Post Date : Thu 16 Feb 2017 09:20 AM
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood launched the SDLP’s policy document ‘Securing our Place in Europe’ in Newry today. The document includes detailed proposals for attaining EU special status for Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Mr Eastwood said, “Brexit was a seismic event on the political Richter scale and its aftershocks will shape the islands of Ireland and Britain for years to come. Its magnitude cannot be underestimated.
“However, in the North we are faced with a collapsed government who failed to even produce a government document on Brexit. 
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Sinn Féin and the DUP seem happy to allow the British Government to enforce direct rule after this election.
“James Brokenshire does not speak and cannot speak for our people - yet Sinn Féin and the DUP are prepared to surrender him that power. 
“The only way to stop that happening is by electing an alternative government on March 2nd.
“In January, Theresa May belatedly set out her vision of a post-Brexit Britain. It is now our job and our duty to set out our own vision as to how a post-Brexit Ireland will look.
“Special status means that the vote in the North last June is respected.
“Special status means that the political authority of devolved institutions are respected, giving them the opportunity to shape Brexit in their respective regions.
“Special status means that our economy, our society and our political agreements are protected. It means that we retain the four freedoms of the European Union and that we do not see the return of border checks on this island.
“Special status means that what we have, we hold.
“The document we launched today will be the first of many papers the SDLP will publish and submit as part of the extensive and varied set of negotiations in the years ahead.

“Given the scale and depth of its significance to this island and its future - Brexit will be top of the SDLP agenda in post-election negotiations. It is our number one priority now and it will remain our number one priority.” 

Post Date : Thu 16 Feb 2017 09:14 AM

The Southern Trust had information stands displayed in Craigavon and Newry this week to celebrate Care Day NI, an event co-ordinated by VOYPIC (Voice of Young People in Care) on February 15. 

Care Day NI offers an opportunity for Health Organisations to raise the profile of children in care and care leavers, and allow young people to highlight their positive experiences. 

Children and Young People’s Services across the Trust celebrated stories of success, promoting care and sharing experiences, through information stands which were hosted by young people from the 16 Plus Service.     

The stands were held in Craigavon Area Hospital and The Quays Shopping Centre, Newry.   

The Southern Trust’s Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services, Paul Morgan, was delighted with the efforts to celebrate the national event. 

“We are proud of all of our young people and delighted that so many of them have participated in promoting Care Day. 

“We hope that when local people hear the positive experiences of our young people and the difference that a foster carer can make to their life that they may consider finding out more.” 

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, the Family Placement Team would love to hear from you on Tel: 028 3833 7181.  

Click here to find out more about Care Day.  

Post Date : Wed 15 Feb 2017 09:19 AM

A new campaign has been launched this week to remind people how to use the GP Out of hours service (GPOOH).

Dr Sandra Elliott, Medical Manager for GPOOH says; “GP Out of Hours is only for patients with urgent care needs that cannot wait until their own GP surgery re-opens. Unfortunately we receive many calls about non urgent conditions. This places huge pressure on the service and means people with real urgent problems sometimes aren’t seen as quickly as they could be.” 

The new campaign aims to get this message across using targeted social media, radio and outdoor advertising. 

Dr Elliott adds: “People often phone for minor problems such as colds, sore throats sprains, hangovers, headlice, nappy rash, needing repeat prescriptions or even because they were just too busy during the day to contact their own GP service. When GPOOH is misused like this, it can cause delays for someone with a genuine urgent problem. So we are encouraging everyone to wait if you can, and only call us if you can’t.” 

How the service works:  

  • GP Out of Hours is available from 6pm to 8am Monday to Friday, all day Saturday, Sunday and on Bank Holidays.
  • Always phone first on 028 3839 9201. 
  • A specially trained call handler takes the patient’s details and codes the call (Emergency/Urgent/Routine).
  • The call then transfers to a computerised list which the Clinicians, including GPs Nurses and Pharmacists, work through to prioritise.  

A clinician will phone the patient back to make an assessment. About 50% of patients receive telephone advice or may need a prescription but do not need to attend a centre. A minority of housebound patients will receive a home visit and others may be advised to attend a more appropriate service like the Minor Injuries Unit, Emergency Department or the Emergency Dental service.

To view the latest infomercial click here.

