marwan Barghouti, and the Israeli administration at Ahskelon prison after a 41 day hunger strike.

Raymond McCartney  stated:

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“Sinn Féin have received direct communication from the Palestinian ‘Commission of Detainees & Ex Detainees’ (CDA) in Ramallah outlining the agreement which was reached between the leadership of the Palestinian hunger strikers, Marwan Barghouti and the Israeli administration.

“Sinn Féin welcomes this agreement and the conclusion of the 41 day hunger strike by over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

“The agreement deals with many important issues on the treatment of Palestinian prisoners including human right violations, family contact and facilities, and the provision of proper medical care.

“It has also been agreed to continue negotiations on issues that remain unresolved.

“It is clear this is a crucial development for the prisoners and one which we totally support. However, it is equally important that the Israeli administration implements in full the Ahskelon agreement and positively concludes negotiations on the outstanding issues.

“Sinn Féin commends the resolve and commitment of the Palestinian hunger strikers, and their families, and wishes them a speedy return to full health.

“There is a responsibility on the international community to ensure the Israeli administration ends all human right violations in the Middle East.

“Neither the illegal building of Israeli settlements nor the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners will resolve the conflict. Israel needs to be held to account for their actions.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners and the legitimate demand of their people to nationhood and freedom based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

O’Neill to meet Chief Constable on UDA murders and criminality

Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has requested an urgent meeting with PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton to discuss recent murders and ongoing UDA criminality following the killing of Colin Horner by a UDA faction. dafvr2ixoaagvd0

And the Mid Ulster MLA has repeated her call to the leaders of the DUP and the UUP to be unequivocal in calling for the UDA to disband.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“Sunday’s brutal murder of Colin Horner follows the UDA murders of Brian McIlhagga in 2015, John Boreland in 2016 and George Gilmore.

“The PSNI need to do all in its power to wind up the UDA and other armed gangs, which have been involved in murder, pipe bombings, intimidation, arson, drug dealing and extortion over recent years.

“I will be asking the Chief Constable what action the police are taking to tackle this gangsterism and reassure society that it is doing all in its power to tackle these groups.

“There is also a responsibility on all of us in political leadership to challenge the very existence of these groups

“Political unionism has so far failed to step up to the plate in facing down violent loyalist extremism.

“It is nearly 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the political leadership of unionism, the DUP and UUP should be unequivocal in calling for the UDA to disband immediately.”

There can be no more equivocation, the UDA must go – O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has said that the UDA must disband immediately and leave the stage once and for all.

Michelle O’Neill was speaking after the brutal murder of Colin Horner at a Bangor retail park.

Michelle O’Neill said:20170128_154209

“I condemn outright the brutal murder of Colin Horner in Bangor yesterday.

“Reports link this killing to a faction of the UDA.

“The UDA murdered Brian McIlhagga in 2015, John Boreland in 2016 and now George Gilmore and Colin Horner this year.

“The UDA has continued to be involved in pipe bombings, intimidation, arson, drug dealing and extortion over the past number of years.

“I call on anyone with any information on this murder to bring it forward to the police. The PSNI has a key role in bringing the activities of these gangs to an end.

“But there is also a responsibility on all of us in positions of political leadership to play our part in challenging the very existence of these groups. It is 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and all paramilitary groups should leave the stage.

“The political leadership of unionism, the DUP and the UUP must make clear that there can be no grey area, no more equivocation, the UDA have no place in the community and must disband immediately.”

The Manchester atrocity and Sinn Féin’s condemnation – Declan Kearney

DECLAN KEARNEY

SINN FÉIN NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON

Pics APRN

THE BBC NEWS on Wednesday night broadcast a report on victims of the Manchester bombing. The reporter concluded his piece with the following poignant words:  “Look into these faces, and youth and optimism beam back at you.”manchester-bombing-investigation-update-1495722600-640x427

That sentence captures the full impact and the human devastation caused at Manchester with the killing and injury of so many children, teenagers and young adult people.

What happened in Manchester was mass murder. It occurred at a time of apparently growing numbers of indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians across mainland Europe.

These actions seem to be designed to provoke mass hysteria and repressive reactions from the states which have been targeted.

This is an era of unprecedented global instability, particularly within the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The divide between rich and poor, and inequality is growing in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Children are dying everyday as a result of malnutrition, drought, hunger and poverty.

Global extremism in the form of violent fundamentalist sectarianism, and right-wing populism and xenophobia has been on the rise.

The so-called Islamic State or ISIS is one example of this trend.

Mass murders of innocent children in Europe are mirrored by similar atrocities taking place continually in places like Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many people will draw inevitable parallels between the recent attack upon children in Manchester and the indiscriminate killing of children in Gaza.

The terrible events taking place in the Middle East and elsewhere are the consequence of historic and present day Western powers’ imperial and colonial expansionism and interference.

The phenomenon of ISIS personifies a total violation of human dignity and democratic norms.

Its claim of responsibility for the Manchester massacre has been rightly condemned from across the political spectrum. Perversely some in Ireland have tried to cynically exploit this tragedy to mount gratuitous political attacks against Sinn Féin.

There is no justification for what happened in Manchester.

This atrocity must refocus our collective responsibility to develop a better world, based on global peace and solidarity; free from poverty and injustice; and, in which young people can thrive and prosper on the basis of equality and inclusion.

There is no distinction between the carnage and suffering which results from all wars.

Acts of war can never be romanticised regardless of the wider context in which these occur.

The battles of the Somme, and Messines, the massacres at Auschwitz and carpet bombing of Dresden, the use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, the invasion of Iraq were all horrific events caused by the decision of governments.

In the Irish context no right-thinking republican has ever glamorised war, or indeed the actions of the IRA, in this or any previous generation. There was never a ‘good old IRA’ as some of the Irish revisionists purport to suggest.

To assert that a political context forced the use of armed struggle as a last resort, cannot disguise the massive human suffering caused by IRA actions.

