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Sinn Féin’s east Belfast election candidate Niall Ó Donnghaile has commended all those involved in the new mural unveiled on the lower Newtonards Road this morning entitled ‘No More’.

Speaking after attending the unveiling of the mural in Wolfe Close today Mr Ó Donnghaile;

“I want to commend all those involved with the unveiling of the new mural this morning; not least Dylan and Dearbhla, who are the two young people depicted.

The mural is part of the on-going body of work in this part of the city, to ensure greater cross community cooperation, engagement and understanding.

In the past we have seen problems of anti social and sectarian tension at this interface and I am grateful, that due to ongoing engagement and the commitment of many within our community, we are now seeing a reduction in that tension and an improvement in the daily lives of the residents who live there.

Again I commend all those involved and look forward to the further rolling out of the project in the coming weeks and months.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MP and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) join with the Belfast National Graves Association and the Sinn Féin Assembly Team in launching this years Easter Lily campaign.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s event Mr McGuinness said;

“Easter is the most important date in the Republican calendar, a time when we gather right across Ireland and beyond, to remember and commemorate those men and women, throughout the generations, who gave their lives in pursuit of Irish freedom and independence.

It is also a time when we recommit ourselves to the achievement of our Republican objectives.

The Easter Lily symbolises the respect and admiration we hold for our Patriot Dead and I am delighted that committee members from the Belfast National Graves Association will be joining us for tomorrows launch; their work in maintaining the graves and memorials to our Patriot Dead is vital to ensuring further generations know the history of the Republican struggle and are inspired to join with us today in working towards a united and free Ireland.

I would call on people to honour Ireland’s dead this Easter season by wearing their Lily with pride.” CRÍOCH

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Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has stated that the support from the Ulster Teachers Union for the abolition of the Eleven Plus highlights an increasing demand from teachers for the ending of any type of academic selection


Mr O’Dowd said,


“I welcome the fact that the Ulster Teachers Unions has passed a motion at their annual conference calling for the end to the process of selection/rejection. The Ulster Teachers Union is the latest in a line of educationalists that have called for the ending of academic selection.


“In the past few weeks we have seen the Irish National Teachers Organisation, The Catholic Principals Association and the Catholic Bishops calling for the end of this unjust and educationally unsound practice..


“ A number of grammar schools have recently indicated their intention to end the practice of picking and choosing the children they want to teach..It is time that those remaining schools who still insist on erecting entrance barriers started to listen to their peers who are totally opposed to this outdated practice.


“The Unions have also endorsed the new curriculum and teachers need to be given the space and flexibility to implement and teach that curriculum. I would also call on those politicians who are sitting in trenches or on the fence to accept that the landscape has changed and to work with the Minister in her efforts to bring equality and academic excellence to all of our children. CRÍOCH

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North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has condemned the petrol bomb attack on a house on the Galgorm Road in Ballymena last night.

Mr McKay said:

“As the damage to the house shows this was an extremely serious attack and we are extremely lucky that no-one was killed or seriously injured.

“This appears to be a racially motivated attack and it is to be deplored. The Polish community are a valued part of the community in North Antrim and make a huge economic and social contribution to the community overall.

“The people who carried out this attack are those who are not welcome here. I would urge anyone with information pertaining to this incident to bring it forward and ensure that those who carried out the attack are brought to book.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Claire Mc Gill believes that concerns surrounding increasing cuts to home help provision will feature prominently at a public meeting she has arranged for Strabane next week at which representatives of Patient and Client Council (PCC) will be present to listen to, and to take on board, the views of the local community about the delivery of health and social care services.


The public meeting will take place in the Fir Trees Hotel next Wednesday (24th March) at 7pm.
Claire Mc Gill, who is also a member of the Assembly’s Health Committee, said,


"The Patient and Client Council was established on the 1st April 2009 as part of the modernisation and reform of health and social care under the Review of Public Administration.

"It gives patients, their families and everyone who uses health and social care services an independent voice for their views and concerns.’


"Its role is to ensure a strong patient and client voice at both regional at local level and aims at improving the way that people are involved in decisions about health and social care services.


“I receive representations from constituents on a wide range of health and social care issues on an almost daily basis and I do my best to secure successful outcomes with the relevant health and social care bodies.


