Post Date : Thu 03 Nov 2016 09:58 AM

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust hosted a Halloween event this week for children and young people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person understands the world and communicates with others, and figures show that more than 300 children in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with Autism every year.

Children and young people enjoyed a range of seasonal activities including pumpkin carving, storytelling and making Halloween themed arts and crafts.

Denise Carroll, Autism Services Co-ordinator within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said:

“Halloween activities for children with autism can be difficult as putting on costumes or loud noises from fireworks may cause anxiety”

“That’s why it’s important that children who have a diagnosis of autism can access fun activities in a relaxed and comfortable environment supported by staff from Autism Services”. 

“I would like to thank all of our staff for organising what has been an entertaining variety of workshops for everyone.  Massive efforts have been made to help each of these children enjoy their Halloween holiday with us here at the Southern Trust.”

For further information on the autism services provided at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust please call 028 3836 6777 or email:  

Post Date : Thu 03 Nov 2016 09:54 AM

From Monday 7th November, the bus stop at Craigavon Area Hospital will move from directly in front of the main hospital building to along the main avenue which can be accessed by a dedicated route through Car Park 1. 

There will be strictly no parking in front of the main building which will be limited for ambulance access and drop-off only.  

The relocation of the bus stop is to make way for the construction of a link corridor between the new Paediatric Unit and the main hospital building.  

The new Craigavon unit, along with a unit on the sixth floor of Daisy Hill Hospital, is part of an overall £14.5m plan to modernise hospital services for children and young people across the Southern Health and Social Trust. 

Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “We are delighted that our new paediatric developments on both sites are gathering pace. This next phase of work at Craigavon to make way for the link corridor will create a major change on site.  

“We appreciate that moving the bus stop is quite an adjustment for people who use public transport to come to the hospital, so we are working closely with Translink to raise awareness and help to make it as easy as possible for our bus users.  

“Whilst contractors and staff are doing their best to minimise disruption while construction work continues, we do greatly appreciate the co-operation and understanding from patients, visitors and staff while we make these improvements to our services.”  

The Craigavon Unit is due to be completed in Summer 2017 and Daisy Hill Unit in Autumn 2017.  

All bus routes and numbers remain the same. To find out more about routes to Craigavon Area Hospital

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Post Date : Wed 02 Nov 2016 11:09 AM

Sinn Féin councillor Roisin Mulgrew has said the huge number of defective street lighting throughout the Slieve Gullion area is having an impact on the whole community.

"I have been inundated with complaints of not just individual street lights being defective but whole streets, estates and roads. I have raised this issue repeatedly with roads service and also through our local DEA meetings. I am calling on the street lighting department to get out and about, to properly access the affected areas and get those lights repaired as a matter of urgency.

"At this time of the year when huge areas have been plunged into darkness we are left with older residents, children, pedestrians, motorists and indeed small businesses feeling vulnerable and unsafe.

"I would encourage all those affected to come forward to report the faults; don't assume that someone else has already done this.  Make Transport NI and your local councillor aware of faulty street lights as the current situation is wholly inadequate and totally unacceptable."

Post Date : Wed 02 Nov 2016 09:53 AM

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the rights of people with disabilities could be jeopardised by Brexit. 


Speaking ahead of a major conference on disability rights on Friday, Ms Anderson said; 


"The potential of being dragged out of the EU against our democratically expressed wishes has caused huge concern among many, including disability rights campaigners. 


"The prospect of leaving the EU has major implications for inclusion, equality and rights of people with disabilities. 


"The British government has already said it is planning to scrap the Human Rights Act and I and many others have little faith in it replacing it with anything concrete. 


"On Friday I will be hosting a major conference, 'Unite for Rights,' to look at issues around disability rights, including the impact of a potential Brexit. 


"It will hear from a range of experts from the disability sector as well as MEPs from across Europe. 