Post Date : Mon 13 Feb 2017 09:57 AM

Annual Dinner Dance

The club’s annual dinner dance takes place on Saturday 25th February in the Canal Court Hotel. Having picked up the Armagh and Ulster club titles in 2016 our senior ladies will be guests of honour on the night. Everyone is invited to come along to what should be a brilliant night to celebrate our successes from last year, including of senior ladies and our minor boys who the Division 1B league title. Entry fee is £30 per head and is payable at the door on the night.
Senior Men
Our senior men continue to train three times per week as they continue their preparations for the upcoming season.
Shanes Gaelic For Girls
Shanes Gaelic For Girls programme continued on Saturday morning. Despite the cold weather conditions there was another huge turnout enjoying a varied range of skill drills and fun games under the guidance of our senior ladies’ players. The programme continues next Saturday morning at 11.00am at the field.
Minor Boys
Training for our minor boys continues this Thursday evening at 7.00pm sharp at the field
U16 Boys
Our U16 boys have amalgamated with Correnshigo and Lisummon for the coming year and will be called Patrick Rankins. Training for the U16 boys continues on Thursday night at 6.00pm in Correnshigo. All our U16 footballers are asked to meet at the Shane's at 5.40pm sharp on Thursday evening. 
U16 Girls
Circuit training for our U16 girls continues this Tuesday evening from 6.30pm to 7.45pm in Bessbrook Community Centre.
U14 Boys
This year our U14 boys have amalgamated with Correnshigo and Lisummon and will be known as Patrick Rankins. Training for the U14 boys continues every Thursday evening at 7.00pm and Sunday morning at 11.30am at the Shane’s.
U14 Girls
Our U14 girls continue indoor training this Wednesday evening from 7.30pm to 8.45pm at Cloughreagh Community Centre. Please contact Tara Byrne on 07397 540087 for further information.
U12 Boys
This year our U12 boys have also amalgamated with Correnshigo and Lisummon and will be known as Patrick Rankins. Training for this age group starts next Saturday 18th February at 4.00pm at the Shane’s and all players are requested to attend.
U12 Girls
With our U12 girls’ management team now in place training will be getting underway within the next few weeks – keep an eye on the notes for more details.
Training for our U10 footballers continues on Sunday morning at 11.00am at the field.
Training for U8 footballers takes place every Sunday at 11.00am at the field and all players at this age group are asked to attend. All boys and girls at this age group are welcome to come along.
Training for our U6 footballers continues this Wednesday evening at 6.00pm in Bessbrook Community Centre and all new boys and girls are welcome to attend.
Meabh O’Neill’s Camogie
Training for all camogs begins again this coming Tuesday evening, 10th January in the sports hall in St Paul’s from 6.00pm – 7.00pm. All new members from age 4 and upwards are welcome to attend.
Monthly Executive Monthly
The first monthly executive meeting of 2017 will take place in the clubhouse on Monday, 13th February at 8.30pm. All committee members are asked to attend.
Membership Rates for 2017
Club membership is now due and the rates for 2017 are as follows:
Senior Members: £30.00
Cairde Members: £15.00
OAPs: £15.00
U18s: £15.00 for first player in a family, £10.00 for every other player
All membership must be paid before 31st March 2017.
Referees Needed
If anyone associated with the club fancies becoming a referee and officiating at underage football (and earning a few quid along the way) please contact Brendy Osborne for further information.
Well Done
Well done to our underage footballer Brianna Mathers who has been named in the Armagh Ladies U15 squad for 2017. Well done also to another of our underage players, Caolan O’Hare, who was part of the Abbey team which won the Ulster First Year blitz last week.
Congratulations to the Whitecross céilí dancers who claimed the All -Ireland Scór na nÓg title in Belfast on Saturday night. 
Best Wishes
Best wishes to a good friend of the club, Donna Sloan, who is currently recovering at home following a short stay in hospital.
Cairde Sheáin Uí Néill
The club is actively encouraging more people to sign up to the Cairde Sheáin Uí Néill scheme at a cost £10.00 per month. This money goes directly towards club development schemes and over the past number of years has helped to upgrade the playing surface on the main field, construct a new training pitch, partly contribute to the new concrete driveway and will hopefully help to begin construction on the new walkway around the field.
At £10.00 per month we feel it is a very easy, worthwhile and beneficial scheme to sign up to. For further information, please contact Brendy Osborne (07543 806274) or pm the Shane O'Neill's Facebook page.
Last week’s winning lotto numbers were 16, 19, 26 & 27. There were no jackpot winners and 1 x lucky dip winner. The jackpot has now creeped over the £5,000 mark and now stands at £5,050.
Post Date : Fri 10 Feb 2017 11:59 AM

Police are appealing for information following the report of a car on fire at Ballyvalley Road, Mayobridge in the early hours of this morning, Friday, 10 February at approximately 2.25am. 