“However, it is clear that many of these individual issues are arising as a direct result of Departmental cut backs to service provision and I want to make sure that the PCC are fully aware of the impact of these cutbacks on the local community and to press for the PCC to have these concerns addressed at a Departmental and Trust level.


“In terms of major issues of local concern, I believe that increasing cuts to home help provision will feature prominently at this public meeting as will deep concern about plans to reduce Out of Hours provision in Strabane from the first of July.


"Other issues of concern relating to the A&E at Altnagelvin such as: the extensive waiting times local people have to frequently endure as well as patients having to endure disruptive and abusive behaviour from heavily intoxicated patients, particularly weekends will also be raised.


"I would extend an open invitation to anyone who has concerns about these, or any other, issues to come along and make sure your voice is heard at this meeting." ENDS

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Tallaght Central Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe today attended a protest at Tallaght Hospital where protesters called for Mary Harney to resign over the x-rays scandal at Tallaght Hospital.

Councillor Crowe said the Minister has presided over crisis after crisis in the Health services and should resign. He went on the call on the Fianna Fáil TDs in the constituency to publicly state whether or not they have confidence in Mary Harney as Health Minister.

Councillor Crowe said:

“We are here today to say loudly and publicly that Mary Harney must resign her position as Health Minister after this latest scandal involving 58,000 x-rays at Tallaght Hospital.

“Mary Harney has spectacularly failed as a Minister for Health. In her determination to develop a private, for profit, healthcare system she has destroyed the public infrastructure on which people depend. This has led to numerous unnecessary deaths and much hardship, pain, stress and extra financial burdens for patients throughout the state and their families.

“Her response to this particular scandal is an insult to patients and their families who continue to suffer the consequences of her disastrous policies. She should have immediately flown home from New Zealand when this story broke but instead she stayed on in a blatant snub to Tallaght Hospital patients.

“The two Fianna Fáil TDs in this constituency should publicly state whether or not they have confidence in Minister Harney. And, if they do not have confidence in the Minister then they should make this clear to the Taoiseach and support a motion of no confidence in the Dáil to have her removed from office immediately.

“Conor Lenihan and Charlie O’Connor have the power to do what the people of this constituency know is the right thing to do - to put enormous pressure on Minister Harney to resign. Only party loyalty is stopping them from doing so. However, loyalty to their constituents should take precedence over party loyalty.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin members and supporters will hold a lunchtime protest at Tallaght Hospital this Saturday 20th March at 1pm. The protestors will be calling on Minister for Health Mary Harney to resign over the x-rays scandal at Tallaght Hospital.

The problems at Tallaght Hospital were highlighted more than two years ago by Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe but no action was taken by either the HSE or the Minister for Health Mary Harney.

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Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has advised those who are planning to travel abroad on summer holidays to ensure now that their passports are in order. This warning comes at a time of growing industrial action in the public service, including the Passport Office.

The Cavan-Monaghan Deputy said, “Because of the work-to-rule in the public service, passports are taking longer than usual to be processed and consequently a significant backlog is developing. The Fianna Fáil-Green Party Government’s intransigence in refusing to reverse the cuts to low-paid public sector wages means that the industrial action is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

“I have already been contacted by constituents who have had to cancel travel plans because their passports were not ready in time. However, staff in the Passport Office are currently refusing to deal with elected representatives, regardless of their politics and where they stand on the issues involved. With the summer holidays approaching there are likely to be many more people affected.

“The ten-day turnaround offered under the Passport Express service is no longer guaranteed. Therefore, anyone planning to travel abroad this summer should check now to make sure their passports are in order. If a passport needs renewing this should be done at the earliest opportunity possible.”

Deputy Ó Caoláin concluded by reminding travellers that some countries require passports to be valid for at least six months after the intended date of departure and that this should be taken into account when considering whether a passport needs to be renewed. ENDS

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Tallaght Central Councillor, Sean Crowe has called for additional Garda resources to be deployed in the Jobstown area in Tallaght following three consecutive days of knife attacks near the Mary Mercier Health Centre.

Councillor Crowe said the first attack occurred at 9.30am on Monday, 15th March and involved two youths attacking another and slashing his throat. Later that day there was a separate hammer attack in the locality. On Tuesday night there was a knife attack outside the shops in the area and on Wednesday, 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day, another attack occurred.