The IRA leadership said that publicly in 2002.

Martin McGuinness and Colin Parry.

Expressing remorse and regret for death and injury during the political conflict could move us all close to a healing process.

That should not be confused or devalued with attempts to seek repudiation of political responsibility or allegiance.

There were different sides in the Irish conflict and there are multiple narratives.

There are issues about our past upon which we will have to agree to disagree.

Demanding republican repudiation of the IRA is just as futile and counterproductive as seeking unionist repudiation of British state forces and the RUC.

The reality for republicans is that armed struggle became the only option to oppose the repression and injustices of the unionist state and reintroduction of British direct rule.

So I and other republican leaders will not hypocritically try to distance ourselves from the consequences of the armed struggle.

Whilst we might wish it could be otherwise, the past cannot now be undone or disowned by republicans. Myself, Gerry Adams and the late Martin McGuinness have said so in specifically addressing tragic events, such as the Shankill bomb, Kingsmill, Tullyvallen or Darkley.

Martin McGuinness stated  in a visit to Warrington in 2013 that he could and would not attempt to excuse the human loss and death of young Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball who were killed in an IRA bomb in that city in 1993.

In August 2015 I expressed sorrow for the pain experienced by the RUC family during the conflict; the human tragedy caused to the unionist section of our community; and equally for the pain of the families of IRA volunteers killed; as well as many nationalist civilians killed and injured during our conflict.

In Ireland, hurt was caused on all sides. There was and is no hierarchy of victimhood or humanity.

That is the actual context within which the heartfelt sympathies extended by Michelle O’Neill for the victims of the Manchester bomb needs to be heard and understood.

Those who attempt to score cheap political and publicity points in Ireland on the back of the Manchester atrocity disgrace and diminish themselves.

Regrettably, there are those in both the British and Irish governments and state agencies, political parties, combatant groups, media, churches (and some who have occupied several of these roles) that promote a single narrative based upon duplicity. They have their share of uncomfortable conversations to reflect upon.

The war in Ireland is over, even though its legacy casts a long shadow.

But the absence of war is not enough.

Unless we make reconciliation, healing and forgiveness our future, then society and politics in Ireland will remain trapped in the pain and resentment of the past.

Some within political unionism and the British state have deliberately sought to weaponise the past and to turn it into a new battlefield.

It is ironic that members of the British royal family seem to embrace a more advanced view about the direction of our peace process than elements of the British state and some unionist leaders.

Reconciliation in Ireland or anywhere else in the globe will not be built upon resentment, recrimination, or cynical opportunism.

The current political crisis within our peace process demonstrates the urgent need to move it towards a new phase based upon reconciliation and healing.

Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to bringing that about and creating a new context within which we can develop new human and political relationships in the North, throughout Ireland, and between Ireland and Britain.

In spite of the naysayers and rejectionists the Irish Peace Process is the most important political project in Ireland.

It personifies hope in the face of adversity and is a conflict resolution model which many caught in seemingly intractable conflict across the globe look towards for inspiration.

Our peace process is proof that another world is possible.

The Manchester bombing is a brutal reminder that a better, safer, world of solidarity must not only be an aspiration but also a concrete political and social objective.

Declan Kearney with David orter, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Canon of Reconciliation.

Questions on DUP ‘dark money’ will not go away – Martina Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Andersonsaid the DUP’s support for Brexit was bought and paid for by ‘dark money’ but that it will be the people of Ireland who pay.

Martina Anderson was speaking after she and Sinn Féin MEPs Matt Carthy and Liadh Ní Riada along with election candidates Paul Maskey and Mairéad O’Donnell launched a ‘BREXIT: DUP took the money, we all pay the price’ billboard in West Belfast.

Martina Anderson said:dawph6oxsaas5mo

“The DUP signed up to the Leave campaign and accepted a donation of £425,622 from a previously unheard of shadowy group the Constitutional Research Council (CRC).

“There is serious public concern that the Leave campaign may have funneled this money through the DUP to circumvent electoral rules in Britain.

“We know that most of the money was used in newspaper advertising, posters and even t-shirts which were distributed in Britain.

“The DUP did not have the capacity to do this and have refused so far to disclose who the donors were behind the CRC. They should disclose these donors immediately and what benefits the DUP received from this funding.

“The DUP destroyed public confidence in the political institutions in the north through its involvement in the RHI scandal, NAMA and Red Sky and allegations of corruption at the heart of politics.

“The DUP took the money for its support for Brexit but it is the people of the North who will pay the price.”

McCallion welcomes Irish universities’ recognition of A-Levels in applied subjects

Sinn Féin Foyle Westminster candidate Elisha McCallion  has welcomed news that universities in the Irish University Association will now recognise ‘A’ Levels in four subjects they had previously rejected.

Elisha McCallion  said:elishamccallion-sm

“It is to be welcomed that following review the Irish University Association has now agreed to accept the four CCEA Applied A’ Level subjects: Software Systems Development, Moving Image Arts, Digital Technology and Environmental Technology

“Previously we had a situation where some students studying these subjects and planning to go to universities in the south had to rethink their options.

“It is important that students here are able to avail of opportunities to study where they wish, so this is a positive outcome.

“As we move into the period of Brexit negotiations equivalence and recognition of qualifications and professional accreditation’s will be an important issue that will need to be highlighte

Foster running scared of public opinion on unity referendum – McCartney

Sinn Féin’s Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney  said DUP leader Arlene Foster is running scared on the issue of a referendum on Irish unity.

And he said that her recent comments  on a unity referendum was yet another display of the DUP’s arrogance and contempt for the democratic process.

The Foyle MLA  said:

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

“Arlene Foster is running scared of public opinion on an Irish unity referendum.

“A recent Lucidtalk opinion poll showed that a majority of people in the north are in favour of holding a referendum on Irish unity.

“The Tory government’s attempt to drag us out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the majority of people in the north has put the debate on Irish unity front and centre in the political agenda.

