Post Date : Mon 27 Nov 2017 10:45 AM

Police are investigating a report of an assault on a 27-year-old man in Newry on Sunday 19 November. 

Sometime after 2:00 am as the victim was making his way from Toragh Park towards Carlingford Park he was grabbed from behind and assaulted. He received an injury to his eye and nose.
Constable Bailie would appeal to anyone who has information about this assault to contact Police at Newry on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1092 20/11/17. 
Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Post Date : Mon 27 Nov 2017 10:42 AM
Newry Mourne & Down Sinn Féin Councillors Barra Ó Muirí and Terry Hearty have reminded motorists and pedestrians to take extra care whilst travelling. They have also urged Roads Service to endeavour to ensure that roads remain safe for road users.
"Parents leaving children to school on the Carrickrovaddy and Ballymoyer Roads encountered freezing and icy conditions which resulted in multiple accidents. This is an ongoing problem which myself and both school communities have constantly been campaigning to be addressed. Ultimately the only real solution is for the stretches of roads around these schools to be included in the local salting network. After speaking again to both Principals I have requested Roads Service in the short term to leave "salt piles" in the vicinity of the schools".
On another issue Councillor Terry Hearty questioned the salting schedule by Roads Service after a person was injured in an accident on the Culloville Road. 
"This road was salted the night before but wasn't repeated the following morning.  The road was extremely hazardous, surely there is an onus on Roads Service to ensure that this road is adequately salted" said the local Councillor.
Newry & Armagh MLA Megan Fearon a colleague of both Councillors, after contacting the Department of Infrastructure to highlight her concerns following these most recent incidents said,

"Myself and my colleagues will continue to liaise with local Roads Service Officers and staff to try and ensure that our roads remain safe for road users. We do understand that in such conditions there is no certainty that roads remain frost and ice free but it is imperative that salting operations are focused, effective and as widespread as possible. We also remind all road users to take extra care and be aware of potential hazards this cold weather brings" 

Post Date : Mon 27 Nov 2017 10:36 AM

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Larkin has condemned extensive dumping which has occurred on the slopes of Slieve Gullion mountain after car parts and scores of tyres had been dumped along several hundred metres of the forest drive. 

The local elected representative said 
"The community is furious that the beauty of South Armagh has been sullied by those who take no pride in what is the Jewel in the Crown of this district. This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is recognised across the world as such. The Council has spent large sums of rate payer’s money to enhance and develop Slieve Gullion as a tourist destination. Much work has been undertaken by the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership to preserve the flora and fauna of the area. 
Many projects to increase the use of the mountain for health and sporting activities have seen thousands flock to the courtyard, play park and outside gym.  'Disgraceful' is a word used by one resident I spoke to in relation to the waste illegally dumped on the mountain. There are many other words I could use to describe those that carried this out, however I would plead with them to end this desecration and use the facilities provided by the Council to dispose of their waste." 
Commenting on the dumping, Megan Fearon MLA again raised the need for end to end traceability for tyres. "Sinn Féin has called for systems to be created which will trace tyres from the moment of manufacture through to their disposal at end of life. This would ensure that all tyres can be identified when disposed of and would greatly help with the fight against fly tippers who have no regard for either the environment or the residents of South Armagh. I have no doubt that the business which dumped this waste has most likely already charged their customers for the correct disposal of these tyres. Profiting twice whilst destroying the countryside is not an honourable way to make a living."  
Post Date : Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:49 AM
The latest Multiple Deprivation figures published by NISRA demonstrate the need for an anti-poverty strategy to combat ongoing inequalities, Newry & Armagh MP Mickey Brady has said. 
Commenting on the recently published figures which identify District Wards in Newry, south Armagh and Armagh City in the top 100 most deprived areas in the North, the Sinn Féin elected representative said,
“Whilst the figures have just been published and need to be carefully studied, it is already evident from them that substantial inequalities still exist between and within communities.
These inequalities need to be robustly tackled if we are going to improve the lives of everyone and help them fulfill their true potential".
Commenting on the issue, his colleague Newry & Armagh MLA Megan Fearon said that any incoming Executive would need to fully develop such an anti-poverty focusing on those clearly in need.
“It will be imperative that any incoming Executive utilises the most recent data to fully develop an anti-poverty strategy which clearly targets those most in need, setting out the actions and outcomes they plan to achieve alongside a budget for ensuring the work is carried out.  

That needs to be a priority. Sinn Féin will continue to engage with departmental officials as they prepare proposals for the anti-poverty strategy.” 

