Post Date :
Mon 29 Jan 2018 10:13 AM
Motorist & Passengers Kept Under Siege by "Boy Racing" Antics

Newry, Mourne & Down Sinn Féin Councillor Liz Kimmins has said that the antics of "boy racers" in the Killeen area are causing grave concerns within the local community and she has appealed for a coordinated effort by the PSNI and Garda to tackle the problem.
The local Sinn Féin Councillor explained,
"The drivers are using the former Customs Post on the old Newry to Dundalk Road at Carrickarnon as a meeting place, effectively closing off the public road and preventing local traffic from passing.
I was recently contacted by a motorist & passengers caught up in these activities. They were effectively kept ‘under siege’ by the antics of boy racers converging in the area to carry out dangerous stunts and driving manoeuvres for the entertainment of dozens of on-lookers. These ‘cruising’ activities have over time mushroomed from small beginnings into a major organised anti-social event, with websites dedicated to arranging the meetings and displaying videos and photographs of the night’s activities.  
Anyone who is unfortunate enough to unwittingly drive into one of these meetings will be intimidated to either stop and wait to be allowed to pass, or to turn back and find an alternative route to their destination.”
Her colleague Newry & Armagh MLA Megan Fearon voicing her concerns about the issue described the situation "as a fatality waiting to happen".
"Apart from the obvious danger involved, the noise level of screeching tyres has become unbearable for local residents and is having a detrimental effect on nearby businesses. 
This type of reckless behaviour has become a fatality waiting to happen. It is a social menace. 

The local Community is sick of it and demands that those who enforce the law, the PSNI and the Garda work together to challenge those involved in the dangerous anti-social practice. I will raise my concerns with both Agencies.  

Post Date :
Fri 26 Jan 2018 09:23 AM
Councillor Raises Dromintee & Meigh Road Defect Concerns with Roads Service

Slieve Gullion Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Larkin has met Road's Service Department of Infrastructure Officers at Dromintee and Jonesborough to highlight the deterioration of roads in the area. 

The local Councillor commented
"I accompanied a Roads Service Engineer around the area to view local roads and access the defects on them. Following the recent cold weather, the condition of roads in the area has deteriorated rapidly. I realise that this is replicated across not only our Council district but also across the north. However, my first concern is for the safety and well-being of the citizens of the area I represent and of those who reside within our district. We viewed potholes which were on the verge of becoming trenches and photographed all defects along our roads. Every pothole and drainage issue has been recorded and reported to the Department. This is the first stage of the process to ensure all defects are repaired".
He continued 
"One of the most pressing defects occurred outside Meigh on the Dromintee Road close to the junction with the Aghadavoyle Road. In mid-December the road surface was stripped back after a hard frost. My colleague Megan Fearon MLA reported this the following day to the department with photographs attached. I also reported this at the time. This stretch of road has the national speed limit along it. Drivers were swerving to avoid the crumbling road surface and this was presenting a danger to oncoming traffic. With the Christmas break looming, the urgency of the matter was obvious however the Department failed to act. 
Following the extreme weather at New Year myself and others again contacted the Department to express concerns as the problem worsened. I am aware that the engineer issued a work card for the repair at this time however it was never carried out.  With this knowledge I contacted the engineer directly and requested a site meeting. On visiting the site, we measured a defect which covered an area of 7 metres by 2 metres. The engineer was shocked that the repairs hadn't been carried out as per the work card".
The Sinn Féin elected representative concluded 
"Following the site visits in the area I secured a commitment from the engineer that the defect at the Dromintee Road would be tended to immediately. True to his word, two days later staff from the Department arrived and repaired the road. The community is thankful for this work being carried out however much more needs to be done and quickly before serious injury is caused to road users. I will continue to lobby and cajole to ensure our roads are repaired within the tightest timeframe possible. Anyone who knows of a defect can contact me to report it and I will log the defect and chase the Department on it." 
Cllr Micky Larkin can be contacted at 07801 247623 to discuss this issue 
Photo Caption; Councillor Mickey Larkin with Roads Engineer at Dromintee Road, Meigh.