Councillor Crowe said, “The scale and intensity of these daily attacks have shocked and frightened local residents. All of these attacks happened in the sight of Mary Marcier Health Clinic and in full view of the Community CCTV cameras. The Community CCTV cameras are due to become operational in a matter of weeks after a long delay over funding, Garda protection and protocol procedures.

“Many of these knife attacks have not been reported to the Garda Authorities. There is speculation that this would likely involve retaliating attacks in the near future. Some of those involved in the attacks are active members of drug gangs in the immediate locality.

“In my opinion the scale of these assaults merits immediate resources to be deployed in the area. I would appeal to the Garda Authorities to adapt a proactive response in the area of Jobstown before a fatality occurs.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh today accused the new EU Foreign Policy Chief of excluding Ireland from policy formulation. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said a meeting of seven EU Foreign Ministers took place in Finland to develop the EU’s approach to Palestine and other Foreign policy issues to which Ireland was not invited.

Speaking at a Peace and Neutrality Alliance press conference in Dublin today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “Developments that are happening right now at a European level risk scuppering our neutrality forever.

“The government said vote Yes to Lisbon and we will be at the heart of Europe, influencing policy. Sinn Féin disagreed and unfortunately recent developments are proving us right. In the post-Lisbon context a new foreign policy chief has been put in place – Baroness Catherine Ashton and the mammoth External Action Service is also in the process of being established.

“This is the woman who publicly dismissed our Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin’s report and recommendations on Gaza. In what was classed as a major snub by observers it was clear she has concluded that Irish opinions are worthless when it comes to EU foreign policy.

“Only last weekend the Baroness had an exclusive meeting in Finland with seven other Foreign Ministers to discuss the EU’s approach to Palestine and other foreign policy issues. The views of France, Spain and Italy are worth listening to it seems but Ireland’s opinion not so. Far from being at the heart of Europe, we are sitting out in the cold.

“I’ve checked with our Minister’s office and though they were aware of the meeting. We were not invited. Our government may well attempt to downplay the significance of that meeting but the Finnish government’s press release issued on Monday speaks for itself. ‘A new approach to building the EU common foreign policy was taken over the weekend’ it reads. ‘We have progressed to the stage where discussions are already focusing on content and policy making’, Ashton is quoted as saying. And ‘a continuation to the informal small group meetings was planned straight away’. So be in no doubt there will be more of the same.

“I am calling on our government to spell it out to the Baroness, and to the rest of them who are currently vying for the highly lucrative External Action Service posts, that we are a neutral and independent nation. That we will not be bound by foreign policies formulated behind our backs or indeed by policies with which the Irish people disagree.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty today launched a set of proposals aimed at tackling the problem of youth unemployment. Senator Doherty said, if implemented, Sinn Féin’s proposals would get 50,000 people under the age of twenty-five off the dole immediately and create many more jobs in the years ahead. The proposals include a specific youth jobs fund, measures to facilitate self employment and a specific focus on growth sectors such as digital media, tourism, green jobs and agri-food.

He said:

“If action is not taken to tackle Ireland’s soaring youth unemployment this will have huge implications for the economy and for society into the future. But the government has no strategy to keep young people in Ireland and use their skills to rebuild the economy. It has no vision for the future. They are hoping that emigration will hide the true extent of unemployment amongst the young. It is clear that the Government’s decision to cut youth dole payments was done to encourage young people to leave.

“The fact is that there are many measures that the government could be implementing to tackle youth unemployment. Sinn Féin is presenting these solutions and we are determined to campaign for their implementation.

“We cannot sit on our hands and see the best minds of this generation of young people wasted or exported. If we are to rebuild a sustainable and vibrant economy these are the people who will do it. The young unemployed must be given the opportunity to work and to use their skills and education.

“Investing in tackling youth unemployment now will pay dividends well into the future. Sinn Féin advocates taking revenue from the pension reserve fund on a once off basis and implementing the revenue raising proposals set out in our Budget 2010 pre budget submission in order to fund our job creation proposals.