A vehicle was extensively damaged and an adjacent house sustained damage to the windows, guttering and plasterwork.
There were four adults in the house at the time. No one sustained any injuries.
Detective Constable David Skillen would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area or anyone who has any information to contact Police at Newry on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 84 10/02/17.
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 : Fri 10 Feb 2017 09:06 AM

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has dismissed claims by Arlene Foster that this 'election is about republicans trying to rewrite the past' as a ludicrous attempt to distract the electorate from the RHI scandal and sectarianise the election.

Gerry Kelly said:
"Arlene' Foster's comments last night are the latest attempt by the DUP to turn this into a green vs orange election.
"Her comments make it clear that what she is seeking is an investigation into conflict killings but not those carried out by state forces.
"She stated that there has been a focus on 'blaming' the state and rewriting history.
"I would like to point her towards the recent figures released by the PSNI and the PPS which contradict these claims.
"The PSNI figures show that just 30 per cent of their investigations are into state forces and the PPS figures reveal that seven republicans were prosecuted as opposed to just three soldiers.
"Sinn Féin's position has always been that an independent international truth commission be put in place to deal with the issue of legacy and enable victims and families to get the truth.
"Many families and victims wanted more and as such mechanisms were put in place under the Stormont House Agreement, to facilitate independent investigations, information recovery, storytelling and improved services for victims and survivors.
“These mechanisms are being blocked by the DUP and the British government.
"In any victim centred approach dealing with legacy the victims and families should be central to the process.
"There can be no amnesty, no one can be above the law." 
Post Date : Wed 08 Feb 2017 12:23 PM

Sinn Féin’s Fra McCann has said figures released by the Department of Communities showing a 5.8 per cent increase in people presenting as homeless shows the need for additional social housing.

The party's spokesperson on housing said:
"A housing bulletin released by the Department of Communities shows an increase of 5.8 per cent of people presenting as homeless. This highlights once again the need for additional social houses to be built.
"In the last recorded quarter 4,924 people presented as homeless.
"Thirty five per cent of those who presented were single males between the ages of 26 to 59 and 32 per cent were families.
"This has a huge impact on areas of high demand such as West Belfast, North Belfast and Derry and is also a slight increase on the same quarter last year.
"Sinn Féin has argued that major investment needs to be put into new builds in these areas.
"It is no longer good enough to say the private rented sector will take the slack.  
“Housing providers and the Minister need to concentrate on areas of high demand.
“Government departments also need to release land to make it easier for housing providers to build in communities where extreme need exists." 
Post Date : Tue 07 Feb 2017 01:42 PM
As brighter and longer days approach, what better time to discover the breathtaking Ring of Gullion.  Why not take your family along to make a nest box for your garden or get active with one of our volunteering opportunities.  
Events and Training
Fen Management training series at Brackagh NNR, Portadown
Varies dates
Brackagh NNR, Brackagh,
Moss Rd, Portadown
TCV are running a Fen Management training Series at Brackagh NNR, Portadown, It will be a mix of practical and theory sessions and cover topics such as scrub clearance and safe use of pesticides, managing nutrients in a wetland ecosystem and dip wells to monitor water levels.
Institute of Fundraising Introductory Certificate for Fundraisers
Thursday 9th February, 10.00am – 3.30pm. (£20. Lunch included)
Rural Community Network, 38a Oldtown Street, Cookstown.
Rural Community Network in partnership with the Northern Ireland Environment Link is offering an accredited training opportunity for the delivery of the Institute of Fundraisers (IOF) Introductory Certificate to Fundraising. The course is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Catalyst Umbrella Programme. Northern Ireland Environment Link delivers the programme through its “Investing in Northern Ireland’s Heritage” project.
Make a nest box for your garden
Saturday 11th February, 2.00pm - 4.00pm.
The Pastoral Centre, Jonesborough
Join the Ring of Gullion team and Ulster Wildlife for a nest box building workshop as part of National Nest Box Week. Attendees will get a chance to make their own nest box and bird feed to bring home and use.
Volunteer Opportunity – Site restoration of Glassdrumman Wood
Saturday 18th February, 2.00pm - 5.00pm.
Glassdrumman Wood 
The pupils and parents of St. Brigid’s Primary School, Glassdrumman need your help to clean up Glassdrumman Wood.  The pupils in the school have been working hard to establish the wood as a safe and inviting area for the local community to engage with nature, including getting a gravel path installed and clearing the site of litter.
One million trees in one day
Friday 10th February 2.00-5.00pm and Saturday 11th from 11.00am -1.00pm 
Slieve Gullion Forest Park
Although we're not able to give away any free trees this year, we will still acting as a distribution point for people who have booked and paid for their subsidised tree packs. This year will see another 10,000 trees planted in Gullion as part of this project. We are looking for volunteers on Friday 10th to help sort the trees into packs and on Saturday11th we need people in a variety of roles such as admin (making sure folks get the right trees), outreach (chatting about Gullion) and distribution (helping people pick out and load their trees). If you are willing to lend a hand contact or ring 028 30828594
Get Involved
Townland Voices
Over the past 8 months, we have been working with local schools to record short personal stories about individual townlands. We have recorded stories from around 80 of the 310 townlands in the Ring of Gullion but we want to fill in the gaps. If your family has lived in the same townland over the generations you will have stories we want to hear - it may be telling about your granda building his house, the name of the bull that lived in a field or how far you walked to school. For examples of some of those we have edited and uploaded see here. If you or your children want to record a story get in touch and we can lend out a recorder.
Lúnasa Festival Partner Search – Deadline 28th February 5pm
The Lúnasa Festival is a month-long festival taking place across the Ring of Gullion area during August.  It showcases the rich and diverse landscape, heritage and talents of the Ring of Gullion area through a wide range of indoor and outdoor events so that there is something for everyone. If you, your club or business would like to become a partner for a bigger and better Lúnasa 2017, further information and an application can be downloaded here or give us a call on 028 3082 8594. 
 Funding Opportunities
Looking for funding? You've come to the right place. 
This short registration form will give you immediate, free and unrestricted access to Newry, Mourne and Down District Councils comprehensive database of funding opportunities. You can browse or search for your own organisation, and also generate reports and save information on funding of interest. 
Applicants advised to prepare for Environmental Farming Scheme
Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced a series of information events will take place in preparation for the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) which is due to open at the end of February, subject to necessary approvals.  The Minister urged potential applicants to begin preparing for the scheme by attending one of the events.
Post Date : Tue 07 Feb 2017 10:03 AM