Post Date :
Fri 26 Jan 2018 09:17 AM
Ireland won’t be Britain’s Nuclear Dumping Ground - Boylan

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Energy, Environment and Climate Change Cathal Boylan has slammed British Government plans that would potentially see a nuclear waste disposal facility sited in the North.
The Newry and Armagh MLA was speaking after the British Government announced a consultation to find a site to develop a geological disposal facility (GDF) to store nuclear radioactive waste. 
The consultation includes the North of Ireland but Cathal Boylan rejected any suggestion that such a facility could be built here.
“Sinn Fein are totally against the use of nuclear power, the British Government should be looking at ways to phase out their use of nuclear power, not build more,” he said.
“Ireland will not be used as a dumping ground for Britain’s radioactive waste, there is a reason that this proposal was originally rejected by local councils in England.
“These proposals would allow the British Government to bypass appropriate local decision-making structures locally and in Britain.

"There is still no permanent solution for the problem of nuclear waste and this issue will continue to increase as more of the planned nuclear plants are built. The British Government should do the responsible thing and phase out their use of nuclear power.” 

Post Date :
Fri 26 Jan 2018 09:13 AM
Amnesty for British Soldiers Would Tear Up Rights of Victims - Hazzard

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has said proposals for amnesty for the actions of British soldiers during the conflict will be an insult to victims who’ve waited decades for truth and justice.
The South Down MP was speaking following a protest at Westminster held by the families of those murdered in Ballymurphy Massacre, in advance of a debate on a ‘statute of limitations’ brought forward by British MPs which would grant immunity from prosecution to British state forces.
Chris Hazzard MP said:
“There must be no immunity for people who have killed Irish citizens. A fundamental democratic principle is equality under the law, and this proposal runs entirely contrary to that.
“The families of those murdered by British soldiers in Ballymurphy in 1971 are some of many victims of state violence who, decades on, continue to seek the dignity of truth and justice. This fundamental right will be torn from them by this proposal, backed by the DUP.
“It should be noted that the DUP were clear during negotiations that there should be no amnesties for anyone involved in the conflict.
“Perhaps it is proof of further discord, but this will be somewhat confusing to those who have noticed DUP MPs adamantly supporting the statute of limitations for British soldiers.
“The only credible way of dealing with the past is the implementation of the legacy mechanisms outlined in the Stormont House Agreement.
“In that agreement, all parties endorsed legacy mechanisms which should have been operational long before now.

“Yet, years on, the British government continues to refuse to honour their international obligations by blocking the implementation, and adequate resourcing, of the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms needed to address the requirements of all victims and survivors." 

Post Date :
Thu 25 Jan 2018 10:01 AM
Sinn Féin committed to delivering rights for all - Murphy

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said the party’s focus in talks remains on achieving the implementation of previous agreements and ending the denial of rights to citizens.

The Newry and Armagh MLA said:
“Today we had a meeting with the British and Irish governments and the DUP. We also had a series of bilaterals. We will be meeting with the DUP again tomorrow.

“We’ve listened to and read what the DUP has said in relation to these talks and look forward to seeing that approach tomorrow.

“Throughout the course of the day, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill held several meetings with representatives of the sectors whose rights are being denied and whose rights we are trying to promote, defend and secure.

“We have said clearly that the outcome of the talks must secure the implementation what was previously agreed, secure rights for people who are being denied them, and to get the institutions back working on genuine power sharing.” 

Post Date :
Thu 25 Jan 2018 09:55 AM
Precious Life Demand Answers on Abortion from NI Health Department

Precious Life has sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland to question the legality of 13 abortions that were performed in Northern Ireland last year. Official Statistics released by the DoH today (Wednesday 24th Jan 2018) revealed that 13 “termination of pregnancies” were carried out in Northern Ireland in the year 2016/17. Precious Life says serious questions must be answered by the Department, and criminal investigations launched if the DoH is found to have broken the law.

Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “The Department of Health claim 13 live pregnancies were ‘terminated for indications that are legally acceptable and medically approved in Northern Ireland.’"

Ms. Smyth explained, “The law in Northern Ireland protects babies before birth while permitting all necessary life-saving medical treatment for pregnant women. Killing an unborn child is a criminal offence, but a doctor would not be held liable in the rare cases when an unborn child dies as an unintentional side effect of the life-saving treatment administered to the mother.”

She added, “Even in England and Wales, with a population of over 56 million, only 16 abortions ‘to save the life of the mother’ have been performed in the past 10 years. Yet here in Northern Ireland, with a significantly smaller population, the DoH claims that in one year alone, 13 abortions were required!”