“Sinn Féin’s proposals include:
· A youth jobs fund to create 20,000 new jobs at a cost of €500 million;
· An individual plan for the long term prospects of every person under 25 who is on the live register;
· 2,000 places on a ‘One More Language Scheme’ to give the young unemployed a chance to learn an extra foreign language at a cost of €20million;
· 5,000 free ECDL advanced places at a cost of €25 million;
· 10,000 new CE places at a cost of €168 million;
· 1,000 places on conversion courses at third level to help graduates convert their skills to potential growth sectors at a cost of €15 million;
· 8 measures to treble the number of under 25’s who are self employed including a national entrepreneurship programme, access to credit and greater support for high potential start ups;
· Create a publicly owned green tech firm for Ireland and initiate a major drive to attract FDI in renewable energy at a cost of €100 million;
· Make Ireland a digital media leader through support for skills, infrastructure and entrepreneurship;
· A ‘National Development Scheme’ to employ people directly on public works projects employing 2,000 workers at a cost of approx €100 million;
· Lift the suspension on the early farm retirement scheme to make farming an option for younger people.

“Our proposals show that it is possible to beat youth unemployment with imaginative thinking and a political commitment. This has been completely absent from the Government’s approach to the jobs crisis.” ENDS

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Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty will launch his party’s proposals for creating jobs for the young unemployed at a press conference in Buswell’s Hotel on Friday. The party is to embark on a major campaign to put pressure on the Government to tackle the problem of youth unemployment.

The document, Solutions to Youth Unemployment, sets out a number of costed proposals to develop key Irish industries and to invest training and upskilling of Ireland’s young unemployed to meet the needs of a changing economy.

The campaign will be a major priority for party activists over the coming months with activities taking place throughout the 26 Counties.

The launch will take place in Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street this Friday, 19th March 2010. Senator Doherty will be joined at the launch by Councillors Matt Carthy (Monaghan), Cathal King (South Dublin) and Kathleen Funchion (Kilkenny).

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is in Washington for St. Patrick’s Day on the fifth day of a six day visit to the USA.
This morning the Sinn Féin leader met a 14 person Congressional delegation hosted by Congressman Richard Neal, who is Chair of the Friends of Ireland Committee.

Later he will attend the Speakers lunch and this evening he will go to the St. Patrick’s Day White House celebration hosted by President Obama.

At his meeting this morning with the congressional delegation Mr. Adams thanked Congressman Neal and his colleagues for their “unwavering support for the peace process in Ireland and their recent support for the transfer of powers on policing and justice.”

The Sinn Féin leader briefed the congress members on the current political situation post the Hillsborough Agreement.

Mr. Adams reminded them that Sinn Féin’s primary goal is a United Ireland and he asked them to row in behind the growing efforts in the USA to discuss and raise this issue.
Mr. Adams also raised with them the plight of the undocumented Irish.
He said:
“There are some tens of thousands of undocumented Irish in the USA and they live every day with the fear of that they can be arrested and returned to Ireland despite having lived here for many years, have jobs, pay taxes and have families. He urged the congress members to support efforts to change the immigration law to provide a visa for the undocumented.”

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Sinn Féin President and west Belfast MP Gerry Adams has sent his warmest congratulations to the players, backroom staff and supporters of St Galls GAA Club, on their momentous win in the All-Ireland Club Finals at Croke Park today.

Speaking from Washington, where he is attending St Patrick's Day celebrations at the White House, Mr Adams said;

"Seolaim comhghairdeas ón chroí d'achan duine ag Naomh Gall ar an lá stairiúl seo.

The St Galls team, player and volunteers, have done west Belfast, Belfast and Antrim Gaels proud. Their commitment, determination and dedication has been inspiring and this victory is well and truly deserved. I look forward to celebrating with them very soon.

Comhghairdeas daoibh go léir!" CRÍOCH

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams last night met the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

The Sinn Féin President thanked Mrs Clinton and the US Administration for continued support for the peace process in Ireland.

Mr. Adams said:

“The Secretary of State has played an important and supportive role in the Irish peace process. I had an opportunity today to thank her for that continued focus by the US government.”

The meeting today also allowed the Sinn Féin leader to raise a number of issues, including the future of the International Fund for Ireland which has made an important economic contribution over many years; US economic support for regeneration and investment; and the need for continuing US support for the peace process and for the political institutions.

The Sinn Féin leader also briefed the Secretary of State on the current political situation and in particular the work arising from the Hillsborough Agreement on implementing the outstanding issues from the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s Agreements.

Later Mr. Adams met US Senator Chris Dodd and briefed him on the political process.