Post Date : Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:45 AM
Newry & Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has asked Roads Service to outline how and where they have prioritised and allocated their Budget within the south Armagh area. The MLA was speaking after she and her Council colleagues, Cllrs Terry Hearty and Barra Ó Muírí had met with Officers from TransportNI to discuss several local issues of concern.
"Myself, Terry and Barra met Transport NI Roads Officials and discussed a wide range of concerns. We visited sites of concern so that all present could see exactly what has left our local people extremely concerned, angry and frustrated" said the south Armagh MLA who continued,
We pointed out that following recent accidents, there is a requirement for traffic calming measures to be introduced at the junction of Crossmaglen Square and the Culloville Road. Assurances were given that Traffic Control Section would investigate and detail the actions needed to make this junction safer. Also, we visited the Concession Road which Terry as local Councillor has over the years repeatedly highlighted. The road is in a horrendous and I believe dangerous state. We can see no reason as to why Transport NI have failed to invest properly in bringing this road up to a proper and safe standard. There is a perception many local people and elected representatives share, that roads in this area like the Concession Road, are not receiving the attention or investment they are entitled to, and we have asked Transport NI to provide an extensive breakdown of where the Roads Budget for this area is being spent or perhaps not being spent

"There are very serious safety issues around St Patrick's Primary school particularly when children finish school. Lack of traffic control and available car parking space cause major chaos and safety concerns. Roads Service have been asked to examine the issues involved and work with the School, PSNI and all other appropriate statutory agencies to address them. Meanwhile we remind motorists and pedestrians to drive carefully within the school area” 

Post Date : Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:38 AM
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Energy, Environment and Climate Change Cathal Boylan has expressed his concern that work has begun on a controversial turbine near the Knock Iveagh Cairn burial site in County Down.
Work began after a 28-day stop notice expired but the Newry Armagh MLA is calling for it to be halted pending a public inquiry.
He commented: "I am extremely concerned that work has begun on the controversial wind turbine situated close to the Knock Iveagh Cairn site. There are serious fears that the turbine will have a detrimental impact on the integrity of the historical site.
“The expiration of the 28-day stop notice has allowed construction to begin but Sinn Féin are calling for all work to be suspended until a full public inquiry can be carried out to establish the full impact of the development.
“This is needed due to flaws in the 2013 consultation process which did not engage with experts including archaeologists in the Historic Environment Division of the Department of Communities who have since come out in opposition to the plan to erect a mast on the site. Local residents were also not made fully aware of the consultation process at the time.

“Sinn Féin supports the expansion of renewable energy production that will allow us to cut our over reliance on fossil fuels and move towards a more-sustainable, low carbon society. However, this cannot be at the expense of important heritage sites which have been protected for thousands of years.”. 

Post Date : Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:31 AM
Newry City Sinn Féin Councillor Liz Kimmins has stated that the issue of illegal dumping along Watson Road and Brogie's Road needs addressed as a matter of priority.
"Illegal dumping plagues many areas of our district but what is happening on an ongoing basis along Watsons Road and Brogie's Road is totally unacceptable. Those engaged in these illegal acts of dumping care nothing for local residents or road users nor indeed the ratepayer who ultimately picks up the bill for removing this litter" 
said the local Councillor and she continued,

"This area is a "hot spot" for illegal dumping and our Environmental Department need to rigorously tackle the issue. Local people want it stopped and those who are engaged in these illegal acts to face prosecution. There is a need for appropriate overt and covert observation measures at "hot spot" dumping areas such as Watsons Road and Brogie's Road. I will be meeting Council Officers on site to hear their views on how they intend to support those of us who want to tackle this scourge.  

Post Date : Fri 24 Nov 2017 10:29 AM
Police are aware of the impact that burglaries can have on individual householders. By following some sensible crime prevention measures home owners can help reduce their risks of becoming a victim. 
Supt. Paul Reid said, “Reassessing your crime prevention routine is an important first step to beating the burglar. A proportion of all burglaries occur at unsecured premises through unlocked doors or windows. If your doors aren't secure, neither is your house. 
“Never leave keys in the locks, on table tops or hooks in view of external windows. Never hide spare keys under doormats or flower pots - thieves aren't stupid - hidden keys make life easy for the burglar. Keep your doors and windows locked and establish a bedtime routine which involves checking them just before you retire for the night.
“Whether you have wooden, metal or UPVC window frames in your home there are a variety of locks available that are suitable for all window types. If your window does not already have a keyed lock fitted, then consider having them fitted, particularly on ground floor windows or upper windows that may be easily accessed from a flat roof.
“Exterior lights are useful in discouraging the attention of criminals, particularly those involved in burglary and the theft of heating oil as it raises the potential of them being seen in the vicinity of your home by either yourself or a neighbour. 

“If you need free crime prevention advice, please call the 101 number and ask to speak to your local Crime Prevention Officer.” 