“The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be swept aside by Arlene Foster or anyone else.

“It is not in the DUP’s gift to determine when the people can have their say on Irish unity. Her comments are another example of the arrogance of the DUP.

“Sinn Féin has called for a referendum on unity to be held within the next five years and we are building support for that.”

There can be no more equivocation, the UDA must go – O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has said that the UDA must disband immediately and leave the stage once and for all.dafvr2ixoaagvd0

Michelle O’Neill was speaking after the brutal murder of Colin Horner at a Bangor retail park.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“I condemn outright the brutal murder of Colin Horner in Bangor yesterday.

“Reports link this killing to a faction of the UDA.

“The UDA murdered Brian McIlhagga in 2015, John Boreland in 2016 and now George Gilmore and Colin Horner this year.

“The UDA has continued to be involved in pipe bombings, intimidation, arson, drug dealing and extortion over the past number of years.

“I call on anyone with any information on this murder to bring it forward to the police. The PSNI has a key role in bringing the activities of these gangs to an end.

“But there is also a responsibility on all of us in positions of political leadership to play our part in challenging the very existence of these groups. It is 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and all paramilitary groups should leave the stage.

“The political leadership of unionism, the DUP and the UUP must make clear that there can be no grey area, no more equivocation, the UDA have no place in the community and must disband immediately.”

Former Mayor of Derry signs the Book of Condolence

Former Mayor of Derry and Foyle MLA Elisha McCallion signs the Book of Condolence at the Guildhall in Derry for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack.

Elisha McCallion said18623687_1398353443554049_391039725041883642_o

“There was widespread shock across our city as news emerged about  the Manchester Arena attack.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured, as well as the emergency services who attended the scene of this tragedy.

Ends

McCallion gives guarded welcome to Varadkar’s €465million A5 commitment

McCallion gives guarded welcome to Varadkar’s €465million A5 commitmentelisha new head shot 2014 2

Sinn Féin Westminster candidate Elisha McCallion MLA has given a cautious welcome to the commitment by Fine Gael Leadership Candidate, Leo Varadkar TD that if successful in his bid to become Fine Gael Leader and Taoiseach he will recommit the €465milion Irish government contribution to the completion of the A5 Derry/Dublin dual Carriageway.

Elisha McCallion said:

“The A5 and A6 Routes are essential to economic development of the North West.

“Work has finally begun on the dualling of the A6 Belfast/Derry route and although Leo Varadkar’s commitment to reinstating the Irish government’s original €465million financing for the Derry/Dublin road must be taken in the context of the fact that he is in the middle of a Leadership contest, the impact it would have on economic development of Derry and Donegal cannot be underestimated.

“Therefore in that context I give it a guarded welcome. But I put Leo Varadkar on notice that if successful in his bid for Fine Gael Leadership and Taoiseach, Sinn Féin will hold him to this commitment.

“After overcoming a number of obstacles it is now expected that work will begin in the autumn on the £150 million dualling of the Derry to Strabane section of the A5. This represents the first phase of the of the dual carriageway Dublin route. Leo Varadkar’s commitment if delivered on this time would represent a massive vote of confidence for the future of the North West economy.

“The importance of this project has never been more important given the implications of BREXIT. The Derry and the North West region needs to reinforce its connections with the capital city through projects such as the A5 rather than the imposition of border tariffs and other financial penalties which Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and others are working on daily to try to counteract by securing Designated Status for the north.

“Other projects such as the new North-West Transport Hub will compliment the work on both road projects and will be crucial in securing economic recovery for Derry by redressing the city’s historical lack of infrastructure and connectivity.

“Sinn Féin Ministers in the Assembly have been to the fore in progressing these economic building blocks for this region and following this Westminster election I will join with the other Sinn Féin MPs, TDs, MEP’s, Senators and councillors in further advancing our plans for the NW region. By voting Sinn Féin in this election you can help strengthen our negotiating position to ensure Sinn Féin representatives can maintain the pressure to deliver the infrastructural investment and job creation initiatives required for Foyle and the North West.”

CRÍOCH/END

Council back SF proposal on funding opportunities for Foyle Haven – Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed Derry City and Strabane District Council backing of her proposal to explore all avenues to help draw down additional funding for the Foyle Haven project.

Councillor Sandra Duffy said Sandra Duffy Head shot 1

“Sinn Féin has been involved in ongoing work with others for some time now to ensure that this project is kept open.

I am pleased that the Council backed my proposal that all avenues are explored to help draw down additional funding to the Foyle Haven.

Foyle Haven provides a much-needed service in this city in terms of helping those struggling with addiction and homelessness.

We all need to work collectively to ensure that the long term sustainability is looked at regarding this vital service and  also ease the worry of staff employed there.

Ends

Kelly urges support for summer blood donation sessions

Councillor Colly Kelly said “Blood donation is very important for the proper delivery of health care. Each year thousands of patients require blood transfusions in our hospitals, because they are undergoing surgery, recovering from cancer or have been in a serious accident.

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There is a lot of pressure placed on the Blood Transfusion service particularly over the summer with people being away on holidays. They have said that the need for blood is constant, with hundreds of patients in the north needing transfusions each week, but at this time of year it can be particularly difficult to maintain their blood stocks.

 

I would urge anyone who can, to go along to the blood donation session at the Guildhall in  Derry on the following dates

Date: 06 Jun 2017

Session Times: 1330 to 1600 & 1715 to 2000

Date: 07 Jun 2017

Session Times: 1330 to 1600 & 1715 to 2000

Attempts to solve Clarence Ave parking wows -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey cooper has welcomed a meeting between himself, representatives of the PSNI and residents of Clarence Avenue to discuss traffic and parking issues in the area.

 

He said the new arrangements now put in place should help residents to report traffic issues which have caused problems for them accessing their properties in the last few years:

 

Councillor Mickey Cooper said

Councillor Mickey Cooper

Councillor Mickey Cooper

 

‘I am pleased that the recent meeting which I organised and attended has seen new reporting mechanisms put in place which will allow local residents to report issues of double parking and other obstructions to the police in a much more effective manner.