Mr. Adams also raised the plight of the thousands of undocumented Irish living in the USA.

Mr. Adams said:

“There are many thousands of undocumented Irish living and working in the USA who have built new lives and are contributing positively to that society.

"Sinn Féin supports immigration reform which would provide a visa for the undocumented Irish." ENDS

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Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP MLA Pat Doherty has re-iterated his call for a full cross border public inquiry into the Omagh bomb.

He was speaking following today’s publication of a report by the Westminster Committee on affairs in the north which is calling for a new investigation to be set up to examine whether vital intelligence was withheld which could have prevented the bomb and whether enough was done to apprehend those responsible.

He said,

"In the wake of the bomb in Omagh both governments and their state agencies promised the families of those killed that no stone would be left unturned in the pursuit of justice.

“The findings in today’s report by the NI Affairs Committee are but further evidence that the Omagh families will not receive justice through the normal state mechanisms.

"The reality is the only mechanism which can deliver for these families, given the failure of the police investigations, is a full cross border public inquiry into the events before, during and after this horrific bombing." CRÍOCH

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Dublin South West Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe has called on residents in dwellings that are suffering from damp and fungus growths to report the problem to the council.

Councillor Crowe today released details of a serious problem with dampness and fungus growths in council dwellings. He said there has been an unprecedented amount of complaints coming from tenants regarding dampness and fungus spores in Council housing.

Councillor Crowe said:

“Some of the problems arise from the new higher levels of insulation introduced in the new building standards in 2003. Increased insulation has led to increased moisture in homes and in turn this has led to dampness and fungus growths.

“I have raised this problem with the council and have been given a commitment that any residents that report a problem with dampness or fungus will have their home inspected and advice will be given on how to control the problem.

“I am calling on all residents throughout the South Dublin Council area to be aware of this problem and to report any dampness or mould to the council.” ENDS

Editor’s note: On foot of Councillor Crowe’s inquiries the South Dublin County Council has agreed to establish a special group to monitor and deal with this growing problem. Please find details below:

MOTION: Councillor S. Crowe
Cathaoirleachs Business
That this Council Committee, concerned at the unprecedented amount of complaints coming from tenants regarding dampness and fungus spores in Council housing including new builds, and recognising the potential health effect this may be having on those tenants and their families, calls on the Manager to give an updated report on precisely how many units are effected in this area and outline the new measures and new responses, if any, that this Council proposes to introduce to combat this growing problem
REPORT:
The Council is receiving a substantial number of reports from tenants of persistant problems with 'damp', largely from those in homes constructed since 2003 when insulation standards were increased.
The reported dampness, which may lead to mould growth in certain circumstances, has three major causes-
Failure or defect to the building fabric
Failure or defect of a concealed heating / plumbing service
Condensation generated within the unit
or a combination of the above
Dwellings constructed after 2003 are constructed to higher levels of insulation, in compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations. They also have higher standards of air tightness to prevent draughts / heat loss, in compliance with Part F of the Building Regulations.
The higher building standards mean that the dwellings retain more heat, and therefore more moisture in the air, and there is a greater reliance on the occupant to sufficiently ventilate the dwelling to ensure that a balance is achieved between bringing in fresh air and removing stale / moisture laden air and retaining heat in the unit. While not all ‘dampness’ problems are caused by condensation, as listed above, condensation remains a significant contributor, however, to the overall problem. The resultant growth of mould from condensation is a major concern. There are health implications for any tenant if the conditions under which mould grows occurs is extended over a prolonged period. Tenants with bronchial or asthma conditions are particularly vulnerable. It is therefore important that, whatever the causes of the condensation are, that tenants are assisted to achieve a healthy home environment.
The recent excessively cold spell has also generated temperature differences that have compounded the conditions under which condensation can be occur, to a level where widespread problems have been generated.
To establish if there are any other contributing factors or other unrelated causes of dampness in dwellings, it is proposed to examine all recent complaints of dampness as follows:
Reports of ‘Dampness’ or Condensation to Council
Reports are sent to Housing Maintenance or Architectural Services Department for action and assigned to Clerk of Works to carry out thorough investigation of all possible causes, including leaks / fabric / services.
Dwelling Inspection – General check on structure and fabric
Check carried out to establish the existence of –
External damp penetration
Internal leaks from service pipework or source
Extraordinary source
Significant cold bridges in structure
Dwelling Inspection – condensation
Check / record - typical condensation damage – staining, mould etc and record locations.
Check / record - if ventilation in dwelling compliant with regulations- windows, window vents, wall vents, extract [ as appropriate ].
Check / record – are all vents free of obstruction or compromised in any way.
Check / record – humidity including internal external temperature and any other factors relevant to condensation generation.
Check / record – sources of free moisture in the dwelling-.
Post Inspection
Structure / Fabric -
If any leaks or defects exist arrange making good or remedial work as necessary.
Condensation problem identified-
Advise tenant of result of inspection and issue advice and guidance note.
Notify Housing and request letter to be issue to tenant on inspection result.
Follow up inspection and / or advice from Housing Department
Estate Management to monitor the dwelling to ensure that further problems do not arise.
The following guidance will be given to tenants, in cases where condensation plays a significant role in the dampness in their home.
The guidance note will be supplemented with illustrations.
Guidance Note to Tenants
Guide to Understanding Condensation:
What is condensation & Why do you get condensation?
Condensation happens when warm moist air meets a cold surface.
The air we breathe can hold varying amounts of water vapor, depending on its temperature. If warm moist air drops in temperature when the heating is no longer on, or is cooled by a cold surface, such as a window or external wall, it is then no longer able to hold the same amount of water vapor. The air-borne moisture turns into droplets of water and collects on the cold surface. This is called condensation. Condensation occurs mostly between September and March when there is the greatest difference between internal and external temperatures.

