Dissident sectarian threat against protestant man working in Creggan condemned

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has slammed criminal gangs for issuing sectarian threats against a 64 year-old man involved in community work in the Creggan area. 

He said “There is shock in the local community on hearing news of these threats by a dissident grouping against a protestant man doing a day’s work.

Creggan is a welcoming community and people of this area will not stand for any sort of sectarian or racists threats no matter where they come from.

This blatant sectarian threat has no place in our city and must  be condemned outright.

The sectarianism, which perpetrates such actions, is a scourge  in our society. It is blight on the societal and political landscapes of the North of Ireland.

Sectarianism is the antithesis of Irish Republicanism.

The treat against this man needs to be lifted and those groups at war with the community disbanded.

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McKnight welcomes historic Australian marriage equality vote

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has welcomed the historic vote in Australia in favour of Marriage Equality.

Its comes after a two-month national postal survey came out “overwhelmingly” in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. More than 12.7 million people across Australia,  79.5 % of voting age took part in the survey with every state and territory returning a majority “yes.”

Councillor McKnight said “In June Germany voted in favour of Marriage Equality now we have this historic result in Australia.

12.7million of the Australian population took part in a postal survey with a vote of 61.6% in favour of same-sex marriage.

The opposition to marriage equality in the north of Ireland is discriminatory and clearly out of step with the people of these islands, Europe and many countries around the world.

This is another powerful demonstration that the demand for equality and in particular marriage equality is building. Sinn Féin is calling for marriage equality in the North and we’ve pursued that in Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Assembly and through the negotiations.

The continued denial by the DUP and Tory government of rights, including language rights, marriage equality and the right of families to coroner’s inquests that all other citizens enjoy in every other part of these islands is untenable.”

Eastwood should name the projects he wants to close’ – McCartney

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has challenged the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood to name which community projects in Derry he wants to shut down.

 

Raymond McCartney was speaking after the SDLP Leader called for the entire Social Investment Fund (SIF) to be brought to a close.

 

He commented: “Sinn Féin has highlighted abuses of state funding in loyalist areas including abuses of SIF funding. Such abuses should be tackled vigorously by the authorities.

 

“However, what Colum Eastwood is now advocating is scrapping the entire programme. If that is now the SDLP’s position, despite the fact they were involved in the SIF allocations, he should state clearly whether that includes the transformative work SIF has carried out in Derry,

 

“Does it, for example, include the SIF funds allocated in partnership with Derry & Strabane Council, to new play facilities and new pitches in the Brandywell and Ballymagroarty?

 

“Does it include the funding of a highly-successful community work programme in cooperation with the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership?

 

“Colum Eastwood should tell the public in Derry who have benefited from these investments why he is so offended by these projects and which he wants to shut down.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

Foyle MLA welcomes opening of bereavement suite at Altnagelvin Hospital

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the official opening of the first bereavement suite in the North at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

It has been funded and opened by Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity).

Karen Mullan said “I would like to congratulate the  Sands charity  for funding the Lavendar Suite at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Sadly we all know someone, a family or friend who have lost a child.

It’s a totally traumatic experience for everybody, but particularly for the parents.

To have a quiet space in the hospital such as this suite will go some way to help everyone affected at an extremely difficult time.

I would like to commend SANDS Charity, the Trust and the parents who came together and made this new Suite possible.

Ends

Líofa exceeds 20,000 target – Campbell

Sinn Féin Irish Language spokesperson Councillor Kevin Campbell  said news that the Líofa scheme has reached its target of 20,000 three years early shows there is a demand to learn Irish.

He said:

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

“News that the Líofa scheme has exceeded 20,000 is to be welcomed.

“When Líofa started in September 2011 the target of 1,000 was set, this was then revised as demand grew. The target of 20,000 for 2020 was set in 2016 and that too has been exceeded.

“This shows that there is a demand to learn Irish and that people from all backgrounds are taking up the opportunity to do so.

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

Pipe bombers will not drag us back to past- Jackson

Sinn Féin Waterside Councillor Christopher Jackson  has said those responsible for leaving  pipe bombs at Montgomery Close will not succeed in dragging society back to the past.

Councillor Jackson said

 

“Those responsible  for leaving these pipe bombs  in  Montgomery Close should be condemned by everyone in our community.

 

“There is no rationale or justification for such actions and the sooner those behind this incident realise that the better.

 

“They are attempting to drag us back to the past but they will not succeed.

 

“Whoever was behind this incident needs to realise that they do not have the support of the local community and they should stop these pointless actions immediately.”

 

 

Ends

Speaking at Stormont , SF Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill

Speaking at Stormont today, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill commented

“The British Secretary of State will today move to introduce a budget to finance public services here. This is an acknowledgement by the British Government that agreement has not been possible.

“The reason for this is the DUP opposition to a rights-based society. While some progress was made, the denial of rights would not be tolerated in Dublin and London and should not be tolerated here. We met the DUP this morning and told them this.

“Since March of this year Sinn Féin has been seeking agreement on the implementation of outstanding commitments as a basis for restoring public trust and confidence in the institutions.

“Sinn Féin were flexible, we were willing to stretch ourselves to achieve a breakthrough and we were right to do so.

“The DUP’s resistance to the implementation of previous agreements and particularly rights available everywhere else in these islands means that there is not a locally-elected Executive to take decisions.

“The British government has been complicit in this, backing the DUP’s refusal to honour the commitments previously made and blocking the delivery of equality.

“Theresa May has prioritised her own electoral survival via the Tory/DUP pact over the interest of all of the people in the North.

“This is compounded by the DUP’s refusal to accept the vote in the North to reject Brexit. The DUP are committed to the North being dragged out of the EU against the will and the interests of people here.

“Last Friday we told the British PM that direct rule is not an option.

“In the absence of the Assembly and Executive the choice for both governments is between the protection of the Good Friday Agreement or its abandonment.

“These issues aren’t going away. It is now the responsibility of the two governments to look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and for a British-Irish intergovernmental conference to meet as soon as possible.

“We have sought urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister. The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfil their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here.

“This would pave the way for the Executive to be restored.”

Need for movement on Thornhill after another attack -Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has said the former Thornhill College site needs to be brought back in use and fully utilised as a matter of urgency he was speaking after yet another  vandalism attack on the old school buildings.

Councillor Hassan said

tony hassan

“The former Thornhill College on Culmore Road was the subject of yet another break-in  by vandals this week . Once again those behind the attack who came prepared with equipment to pull off shutters and then go on a wrecking spree within the buildings ,thousands of pounds has been spent trying to stop the vandalism.

This former school complex has been a magnet for anti-social activity over the past year. It has been subjected to numerous arson attempts.

Parents need 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.

Currently there are proposals for the redevelopment of this massive site including to convert it into a retirement village and riverside walkways and other facilities. 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. We are actively working to ensure our elderly are catered for in terms of suitable accommodation and care.

We need to be proactive in turning this site into something positive not only for the people of Culmore but indeed the wider city.

3 Attachments

Traffic survey over need for Creggan school crossing patrol –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the news that the Education Authority in the Western Board is to carry out a survey to see if there is the need to introduce a crossing patrol person at one of Creggans busiest road junction.

Councillor Kevin Campbell said

Back in September I contacted the Education Authority in regards to a number of complaints I received from residents and parents  about the lack of a School Crossing Patrol Officer at the junction of Iniscarn Road and Eastway Road at the roundabout in the Creggan Estate.

This is a very dangerous junction and the school children are at the discretion and good will of the drivers to allow them to cross the road.

This junction serves three schools St John’s Primary, St Cecilia’s College and Bligh’s Lane nursery school which are attended by hundreds of pupils. I asked the Education Authority to look at allocating a School Crossing Patrol Officer there at peak times of the day.

 Historically there was always a School Crossing Patrol Officer at this junction but over the last number of years there hasn’t been one there leaving this area very dangerous for school children.

The Education Authority has now said that they will carry out a road traffic survey to see if they area meets the criteria and let me know in due in course.

Ends

Foyle MLA welcomes opening of bereavement suite at Altnagelvin Hospital

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the official opening of the first bereavement suite in the North at Altnagelvin Hospital.

It has been funded and opened by Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity).

Karen Mullan said “I would like to congratulate the  Sands charity  for funding the Lavendar Suite at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Sadly we all know someone, a family or friend who have lost a child.

It’s a totally traumatic experience for everybody, but particularly for the parents.

To have a quiet space in the hospital such as this suite will go some way to help everyone affected at an extremely difficult time.

I would like to commend SANDS Charity, the Trust and the parents who came together and made this new Suite possible.

Ends

PSNI needs to get to grips with armed gangs -Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said that the PSNI needs to get to grips with armed gangs responsible for an ever growing number of shootings in Derry City over recent months.

She was speaking after a man was shot in the Shantallow area on Sunday night.

sandra duffy

Councillor Duffy said “Once again tonight we have a man being shot.

“This follows several incidents in this area and across the city over recent months.

“This has included a number of young men being shot in the legs; shots being fired into houses, and armed gangs trying to enter houses.

“The community wants these actions to stop. And it’s important to repeat the message that there is no place for guns on the streets of our city.

“But there are also very serious questions here about how the PSNI is handling these incidents. There is a growing perception in the community that these armed gangs are operating with impunity.

“The PSNI need to step up to the mark and tell the public exactly what they are doing about this, and that needs to go beyond giving stock answers.

“The people of this city have a right to know what the PSNI is doing to bring to book those responsible for these attacks before someone loses their life.”

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Mullan welcomes autism friendly ‘Silent Santa’ event

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the ‘Silent Santa’ initiative at Foyleside Shopping Centre in Derry, which will provide a quiet and relaxed environment for children with autism to visit Santa.
Karen Mullan said:
“I welcome the news that Foyleside Shopping Centre will provide an autism friendly service for children with autism to visit Santa in a quiet and relaxed environment.
“Many children with autism are extremely sensitive to loud noises, particularly from queuing and large crowds of people, which could overwhelm or distract them.
“I am delighted and encouraged that organisations are making an effort to promote inclusivity when organising events during the festive period.
“Silent Santa will launch on Sunday 19th November and run every Sunday from 10.30am to 12pm, finishing on Sunday 10th December.”