 

The area has long been blighted by large volumes of parking by city centre workers and local students which has caused much frustration for residents.

 

The new system will hopefully alleviate these issues in the coming weeks and months.

 

I have already worked with the police and residents to initiate a similar scheme in the Aberfoyle area which has helped to ease some of the issues residents were experiencing and I am confident the same will apply in the Clarence Avenue area,

 

Ends

Marriage equality needs to be extended to North – McCallion

Elisha McCallion has said Sinn Féin is committed to seeing equal marriage extended across the island.dacdabtwaamkxxx-jpg-large

Speaking after attending a marriage equality demonstration wedding at Stormont the Foyle Westminster candidate said:

“It is two years after the historic marriage equality referendum in the south but LGBT citizens in the North are still being denied the opportunity to marry the person they love.

“Today’s demonstration shows once again that there is a growing demand across society to see marriage equality extended across the island.

“There can be no place in our society for homophobia, misogyny or discrimination of any form.

“Sinn Fein will continue to fight for marriage equality and for equal rights for all citizens across the North.”

Tax credit changes and repugnant Rape clause latest attack on women -McCallion

Sinn Féins Elisha McCallion said 
From April this year, child tax credits are limited to the first two children in a family. That it will apply only to new claims makes it no less repugnant.
This decision will have the heaviest impact on low income families and will lead to an increase in child poverty, possibly malnourishment and health problems. It is one of the most short-sighted decisions that any government could contemplate.elisha-head-shot-1
Not satisfied with its onslaught on the disabled, the poor, single parents and young people through austerity policies and previous benefit cuts the Tory government of Theresa May is now targeting families with its two child tax credit cap.
As of April, women who have more than two children will be unable to claim tax credits for third or subsequent children. Not only could this be described as the crudest form of social engineering but the inclusion of an abhorrent rape clause is a repulsive attack on the individual civil and human right to privacy of women.
If a third or subsequent child is the result of rape the woman in order to qualify under the clause exemptions must admit to being raped and prove that the child is the result of that attack in order to receive the financial assistance (Tax credit) that she needs. This is totally unacceptable and Sinn Féin will take our demand that this repulsive proposal is rescinded directly to the British Department for Works and Pensions.
The child tax credit system was designed to ensure that families had a sufficient level of income to meet their needs. The overall cap on welfare benefits imposed as part of the Tory austerity programme, fundamentally distorts these safeguards and a person’s needs and their ability to provide for their family.
This two child tax credit limit is a further attack on the ability to meet family needs. It means that even if a family is assessed to require additional support to provide an acceptable level of living standard, if there are more than two children the additional support will be withheld.
As with 86% of the cuts and changes announced in the last budget this tax credit limit will impact more directly on women than on men – where is the equality in that? If elected your MP on June 8th I will champion the Sinn Féin principles of a rights based, equality based society and that most definitely means the rights of women to be treated as equal members of society in every aspect.

Irish government should demand designated status for the north within EU – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has the Irish government needs to demand designated special status for the north within the EU in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union affairs in Leinster House today alongside MEPs and TDs from across Ireland, Martina Anderson said:
“The British Government has ignored the electorate in the north who voted 56% to remain in the EU.
“We have no faith that Tories in London will in any way be negotiating to protect the interests of the people of this island, north or south.
“All of us on this island need to be working together from the other side of the negotiating table, as part of the EU 27,  to ensure our citizens north and south are protected from this disastrous Tory Brexit agenda.
“Sinn Féin has put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for designated special status for the north within the EU.
“The only ways to protect the best interests of all Irish citizens and prevent the negative impact of Brexit are achieving designated special status for the north within the EU and Irish unity.
“It’s time now for the Irish government to adopt the negotiating position, agreed by a majority in the Dáil and with a clear majority in the northern Assembly for Special Designated status for the north within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

O’Neill expresses condolences after Manchester bombing

Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O’Neill has condemned the Manchester attack and expressed sympathy with the families of those killed and injured.

Michelle O’Neill said: dafvr2ixoaagvd0

“The attack at the Manchester arena which has left 22 dead and injured so many others was horrific and I condemn it.

“I, like many others, watched with shock and horror as the events unfolded overnight and the scale of this terrible attack became known.

“For something like that to happen while young people are out enjoying themselves is unthinkable.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured, as well as the emergency services who attended the scene of this tragedy.

“Sinn Féin has cancelled all election campaigning for the day.”

‘Election will be a barometer on Irish Unity’ – Adams

The Westminster election on June 8th will be a barometer on demand for Irish reunification, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams told a public meeting in Derry last night.dsc_5013
Addressing a crowd of several hundred people in the Waterfoot Hotel, the Louth TD also paid an emotional tribute to Martin McGuinness and recounted how he had watched the Assembly election results unfold from his hospital bed.
He commented: “The doctors were around working with him and he was oblivious of them.
“He was watching, applauding and celebrating your successes – our success – the end of Unionism’s electoral majority and celebrating what was a victory for the progressive parties.
“So now folks we have to do it all again. This time without Martin.”
Urging the people of Foyle to back the party’s Foyle candidate Elisha McCallion, the Sinn Féin President said a strong vote was vital in the context of Brexit.
“If Brexit succeeds in dragging the North out of the European Union then you will see an Irish government actually reinforcing the border once again.
“So we have to send a message to London. We have to send a message to Dublin. And we have to send a message also to Brussels where we have the largest number of MEPs from Ireland in the EU Parliament and they are lobbying every day on Brexit.
“We also have to resume talks with the unionists and the others after this election.
“So your vote will send a very clear message to them also.
“It will also be seen in many ways as a barometer on Irish unity.” Ends/Críoch

Anderson meets Tamil representatives in Derry

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today met a delegation of Tamils in Derry to remember the 2009 massacre of Tamils by the Sri Lankan military.

