Post Date : Fri 07 Oct 2016 09:01 AM

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has said prison reform must be paramount to ensure that all prisoners and prison staff are treated with respect, dignity and the highest standards of care. 


Speaking today after the Justice Committee  heard from the Prison's Ombudsman, the Director General of the Prison Service and her senior management on the Ombudsman's investigation into serious self harm by Sean Lynch in Maghaberry Prison; Declan Kearney MLA said; 


"The Ombudsman's evidence to the Justice Committee was very serious and damning. 


"All prisoners and members of prison staff deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and the highest standards of care. 


"The circumstances surrounding Sean Lynch's self harm are a travesty.  This incident of self harm should never have been allowed to happen. 


"Very serious implications arise for both the Prison Service and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. 


"It is good that the South Eastern Trust have accepted the Ombudsman's report but very disappointing no representative from the Trust attended the committee today. 


"It is also clear that effective, consistent and codified prison procedures do not exist. Important applicable rules and policies are contradictory. 


"The Prison Service displayed indifference and a lack of compassion in this case. The internal prison service investigation was completely deficient. This is absolutely unacceptable. 


"It is apparent that a security mindset still has primacy in Maghaberry rather than one based on rehabilitation. 


"I am alarmed that not all of the Ombudsman's recommendations have been accepted by the Prison Service. This must happen if we are to ensure there is no repeat of this travesty. 


"Prison reform has to be paramount." 

Post Date : Fri 07 Oct 2016 08:57 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA for South Antrim, Declan Kearney has raised concerns surrounding the use of Belfast International Airport, to facilitate US military flights.

Following reports from local people and numerous pictures emerging online of US Air Force flights entering and leaving from Aldergrove Mr Kearney said: 

“A number of local people living in the vicinity of the Airport have raised concerns with my office regarding the the on-going US military flights entering at and leaving Belfast International Airport.

“Questions must be answered by Belfast International Airport as to the purpose of these now regular flights.

“Given the on-going humanitarian crises in Syria and through out the Middle East and the role of the US Airforce as a protagonist in these conflicts, it is essential that local airspace is not being misused to facilitate and exacerbate these terrible events. 

“In recent years another Irish airport at Shannon has been used for illegal rendition flights from the Middle East to Guantanamo Bay. 

“It is imperative that local airspace and the International Airport itself are not now used for similar reasons. I will be contacting airport management to seek answers.

“Sinn Féin will oppose all attempts to use the north, or anywhere else on this island as a stepping stone for the furtherance of conflict and war.”

Post Date : Thu 06 Oct 2016 08:54 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said the words of British Tory leader Theresa May at her party conference ring hollow given her party's track record of austerity. 


Mr Murphy said; 


"Honeyed words from British Prime Minister and Tory leader Theresa May about fairness and unity will ring hollow for many people. 


"There are the very same Tories who brought us brutal austerity and a full frontal assault on public services and those most in need. 


"Their policies brought misery to hundreds of thousands of people and drove many into poverty. 


"It is also clear from her speech that the Tories haven't got the first clue of how to handle Brexit and are stumbling in the dark on the issue. What they need to do is respect the Remain vote of the majority in the North. 


"Theresa May and her cabinet have no mandate to represent the North of Ireland and have repeatedly shown that they do not act in the best interests of the people here."  

Post Date : Wed 05 Oct 2016 08:36 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has slammed British government plans to exempt its armed forces from prosecution under the European Convention of Human Rights. 

He was speaking after British Defence Minister Michael Fallon unveiled plans at the Conservative party conference which would mean that soldiers in conflict situations would no longer be bound by two key articles of the charter - the right to life and the right to liberty.

"This move signals yet another attempt by the British government to effectively make its military immune from prosecution," the deputy First Minister said.

"Michael Fallon talks about the derogation applying to future conflicts but the question has to be asked whether he actually means future investigations? It's a question I will be putting directly to Theresa May because, if that is the case, it will have profound implications for the prospects of a legacy agreement in the north as it would completely undermine the proposed bodies to deal with our past such as the Historical Investigations Unit."

Mr. McGuinness also criticised the British government's justification of the move as an attempt to protect their forces from 'vexatious' claims.

He commented: "The European Convention on Human Rights is a fundamental protection for citizens in conflict situations and when you look at the situation that the British government helped create in places like Iraq, Syria and Lybia, it is needed now as much as ever.