When is it a problem?
Every home gets condensation at some time. Daily activities such as - cleaning, clothes washing, bath times, -when a main meal is being cooked, generates lots of moisture and steam in a short space of time. Daily living activities of a family of four can add more than 80 Litres of water a week to the air in your home. Constant over crowding can also aggravate the problem.

Window condensation can be a warning sign. It may mean that you are creating excessive moisture in your home. Increasing indoor humidity to a high level may be damaging to you and your families health.
Condensation is usually at its worst during the winter. It often results in mould and mites growing on walls and other surfaces. Mites feed on moulds, and both can increase the risk of respiratory illnesses in some people.
Mould can spoil wall finishes and furnishings and can make your home unhealthy. The best way of tackling mould is to reduce the condensation levels and prevent it growing in the first place.
Most experts agree that relative humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, can affect your health. They suggest maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. According to the World Health Organization, at levels higher than 65%, upper respiratory illness may occur in people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Condensation is caused by:
§ Excessive moisture production–steam in the kitchen and bathroom, drying laundry, steam / water producing appliance.
§ Inadequate or inappropriate ventilation–the moist air can’t escape
§ Inadequate heating– the temperature of your home
What can you do about it?
§ Produce less water vapour or steam in your home.
§ Don't let the water vapour and steam that is produced spread all round the house.
§ Don't leave kettles and pans boiling longer than necessary.
§ Do not hang wet washing on radiators all round your home – doing so is very likely to cause condensation problems. If you need to dry clothes inside make sure the room is ventilated and the moisture to not spread to the rest of the house.
§ Keep you home warm at an average 20 - 21°c. Overheating warms the air. Warmer air holds more water vapour, so the air in your home could become even wetter and condensation will be greater when the air cools down at night.
§ Keep your home ventilated
§ Never block air vents or trickle vents in windows.
§ Never completely block chimneys.
Produce less water vapour / moisture:
§ Cover pans when cooking
§ Don't leave kettles and pans boiling longer than necessary.
§ If you use a tumble dryer, vent it to the outside.
§ Dry or part dry, washed cloths outside whenever you can.
§ When filling your bath, run the cold water first then add the hot - it will reduce the steam by 90% which leads to condensation.
§ Avoid using paraffin or bottled gas heaters – they produce a lot of moisture
Don't let it spread:
§ Close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent the moisture escaping into the rest of the house.
§ When washing / bathing, washing dishes, cooking, or washing / drying clothes ventilate the room well.
§ Ventilate your kitchen and bathroom for about 20-minutes after use by opening a small top window.
§ Ventilate your kitchen when cooking, washing up or washing by hand. A window slightly open is sufficient allow the moist air to escape outside.
Where Condensation normally Occurs:
§ Bathrooms.
§ Unheated rooms with cold surfaces, e.g. bedrooms.
§ Cold corners, cupboards and un-vented areas such as behind wardrobes.
§ Kitchens.
To Help Avoid Condensation and Dampness:
§ Try to heat every part of the home for some part of the day.
§ Try to vent every room for short periods of time on a regular basis.
§ Help to reduce condensation that has built up overnight by ’cross ventilating’ your home - opening to the first notch a small window downstairs and a small one upstairs. (They should be on opposite sides of the house, or diagonally opposite if you live in a flat).
§ Positioning wardrobes and furniture against internal walls
Other Causes of Condensation and Dampness:
It is possible that condensation may be caused by a leak or water penetration into the dwelling from an external source or by a leaking pipe internally. This is rare and the effect is normally localized. If a leak occurs from a roof, gutter, downpipe or other source the problem should be reported immediately to the Council.