‘Schools need clarity on minibus regs’ – Foyle MLA

The Education authorities must do more to assist schools dealing with the impact of changes to minibus regulations which came into effect this week, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.

The Foyle MLA commented:

“The Department for Infrastructure brought forward its changes to minibus licensing on Monday and already that is having an impact on schools, health workers and community organisations that rely on minibuses to deliver transport services.

“Many schools will find it difficult to deliver extra-curricular activities, school trips and other transportation services as a result of these changes.

“Despite the Department for Infrastructure stating that it has pre-consulted with key stakeholders, Sinn Féin does not believe that sufficient engagement has taken place with the Department of Education and the Education Authority otherwise schools would not find themselves in the situation they are currently facing.

“Schools need clarity on the regulations as well as support from them the education authorities and Sinn Féin will be raising these concerns with the leading official in the department when we meet him next week.”

Logue welcomes DCSDC Mental health Charter

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has  welcomed Derry City and Strabane District Councils new mental health Charter.

 

Councillor Patricia Logue said

“Given the evidence based high percentage of absenteeism among civil service workers due to poor mental health we welcome the Councils commitment to introduce positive measures to help address issues for not only their staff but for the benefit of its citizens.

 

Once embedded in the local council this will enhance working relationships and create a more open and user friendly space.

 

Together with councils Bewell Programme this shows that we are a progressive and caring council.

It’s vital that in every area of  our workplaces we are always looking at new ways  that are more supportive of people who find themselves having to deal with mental illness.

 

I would ask all staff to embrace this charter and to participate in initiatives that are connected with it.

 

End

Sinn Féin supports post office workers in campaign on pension right /working week

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has voiced his support for postal workers in their campaign to save  pension rights and a shorter working week.

He said

 “The union has an overwhelming mandate to pursue this action following an 89% vote in favour of it.

“They Post Office  should respect the right of workers to engage in mandated legal action in pursuit of legitimate goals. In this case, the postal workers are opposing changes to their pension scheme which will see members losing up to a third of their retirement benefits.

“In those  circumstances, and even if there is some temporary disruption to services, I am sure the vast majority of the public will support the postal workers in any action they take .”

Wider bus shelter provision needed in Culmore –Hassan

The provision of a bus shelter at Thornhill Park In the Culmore Road area of Derry will make “life more comfortable” for local residents, Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said.

Councillor Hassan said,

“This is welcome news for local residents who live in  the Thornhill area of Culmore, Sinn Féin have been lobbying for some time now to have this bus shelter introduced  there and also in other areas of Culmore as well.

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

Cllr Hassan, concluded “I would like to thank all those involved in the process to make this happen and we will be looking for more bus shelters in the area. I would also point out that a bus shelter at the junction of Point Road and Ardan Road is needed as soon as possible

ENDS

‘Desperate SDLP covering its own failings’ – McCartney

An increasingly desperate SDLP is attempting to cover up its own failings by constantly attacking others, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

The Foyle MLA was speaking after SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood claimed the Executive had routinely failed to deliver for Derry.

“It’s quite ironic for Colum Eastwood to accuse others of failing Derry when the SDLP was the lead party in this city for decades, during which time the north west was shamefully neglected,” Raymond McCartney commented.

“It is only since Sinn Féin became the biggest party that we have seen real progress on the key strategic issues that need to be developed such as our roads infrastructure, health provision and the expansion of the university.

“We would all love to see more and quicker progress but I think most people accept it will take time to rectify the generations of institutional neglect which happened on the SDLP’s watch.

“But even this progress has come in the face of constant SDLP opposition. They opposed the budget that that provided the funds for the A5 and the A6. They opposed the budget that provided the funds for the initial expansion at Magee. They opposed the budget that provided the funds for the cancer centre at Altnagelvin and regeneration of the Ebrington site.

“Not once did they provide a credible alternative proposal.

“I could go on because the SDLP have opposed every single budget since they lost their status as the largest nationalist party.

“That is not political leadership. That is an abdication of leadership and the SDLP’s constant attacks on everyone else are nothing more than an increasingly desperate attempt to deflect public attention from their own failings over many, many years.

“Even if Colum doesn’t realise that, the electorate clearly do which is why they elected Elisha McCallion as the MP.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

Edentubber 60th Anniversary

Sinn Féin seek more resources for schools

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged the Department of Education to ensure that school budgets are adequately resourced.

The party Education spokesperson on Derry City and Strabane District Council was commenting after 375 schools wrote to the British Secretary of State regarding difficulties in their budgets.

“Sinn Féin have met with senior departmental officials this week to press for school budgets to be protected,” he commented.

“Children should not have to pay the price for Tory-Dup austerity.

“Pressure from Sinn Féin secured additional resources for the Education budget in July and October and it remains our position that school budgets should be adequately resourced.

“We will continue to argue for additional resources for education.”

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‘Department to review school meals decision’ – Mullan

The Department of Education is to review a decision that could lead to thousands of children losing their free school meal entitlements after Sinn Féin warned that it was not compliant with Equality regulations.

The party’s Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA welcomed the move and pledged to continue campaigning to ensure no child loses their entitlement to free school meals.

The Foyle MLA commented:

“Sinn Féin has been warning over the past number of weeks that proposed changes to free school meal eligibility criteria could see 2,000 children lose their entitlement.

“We argued strongly that it was wrong for any child to lose their entitlement because of a technical change rather than an improvement in their circumstances. Sinn Féin made a strong submission to the Department in which we pointed out that this was in breach of their own Equality obligations given the negative impact on so many children.

“The Department has today confirmed that it is reviewing how it’s own equality processes were handled in relation to this decision.

“I very much welcome that and will continue to engage with education officials over the coming weeks to press for a solution that ensures no child loses their entitlem

Man shot in the Bogside

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly commenting after a man was shot at a flat at Gartan Square in the Bogside area of Derry on Wednesday night.

Speaking from the scene tonight he said “It’s important to repeat the message that there is no place for guns or such actions on the streets of our city.

“I would appeal for anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

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‘Dialogue is key’ Mullan tells Macedonian delegation

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has hosted a Macedonian delegation to Stormont today where she stressed the need for meaningful dialogue in conflict resolution.

The Foyle Assembly member addressed members of the Nansen Dialogue Center Skopje which has worked with young leaders and politicians from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia.dn9pd_dw0aud726

She commented: “Your vision of a democratic society in which dialogue is the everyday tool for conflict resolution is extremely relevant to us here in the north.

“There is no doubt that we will have much to learn from your experience.

“We too are seeking to deliver a society in which peace, cohesion, integration, equality and tolerance are core values.

“Sinn Féin the party which I represent want to work with others to deliver a new, tolerant, prosperous and inclusive society on this island, a society, which accepts and celebrates diversity and the cultural richness that diversity brings.”

Logue urges action on air quality in Derry

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has called for urgent action to improve air quality in the North of Ireland after the results of a survey carried out by the World Health Organisation were revealed.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue commented: “This is very worrying indeed .The World Health Organisation found that the quality of air in Derry, Belfast and Armagh exceeded the recommended limit of safe exposure to particles with Armagh’s air quality level nearly as bad as those recorded in London.

On a local level for a number of years we have been raising concerns about air pollution in our city, with concerns particularly for people living and who have businesses along busy main arterial traffic routes. I and councillor Colly Kelly have raised problems with the traffic congestion and air pollution at the junctions of Beechwood Avenue and Marlborough /Laburnum Terrace as far back as 2011.This in in turn is having an adverse effect on the air quality at Creggan cross roads with the exhaust emissions. Car exhausts contain a range of toxic substances that can have a serious impact on health.

Long term exposure to air that exceeds the limit is linked to the development of heart disease and other illnesses and over 500 deaths in the North per year are attributed to air pollution. This represents more deaths per year than road traffic collisions and passive smoking combined. Clearly, urgent cross-departmental action is needed to improve the standard of air quality here.”

Kelly welcomes Bogside bulky lift initiative

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has welcomed the news that a bulky lift/clean up initiative is to take place in the Bogside area today Tuesday 7th November from 08.00am.-2.00pm

Organised by the Council & the Triax neighbourhood management team

colly kelly

colly kelly

The areas covered is from Creggan St/William Street right out to Dove Gardens/Stanley’s Walks and all streets in between.

Councillor Kelly said

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

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

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

End

Council to address dumping issues at Cosquinn Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has welcomed assurances from Council that the Coshquin Road will be cleared of litter in the immediate future.

eric mcginley

eric mcginley

Cllr. McGinley said: “Unfortunately, the Coshquin Road can occasionally be used as a handy dumping ground for unwanted items and particularly black bag refuse.

Not only is this an eyesore for users of the road and residents in the area it also leads to Council having to use valuable resources to clear this mess.

Council has indicated to me that there will be a clean-up in the very near future but I would appeal to people to stop using the Coshquin Road as a dumping ground.”

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McCallion warns lives could be at risk with Fire Service cuts

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said lives could be put at risk by proposed cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service’s budget.

The Foyle MP said: dm2krc5x4aad4hf

“I met today with representatives of the Fire Brigades Union to discuss concerns over cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service budget.

“As a result of a shortfall in the budget, union representatives told us that these cuts are already being felt with the withdrawal of primary crews for aerial appliances at Northland Road and Crescent Link fire stations in Derry.

“The loss of this vital service could put the lives of the public and members of the Fire and Rescue Service at risk.

“Firefighters provide a vital, life-saving service day and night, often in very challenging circumstances to keep the entire community safe and they should have our full support in doing so.

“I will be seeking a meeting with the permanent secretary of the Department for Health and the Chief Fire Officer to discuss our serious concerns about these cuts.” Ends/Críoch

Brokenshire should bin Brexit – Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said it is hypocritical for James Brokenshire to talk about protecting the interests of the North as his government seeks to impose Brexit on the North..

Martina Anderson said:

elisha mccallion martina anderson

elisha mccallion martina anderson

“British Secretary of State James Brokenshire is in Brussels today to meet with senior EU figures on Brexit but he cannot continue to try to pull the wool over their eyes.