Martina Anderson said:

“Between January and May 2009 the Sri Lankan military massacred tens of thousands of Tamil civilians in an outrageous war crime. 20170519_122817

“The UN estimates that at least 70,000 Tamils were killed when the Sri Lankan army carried out a brutal attack on an area it had designated a supposedly ‘safe zone’ in the north of the island.

“No one has every been held accountable for this war crime, which Sri Lankans commemorate every May 18 as Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day.

“Today  I met a group of Tamils who are visiting Derry to discuss the legacy of this war crime, which an international tribunal found was carried out with the complicity of the United States and Britain.

“The EU has granted a favourable trading agreement to Sri Lanka despite the human rights abuses against the Tamil people and we will continue to campaign against that in the European Parliament.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Tamil people in their campaign for justice and freedom.” Ends/Críoch

Gerry Adams TD to address public meeting in Derry

Gerry Adams TD to address public meeting in Derrygerry-adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD will address a public meeting on Monday 22 May at 7.30 in the Waterfoot Hotel.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Gerry Adams said:

In the March Assembly election Sinn Féin received our biggest vote ever across the North – 224,245 votes.

“We also achieved our best ever result here In this constituency of Foyle – 16,350 votes with Elisha McCallion topping the poll and Raymond McCartney also comfortably elected.. That was a dramatic and significant accomplishment.

“This election was called to serve narrow right wing English Tory interests. Irish interests – of any kind – unionist or nationalist are of no concern to Theresa May. Her only interest is Brexit. Her only interest is British or English national interests. These are the interests which are being supported and promoted by the DUP and the UUP.

“We know from talking to business leaders, trade unions, farmers and community groups that they are all concerned by Brexit.

“So, this election is an opportunity to put forward Sinn Féin’s alternative to the position of the Democratic Unionist and Ulster Unionist Parties who are ignoring the majority vote of the people of the North in last June’s referendum – their people – our people.

“June’s election provides an opportunity to take our republican vision; our message of hope in the future, of unity, reconciliation and peace out to the electorate. To raise again the right of citizens to equality and parity of esteem and to fundamental human rights.

“Brexit threatens the prosperity of Derry, the Northwest and the entire border region. Foyle is a border constituency. A constituency that relies on the free movement of business, goods and people.

“We believe that the interests of citizens on this island requires that the North be designated a special status within the EU. In this way there will be no EU frontier on the island.

“The outcome of this election in the North will be closely monitored. It will send a clear message to Brussels and London. It will shape the talks to re-establish the Executive. It will be seen as another measure of support for unity.

“There is only a few short weeks left to voting. We have a lot to do in that time. On June 8th I believe we can make history in Foyle and across the North.

“If we replicate the effort in the Assembly election we can make history in Foyle by not only electing the first Sinn Féin MP for Foyle but the first woman MP for Foyle. So, on June 8th, reassert the message from the Assembly election to the DUP and its Tory masters in London – there will be no return to the status quo, and we will not accept the reimposition of a border – hard or soft in Ireland.”

Anderson welcomes introduction of plain packaging

Sinn Féin MEP has welcomed the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products.
Martina Anderson said:

MEP Martina Anderson

MEP Martina Anderson

“The introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products from today is a welcome development.
“It means that advertising and branding on cigarettes will be banned from today in a bid to deter people from taking up smoking.
“This is a result of the Tobacco Products Directive which I spearheaded in the European Parliament as the lead MEP on the report.
“We have far too many deaths from smoking and research has shown that plain packaging will help prevent young people taking up this deadly habit and ultimately save lives.
“This legislation, which comes into effect today, shows the importance of the EU and the impact we can have at the European Parliament.” Ends/Críoch

Eastwood supporting Foster and courting unionist support – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said it’s remarkable that less than 24 hours after expressing his concern at a rise in postal and proxy votes from nationalist areas, Colum Eastwood is now appealing for unionist votes.

The Foyle Assembly member was speaking after the SDLP leader publicly urged unionists to support his party in the Westminster election on June 8th.dsc_6528

He commented: “I find it remarkable that the leader of the SDLP is now making this call just a day after he supported Arlene Foster in her concern about the rise in postal and proxy votes at the Assembly election.

“Let’s be clear;  Postal and proxy votes are entirely legitimate and all parties – including the SDLP and DUP – encourage voters to apply for them if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.

“So the source of the SDLP’s concern here isn’t the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote by postal or proxy. It is the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote Sinn Féin which is worrying them.

“What I am concerned about is the fact that 60,000 people were unfairly and undemocratically removed from the electoral register last year and almost 4,000 people were turned away from the polls in March as a result.

“That is a scandalous disenfranchisement of the electorate. Is Colum Eastwood also going to express his concern about that? Or is he quite happy to see nationalist voters disenfranchised while he courts unionist support?” Ends/Críoch

Public want institutions with equality and respect at their core – McCallion

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion said the DUP are in denial over the fact they caused the crisis in the political institutions through their involvement in the RHI scandal and their refusal to treat citizens with equality and respect.

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion with North Belfast Westminster candidate John Finucane

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion with North Belfast Westminster candidate John Finucane

The Foyle  Westminster candidate said:

“Arlene Foster and the DUP are clearly in denial about the damage done to public confidence in the political institutions by the RHI debacle and other financial scandals linked to the DUP and their arrogance and disrespect towards whole sections of our community.

“In the last election the public came out and voted for political institutions with equality, respect and integrity at their core.

“The public want the institutions to work. Sinn Féin want the political institutions to work but they can only do so if they deliver for all our citizens.

“As Martin McGuinness made clear when he tendered his resignation anyone who believes that the institutions can be restored without equality, integrity and respect at their core are living in a fool’s paradise.

“What we need to see is the implementation of previous agreements, an end to the discrimination and disrespect to sections of our community.