"Thanks a million folks and safe home”. If ever you left the Stables, the Commercial or the Kings Inn on any night over the years - that was the farewell greeting you got from the proprietor Gerry King when he let you out at closing time.

I could not say that you didn’t get a farewell or a thank you from any other establishment but I can say you always got it from Gerry. It’s a simple thing but one which said thank you for your custom which went a long way. Something you always remember.

Gerry passed away last week following an illness he fought bravely. Many club members would have spent many great times in his establishment from the running around years to the settled years and beyond. Gerry was a permanent fixture over that time. So Gerry all we can say to you now is thanks a million to you for your service to us and we know that you are now home safely.

The Executive Committee and Members wish to extend to his wife Carmel, his son’s and club members John and Gerard, son Charles and daughter Mary all our sincere sympathy for their loss. We also extend our sympathy to his brothers Raymond and Cyril, his sister Colette and the wide family circle at this time. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis. 

On Thursday February 9th at 7.15pm sharp in St Malachys Primary School we will have our second coaching session in our "Back to basics" coaching course. All juvenile coaches and those from the club who are interested in becoming involved in juvenile coaching in all codes are invited to attend and please still come along even if you missed the first session.

This is a fantastic opportunity for both new and experienced coaches in an interactive session to learn new coaching skills and to brush up on your existing coaching skills. We would ask everyone to please avail of this opportunity and come along. The session will last one and a half hours. Look forward to seeing you there.

The clubs annual senior awards night will be held in the club rooms on Saturday 5th March. Special guest on the night is former Armagh player and double all star Oisín McConville. Tickets are £20 each and are available from Kevin Sweeney.

Senior hurling training will start this Thursday 9th at 7:30 in the Dublin road complex. All players new and old welcome.

Minor football training will also commence this week on Wednesday 8th, all players are asked to be in the Dublin road complex for 7:15.

On Monday 24th April a large cycle event called "Cycle against suicide break the cycle" will becoming to Castlewellan. The event will see the town host up to 250 cyclists and crew. This event organisers are looking for a number of local volunteers to host cyclists over night. If anyone would like to help in anyway possible please Anne McGowan via their website

This weeks lotto results are 14,15,18 and 20, there was no winner this week, next weeks jackpot is £3800. Tickets avaukble in usual outlets and in the clubrooms. 