“He talks about protecting the interests of the north but in reality his government’s Brexit agenda can only damage those interests.

“James Brokesnshire’s party and their Brexit policy was rejected by the people of the North. He has no mandate in the EU on behalf of the people of the North.

“The majority of citizens here voted to remain in the EU. They did so to protect our agreements, economy and rights.

“It is particularly ironic that he will be meeting with the EU agriculture Commissioner as the Tory Brexit agenda will have devastating consequences for the agriculture sector, north and south.

“It’s long past the time that the British government listened to the EU negotiators and the citizens of the north and brought forward credible proposals which recognise the unique circumstances of the north of Ireland and deliver special status for the North within the EU.” Ends/Críoch

McCallion welcomes removal of Blood Contamination Inquiry from hands of British Health Department

Sinn Féin MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion has today welcomed the removal of the inquiry into the Blood Contamination scandal from the Department of Health in Britain.

Speaking Elisha McCallion said: dnqcmnbwsaae1gu

“I welcome that today the British Government have removed the inquiry into the Blood Contamination scandal from the Department of Health in Britain.

“It is unacceptable that a branch of the British government clearly implicated in causing this scandal would be allowed to investigate what it did wrong.

“At least 2,400 people have died in the north of Ireland and in Britain from health complications resulting from contaminated blood given to those with existing blood-related illnesses.

“I have spoken to many constituents affected by this fatal scandal, including many who’ve lost friends, family and loved ones through contamination. They too will welcome this decision in their campaign for justice.

“This is a major public health scandal and the British Government must now ensure the inquiry has the necessary scope and powers to deliver justice for survivors.”

‘Denial of rights preventing power-sharing return’ – McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney has said Sinn Féin remain fully committed to restoring the power sharing institutions on the basis of equality, respect and integrity.

Raymond McCartney said:

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

“Sinn Féin’s position remains the same. We are fully committed to the power sharing institutions agreed in the Good Friday Agreement and on the principles of equality, respect and integrity this is the only sustainable way government in the North can function.

“Threats to public services are a direct result of Tory austerity policies, policies now backed by the DUP as part of their reckless pact with the Tory government.

“The DUP should focus their attentions on ending their denial of rights which citizens enjoy everywhere else on these islands, so we can get local ministers who are best placed to run local public services and prioritise our own political agenda back in place.

“Unless there is a step change on the part of the DUP and both governments on the issues of rights, it is very unlikely we are going to see any agreement in the next period of time which sees the institutions back in place.

“The issue of rights is not going to go away. The DUP know this. These rights must be satisfactorily dealt with.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

Foyle MP to lead delegation over fears to Post Office services in Derry

A Sinn Féin delegation is to meet with the Post Office today over the future of a number of Post Offices in the city at Park Ave, Bishop Street and the General office on Custom House Street. The delegation will be led by Foyle MP Elisha McCallion.elisha

Councillor Mickey Cooper said “Over the past few weeks we have received a number of concerns from constituents about the future of a number of Post Offices in the city.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion wrote to Royal Mail outlining concerns about the long term future of these offices and requested an urgent meeting with officials.

That meeting is now taking place on Monday (6th November).

Post offices play a vital and necessary role in local communities in terms of services and amenities and provide much needed employment.

It’s vital that these services are maintained in the long term because everyone knows once a service is lost or downgraded it very hard to get it back again.

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Mullan welcomes new Derry-Seville flight route

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the announcement of a new chartered service by Super Break providing a direct flight from City of Derry Airport to Seville beginning in March 2018.

Karen Mullan said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“The announcement of a new flight from Derry to Seville is welcome news for the City of Derry Airport and for business and leisure travellers.

“This flight will help more local people access new European destinations from their doorsteps.

“Hopefully this move will encourage more airlines and travel companies to look at Derry as a destination and also help build and expand the north west transport network, tourist industry and attract more inward investment.”

CRÍOCH/ENDS

McCartney slams British army immunity plan

Sinn Féin has strongly rejected the latest attempt to rule out any prosecution of British soldiers for crimes committed during the conflict here.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney was speaking after Tory MP Richard Benyon presented a bill in Westminster that would provide a ‘statute of limitations’ on the prosecution of British troops.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

Raymond McCartney said “British forces were directly involved in state sponsored killings and also in a campaign of systemic collusion and state-sanctioned executions through surrogate unionist death squads.

“British soldiers acted with impunity and any attempt to provide immunity to British soldiers and others who either directly, or indirectly through collusion, killed citizens is entirely unacceptable.

“Mechanisms to resolve the past and provide those bereaved with a process of truth recovery were agreed at Stormont House. That agreement is the way forward and it should be implemented

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the families who are being denied truth.”

Ends

Households in North could save £6.7M a year in energy costs-Duffy

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed tips from the Energy Saving Trust, that could potentially save households across the North £6.7 Million per year.sandra-duffy-pic-150x150-copy

These tips include simple measures such as draught proofing windows and doors, this can be done cheaply and will save on average £20 a year on heating bills.

Other measures include insulating pipes, walls and lofts, not leaving TV’s or other devices on stand-by and turning off lights when they aren’t needed, these are all easy to do and can save households on heat and electricity charges.

Cllr Duffy stated “We all know that it’s important to save energy. In fact it’s been impossible to ignore the headlines telling us to do our bit for the environment, reduce our carbon footprint and adopt a greener lifestyle,
Energy is a limited resource and I would welcome any measures that help us conserve energy and help households save money at the same time”

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Mullan meets Western Trust to discuss autism services

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has met with Kieran Downey, Director of Women & Children’s Services at the Western Trust and Ann McDuff, Assistant Director of Community & Public Health, alongside families and young people affected by autism, to highlight issues and discuss autism services.

Karen Mullan said:karen-mullan

“I facilitated a positive meeting with families and young people in the city who are affected by autism to provide space for them to raise issues they face daily directly with the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

“The meeting focused on a range of issues including the waiting lists for occupational therapy, speech and language services, direct payments for respite and young people transition services.

“There is an increase in the prevalence of children and adults being diagnosed with autism and services such as direct payments are vital to children and parents.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work with the Western Trust, support groups and families to ensure that the services available to families are efficient and they receive the necessary support and I welcome the fact that the Trust have agreed to hold a follow up meetings to monitor how they can improve their service delivery.

CRÍOCH/ENDS

Appeal over smoking in confines of Altnagelvin Hospital –Logue

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has urged visitors to Altnagelvin Hospital to adhere to the no smoking there.

She was speaking after new signage was erected at entrances to the hospital and information adverts on the cost and dangers of smoking have been placed at various locations within the hospital.20171031_190643

Councillor Patricia Logue said

“I welcome this initiative by Altnagelvin Hospital to highlight the dangers of smoking and would ask people to adhere to the no smoking policy which was introduced in 2015.

Sadly you will still see groups of people smoking at the entrances of the hospital and this is something we must work on to reduce this practice.

Smoking is responsible for many illnesses including cancer and heart disease so anything that is done to encourage people to stop has to be welcomed.

People attending medical facilities should no longer be exposed to passive smoking we need a smoke free environment for patients, staff and visitors alike.

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Hassan calls for sustainable community infrastructure

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson on Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed the news that another 250 new Social homes are planned for the Skeoge lands which brings the total of new builds next year to 650 but said that there needs to be community infrastructure within these developments to ensure that there is sustainable communities .

Councillor Hassan said,

tony hassan

tony hassan

While we need more social homes in the Skeoge lands and in the city for the thousands of people who are on the waiting list we need to put in place and build the infrastructure to service that population alongside these developments.

We no longer should be building homes without the infrastructure like community facilities, recreational activities such as play parks for children and kick about pitches for older teenagers, we also need good public transport and good shopping facilities.

The master plan for Skeoge says that there should be one or two schools if there is two sites for schools then i believe one of these sites should be used to establish a new community and youth centre for the Skeoge lands. This would go a long way in helping a community that will see over the next ten years 1500- 2000 homes built in the private and public sector. It should be happening in all areas that has a master plan for development and the planning authority’s and committees should make it happen.

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McCallion rejects ‘fantasy solutions’ to EU frontier in Ireland

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has rejected ‘fantasy solutions’ to a border in Ireland as a result of Brexit.

Speaking following the appearance of Swiss and Norwegian border officials in the ‘Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’ in Westminster, Elisha McCallion said:dsc_5198

“The British Government and the DUP are sticking their heads in the sand with unfounded talk of a ‘frictionless’ border in Ireland as a result of Brexit.

“This fantasy technology does not exist and so it cannot prevent an imposed border in Ireland in the context of Brexit.

“The only solution to Brexit is Designated Special Status for the north of Ireland within the EU.”

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Attempts to solve Lawrence Hill parking wows -Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed new arrangements now put in place which should help residents to report traffic issues in the Lawrence Hill area which have caused problems for them accessing their properties in the last few years:

Councillor Cooper said

michael mickey cooper

michael mickey cooper

‘I am pleased that new reporting mechanisms have been 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 Lawrence Hill area.

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Cut to Volunteering Small Grant detrimental to provision of local services – Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has expressed disappointment at the decision of the Department for Communities to cut the Volunteering Small Grant to community organisations.

The Creggan Councillor said:

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

“The Volunteering Small Grant is a fund that community groups receive annually for expenses such as training and running costs. It is a relatively small pot of money but is a vital source of support, particularly for isolated rural groups and for incentivising volunteers who carry out vital work in their communities.

“On the back of a number of groups contacting our party, we wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities in early October. The response stated that Volunteering Small Grant funding was allocated on a year-to-year basis and consequently a call for applications was not issued.

“This is a poor decision which will have a detrimental impact on the provision of local services and Sinn Féin will continue to press the Department for Communities to get this vital programme re-opened.”

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‘Rights issues aren’t going away’ – O’Neill

Responding to todays statement from the British Secretary of State, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill commented:

“The British Secretary of State has said that he is not in a position to bring forward legislation to re-establish the Executive this week. That is true. Why is that so?