“There also needs to be an end to the financial scandals like Red Sky, Nama and RHI.

“All of this could have been done very quickly during the negotiations but the DUP backed by the Tories continued to set its face against equality and respect for all and continued to renege on commitments on legacy.

“Sinn Féin will return to negotiations after the Westminster elections but Arlene Foster knows that the political institutions can only secure public confidence on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.”

DUP have questions to answer over Brexit ‘dark money’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle  MLA Raymond McCartney  has said the DUP need to answer questions over the Brexit ‘dark money’ scandal and other financial matters.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

He  said:

“In the lead up to the Brexit referendum the DUP leadership were well aware of the disaster Brexit would be for our economy, our people, our public services and the Good Friday and other agreements.

“Yet they signed up to the leave campaign and accepted a donation of £425,622 from a previously unheard of shadowy group the Constitutional Research Council.

“This information was dragged out of the DUP on the back of a series of refusals to answer where the money came from, including whether it came from people associated with Saudi intelligence in contravention of the donation rules.

“This is the same approach the DUP has adopted to other financial scandals such as Red Sky, NAMA and RHI.

“The DUP clearly has questions to answer on these scandals in order to demonstrate it is capable of behaving with integrity in government and treating people with equality and respect.

“But instead the DUP is engaging in distractions and avoiding the difficult questions.

“While the DUP continue to avoid questions, the public now has an opportunity to give them an answer.

Revenue border control proposals would be disastrous for business – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit would create huge problems for businesses across Ireland.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“Proposals put forward by the Irish government’s Revenue Commissioner on Brexit and all-Ireland freight haulage highlight the disastrous impact it would have on the industry and the wider economy.

“The idea that eight per cent of freight crossing the border would have to be subject to checks shows the delays – and costs, that hauliers would face.

“3.2 million freight vehicles cross the border each year and stopping and checking eight per cent of those vehicles would result in a loss of up to 117 business hours a day for the sector.

“It costs one pound per minute to operate these lorries so the cost of these delays would add increased pressure to many businesses.

“Losses and delays of that level would be a disaster for the economy as the cost of transporting goods would increase which in turn would lead to higher costs for consumers.

“This is an indication of the hugely negative impact of Brexit on one sector and many other industries and sectors would face the same situation.

“Sinn Féin have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for the north to have designated special status within the EU and that provides the best outcome to hauliers and other industries.”

DUP and SDLP demonising voters – McCartney

The DUP and SDLP should focus their concerns on the thousands of voters denied their democratic right to vote rather than demonising those who applied for postal and proxy votes, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

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“I’m surprised that Arlene Foster and Colum Eastwood have today expressed concern over the rise in the numbers of people from nationalist areas applying for postal and proxy votes at the last election,” he commented.

“Any citizen is perfectly entitled to apply for a postal and proxy vote if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.

“That is their right in any democracy and I would have thought that people exercising that right would be welcomed by political parties. Instead we see both the DUP and the SDLP today raising ‘concerns’ as if these voters have done something wrong.

“They haven’t done anything wrong as has been confirmed by the Electoral Office.

“What is wrong is the fact that 60,000 people were undemocratically and unfairly removed from the electoral register last year. And the fact that almost 3,500 people were turned away from the polling station when they turned up to vote in the Assembly election.

“Perhaps that is where the DUP and the SDLP should be focusing their concerns rather that demonising the electorate for exercising their democratic entitlement.”

Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the EU must ensure it is protected in all its parts. Martina news

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Martina Anderson said:

“The European Council Guidelines on Brexit gave support to the Good Friday Agreement ‘in all its parts’.

“This is a commitment by the EU to not allow for any hardening of the border between the north and the south of Ireland.

“As Irish republicans we do not want to see any border on the island of Ireland and we have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit which would see the north securing designated special status within the EU.

“The guidelines are also a commitment not to allow Irish citizens to be dragged out of the EU against our will.

“Now that we have the guidelines we should be putting some flesh on them to ensure they fully uphold the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is clear that Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the EU need to ensure it is protected. I have raised this directly with the President of the EU Commission, Jean Claude Juncker; President of the Council of Europe, Donald Tusk; and the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, in the last 24 hours.

“There should be no weakening of these commitments in the Negotiating Directives to be adopted on 22nd May.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion expresses condolences to Green and Durkan Family.

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has expressed her condolences to Jackie and Mark Durkan and the extended Green family on the death of Jackie’s sister Pauline.candle-burning-450x299

 

Elisha McCallion said:

“I wish to express my sincerre condolences to Jackie and Mark on the death of Jackie’s sister Pauline. And to the Green family, especially Christy and Angela and to all Pauline’s nephews and nieces and extended family.

“My thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time.”

Revenue border control proposals would be disastrous for business – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit would create huge problems for businesses across Ireland. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Proposals put forward by the Irish government’s Revenue Commissioner on Brexit and all-Ireland freight haulage highlight the disastrous impact it would have on the industry and the wider economy.

“The idea that eight per cent of freight crossing the border would have to be subject to checks shows the delays – and costs, that hauliers would face.

“3.2 million freight vehicles cross the border each year and stopping and checking eight per cent of those vehicles would result in a loss of up to 117 business hours a day for the sector.

“It costs one pound per minute to operate these lorries so the cost of these delays would add increased pressure to many businesses.

“Losses and delays of that level would be a disaster for the economy as the cost of transporting goods would increase which in turn would lead to higher costs for consumers.

“This is an indication of the hugely negative impact of Brexit on one sector and many other industries and sectors would face the same situation.

“Sinn Féin have put forward a credible alternative to Brexit with our case for the north to have designated special status within the EU and that provides the best outcome to hauliers and other industries.” Ends/Críoch

No place for sexism – O’Neill

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill has said there can be no place for sexism or any form of discrimination in public life.

Michelle O’Neill said: dsc_5535

“As political leaders we have a duty and a responsibility to lead by example.

