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Political process in trouble - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”

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Martin McGuinness and Colin Parry discuss peace and reconciliation at Féile


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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has met the Parades Commission to raise concerns about a proposed Band Parade taking place in Newry later this month.

And the Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA has appealed to the organisers to end their refusal to engage in dialogue with local residents.

Mickey Brady said:

“The South Down Defenders Band Parade takes place on August 29th.

“Band parades like this have always been hugely contentious in Newry, closing down two main roads in the city causing maximum inconvenience, traffic chaos and delays.

“Several bands fly UVF bannerettes and flags which is clearly designed to insult nationalist residents in the area. This is also a direct violation of previous determinations made by the Parades Commission.

“I have received complaints from people living along this route who once again fear that they will be forced to stay in their houses for much of that night.

“I have also spoken to business people who are concerned that trade will be badly affected due to road closures and customers avoiding the area.”

Mickey Brady called on parade organisers and unionist political representatives to begin meaningful talks with residents living along the route.

“Local people are frustrated about how their genuine concerns are being dismissed by the parade organisers and unionist politicians.

“This is not about denying people’s right to march. Those who wish to celebrate their culture should be free to do so, but this right must be exercised with full respect for the rights of others, and in particular, the rights of host communities.

“The people of this area are entitled to have their voices heard and the organisers should begin a genuine process of negotiation with the residents.

“Organisers should acknowledge the serious disruption caused for residents, the wider community and businesses.

“These issues can be resolved through dialogue and agreement.

“I am willing to meet the organisers of this parade and Unionist representatives at any time to facilitate any meaningful process of dialogue.

“The refusal of the parade organisers to talk to residents in Newry points up once again the need for a comprehensive solution to the issues of parades, flags and the past as set out in the Haass proposals.” 

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Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has called on banks to clarify how many customers in the North have been double charged after falling behind on their mortgages. 

Speaking after a High Court huge ruled that Bank of Scotland had been unfairly billing customers who fell behind on payments, Mr McKay said; 

"The Bank of Scotland is a major mortgage lender in the North through Halifax and many customers will be understandably concerned about this. 

"The banks need to clarify just how many customers have been double charged in this way. 

"They also need to make it clear what action they are taking to address this situation. 

"If any customers are owed money as a result of unfair double charging then the banks need to get in contact with them and let them know. 

"All of this highlights the need for tighter regulation of banks and financial institutions. 

"Seven years after the global financial crisis caused by banks it is clear that some banks are still playing fast and loose with the regulations at the expense of customers."

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Sinn Féin MLA and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today expressed his condolences at the news of the death of former environment minister Sam Foster.

Martin McGuinness said:

“I worked with Sam Foster for a time on the Executive when he served as Minister for the Environment.

“Despite our obvious political differences, I found him to be courteous, decent and conscientious at all times.

cleardot.gif“I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Sam’s family and friends at this time.” ENDS/CRÍOCH 

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Sinn Féin councillor Liz Kimmins has said those who refused to support lighting up Craigmore Viaduct in support of the Newry Pride Festival are living in the dark ages.

Speaking after Newry and Mourne Council voted against a Sinn Féin proposal to illuminate the Craigmore Viaduct in the colours of the Rainbow flag in support of Newry Pride Festival, the councillor said; 

"Newry and Mourne Council have on several occasions approved the illumination of the Craigmore Viaduct to celebrate significant dates or highlight issues. 

"Sinn Féin proposed that the viaduct should be illuminated again in support of the 2014 Newry Pride Festival and Parade. 

"Now narrow-minded political interests on the Council have opposed the proposal, claiming that it is suddenly too expensive. 

"In my opinion there was a nasty homophobic undertone to this debate. 

"By refusing to support illuminating the viaduct these reactionary elements are living in the dark ages.

"This decision showed little tolerance and was certainly not an example of a modern, progressive inclusive council committed to positive change. 

 "Sinn Féin will continue to work in solidarity with the LGBT community to create positive change in our society to promote equal rights for everyone."

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Sinn Féin councillor Stevie Corr said today that the community in west Belfast is disgusted and horrified at an assault on two women in the City Cemetery.

“This was a vile attack by two thugs on two defenceless women visiting a family grave.

“One of these women was punched in the face and had her purse stolen before the attackers drove off in their car.

“The local community worked with police in an effort to recover the victims’ car but unfortunately the thieves burnt it out.

“The people who did this are not representative in any way of the people of West Belfast who are appalled at the vicious and senseless nature of this attack.

“I have tried to make contact with the victims this morning to offer any assistance we can provide them in the aftermath of their ordeal.

“I am calling on anyone with any information on the identity of the men who carried out this cowardly assault to contact the PSNI immediately before they hurt anyone else.”

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