Post Date : Tue 07 Feb 2017 09:54 AM
Armagh stroke survivor who had stroke at Rihanna concert urges people to act FAST 
Young stroke survivor Michele McGarry, from Lurgan, is joining the Stroke Association in calling for people across Northern Ireland to be more aware of the early warning signs of stroke, and to share the FAST message to help save more lives. 
The FAST Test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:
  • FACE: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
  • SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • TIME to call 999
Stroke at Rihanna concert 
Michele had a massive stroke in 2011 while attending a Rihanna concert with her teenage sister and friends. Michele was just 28 at the time. Michele collapsed and presented with the classic FAST stroke symptoms – one sided weakness, slurred speech, drooped face and lack of co-ordination. 
Shortly before collapsing Michele had dropped her drink and felt very weak in her left side. Her quick thinking friend noticed her symptoms straight away and she got help.. Michele is grateful that her friend knew the FAST signs and got help as quickly as possible.
Slurred speech and left sided weakness 
Michele describes her experience: “Shortly before this I kept dropping my drink which I had been holding in my left hand. I thought I was just being clumsy even though this happened quite a few times. I had had less than 2 drinks so I knew I couldn’t be drunk. Luckily I received instant medical attention. My friends alerted security who brought me to the medical room where an ambulance was called straightaway. My friend suspected immediately that I had had a stroke but no one could/would/wanted to believe it.
“I remember in the ambulance the girl kept asking me to squeeze her hand as hard as I could. As far as I knew I was squeezing her hand and I was frustrated that she kept asking me. I didn’t realise I had no power and I actually wasn’t squeezing her hand. I heard my sister, who was only 13 at the time, on the phone ringing people and crying. I tried to tell her it was OK. It was only when I tried to speak that I realised I wasn’t OK. I couldn’t say her name (Caitriona) properly and I couldn’t recognise my own voice- my speech was badly slurred. My face was also drooped, although I didn’t know this until much later”.
Michele was rushed from the concert to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where she was immediately given a brain scan which uncovered a huge blood clot and doctors confirmed she was having a stroke. Michele received a clot busting treatment called thrombolysis  
Effects of stroke 
“Initially I had complete left side paralysis but the clot busting drug saved my mobility; had I not been diagnosed and treated so quickly I would not have been able to receive the drug which has to be administered within a few hours. I have nothing but high praise for the people who looked after me during this time”.
The long term effects of Michele’s stroke include problems with mobility, breathlessness, extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, concentration and memory problems.
FAST – life saver
Michele was told that the FAST actions of her sister, friends, and the medical professionals helped her saved her life. She says she feels lucky that she got medical attention so quickly. Most other Friday nights she would have been driving home from Dublin and the outcome could have been so different. 
Following her stroke, doctors discovered that Michele had atrial fibrillation (AF) – a type of irregular heartbeat that often goes undiagnosed. AF is a risk factor for stroke and was the cause of Michele’s stroke. Since then, Michele has also been diagnosed with a genetic heart condition – restrictive cardiomyopathy. Michele’s AF is proving very difficult to control and unfortunately she has spent a lot of time in hospital recently.
Despite these health challenges, Michele passed her final Chartered Accountancy exams just 1 year after her stroke. She is a member of the Stroke Association’s Young Women After Stroke group and is keen to raise awareness that stroke affects younger people.
Support from the Stroke Association
Michelle is a member of the Stroke Association’s Young Women After Stroke group, an innovative group which provides information and support to young people affected by stroke. Michele says: “This group has offered me a lifeline and helped to give me a new purpose in life. I have met other young women (who I now regard as some of my closest friends) that have been through similar experiences to me. 
“I look forward to our meetings, where we can share ideas, tips and questions. Since joining the group I have spoken at Stormont and appeared in a calendar! I would not even have had the confidence to do these things before my stroke, it is only with the support of the girls that I have been able to do so; this group empowers me and I feel blessed to be part of it”.
Brenda Maguire, Campaigns Manager at Stroke Association said: “Having a stroke is devastating. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time.
 Every second counts when you are having a stroke, so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. A stroke is a medical emergency – as serious as a heart attack, so you need to seek immediate medical help. The quicker a person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment to minimise the impact of their stroke. 
“We want more people in Northern Ireland to learn the FAST test and share it with their friends and family to help others to save lives, and improve the chance of a better recovery for those who experience stroke.”
To find out more about the FAST campaign, and to view information and support available, visit