“There is a clear need for more women in public life and there is an onus on women in political leadership to empower women to encourage greater participation in public life.

“There can be no room in our society for sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia or any form of discrimination.

“There is no right or wrong way to look and women are in positions of leadership because we belong, representing everyone equally.”

Sinn Féin directly engaging with EU leaders on Brexit – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Sinn Féin leaders are directly engaging with EU leaders on the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU. 

Martina Anderson said: 

“Today, Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald began a two-day visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to engage directly with EU leaders on Brexit.

“These meetings are part of Sinn Féin’s diplomatic offensive to build support for the case for the north to have designated special status within the EU.

“They will meet with Roberto Gualtieri and Gianna Pittella from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament to outline our opposition to the Tory Brexit agenda and the border.

“They, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will also meet with other MEPs from our own GUE/NGL group to discuss the impact Brexit would have on our economy, our peace process as well as our credible alternative to the Tory Brexit agenda.

“We value the support we have from across Europe and the Sinn Féin leadership team will continue with our meetings in Strasbourg tomorrow.

“We will work to build support for our case for designated special status so that the democratic will of the majority of people in the north to live in a social and more democratic Europe can be realised.” Ends/Críoch

Concerns over not recieving Polling Cards -McCallion


Elisha McCallion  said:5

“Over the weekend we have received a number of concerns about this, with people fearful if they didn’t receive a poll card or have lost it, they would be denied their right to vote.

“I would like to reassure people that these cards are for information purposes only and for speeding up the process of identification at polling stations, you do not need a polling card to vote.

“People without cards should attend their polling stations with proof of their identity where they will be able to cast their vote.

“But anyone who is concerned that they may not be on the electoral register should contact the Electoral office on Queen Street Derry before the Monday 22nd May deadline.

Sinn Féin leadership team to hold key meetings in Strasbourg – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a series of meetings with senior EU figures on Brexit. 

Martina Anderson said; Martina news

“Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a two-day visit to the European Parliament, during which they will meet with senior figures to discuss Brexit. 

“This visit by the Sinn Féin leadership is part of our ongoing diplomatic offensive to build support for our case for designated status for the north within the EU.

“During the visit they, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will hold a series of meetings with members of the European Parliament’s steering group on Brexit, including the Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.

“They will also meet with a number of the presidents of the main political groupings in the Parliament.

“Our meetings will also include an engagement with Agriculture  Commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the impact of the Tories’ plans to take the north out of the EU against our will.

“The Sinn Féin leadership team will also meet with Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly to reiterate the need for the Irish government to stand up for the interests of all Irish citizens, including those living in the North, and to make securing designated special status within the EU its negotiation position.

“We value the ongoing support we have received from Europe in the face of the reckless Brexit agenda of the British Tories and look forward to continuing support so that the will of the people of the north can be realised and that we see our future in a more social and democratically accountable EU.” Ends/Críoch

Appeal for information over Coshquin aggravated burglary

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has urged anyone with information in relation to an aggravated burglary at the home of an elderly man in the Maple Road area of Coshquin on Friday night to bring it forward to the PSNI.Eric new head shot 20144

He said “This must have been a very frightening experience for this man.

The reports that he was threatened with a screwdriver and the intruders demanded his money and  ripped  out the phone line is something no one should ever have to encounter in their lifetime.

It’s vitally important that those responsible are apprehended as soon as possible before this happens to anyone else. I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

Ends

Sinn Féin leadership team to hold key meetings in Strasbourg – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Michelle O’Neill and Mary Lou McDonald will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a series of meetings with senior EU figures on Brexit. dsc_4743

Martina Anderson said;

“Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and party leader in the north Michelle O’Neill will travel to Strasbourg tomorrow for a two-day visit to the European Parliament, during which they will meet with senior figures to discuss Brexit.

“This visit by the Sinn Féin leadership is part of our ongoing diplomatic offensive to build support for our case for designated status for the north within the EU.

“During the visit they, along with the Sinn Féin MEP team, will hold a series of meetings with members of the European Parliament’s steering group on Brexit, including the Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.

“They will also meet with a number of the presidents of the main political groupings in the Parliament.

“Our meetings will also include an engagement with Agriculture  Commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss the impact of the Tories’ plans to take the north out of the EU against our will.

“The Sinn Féin leadership team will also meet with Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly to reiterate the need for the Irish government to stand up for the interests of all Irish citizens, including those living in the North, and to make securing designated special status within the EU its negotiation position.

“We value the ongoing support we have received from Europe in the face of the reckless Brexit agenda of the British Tories and look forward to continuing support so that the will of the people of the north can be realised and that we see our future in a more social and democratically accountable EU.”

McCallion calls on Foster to withdraw sexist and disparaging remarks

Sinn Fein MLA Elisha McCallion has called on DUP leader Arlene Foster to withdraw sexist and disparaging remarks made about Michelle O’Neill in a Sunday newspaper.dsc_5535

Elisha McCallion said:

“The sexist and disparaging remarks made by Arlene Foster in relation to Michelle O’Neill are nothing short of disgraceful.

“It is totally unacceptable in the 21st Century for a political leader to characterise another political leader based on the colour of their hair.

“The irony of talking about sexism and misogyny appears to be totally lost on Arlene Foster when she makes such remarks about others.

“For Arlene Foster to talk in such a disparaging manner about someone she supposedly wants to share power with once again highlights the DUP’s lack of acceptance of the principles of equality, integrity and respect.

“It is also clear that she is still in denial about her own disastrous failures as architect of the RHI scheme, its potential to take almost £500m out of public services and the damage RHI and other financial scandals associated with the DUP did to public confidence in the political institutions.

“Arlene Foster and the DUP need to immediately withdraw these offensive remarks which do a disservice to women in politics and to equality and respect.”

McCallion expresses condolences following death of Brendan Duddy

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has expressed his condolences following the death of Derry businessman, Brendan Duddy.