We have sent a Freedom of Information request to the DoH asking what were the life-threatening conditions of pregnant women that required NI Trusts to perform these 13 abortions. Could these conditions not have been treated without the loss of life of the child? Their statistics suggest that the Department of Health is either failing to provide adequate medical care to pregnant women in NI or breaking our laws on abortion.”

Bernadette Smyth concluded, “The Department of Health has serious questions to answer. If they are flouting the law by directly and intentionally terminating the life of unborn children, then they must be held accountable and if needed, criminal charges brought to bear.” 

Post Date :
Thu 25 Jan 2018 09:49 AM
Sinn Féin MPs meet with new British Under-Secretary to the North of Ireland

 Newry & Armagh MP Mickey Brady along with his Sinn Féin MP colleagues Chris Hazzard MP and Francie Molloy MP have today met with the new British under-Secretary to the north of Ireland in London, to outline the British government’s responsibility to respect and implement outstanding agreements.

Commenting on the meeting Mickey Brady stated 
“Today’s introductory meeting with Shailesh Vara was an important opportunity to reinforce to the British government their responsibility to bring to an end a denial of rights of citizens in the north.
“We also the outlined the impact the DUP-Tory pact has had on the confidence of citizens in the north, in the face of this rights denial and an undemocratic Brexit.
“Citizens in the north are denied basic civil and human rights, available to citizens across these islands. The right for the LGBTQ community to marry who they love, the right for Irish speakers to have their native language protected in law, and the right of families to a coroner’s inquest is currently denied by the DUP-Tory pact.
“To achieve a resolution in talks, and a sustainable Executive to be established, this flagrant denial of rights must end immediately.”
Mickey Brady MP, Chris Hazzard MP, Shailesh Vara, Francie Molloy MP 

Post Date :
Thu 25 Jan 2018 09:35 AM
Appeal for Information following a Suspected Arson Attack 24th Dec 2017

Detectives in Newry are appealing for information following a suspected arson attack at Church Avenue in Dundrum in the early hours of Sunday, 24th December 2017.
Detective Sergeant Mark Crothers said: “Officers received a report of a fire to the rear of houses at around 00:30 am.
“The fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately at a shed and then spread to nearby oil tanks, caused substantial damage and forced a number of residents to be evacuated from their homes for a time. 
“We would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area, or who has any information which could help with our investigation, to contact detectives at Newry on 101 quoting reference number 49 of 24/12/17.” 

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime. 

Post Date :
Wed 24 Jan 2018 09:36 AM
Sinn Féin MPs meet with Swedish and Norwegian Embassies

Sinn Féin MPs Mickey Brady and Francie Molloy met with officials from the Swedish and Norwegian embassies in London today, to discuss the imminent Brexit complications for Ireland, and the case for Designated Special Status for the north of Ireland within the EU.

Mickey Brady MP said:
“Our meeting with Norwegian and Swedish embassy officials is part of our ongoing international engagement efforts to make the post-Brexit case for Designated Special Status for the north of Ireland within the EU.
“Norway, in particular, operates under a bespoke economic arrangement with the EU, and in this context, we discussed the future for the north of Ireland remaining within both the Customs Union and the Single Market.
“As Sinn Féin MPs we’re routinely consistently making the case for Designated Special Status in Dublin, London and Brussels.
“The citizens of the north voted to remain. To protect the welfare and livelihoods of citizens, our rural communities, and the Good Friday Agreement, the north of Ireland must be granted Designated Special Status within the EU after Brexit.”
Mickey Brady MP & Francie Molloy MP meeting with officials from Swedish and Norwegian embassies in London today to discuss Designated Special Status for the north after Brexit.

Post Date :
Tue 23 Jan 2018 09:56 AM
Eason Newry Closure

Commenting on news that Eason Stores in Newry and Craigavon are to be closed, Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy said that the news was a huge blow for the staff involved.

“Eason's in Craigavon will close in April and Eason in Newry will close in July 2018. The Company has said that it has commenced a consultation process with staff in both stores and state that it is fully committed to exploring all possible options for employees. It is essential that not only are staff kept fully informed of developments, but they are given any support and advice needed as they try to deal with the impact of the closure announcement".