“It is in part because of Mr Brokenshire’s tolerance of the DUP’s blocking of the equality agenda, the reneging on past agreements and recent financial scandals. This led to the erosion of confidence in the political institutions and Martin Mc Guinness’s resignation in January after ten years in office.dsc_5198

“Over the last ten months, the focus of these negotiations has been on the delivery of rights which are the norm everywhere else on these islands. Many of these rights are fundamental parts of the Good Friday and other agreements. They are for the benefit of all sections of society and threaten no-one. Furthermore, marriage equality, language rights, the Bill of Rights and the right to Coroners Inquests are supported by a majority in the Assembly and in wider society.

“The only reason they are denied is because of DUP resistance to the rights agenda and the British Government’s acquiescence in this. That has been compounded by the Tory-DUP pact. The British Secretary of State is wrong when he says that it only the parties themselves who can reach agreement, he and the Irish Government also have obligations.

“The issue of rights is not going to go away. The DUP and British Government know this. These rights must be satisfactorily dealt with. Sinn Féin is disappointed that the last few weeks of negotiations have ended in failure. We did our best to be flexible and we were prepared to stretch ourselves in the common good.

“Endless talks without conclusion are not sustainable. There is a need for the two governments to act urgently to deliver equality. This is their joint responsibility under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I want to state explicitly that, in the context of agreement on delivery of these rights, Sinn Féin will re-enter government. In the absence of these rights the Executive is not sustainable.

“Sinn Féin will now reflect on all of this.”

Gender Pay Gap a stubborn obstacle to equality – McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has today called for action to end the Gender Pay Gap.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

She was speaking following the release of European Commission figures highlighting a rise in the wage discrepancy between men and woman across many European economies.

“The Gender Pay Gap is a critical indicator of gender inequality which is still rife across our society,” she said.

“The EU wide gap of 16% is unacceptable, and equates to women effectively working two months in a year for free, relative to male counterparts.

“This is a frontline equality issue, and one of many financial barriers faced by women in the world of work.”

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Denial of equal marriage rights for LGBTQ citizens must end – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said discrimination against LGBTQ citizens in the north of Ireland must end immediately.dhcn6opxoaara9b

Speaking in advance of the public discussion on Thursday 2nd November about ‘LGBT+ Rights in the north of Ireland’, facilitated by the Foyle MP in Westminster, Elisha McCallion said:

“The ongoing denial of basic civil and human rights in the north of Ireland, available to LGBTQ citizens everywhere else on these islands, is shameful and deserves international attention.

“I am facilitating a public discussion in London including representatives of Stonewall, Green Party of England and Wales, Love Equality, London Irish LGBT Network, and Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield to determine the best way forward to confront discrimination and secure LGBTQ rights.

“This collection of voices and experience will make for an informed and relevant discussion on the future of LGBTQ rights in the north of Ireland.

“No one should be made a second-class citizen because of who they are or who they love. Sinn Féin is committed to opposing this discrimination and bringing it to an end.”

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Keep staff informed of company sale details – McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said staff at Derry-based firm Invista should be kept informed about all details of the firm’s sale. dm2krc5x4aad4hf

The Foyle MP said:

“The announcement that Invista, which has a plant in Derry’s Maydown Works, has sold its apparel and advanced textiles business to the Shandong Ruyi Investment Company will no doubt concern local workers.

“The initial indications, however, are positive as Shandong Ruyi have said they intend to invest in Invista.

“This will hopefully ensure the future of the plant and its workforce in Derry in the years to come.

“It is important that staff and their representatives are kept informed about any developments in the sale process in the time ahead.

“I look forward to the continued growth and expansion of Invista in the north west.”

Positive meeting over city centre safety –McCallion

Sinn Féin MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion speaking after she convened a multi-agency meeting to discuss safety in Derry city centre saidelisha

“I felt it was very important bringing together a range of agencies and partners to discuss safety in Derry city centre, particularly at night time.

It was a very well attended meeting and we discussed a wide range of issues which included licence premises, adjustments to premises closing times, safety on the streets late at night and taxi availability.

In recent times we have seen the opening of new bars ,restaurants and hotels in our city centre. We have also a very vibrant night-time economy there which has grown significantly over recent years and we need to have the infrastructure to deal with that. And that we encourage this and allow it to grow in a way that puts the safety of the public first.

There have been several actions’ coming of the meeting and a number of sub groups set up to deal them. One of the those being the need for secure night time taxi ranks in Shipquay Street with the likes of taxi wardens to direct the queues which happens in many other cities.

We want people to be able to enjoy all that the city has to offer in a safe manner and that can be achieved through creative thinking and partnership working.

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McCartney welcome minibus mitigation

Sinn Féin has welcomed confirmation that minibus drivers will be permitted up to six-months to enable them to meet new driving regulations which come into effect today (November 1st)raymond-mccartney2

Raymond McCartney has said concerns remain over the impact of the controversial changes on the future of community and school transport systems but that the six-month extension was a positive step.

The Foyle MLA commented: “Sinn Féin has been in constant engagement with the Department for Infrastructure on their proposed changes to minibus licencing requirements and we welcome confirmation that those drivers who have initiated the licencing process will be allowed up to six months to obtain their documentation.

“This will come as welcome news to many service providers and users who rely heavily on community transport.

“However, concerns remain around the wider impact these changes will have on the ability of transport providers to source drivers and Sinn Féin is continuing to seek further mitigation measures to ensure services are protected.

“We believe there is a particular impact on rural communities, disabled people, schools and youth services who rely heavily on community transport services.

“We have made a strong submission to the department arguing for robust mitigation measures based on their equality obligations to protect vulnerable groups and will continue to press for suitable measures to be put in place.”

Duffy condemns Derry gun attack

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has condemned those responsible for firing shots into a house just off the Racecourse Road in Derry tonight.

The house in Racecourse Park was attacked just after 7pm.

Councillor Duffy said

sandra duffy

sandra duffy

“This must have been a very frightening experience for everyone caught up in this shooting incident.

It’s very sad that when tens of thousands of people were out tonight at the Halloween Festival in the city centre that others were trying to drag our society backwards and bringing guns onto our streets.

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

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

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McCallion disappointed Ireland misses out on preferred location of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has expressed her disappointment that Ireland has missed out to South Africa as the preferred candidate as the location for hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Foyle MP said 18739765_1400343640021696_614918040889171436_n

“I disappointed that Ireland has not been chosen by the Rugby World Cup Board as the preferred candidate as the location for hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Those behind Irelands bid have said they will continue to lobby right up until the World Rugby Council makes it final decision in London on the 15th November and we wish them well in their efforts.

Regardless of the final decision it should not stop us from constantly being on the lookout for bringing large scale sporting tournaments to Ireland with Derry and wider region being part of those plans. cxts8nwxcaapatf

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McGinley calls for door replacements scheme to be completed

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has called on the Housing Executive to extend a door replacement programme throughout Ballymagroarty.20170921_114843

Cllr. McGinley said: “The Housing Executive recently carried out a programme of door replacements in the top end of Ballymagroarty which was obviously welcomed by residents.

To date, however, similar work has not been initiated in the remainder of the estate and these residents are anxious that their homes are also included in the near future.

I have been in contact with the Housing Executive relaying this request from residents and to also seek an update on plans for a window replacement programme for Ballymagroarty.”

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Tony Taylor incarceration approaches 600 days –McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has called for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor as he approaches 600 days of imprisonment.

Speaking after meeting Tony Taylor this week the Foyle MLA 20746862_10210587880314866_390639123_o

“As we approach 600 days of his incarceration I repeat Sinn Féin’s call for the immediate release of Derry man Tony Taylor. I visited him just last week in Maghaberry

and he should either be released immediately or brought before a court and given due process.

We have long campaigned for Tony’s release. His arrest and imprisonment without recourse to due process is a practice that is totally unacceptable and needs to end immediately.

The continued use of unjust powers by the British government to revoke a person’s license without producing any evidence of wrongdoing is an affront to human rights and natural justice.

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Promotion of sport important – Mullan

The party’s Education spokesperson was speaking after the Experience of Sports statistics for 2016 were released.

The Foyle MLA said:karen-mullan

“The figures show that participation level in sport is consistent with last year however there remains a need for promotion and investment in sport. It is disconcerting to see that participation levels among women are still lower than their male counterparts.

“We need to break down the barriers stopping females from participating in sport as they make a valuable contribution to sport by participating and in a coaching capacity.

“It is encouraging to see the good levels of participation by young people in sport. However, further attention is needed in order to encourage people from all backgrounds and abilities to get involved in sport as figures show that young people entitled to free school meals have a lower participation rate than those not entitled to them.

“By promoting and investing in sport we can encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to get involved and take the opportunity to learn new skills and enjoy sport.”

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Free Derry Corner lit up for Catalonia

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney speaking at Free Derry Wall on Sunday night at a solidarity rally held to coincide with similar rallies in Belfast and Dublin to show support with the people of Catalan following their historic declaration of independence this week.22814298_519035728454315_1967007844407975413_n

He said “The democratically elected Parliament of Catalonia this week made a declaration of Independence. It is a historic step towards Catalan statehood.

“The right to self-determination is a corner stone of international law and this declaration must be respected.

“We want to express our solidarity with the people of Catalonia from the people of Derry on this historic week.

Special Status only defence against impact of Brexit – Logue

Speaking after a report from the north’s Pensioners Parliament showed that older people living in the north are concerned about the impact of Brexit, Sinn Féin Councillor Patrica Logue said:

“The report shows that three out of four older people are concerned about the impact Brexit will have on them, with seven out of ten concerned about freedom of movement across the border.patricia-logue221-790x1024

“Brexit will be bad for the economy on this island, bad for business and investment, bad for farmers, bad for the environment, bad for workers’ and human rights.

“Brexit could see the return of border checkpoints between the north and south or restrictions on trade.

“The only defence against the negative impact is to achieve designated special status for the North within the EU, it is the only way we can safeguard the rights of citizens, our agreements and our economy.”

McCartney welcomes court judgement in Hooded Men case

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney, has welcomed a court judgement to reopen an investigation into the torture of 14 citizens in 1971, known as the ‘Hooded Men’.

He said:raymond-mccartney2

“Today’s crucial High Court decision is a welcome development in the Hooded Men’s long campaign for truth and justice.