Post Date : Thu 23 Nov 2017 09:35 AM
Today’s budget supported by the DUP brings no good news for the people of Newry & Armagh but it means relentless austerity, deepening inequality and further cuts to the North’s block grant,
Sinn Féin MP Mickey Brady has said.
“There is no good news for the people of Newry & Armagh. This Tory budget represents a real term cut of between £100m and £200m in the money available for day-today spending in the North’s block grant next year. So, there is no good news in this budget for our public services and for public sector workers who have already borne the brunt of years of Tory austerity cuts to the block grant. There is no extra money for health. No extra money for education. No extra money for our frontline services staff", said the Sinn Féin MP and he continued,
“The reference to £650m additional firepower for the North is a bad joke. The bulk of that money, to be spread over four years will be in Financial Transaction Capital monies which have to be loaned to businesses and which traditionally we have been unable to use".
The Newry & Armagh MP highlighting the extra money for what he called "the Brexit calamity" stated,
"By his own admission, the British Chancellor accepts this budget will usher in a further fall in economic growth — which is set to fall below 1 per cent in the North while the South of Ireland GDP is growing at over 4 per cent.
There is, however, plenty of extra money for the Brexit calamity because the British Government has now committed an additional £3bn on top of the £700m already set aside to fund their preparations for leaving the EU.
Not only are they trying to drag the North out of the EU against our will, they want to fund it by cutting our public services".
Concluding he also criticised the DUP-Tory pact to support Theresa May’s government. 
He said:
“Once again, this budget shows the folly of the DUP’s decision to give a blank cheque to the Tories as part of their pact with Theresa May.

The DUP committed to supporting all finance and Brexit legislation as part of that arrangement so now they will find themselves supporting further cuts to our block grant and further pressure piled on our public services.” 

Post Date : Thu 23 Nov 2017 09:25 AM
Bird of prey killing widespread across Northern Ireland - Birds of prey victims of 11 incidents of wildlife crime recorded in two years-just the tip of the iceberg?
57 birds of prey were confirmed victims of reckless or intentional criminal activity in Northern Ireland during the last eight years.  The latest report detailing the illegal killing of Northern Ireland’s native birds of prey has been published by the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW NI) and is available  It reveals that there were five confirmed illegal poisoning or persecution incidents in 2015 and a further six in 2016, involving the killing of 12 protected birds of prey in Northern Ireland during this period.  Killing six buzzards, five peregrines and one sparrow hawk. 
The report lead author, Dr Eimear Rooney (Raptor Officer for NIRSG) commented: “This latest persecution report helps us all to understand the scale and distribution of the problem.  It is particularly shocking to see new areas appear on the hot-spot maps, showing the issue of raptor persecution to be widespread. It is heart-breaking to think of the deaths of these protected birds but it is particularly shocking to see the continued usage of highly toxic Carbofuran. The PAW NI group will continue to take action to tackle raptor persecution and it is encouraging to see all the partners proactively working together on this report.” 
In 2015/2016 three of the incidents involved the use of the pesticide Carbofuran, which has been banned across the EU since 2001. This poison is illegal to use cross Europe due to its high toxicity to wildlife and humans.  Further birds were killed using other banned pesticides, restricted-use rodenticides and the remainder were illegally shot.
Superintendent Brian Kee, PSNI service lead for rural and wildlife crime, added: “Wildlife crime, including the illegal killing/poisoning of birds of prey, is taken extremely seriously by Police. It isn’t acceptable for birds of prey or any other wildlife to be killed in this way. These actions are illegal and the use of toxic poisons is indiscriminate as they put children, pets and livestock at risk too. We would urge anyone who has information about any incident of poisoning to come forward by calling Police on the non-emergency number 101. Or information about crime can be passed to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.” 
There were 49 cases of suspected wildlife crime involving birds of prey reported to the PSNI in 2015 & 2016, some of the birds were shown to have died naturally (e.g. disease, starvation/ collision) and many of the birds were too decomposed for accurate testing. Twenty birds tested positive for the consumption of rat poisons, a reminder to landowners to use rodenticides in a responsible manner to minimise the likelihood of exposure to non-target wildlife and pets. Users must always read and adhere to the label instructions of the rodenticide, and they should collect and correctly dispose of any rodent carcasses daily.  
The report examines the occurrence and trends in confirmed persecution incidents of these birds, which has allowed PAW to produce ‘hot-spot’ maps to identify areas where crimes against birds of prey are occurring. Of the 11 confirmed cases in 2015 & 2016, five occurred in County Antrim, two in Counties Down and Armagh and one in each of counties Londonderry and Tyrone. 
The report shows that, since 2009, the most frequent casualties have been buzzards, peregrine falcons, and the recently re-introduced red kite. Red kites and buzzards are particularly susceptible to poisoned baits as they will scavenge on carrion routinely. 

Eimear Rooney added that, “where members of the public come across a dead or injured bird of prey and there is no obvious innocent explanation for its injuries, such as contact with power lines or windows, and a crime is suspected then they should call the PSNI on Tel: 101.  If the bird(s) are found close to a suspicious bait, keep people, pets and livestock away until the police arrive.  This report only covers the carcasses that are recovered and it is likely the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as these incidents tend to occur in remote locations.  Therefore, keep your eyes open in the countryside and remember timely reporting is important”.