Elisha McCallion said: elishamccallion-sm

“It was with shock and sadness that I learned of the death of Brendan Duddy.

“Brendan was a key figure in the business life of Derry for decades and was widely respected across the city and beyond.

“He also played a significant role in the development of the peace process over many years  and his contribution, together with others, helped end the conflict and promoted reconciliation.

“His firm belief in dialogue also helped resolve parading issues and, through his membership of the Policing Board he helped shape the accountable policing we have today.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the Duddy family at this sad and difficult time.” Ends/Críoch

McGinley welcomes Council’s Health & Communities Service Delivery Plan.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed Council’s Health & Communities Service Delivery Plan.eric-1

Cllr. McGinley said: “The work of the Health & Communities Committee covers a wide range of important areas including community development, health protection, leisure provision and community safety.

In the context of community development council is making significant progress towards the delivery of 6 new community buildings across the district including a brand new facility for the Ballymagroarty / Hazelbank area.

The committee also oversees the work of officers who have responsibility for ensuring the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe is of the highest quality.

The council’s leisure services section ensures we have top class facilities which can deliver a comprehensive list of programmes designed to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of all our citizens.

The Policing & Community Safety Partnership is also instrumental in assisting with the delivery of initiatives which make residents safer in their homes and on our streets.

The Health & Communities Committee has a key role in the delivery of the Service Plan and I would encourage all our citizens to be aware and make use of the services which are in place to benefit all our citizens.”

Repairs to busy Springtown Road underway – Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the start of repairs to the roadway through the busy Springtown industrial estate after lobbying Transport NI on the issue.20170508_171556

Councillor Cooper said “Work at the Springtown Road is now underway after a number of delays in recent weeks.

Transports NI are carrying out repairs to Springtown Road in the section going through the Springtown Industrial Estate. Hopefully this will address a number of sections which have become worn down and will help local businesses as well as customers visiting area.

Derry needs new voice to oppose Brexit – McCallion

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said Derry needs a new voice to send a clear message to the Tories that people don’t want borders or Brexit. dsc_3456

Speaking after handing in her nomination papers this morning, Foyle candidate Elisha McCallion said:

“This election provides people with an opportunity to send a clear message to Theresa May and her DUP allies that the majority of people in the north voted against Brexit.

“We don’t want Brexit, we don’t want borders, we don’t want Tory cuts and we want Irish unity.

“Derry needs a new voice to send that message loud and clear to the Tories.

“Momentum has been building behind Sinn Féin in Derry and we want to build on that to ensure Derry’s voice is heard on Brexit and other issues.

“On June 8 you can make you voice heard by voting Sinn Féin.” Ends/Críoch

Other EU nations will be kingmakers, not Theresa May’ – O’Neill

The other EU nations are becoming increasingly concerned at the impact of Brexit on Ireland and are keen to explore Sinn Féin’s proposals for the North to remain within the EU, Michelle O’Neill has said.dsc_5535

The Sinn Féin Northern leader was speaking after she and party Brexit spokesperson John O’Dowd met with the Finnish ambassadors to Ireland and Britain today.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“We had a very positive discussion with the Finnish ambassadors and it is clear they and many other European nations are becoming increasingly concerned at the impact of Brexit on Ireland and particularly the potential for a border.

“Sinn Féin’s team of all-Ireland MEPs have been at the forefront of raising that awareness and we are seeing a real willingness to engage on our proposals for the North to be granted special status to remain within the EU.

“It is a realisable and credible alternative to Brexit and we have already secured support from the majority of parties in the Dáil for our proposals.

“Now that Article 50 has been triggered, we hope to do the same within the EU Parliament and I will be meeting the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier tomorrow when I will again be putting the case for Special Status.

“These engagements are crucial because it is the other European nations who will be kingmakers in the Brexit negotiations, not Theresa May or the Westminster government.”

DUP just don’t get it on equality, yet –McCallion

Elisha McCallion said the DUP just don’t get it when it comes to equality, respect and integrity.

The Foyle Sinn Féin MLA was speaking following comments from several DUP representatives who ruled out an Irish Language Act16806807_10155086259809345_8264599431095304090_n

Elisha McCallion  said:

“The DUP appear to take one step forward and then ten backwards. They are still in denial when it comes to a right-based society.

“The Irish language community is playing catch-up when it comes to having their cultural identity recognised and treated with respect.

“The DUP need to realise that the Orange one-party state is gone for good and the way ahead is to treat their neighbours with respect.

“No longer can they treat those of us who cherish our Irish cultural identity with disdain or deny us our rights.

“Attempts by the DUP to turn the clock back will not work.

“The future for all of us on this island will be richer culturally and socially when diversity is recognised and people’s rights safeguarded in law.

“The DUP are living in denial but reality I believe is seeping through. At some stage in the short-term future they will be forced by the electorate to accept that the only way to move forward together is through respect, equality and integrity.”

Farmers told of credible alternative to Brexit at Balmoral Show – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said farmers should get behind the campaign for the north to have designated status for the north within the EU as the only credible alternative to Brexit. 

Speaking from the Balmoral Show, Martina Anderson said:

“I have met with many farmers and others involved in the agriculture industry at the Balmoral Show today and Brexit is the main issue on their minds.

“There is a genuine fear among many farmers and others in the agri-sector about Tory plans to drag us out of the EU.

“EU funding has helped farmers modernise, diversify and be competitive in the marketplace and that will be lost if Theresa May gets her way.

“EU regulations have also ensured we have the highest standards of food safety and, as a result, the excellent produce from the north is highly valued across Europe. That reputation could be jeopardised by unregulated imports coming in from outside the EU.

“I made it clear to farmers at the Balmoral Show that there is a credible alternative to Brexit and that is for the north to have designated special status within the EU.

“Sinn Féin has been building support for that case and we now need to see the Irish government acting in the interests of all Irish citizens, including those involved in the agriculture industry in the North, by making it a formal demand in the negotiations.” Ends/Críoch

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