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A chairde,

Throughout the world, major cities come to a standstill on the 17th March each year to celebrate St Patricks Day. The Irish Diaspora, in places as far away as Moscow and Beijing, organise events to mark our national day. From the largest cities to the smallest villages in Ireland we come together to celebrate our nationality, our culture, our music and our language. The contribution that our people have made to the building of other nations is celebrated. After decades of being denied the right to celebrate our nationality and identity in the second largest city in the country, Belfast, major events are now organised both in the city centre and throughout the city. That right was hard fought and hard won.

Unfortunately that positive message was lost on many last year when video images were beamed across the world of drunken young people and others causing major disturbances in the Holyland. Scenes of young men and women, obviously in a drunken state, being dragged away by their friends, drunken stone throwers wearing the colours of their proud counties sent a negative message of how we mark St Patricks Day in Belfast.

We as Irish people have much to be proud of, not least where we have come from and how far along the road of change we have travelled. Not too long ago there was a time when our national colours in whatever form or the wearing of GAA shirts provoked an angry and at times violent reaction in our city centre. We have changed all of that. There is now a confidence, particularly amongst our young people, which for decades had been suppressed. Events like those which took place in the Holyland last year do nothing to inspire that confidence. They do nothing to promote or celebrate our identity and culture.

I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all residents of the Holyland, be they students or other members of that community to celebrate our National day in a way that celebrates and promotes our identity in a positive light. Be mindful that following last years events there are people living around you who will anticipate this St Patricks Day with fear and apprehension. That is unacceptable.

Many people have gone to great lengths to ensure that events have been organised to provide the opportunity for you to enjoy and celebrate St Patricks Day in a safe and positive way. I would urge as many people as possible to participate in these events and however you may celebrate our national day, to treat your neighbours and friends with respect and courtesy and to ensure that there is no repeat of the scenes we witnessed last year.

Is mise,

Councillor Alex Maskey MLA.

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Responding to comments from DUP Environment Minister Edwin Poots in the Assembly chamber today that he is considering stopping face-to-face meetings with his fellow ministers in the North South Ministerial Council, Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said;


“I am sure Edwin Poots is well aware that he and all other Ministers are required to attend and fully participate in the NSMC. This is not optional.

While the DUPs newly found interest in environmental issues is admirable and to be welcomed, it won't stand up as a credible excuse for not fulfilling his responsibility as a Minister.

I don't think anyone will be taking too seriously Edwin Poot’s indication that he intends to

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Sinn Féin’s east Belfast Representative Niall Ó Donnghaile has welcomed today’s news that the Environment Minister is to ask the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) to hold a public inquiry to consider the application from Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) to extend its runway.


Speaking today Mr Ó Donnghaile said;


“Sinn Féin has made clear our support for a full and open public inquiry into any planned extension to the runway at the City Airport. In particular residents in east and south Belfast, as well as north Down, who are so affected by the Airport as it is are demanding this inquiry takes place.


At our recent Ard Fheis I spoke on a motion from the Martin/Treacy Cumann in the Short Strand supporting the call for this inquiry.


While we are at an early stage I would call on all stakeholders and in particular residents affected to participate fully in this inquiry and make sure that their feelings and concerns are clearly heard.

Obviously we will await the findings of any inquiry with interest.
Both myself and my party colleague Alex Maskey will be meeting with the Belfast City Airport Watch Group this week and will continue to engage with them in the coming period on this important issue.” CRÍOCH

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