"I would encourage anyone interested in attending to register by contacting 028 71329321 or

Post Date : Tue 01 Nov 2016 01:46 PM

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann has called on the public to engage with the consultation process for the new Belfast transport hub.

Mr McCann said:

"The new proposed Belfast city centre transport hub can transform public transport in the city, as well as providing new jobs and investment opportunities which will help improve the local economy.

"So I would encourage people to engage in the consultation and have their say on the proposed new hub at the Europa bus centre/Great Victoria Street railway station in Belfast.

"The consultation stage is open until 2 December."  

Post Date : Tue 01 Nov 2016 10:35 AM

The owner of Killeavy Castle Estate, Jaramas Investments NI Ltd, announces today that it intends to proceed with the construction of a 42 room, 4 star, boutique hotel, spa and wellness centre on the historic estate that sits majestically on the slopes of Slieve Gullion. Construction will commence in early 2017.

The hotel will be built on the site of what once were the Killeavy Castle coach house, mill and farm buildings, and will sympathetically incorporate many of their historic features. While the hotel is being built, Killeavy Castle, an A Grade listed building, will be fully restored and become a function centre, adjacent to the new hotel. The project is planned to be open to the public in late 2018.

Mick Boyle of Jaramas Investments NI said “It has taken a bit longer than we would have liked to get our proposed development to this stage but we are excited to finally be getting this project underway. Our aim now is to make Killeavy Castle, Hotel, Spa and Wellness Centre one of Ireland’s must visit destinations.
The Ring of Gullion countryside is an area of outstanding natural beauty and the setting of Killeavy Castle within it is no less than breathtaking. We are certain it will become the jewel of South Armagh and be a special destination for people from all over the world.”
Jaramas Investments NI is owned by Mick Boyle and his wife Robin. Mick immigrated to Australia as a child in the late 1960s with his parents, Michael and Pauline Boyle who both come from South Armagh. Mick and Robin, who also established and own the successful Australian construction company Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure are regular visitors to the area. Mick Boyle said “We have a lot of family and friends living around Newry, we love the area and its people. We are sure that tourists from all over the world will too.”
Mick Boyle went on to say “With our connection to the area and its people we want Killeavy Castle, Hotel, Spa and Wellness Centre to be good for the local economy. There will obviously be jobs created during the construction phase, but we think more importantly, when it is operational in two years time it will generate around 90 full time jobs for the local community”.
It has already created local jobs as the design team has been led by Newry based architects O’Hagan and Associates. “Being a local company Pat O’Hagan and his team have a deep appreciation of the heritage and natural beauty of the site and that is reflected in the design they have created. The Hotel, Spa and Wellness Centre cleverly incorporates parts of the historic farm buildings and it has been designed not to detract from the elegance of the nearby historic Killeavy Castle. The whole development will blend sympathetically into the magnificent woodlands of the estate”. Mick Boyle said.
The project is being supported by a grant from Invest NI and this announcement is being made as a result of that grant support being confirmed in writing last Friday afternoon. “Due to the historic building restorations and the size of the estate the grant support from Invest NI and the support of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to upgrade Ballintemple Road and lease public access to parts of the estate have been critical to this projects viability. Without that support, the project would not have gone ahead. The fact that it is going ahead demonstrates that the Northern Ireland Government and the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council share our view of the potential for tourism development in South Armagh.” Mick Boyle said.
Local people have been openly walking through the estate in recent years. Access will soon be restricted for safety reasons during the construction phase of the project. Once the project is complete, as agreed with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, public access will be made available along the driveway and a public path will be provided along the southern boundary of the estate. Public access will also be provided to the walled garden. Jaramas Investments NI Ltd request the public to respect the “keep out” signs and fences installed at the site once they are erected.
For further information on this press release please contact Mark Donohoe at the Killeavy Castle, Hotel, Spa and Wellness Centre project office on 028 3084 9076
Post Date : Tue 01 Nov 2016 10:26 AM

Sinn Féín MLA Barry McElduff has called on the Education Minister to focus on addressing academic underachievement.