“The 14 men had been tortured over seven days by British Army and the RUC Special Branch using brutal in-depth interrogation techniques.

“The decision of the PSNI to prematurely end the investigation into the torture and hideous physical and mental abuse of these men was unacceptable and completely wrong.

“We agree with the High Court in their decision that a new ‘decision process must begin’. This must happen immediately, followed by a fresh police investigation.

“The Hooded Men are some of many citizens still seeking truth and justice over 40 years after their ordeal. The British government and its agencies must release all information it holds about the torture, human rights abuses and state killings it carried out during the course of the conflict.”

Campbell urges caution on roads as clocks change

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has urged road users to take care on the roads as the clocks go back.
The Creggan Councillor said:

Councillor Kevin Campbell

Councillor Kevin Campbell

“In the last five years the period from November to February has seen a higher proportion of road fatalities during the hours of darkness than any other four month stretch.

“I would urge all road users to be extra attentive on the roads as the clocks go back as visibility and weather conditions are changing.

“With visibility decreasing and stopping distances increasing in winter months motorists should adjust their speed and think about how the conditions affect more vulnerable road users.

“I would encourage pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists in Derry to take extra precautions to ensure that they increase their visibility to drivers by wearing bright or contrasting clothing by day and reflective clothing at night.

“All road users should be mindful of the changing conditions and adjust the way they drive, ride, cycle or walk to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions.”

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Coffee morning 3rd Nov 2017

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Concern over selling of runaround cars -McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Galliagh area Caoimhe McKnight has called for car owners to be more responsible when they are selling on second hand cars.

She was speaking after two more cars were burned out in the Galliagh area this weekscreenshot_20170628-103129

Speaking to the Journal Councillor Caoimhe McKnight said

“What happens on many occasions is once those driving about in these run-around cars think they have been spotted by police they get rid of the car as soon as possible with Galliagh unfortunately being the area of choice.

I am calling on anyone who is selling a car to be more vigilant , especially if they are being sold cheaply, in the region of a couple of hundred pounds.

They should check the age of the buyers and question if they believe the car is been genuinely bought to be driven safely and legally or if this person may have ulterior motives for buying it.

The community is plagued by this kind of anti-community behaviour and death driving through the area and residents should not have to put up with it.

It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed with these death drivers and there is also concerns about the fire hazard of burning out the cars.

It takes time, money and resources of not only the emergency services and the police but also of the local Council workers to carry out clean ups.

This money could be better spent in helping develop the community for everyone to enjoy.

Major street light repair programme to take place – Logue

Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has carried out a survey of street lighting outage problems across a wide area of the Bogside and Brandywell. She carried out the survey following a large number of complaints that many street lights were not working across the district.

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue

Councillor Patricia Logue said “Over the past number of weeks I received a large number of complaints about street lights across a wide area of the Bogside, Brandywell and Bishop Street not working and the obvious problems this was causing for local residents.

I have also been working with Community Restorative Justice to try and help increase community safety in the area as we head into the winters months with dark mornings and nights.

We identified the following streets where many lights were currently not working – Limewood Street, Elmwood Road, Lonemoor Road ,Glenanne, Glendara, Iona Court, Moore Walk Anne Street, Brandywell Court ,Foyle Road, Orchard Row Ferguson Street.

I have been in contact with Transport NI and they have said that they will try and get most of the lights repaired over the course of the next few weeks.

If any resident in the area has a street lighting complaint and is not on the list please feel free to contact me and I will try and get it repaired.

Hassan welcomes housing cap u-turn

Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has welcomed a British Government u-turn on plans to cap social housing benefit at the same rate as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

The party’s housing spokesperson was speaking after British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the controversial move would be scrapped.

tony hassan

tony hassan

Tony Hassan commented: “The Tory threat to impose a cap based on LHA rates within the social and supported housing sector has been abandoned in the face of overwhelming criticism.

“The Federation of Housing Associations here had warned it would undermine the feasibility of supported and social housing schemes with a particularly bad impact in rural areas. They also warned that many social housing tenants would not to be able to afford their rents if the cap was imposed.

“Therefore many social housing tenants will be greatly relieved at this latest u-turn from Theresa May’s government which has been pursuing a relentless and ideologically driven onslaught against the most vulnerable in our society.

“The climb-down is also further vindication of Sinn Féin’s robust opposition to the Tory austerity agenda and we will be closely scrutinising the detail of this announcement when details are revealed next week.”

Real health transformation requires partnership working and investment – Logue

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Councillor Patricia Logue has said that real transformation of the health service requires genuine partnership working and additional investment.

Speaking after the release of a 12 month progress report on the Delivering Together plan Patricia Logue said: patricia-logue221-790x1024

“It is important that work continues on the transformation plan set out by Michelle O’Neill when Minister for health.

“A number of commitments have been delivered and clearly preparatory and enabling work is ongoing.

“Transformation must be based firmly on the principle of working in partnership with those who use, and those who deliver, health and social care services.

“It must also be underpinned by sufficient additional funding as identified by Michelle O’Neill from the outset.

“Unfortunately, the recent flawed consultation process on Trust cuts to health and social care services undermined the principle of partnership outlined in the Delivering Together plan.

“Cuts to services contradict the recognition that additional funding is needed to make transformation possible.”

Academic freedom must be protected – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA said today that academic freedom must be protected.

Responding to reports that a Tory MP had written to all universities, including those in the north, to request information regarding teaching on Brexit including details of lecturers and syllabuses, she said:karen-mullan

“This is a most concerning development and an unjustifiable abuse of position. Regardless of the reason, the disconcerting undertones cannot be discounted.

“Universities equip individuals with information and the ability to critically understand. Fundamentally they are places where the pursuit of knowledge and free-thinking are encouraged. Academic freedom and freedom of enquiry/research are fundamental values, which must be protected.

“Freedom of the Arts and Science are protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights based upon the right to freedom of thought and expression. Curtailment due to unjustified oversight is unthinkable.

“Brexit has had, and will continue to have, serious and negative implications for our universities and research sector. Research programmes in particular rely upon the ability to collaborate and attract staff and students from across the EU and further afield.

“This is already being impacted upon, with surveys showing many EU staff considering leaving and anecdotal evidence that EU partners are less likely to partner with institutions here.

“The ability to inform, discuss and evaluate all of the reasons for, and consequences of, Brexit is vital to understanding and to planning for the future.

“Our universities must continue to be places which open minds and build links across the world, where freedom of thought and expression are upheld.”

Kelly calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has called for an immediate halt on the implementation of Universal Credit.

He said:Councillor Colly Kelly

“The implementation of Universal Credit should be halted immediately.

Universal Credit is a policy that is riddled with faults, complications and delays. It is a policy that was supposedly designed to simplify the benefits system but has actually caused more hardship and deepened poverty.

The reality is that Universal Credit is an instrument of the Tory war on the most vulnerable in our society.

In the north we have provided a support package that is not available elsewhere, but this can only mitigate Tory cuts. The only answer to the problems associated with Universal Credit is to end Tory austerity and their ideologically driven assault on our public services.”

No place for discrimination in the workplace -McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has said that all citizens should be able to work free from discrimination or harassment.

She was speaking after the Fair Employment Tribunal awarded a woman £20,736 after finding she was being discriminated against, harassed and victimised on the grounds of her religious belief or political opinion and constructively unfairly dismissed.

She said:final-psmckinght-copy-copy

“It is unacceptable that in 2017 any worker would feel under threat or intimidated in their working environment and atmosphere because of his or her religious belief or political opinion.

“The fight for full recognition and equality of all citizens to work free from discrimination or harassment is a critical rights issue for our society.

“Sinn Féin is committed to reducing discrimination and inequality in the workplace.

“We remain committed to equal rights for all.

“This decision is welcome for the claimant, but should also encourage those affected that discrimination can and will be tackled at every turn.”

McCallion calls on British Government to release secret Brexit reports

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called on the British Government to release dozens of reports compiled on the economic impact of Brexit, then subsequently hidden from the public.

The Foyle MP said:dkudxumwaaeu2aw

“The British Government has been keeping both the public and their elected representatives in the dark about the disastrous impact Brexit would cause.

“By concealing reports on the economic impact of Brexit they are engaging in deliberate deceit.

“Brexit would cause massive social and economic damage on the island of Ireland. It is a source of deep concern that the Tories are now hiding crucial information on the potential consequences of Brexit not only from their own people but from the people of Ireland also.”

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Anderson urges British and Irish governments to apply for EU Solidarity Fund

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has again called on the British and Irish governments to apply for access to the EU Solidarity Fund to help repair flood damage.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.


“Following severe flooding across parts of Ireland, particularly rural areas, earlier this year, I visited farmers in Tyrone to see at first hand the damage caused by the flood waters.
“I then wrote, along with my fellow MEP Matt Carthy, to EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, requesting additional help for farmers and enquiring about the possibility of accessing the EU Solidarity Fund, which was set up for such eventualities.
“Commissioner Hogan has now responded saying he would be happy to offer support and advice if the competent authorities, in this case the member states, make an application to access the fund.
“I would again reiterate my call on both the British and Irish governments to apply to access this fund as a matter of urgency.

“Our farmers, agricultural producers and rural communities are still counting the costs of the recent flooding and need supported in order to get back on their feet again.” Ends/Críoch

SF welcomes news of the return home of Ibrahim Halawa

Derry Sinn Féin Youth, Chairperson – Caolán McGinley has welcomed news that Ibrahim Halawa has returned to Dublin after being illegally detained for four years in Egypt.

He said :f2

“We are very glad that Ibrahim Halawa has returned home safely after four years of his illegal imprisonment in Egypt.

“Due to the conditions Ibrahim was detained in, his mental and physical health has suffered greatly, so it is important that he is given all support necessary to rebuild his life.

“We extend a céad mile fáilte abhaile to Ibrahim and wish him well as he returns to his family and friends.”

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Processes on schedule for January commencement of A5 -McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed confirmation from the Department of Infrastructure that work will begin on the construction of the Newbuildings to Strabane section of the A5 this January.

The Foyle MP said:dkudxumwaaeu2aw

“I very much welcome the confirmation from the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, which was in response to an update we requested from him on October 5th.