"And for British Ministers to argue they are protecting their soldiers from so called 'vexatious' claims is a complete distraction. In reality, this is about protecting them from prosecution and protecting their government from embarassing and costly cases which expose the illegal actions being carried out in the name of the British people. 

"The British government has already been forced to pay out £20 million in 326 cases to date. There's nothing vexatious about such cases. They are obviously cases with substance or compensation wouldn't have been paid." 

Post Date : Tue 04 Oct 2016 02:53 PM

The Holm Oak - Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor

NEEDS YOUR HELP - To be crowned Northern Ireland "Tree of the Year 2016"

The N.I. finalist wins a £1,000 care package to help its community celebrate and care for their much loved tree. Runners up with more than 1000 votes will receive £500.

For more information go our website: 

or our facebook page:  

Vote before 9th October at:

Post Date : Tue 04 Oct 2016 11:12 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has said there is no place for racism in society. 
Mr Kearney said; 
"The disgraceful and shameful racist attack on a young woman in Antrim town was wrong and I totally condemn it. 
"This must have been a very traumatic experience and I hope the young woman makes a full recovery from her ordeal. 
"There must be no acceptance of racism or any form of discrimination, bigotry and intolerance in our society." 

Post Date : Tue 04 Oct 2016 11:07 AM

 Tourism Ireland’s online film shows how to explore Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland in three days 

~ Tourism Ireland shows visitors how to navigate the real-world Westeros! ~

 4 October 2016 – Tourism Ireland has unveiled a new film called “Game of Thrones: 3 Day Itinerary”, specially created to highlight Game of Thrones locations across Northern Ireland to fans and prospective visitors worldwide.   

The film shows visitors how to travel around the real-world Westeros in Northern Ireland in three days and features key filming locations like Winterfell, The Iron Islands, Dragonstone and many more. It includes stunning imagery of the locations used in HBO’s Game of Thrones, together with the names of the places in both the show and in Northern Ireland.

To view the film, click here. 

The film is being promoted through Tourism Ireland’s social platforms, including Facebook (3.6 million fans worldwide), Twitter (345,000 followers) and YouTube

Post Date : Tue 04 Oct 2016 08:28 AM

 Sinn Féin councillor Seán McPeake has extended his sincerest to the family of former Sinn Féin councillor Lughaidh Mac Giolla Bhrighde who died tonight after a battle with illness.


Councillor McPeake said:


“Lughaidh was a strong and deeply committed republican and a brother of the late IRA Volunteer Antóine Mac Giolla Bhrighde.


“Lughaidh was a committed Gael and was an active member of Sinn Féin’s cultural department before being elected to Magherafelt Council in 1985.


“He served the people of South Derry for a number of years and at a time when it was extremely dangerous to do so. Following his role in council Lughaidh continued to be politically active and also worked for many years in the Ambulance Service.


“His loss will be greatly felt by his family, his wife Moira, children Aona, Fiontán and Sinead and by the wider Republican community of South Derry.”


“Ar dheis láimh dé go raibh a anam."

Post Date : Tue 04 Oct 2016 08:22 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley paid tribute to the valuable role played by palliative care groups in society.


The Party’s Health Spokesperson said:


“This week is Palliative Care week and it is important that awareness is raised in relation to the great work done by palliative care groups to provide a better quality of life to people with life-limiting or life-shortening illnesses.


“Palliative care groups play a valuable role in society.


“They ensure that the person affected by illness is involved in every step and helps them to make decisions.


“They also provide support for their families and friends.


“It is very important that the public are informed about the services that are offered by palliative care groups so they can avail of their services if required.” 

Post Date : Mon 03 Oct 2016 12:04 PM

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann said an effective public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of quads and scramblers is needed in the run-up to Christmas.

The West Belfast MLA was speaking after putting a Private Members Bill before the Assembly.

Ms McCann said:

“A number of adults and children have lost their lives or have been seriously injured by these vehicles.

“The death of Valerie Armstrong and the devastation it caused to her family and friends brought this issue into the public arena.

“We need to act before another tragedy occurs.

“I along with other party colleagues and community representatives met with the PSNI and the Justice Minister to see what more can be done to enforce the current legislation.

“Scramblers and quads are intended for off-road use only and it is illegal to drive them on public roads, public footpaths and in public places such as parks.

“We need to ensure that everyone, parents in particular, are aware of the law on scramblers and quads and where they can and cannot be used before they buy them for their children.

“I think it is important we look at how we can run an effective public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of quads and scramblers is needed in the run-up to Christmas.”