The Chair of the Education Committee said:

“Rather than reinforcing academic selection the Minister needs to address the issue of educational underachievement.

“Academic selection is not the way forward.

“There is a whole body of educational research and evidence that demonstrates that academic selection is one of the contributors to poor educational outcomes and also leads to social divisions.

“Under Sinn Féin Ministers over the past decade we have seen year on year improvements in achievement and attainment levels.

“The Education Committee has just finalised the terms of reference for a Committee Inquiry that will run throughout 2017 that will focus on educational underachievement, including an examination of the role academic selection might play.

“Sinn Féin will continue to express our opposition to tests at the age of 10 and a half and 11 years of age.” 

Post Date : Mon 31 Oct 2016 12:08 PM

Hundreds of people attended a candlelit procession on Saturday night to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of Sinn Féin Vice President Maire Drumm.

Maire, who was born and raised in Killean, South Armagh, was murdered by loyalists as she lay in her hospital bed recovering from an operation in the Mater.  A collusion investigation was recently opened into her murder.

Current Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald was among the hundreds who assembled at Killean before walking past Maire's childhood home to the monument in her honour on Kelly's Road.

The procession was lead by a lone piper and an all female colour party who wore uniforms emblazoned with one of Maire's more famous quotes.  "We must take no steps backwards."

South Armagh MLA Megan Fearon addressed the crowd and spoke of how she has always looked up to Maire as an influence and inspiration describing her, in the same manner as the women of 1916 were described, as "the most unmanageable of revolutionaries."

Following the procession the crowd went to Ti Chulainn for a unique evening of remembrance.  Family, friends and comrades of Maire's spoke with Councillor Roisin Mulgrew about their memories of her in a very candid, warm and informal manner.

Mary Lou McDonald then addressed the crowd before an evening of live music began. 

Post Date : Mon 31 Oct 2016 10:30 AM

 Newry Sinn  Féin councilor Charlie Casey has condemned those responsible for the latest stone throwing attack in Carnagat which has badly damaged a family car and left the occupants shaken. 

Speaking about the incident Cllr Casey said; 

“Once again we are reporting a stone throwing incident where a car has been badly damaged and the occupants very lucky that they were unhurt. The latest incident happened on Tuesday night when the family was leaving the Parkhead Crescent estate.  A number of large stones were launched at the car causing significant damage. It seems to me that the thugs responsible for these attacks are actually trying to cause serious injury to someone.  

Cllr Casey continued; 

“My party recently help a very constructive meeting with the community association to assist them in whatever way we can to address some of the problems but others need to step up to the plate. The PSNI must be more proactive in apprehending the small number of young people responsible for these ongoing attacks. This behavior is simply unacceptable.  If these attacks don’t stop it’s not a matter of if some is hurt or killed but when.

All agencies must work with the community to put an end to this activity.”

Post Date : Mon 31 Oct 2016 10:26 AM

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann said that British government has an obligation to address the legacy of the past.

Ms McCann said:

“The continued failure and refusal to deal with the legacy of the conflict only adds to the hurt and pain suffered by many in our society.

“All relatives and victims are entitled to maximum disclosure of truth in relation to the death of their loved ones.

“There can be no hierarchy of victims when it comes to dealing with the issue of legacy.

"The legacy mechanisms outlined in the Stormont House Agreement must be implemented by the British Government immediately, while facilitating maximum disclosure and information retrieval from all parties to the conflict, including ALL state agencies.

"In addition, they must honour their international obligations by addressing the requirements of the Lord Chief Justice's five year plan to clear the backlog in legacy inquests by providing adequate resources and ensuring full co-operation from key state agencies like the PSNI and the MoD.
"The British Secretary of State James Brokenshire must not attempt to block the search for truth either directly or by conferring a veto to the DUP.

"All commitments made in the Stormont House Agreement must be honoured and implemented in full."