“The Department is now moving ahead at pace; the letter provides a definitive timeline for the completion of all outstanding statutory processes between now and Christmas to allow work to commence on the Newbuildings to Strabane section of the A5 this coming January.

“As standard in departmental responses on the A5, it contains the caveat about potential further delay if any further legal challenge arises.

“The development of A5 is not only vital to improve road safety but is crucial to our economic and social future and any such challenge at this stage would represent a gross attempt to subvert the will and interests of people of this region.

“Sinn Féin ensured that the A5 was a key Programme for Government Priority, that £229 million was committed to the A5 as part of the Fresh Start Agreement (including the re-instatement of €75m for the Irish government), and we are continuing to work for the necessary finance to be secured for the completion of the entire A5 project scheme.

“As part of this, my party wrote to Irish Government Transport Minister Shane Ross TD last week requesting a meeting to discuss how the Irish government is planning to finally honour the full financial commitment it made as part of the St Andrew’s Agreement (2006) to jointly co-fund the construction of the A5 along with the Assembly Executive.”

‘No child should go hungry’ – Mullan

No child should go hungry as a result of technical changes, which threaten free school meal entitlement,Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.karen-mullan

The party’s education spokesperson said Sinn Féin are currently seeking mitigation measures to protect children who may lose their entitlement.

Karen Mullan commented: “Sinn Féin has already called for a full equality assessment after initial screening found that 2,000 children may no longer be eligible for free school meals due to a technical amendment to the eligibility criteria.

“This support is vital for disadvantaged children and it would be entirely unacceptable if any child was to go hungry because of a technical change.

“We have had a number of positive engagements with both the Department and the Education Authority and I believe there is a genuine will to try and find a solution to this issue.

“We will continue to work closely with education officials over the coming days and weeks to ensure that suitable mitigations are put in place to protect these entitlements and ensure no child loses out.”

Sinn Féin repeat call for end to Maghaberry strip searches

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney has reiterated calls for an end to strip searching in Maghaberry Prison after a judge warned it may amount to ‘inhuman and degrading’ treatment.

raymond mccartney

raymond mccartney

The Foyle MLA was speaking after a Dublin High Court judge has delayed extradition a man facing charges in relation to the death of prison officer David Black. Judge Aileen Donnelly said she was satisfied Damien McLaughlin could ‘inhuman and degrading conditions’ in Maghaberry.

Raymond McCartney said:

“The observation made by Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly in the extradition case against Damien McLaughlin should prompt the Prison Service and the Department of Justice to stop the practice of strip searching and find a technological alternative. The judge was very clear in her concerns around the strip searching procedures which she warned presented a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment.

“The need for an end to strip searching was one of the key findings and recommendations of the Ann Owers Prison Review report six years ago.

“This ruling by the judge outlines that strip searching is out of step with any semblance of human rights standards necessary in 2017 and should be ended immediately.”

Campbell slams dumping on the Glassagh Road

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has slammed those behind dumping on the Glassagh Road at the back of Creggan

He said kevin

“I was contacted by residents who were furious at the amount of rubbish that has been dumped on the Glassagh Road.

I and another community activist went to the area and were shocked to see the amount of materials and rubbish dumped at the side of the road.

This rubbish must have been transported to the area in a lorry or a van.

I would appeal to people to desist from this practice immediately and have a bit of respect for the local community and the environment.

Creggan is not a dumping ground and this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”.

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Transformation of the Brandywell -McCartney

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney speaking after he led a party delegation of Karen Mullan MLA and local Councillor Patricia Logue on visit to the Brandywell Stadium to view progress on the work at the Stadium, dog track and new state of the art play park facilities.

Raymond McCartney said “It’s amazing to see the transformation of this site.Raymond Brandywell Head shot

I think when people see it coming to fruition they will get a full sense of the intentions of Derry City and Strabane District Council backed up with a big commitment from the Social Investment Fund (ISF)to this area, to this stadium. We hope with the increased seating capacity it will be a boost to the local football club and obviously the greyhound fraternity. And also the opening of a state of the art play park for the children of this area.

It was great to see the progress on all three projects gather pace. Once this stage of the work is completed it will bring these facilities into the 21st Century and act as a catalyst for these sports in our city for generations to come.

We are very pleased at the role we have played in this over the years .Along the way there was naysayers, we always said keep focused it can be delivered and when you come and visit the site you can clearly see we are on the cusp of delivery.

I look forward to seeing it when it opens and the club flourish now they are in Europe next year.

Complaints of dog fouling at one of the city’s newest developments -Duffy

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has appealed for dog owners to be more responsible following complaints of dog fouling in the Glenabbey development.

Councillor Duffy said 3869241327

“The problem of dog fouling has been raised regarding Glenabbey, with residents concerned at the numbers of dogs roaming freely around the estate, who are then free to foul on footpaths and around the children’s play park.

As well as the health issues associated with dog dirt it is also unsightly and causing a hazard to local families, many with young children.

I have been in contact with council to request the installation of dog waste bins and I have also been in touch with the dog warden to ask that some work be carried out to encourage responsible pet ownership in the area.

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McCallion to convene multi-agency meeting on city centre safety

McCallion to convene multi-agency meeting on city centre safety

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion will convene a multi-agency meeting next week to discuss safety in Derry city centre.

The Foyle MP said; dm2krc5x4aad4hf

“I will be convening a meeting next week bringing together a range of agencies and partners to discuss safety in Derry city centre, particularly at night time.

“This has come about as a result of discussions and engagements in recent weeks.

“While crime rates have been falling in the city centre, unfortunately we have seen a number of incidents lately which need addressed.

“I have contacted a range of agencies to convene a meeting to discuss the best way to ensure the city centre is as safe as possible for everyone.

“This includes the PSNI, City Centre Initiative, Community Safety Wardens, bar owners, taxi operators, and those involved in our night time economy as well as civic representatives and licensing officers from Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“That meeting will now take place next week as part of on ongoing process of addressing issues in the city centre.

“We have a growing night-time economy in Derry and it is important that we encourage that and allow it to grow in a way that puts the safety of the public first.

“We want people to be able to enjoy all that the city has to offer in a safe manner and that can be achieved through creative thinking and partnership working.” Ends/Críoch

More temporary accommodation needed in Derry City –Hassan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has called on private landlords in the city to offer their empty properties to the Housing Executive for use as temporary accommodation for the many people who are homeless in the city.

Cllr, Hassan said

tony hassan

tony hassan

Over the next nine months there will not be as many new social homes ready for allocation in the city and temporary accommodation is needed for the many family’s who will be presenting themselves as homeless. There are over 400 families at present in temporary accommodation and the need for more temporary accommodation is essential.

When a family presents themselves as homeless the Housing Executive (H.E) has a duty to get accommodation for them. If a house is not available then the H.E has to find temporary accommodation for that family.

The housing situation in the city is the worse I have seen since the early 1970s. At that time the Housing Executive borrowed millions from central government to build thousands of socials homes in the north. I believe this needs to happen again.

Sinn Féin has consistently argued for a radical shake-up of social housing. We believe that all housing functions should be transferred from the Department of Community’s to the Housing Executive. Despite considerable problems with the Housing Executive, the demise of that body has brought us to the situation that we find ourselves in today.

ENDS.

Attacks on Madams Bank Road will lead to loss of life – McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has said lives will be lost if attacking cars on the Madams Bank Road doesn’t stop.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

She was commenting after a number of cars were attacked with stones last night (Wednesday).

She said “I was contacted by a very upset Taxi Driver who had his car attacked on the Madams Bank Road last night.

The windscreen in the car was smashed and the driver was left badly shaken.

The perpetrators who were behind this attack made good their escape.

With these attacks it’s only a matter of time before someone loses control of a car on this road and we have fatalities.

If anyone knows who is behind these attacks I would appeal for them to contact the police .Lives are being put at risk here and those responsible need to be before the courts.

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McCartney welcomes progress on DAERA headquarters

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed an announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that an initial 240 civil servants will relocate to new headquarters in Ballykelly by March 2018.

MLA Raymond McCartney

MLA Raymond McCartney

The Foyle MLA said:

“News that 240 staff members will move to the £20m facility in the first phase of relocation is to be welcomed.

“The move by my party leader Michelle O’Neill as former Agriculture Minister to decentralise the DARD headquarters to Ballykelly was a positive step for the North West and employment in the area.”

Ends

“Youths creating mayhem in their own community” –Campbell

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has condemned a spate of anti-community behaviour around Central Drive and the Creggan shops over the last number of days.

Councillor Campbell said:kevin-campbell

“There had been a number of incidents since last Sunday night which has left a lot of residents very angry. On Sunday night youths began throwing pieces of plaster board at passing cars on Central Drive almost causing an accident, they then began throwing the plaster board all over the shops leaving an awful mess which residents were disgusted with.

“The same group of youths then turned their attention to the back lane between Central Drive and Rinmore Drive setting fire to four wheelie bins. The back lane in question is narrow and the four bins were placed together against a resident’s back wall close to the oil tank and set alight. The residents tried to put the fire out themselves, but it was too intense and were forced to call the Fire Brigade to deal with it.

“People should not have to put up with this type of behaviour. A number of properties are having major renovation work done to their homes by Housing Executive and this work has been long overdue. The tenants have been decanted and some youths in the area are using the work site as a stomping ground and creating mayhem in their own community.

“I am directly appealing to these youths to desist from this negative activity immediately, this is your own community you are destroying. I am also appealing to parents to take responsibility and be aware where your children are at”.

DUP propping up Tory austerity – Mullan

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan, has called on the DUP to end its support for a Tory government wedded to welfare cuts.

Karen Mullan said:

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“The implementation of Universal Credit should be halted immediately.

“The DUP should withdraw their support for a Tory government wedded to austerity and welfare cuts.

“Having already given the Tory government a blank cheque on Brexit, and voting to maintain the public sector pay cap, by propping up this Tory government the DUP are facilitating austerity and attacks on society’s most vulnerable.

“Universal Credit is a policy that is riddled with faults, complications and delays. It is a policy that was supposedly designed to simplify the benefits system but in reality has caused more hardship and deepened poverty.

“There is growing cross-party concerns over Universal Credit including from senior Tories and former Prime Minister John Major who has called for a review of this system.

“The reality is that Universal Credit is an instrument of the Tory assault on the most vulnerable in our society.

“The only answer to the problems associated with Universal Credit is to end Tory austerity and their ideologically driven attacks on our public services.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Residents erect road safety signs in Grangemore

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has supported residents in the Grangemore, Ardgrange housing developments who this week erected road safety signs in the area.

colly kelly

colly kelly

Councillor Kelly said “These are two very large developments with several hundred homes, so it always very busy with traffic anytime of the day or night.

I would get regular requests from residents for the implementation of more traffic safety measures in the area.

Residents I have spoken to are greatly concerned about this they have told me that they were fed up waiting on safety signs so they on bought ones themselves and have erected them this week. This may be not ideal but if it saves one life then it’s worth it.

I would urge motorists to slow down whilst travelling through the area and to adhere to the speed limits in place in a built up.

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Poverty can and must be eradicated – Mullan

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan speaking on UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty,has said poverty is the result of policy choices, and can be eliminated.

She said

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

“I fully support the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Times like this force us to reflect on the causes of poverty, and the need to help eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries.

“Today is also an opportunity to talk about the stubborn rates of poverty and destitution which blight Irish society.

“Decades of neglect and relentless Tory austerity in the north have locked thousands of citizens into a vicious poverty cycle. As a society we all suffer when we condemn fellow citizens to a life of destitution.

“Poverty is the result of policy choices; it is a human-made social disease which must be eradicated. Inequality continues to soar as governments place the profits of elites and the super-rich ahead of the most vulnerable in our society.

“Those interested in meaningful change must stand up to a rotten economic system that has left so many behind, and fight for a better society founded on equality, solidarity and universal rights.

Campbell welcomes graphic fireworks warning billboard

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell has welcomed the launch of a new billboard at Free Derry Wall this week by Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) highlighting the dangers of fireworks.

Councillor Campbell saidimg_5116

“This billboard graphically shows the dangers of fireworks and the serious life changing injuries that they can cause.

A lot of positive work has been done in Derry over the last number of years to deal with the issue of selling illegal fireworks. And the availability of these dangerous items has been reduced. But sadly there are those out there who have no regard for the local community and continue to be involved in this illegal trade.

I call on those who are engaged in this type of activity to stop and reflect on how their actions can cause serious injuries and harm. And urge anyone who has information to bring it forward to the police and those selling the fireworks need to be brought before the courts.

Ends

Anderson condemns arrest of Catalan independence campaigners

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has condemned the arrests of prominent Catalan independence campaigners.

Martina Anderson said:

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

“The arrests of prominent Catalan independence referendum activists Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart was wrong and must be condemned.

“The world saw the oppression carried out by the Spanish police during the voting on the referendum and this is yet another attack on the democratic process and a further attempt to silence the will of the people.

“These activists should be released immediately and all charges dropped against others who were simply standing up for their democratic rights.

“The international community have a role to play in standing up for the interests of the Catalan people, condemning these arrests and ensuring the result of the referendum is respected.” Ends/Críoch

Taoiseach should be defending GFA right to majority vote’- McCartney

The overwhelming majority of people on this island support Irish reunification. The Irish Government should reflect that and defend the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, including the right of a majority to vote for a United Ireland, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.raymond-mccartney2

He was speaking after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the BBC that he wouldn’t like to see constitutional change ‘on a 50% plus one basis’.

Raymond McCartney commented: “The Good Friday Agreement is absolutely clear in enshrining the right of the Irish people to self-determination through referenda, north and south.

“If a simple majority vote in favour of reunification, both governments are then obliged to legislate for it.

“The Good Friday Agreement is the legal and internationally-biding position.

“There is an onus on the Irish government to plan for unity. To become a persuader for unity. To build the maximum agreement and to secure and win a referendum on unity.

“As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Taoiseach should be seeking to defend the agreement in all its parts, not seeking to undermine it.”

McKnight criticises the jailing of Catalan civil society activists

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has expressed her deep concern at the jailing of two Catalan civil society activists by the Spanish High Court.

Caoimhe McKnight

Caoimhe McKnight

The head of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, and the head of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, are on trial over sedition charges. They were jailed without bail on Monday night and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

She said:

“The ANC and Òmnium Cultural are the two main pro-independence civil society organisations in Catalonia. These popular organisations have been central to the massive peaceful demonstrations in favour of an independence referendum that we have seen emerge in Catalonia in recent years.

“They were arrested on sedition charges over their alleged role in peaceful protests in the build up to the 1 October independence referendum and on the day of the vote. Under Spanish criminal law, a sedition conviction can carry jail sentences of between 4 and 15 years.

“I am deeply concerned that the Spanish High Court has jailed these civil society activists and that they are being prosecuted for organising peaceful demonstrations. Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart should be released immediately.

“The Spanish State’s response to the Catalan referendum has been very worrying to date. The Spanish Government should urgently take up the Catalan Government’s offer of internationally mediated negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to their differences through dialogue.”

Kelly urges road users in NW to remain cautious

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has urged road users to exercise caution and remain vigilant as the clean-up operation continues after Storm Ophelia.

colly kelly

colly kelly

He said:

“The clean-up work to clear roads of debris has started. I urge all road users in Derry and Donegal to take extra care of loose debris while this work continues and to be mindful that further tree falls are possible.

“Road users should reduce their speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front and always wear their seatbelt.

“We have been assured that the Department will continue to work with other response agencies and local government as part of the multi-agency response as repair and clean-up work begins.”

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University agrees to work with agencies to address flooding at at Dunvale-Cooper

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed confirmation from the Univeristy of Ulster (UU) at Magee that they are work to find a solution over drainage issues which affected homes in Dunvale Park following flooding there in recent months.mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

Councillor Cooper said “Homes in Dunvale Park bordering the playing fields at the University of Ulster site on the Duncreggan Road were affected by the recent floods.

Residents contacted me with their concerns and fears and asked if I could see what could be done to prevent flooding around their homes.

I have spoken with the University and outlined the concerns of local residents in regards to future flooding.

I am pleased to say officials at the UU have taken those concerns on board and are working to find a permanent solution as a matter of urgency. This will involve installation of a new drainage system and has also involved NI Water and the Rivers Agency working to ensure there are no blockages in their water lines running through the site. Taken in tandem these measures should remove any ongoing issues and reassure local residents of the Dunvale Park area’

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McCallion attends European Citizens Prize Awards ceremony in Brussels

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion travelled to Brussels this week for the European Citizens Prize Awards ceremony at which Border Communities Against Brexit were honoured.

Speaking from the European Parliament, Elisha McCallion commended the tireless efforts of the citizen campaign:dl290hzxkaekgbs

“I want to sincerely thank Border Communities Against Brexit for their ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the disastrous impact of Brexit in Ireland.

“To be awarded the European Citizens Prize for this work is a remarkable achievement.

“I would call on everyone to get involved in civic campaigns of this kind to draw the attention of Europe, and the world, to the economic and social challenges Brexit has imposed on Ireland.

“While in Brussels, Sinn Féin MPs engaged in a series of meetings with European officials and the Constitutional Affairs Committee to raise the impact of Brexit on Ireland.

“We will continue to make the case for Designated Special Status for the north within the EU.”

Cooper welcomes news on major Halloween family event

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that children up to the age of 5 will get free admission to a major children’s event which will be held in the Foyle Arena as part of the councils 2017 Halloween programme. He said he hoped the revised pricing structure, which he proposed at the councils Business & Culture Committee this week, would make the event much more affordable to lower income families.20171013_110028

The Invasions show is planned for later this month at the Foyle Arena.

Councillor Cooper said “At the committee this week details were released about the Invasions/Heroes and Legends Show which will held in the Foyle Arena on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October. From Sinn Feins perspective the pricing model of £9.50 per adult and £35 for a family ticket would have proved unaffordable for many lower income families. This led to me proposing that the pricing structure be revisited to see what options were available to make it more accessible.

As a direct result the company who will deliver the event have agreed with council to raise the free admission age barrier from 3 years old to 5 years old. Given the nature of the event and the characters who will be appearing, I am confident that this will allow many more families with young children to be able to afford to attend.

The company have also agreed to run multiple competitions for family tickets online and on Saturday October 21st there will be a free meet and greet with key performers from the show, Bumble bee, Optimus Prime and others – this will be open to all and held in the Guildhall’s Main Hall which can meet up to 1000 people. This will be free of charge and should make the event accessible.

I would like to express my gratitude to the company and the council officers involved for their work in bringing these new proposals forward and look forward to a massive level of interest in both this event and all the council events being held this Halloween”

Ends

‘Schools to close again tomorrow’ – Mullan

All schools in Ireland have been advised to close again tomorrow, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said. dcws6dwxgaeofpt

The Foyle MLA commented: “Following a similar decision taken in the South, the Department of Education have confirmed to me that all schools in the North have now been issued with advice to remain closed again tomorrow.

“Although the weather is expected to have improved by then, there is a concern that power shortages and potential damage to buildings and transport networks could impact on accessibility and safety tomorrow.

“In those circumstances it is sensible to be cautious and to take the decision as early as possible to allow parents to make necessary arrangements.”

ENDS/CRIOCH

‘Schools should show leadership and end selection’ – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan MLA has urged schools which still use transfer tests to show leadership and end them altogether.image01-copy

The Foyle MLA was speaking after one of the examination bodies which run the tests confirmed they could not accommodate all the children who have applied this year.

“School transfer tests continue to drive educational inequality and are a barrier to parental choice,” Karen Mullan commented.

“Schools should show leadership and end the use of transfer tests in favour of building a fully inclusive and non-selective education system for the betterment of all our young people.

“The late Martin McGuinness as Education Minister showed great leadership in abolishing the 11 plus to establish a transfer system based upon parental choice.

“Despite this, many schools continued to select and reject children based on an unregulated test system.

“That needs to end because the evidence is overwhelming that academic selection and rejection is damaging for children and damaging for the education system.

“This has been confirmed yet again in the latest Executive Office report Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation (ILiAD) which concluded that transfer tests exacerbate educational inequalities and damage the confidence and self-esteem of children.”

Redevelopment of the Ringfort Road to assist in curbing anti-community activity -McGinley

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has highlighted the need for a redevelopment of the Ringfort Road to assist in curbing anti-community activity in this area of Hazelbank.????????????????????????????????????

Cllr. McGinley said: “I have been in contact with a number of agencies including the Housing Executive and Street Lighting to identify measures which may help to minimise the number of anti-community incidents which are taking place on the Ringfort Road.

Young people are using the cover of darkness and the inadequate lighting in place to stone motorists travelling along the road and a number of vehicles, including buses, have been damaged. Indeed, it is only through good fortune that serious injury has been avoided.

This issue has been raised on a number of occasions at neighbourhood safety meetings and the PSNI, Community Restorative Justice and local youth workers have been working to eradicate these incidents.

I have now requested site meetings with Street Lighting officials to pursue additional illumination and also with the Housing Executive to examine if hedges and trees can be cut back to restrict hiding places.

There are exciting plans in place for a new BHCP community centre in this area which will bring much needed facilities but in the short term other measures are required to ensure the Ringfort Road is a safe place for residents and drivers.”

O’Neill raises concerns over Hurricane Ophelia

Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has spoken to the interim head of the civil service and Chair of the Civil Contingencies Group, David Sterling, regarding Hurricane Ophelia in order to be briefed on the levels of preparedness to keep people safe following severe weather warnings.

Ms O’Neill said:

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

“I have talked to the interim Head of the Civil Service regarding the impact that Hurricane Ophelia may have and on the measures and precautions needed to mitigate against the severe weather in the interests of public safety including school closures tomorrow which have now been announced by the Department for Education.

“People should keep informed about the weather and act to protect yourself and your home from the effects of flooding and high winds, and importantly to heed safety warnings.”

Foyle MP support for Postal Workers

Sinn Fein Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has voiced her support for postal workers ahead of a two-day strike next week.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The Foyle MP commented: “Sinn Féin fully supports the Communication Workers Union members who plan to embark on 48-hour industrial action from October 19th.

“The union has an overwhelming mandate to pursue this action following an 89% vote in favour of it. Therefore, it is very concerning that management have warned they may pursue High Court action to prevent the strike going ahead.

“They should respect the right of workers to engage in mandated legal action in pursuit of legitimate goals. In this case, the postal workers are opposing changes to their pension scheme which will see members losing up to a third of their retirement benefits.

“In those circumstances, and even if there is some temporary disruption to services, I am sure the vast majority of the public will support the postal workers in this action.”

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity to talk – McCallion

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity for parents and guardians, family and our society to raise awareness of those bereaved by the loss of a child, Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has said.

elisha mccallion

elisha mccallion

The week-long initiative encourages bereaved parents to reach out, and for all to identify possible policy measures relating to troubled pregnancies and baby loss.

The Foyle MP said:

“We all know someone affected by this issue, as families or friends of those who have lost a prematurely lost a child.

“Baby Loss Awareness Week gives us all an opportunity to reach out to loved ones and to talk about bereavement.

“As public representatives, we also have a responsibility to ensure the necessary support is in place for affected families, which may serve as some comfort in a time of need.”

Adams welcomes Fatah and Hamas agreement

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has warmly welcomed the announcement this morning of an agreement between the two leading Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah who have been involved in reconciliation talks in Cairo.

an phoblacht

an phoblacht

Gerry Adams TD said:

“I want to extend my solidarity and congratulations to Hamas and Fatah on successfully reaching an historic agreement on a process to end the political divisions between them.

“This deal between Hamas and Fatah creates the potential for real progress in the efforts to rekindle the moribund Middle East peace process.

“I have travelled to the region several times in recent years and have met with both the leaders of Fatah and Hamas. I understand the challenges and difficulties they face and I wish them well in their efforts.

“I would urge the International Community to speedily grasp this opportunity and encourage all sides to open up a renewed dialogue to making progress in the peace process.”

Sinn Féin welcome £50 million for Health and Education

Sinn Féin has welcomed a £50 million cash injection for the health and education services but added that it is confirmation of the ‘unnecessary and divisive’ nature of the cuts consultation carried out by the Health Trusts.
img_4907

Locally it welcomed the news that William Street and Rectory Field residential homes will not be forced to merge.

“Sinn Féin has argued for some time that there were centrally-held resources available which could be released to address some of the pressures on health,” Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said

“We welcome the fact that this has now happened but it also again opens up the question as to why the consultation on proposed cuts of £70 million was carried out in the way that it was.

“It has always been our view that these cuts were unnecessary and the consultation was a cynical exercise which only succeeded in creating division and concern within the wider community.

“Locally the news that William Street and Rectory Field residential homes will not have to merge will be welcomed by the residents, staff and relatives of those who live at the two homes. There was great concern in the city that these homes would have been forced to merge.

“A further £10 million has been allocated to the Department of Education and, in light of that, Sinn Féin reiterates our call for the cut to the school’s sports development grant to be reversed immediately.”

Karen Mullan added: “Today’s announcement will go some way to redressing the immediate pressures on our public services but we are still facing huge longer-term shortfalls as a result of Tory/DUP austerity cuts to the Block Grant and Sinn Féin will continue to rigorously oppose this assault on public services and the most vulnerable in society.”

ENDS/CRÍOCH

Templemore Sports Complex major work moves step closer-McKnight

Sinn Féin Councillor Caoimhe McKnight has welcomed the news that DCSDC has nominated a consultant team to undertake and manage the technical design and construction of Templemore & Strabane Leisure Facilities Projects.

Clr Caoimhe McKnight saidcomplex-photo-1

“Sinn Féin have been lobbying Council for a number of years now to have an extensive redevelopment and upgrading of the Templemore Sports Complex.

“I am delighted that Derry City and Strabane District Council has nominated a consultant team to undertake and manage the technical design and construction of Templemore & Strabane Leisure Facilities Projects.

“Currently the overall cost to complete the construction of the facilities is estimated to be in the region of £50m.

“Over the next few years I believe that we will see one of the most extensive developments at the Complex that has been witnessed in this City.

MP to raise case of Park Avenue Post Office

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Rosemount area Mickey Cooper has revealed that the MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion along with Karen Mullan MLA is to meet with representatives from Royal Mail over the future of Park Ave Post Office.mickey-cooper-head-shot-copy

Councillor Cooper said “Over the past few weeks I have received a number of concerns from local residents about the future of Park Avenue Post Office.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has written to Royal Mail outlining concerns about the long term future of a Post Office service in the Rosemount area and requested an urgent meeting with officials.

Post offices play a vital and necessary role in local communities in terms of services and amenities and provide much needed employment.

It’s vital that this service is maintained in the long term because everyone knows once a service is lost or downgraded it very hard to get it back again.

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Update on the A6 timeline for NW

Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Karen Mullan MLA have held a meeting with officials from the Department of Infrastructure to get an update on the progression of the A6.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Speaking after the meeting Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said

“It was important to get the update from the Department of Infrastructure on the timeline of A6.This is a key infrastructural project linking the North West to Belfast and further afield and will significantly reduce the journey time when completed.

Anyone who travels regularly on this road will know that work is well underway on the section around Toome but we needed to get as much detail as possible right across such a large scale project. Officials from the Department told us that the first section from the Toome roundabout to Randalstown will be ready early 2019, and the second part by 2021.

The section from Derry to Dungiven,Dungiven Bypass is out to tender with the project starting in the spring of 2018, with completion in 2022.

We stressed the need for the inclusion of social clauses and that local contractors and sub-contractors are used in the construction of the A6 and we were pleased to learn that they have taken on a number of young apprentices.

We look forward to the completion of this project and its benefits for Derry and the wider North West.

McCallion says #HelloYellow on World Mental Health Day

This World Mental Health Day Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion is saying #HelloYellow to show young people they’re not alone when it comes to their mental health.dkudxumwaaeu2aw

YoungMinds, a leading children and young people’s mental health charity, is encouraging communities, schools and offices to wear something yellow this World Mental Health Day (10th October).

The charity is also hoping to inspire more than 10,000 mental health messages on the day, which will take the form of drawings, advice or inspirational quotes, and to raise thousands of pounds to support its work.

This year Elisha McCallion is joining over 1,000 schools and colleges, as well as hundreds of businesses, to raise awareness about young people’s mental health within their constituency.

Recent research shows the scale of mental health problems affecting young people. According to the Millennium Cohort Study, published in September, almost a quarter of girls and one in ten boys report symptoms of depression at the age of 14.

Elisha McCallion MP said

“At the moment three children in every classroom will be struggling with a mental health problem. I’m acutely aware what a big issue children and young people’s mental health is for them and their families, which is why I’ll be wearing yellow to support YoungMinds this World Mental Health Day”.

Diane Gault, Director of Fundraising at YoungMinds, said:

“We know that young people growing up today face a huge range of pressures. When these pressures become overwhelming, it can be an incredibly isolating experience, and the smallest gesture of support can make a huge difference.

“#HelloYellow will be a positive and fun way for people to share the message that it’s okay to reach out for help. By wearing yellow, people can show their support, and raise money at the same time.”

‘Exam regrading should be accessible to all pupils’ -Mullan

The exams re-marking process should be made accessible to all families in order to restore confidence in the process, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan has said.dcws6dwxgaeofpt

The Foyle MLA was speaking after a controversy over marking standards, prompted the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to reopen the re-marking process for AS and GCSE Level English literature.

“This is a welcome move from CCEA which will hopefully help restore confidence in the examinations process by enabling re-assessments for students who feel they were inaccurately marked,” she commented.

“I would also call on schools to work with CCEA to ensure there is no financial barrier to pupils from low-income families accessing this service.

“This is important because if the cost of a re-mark is beyond the means of a low-income family then it doesn’t matter how long the process is open for because they will never be able to access it.

“This is an obvious inequality in the system and I would urge all the examining boards operating here along with schools and the Education Authority to address it in the longer-term by ensuring the process is free of charge to pupils with free school meals entitlement.”

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