Sinn Féin Councillor Billy Leonard has heavily criticised the PSNI after charges against him and fourteen others in relation to a peaceful protest at a Kilrea twelfth of July march in 2005 were dropped.
The process took over three years, numerous adjournments and Leonard and his colleagues believe it was the personal ambition of one, now retired, police officer which drove the process.
"This was a disaster for the police and has cost a lot of money including flying a police witness from Australia; all that for the charges to be dropped on the morning of the case.
"The most senior officer told people on the day there would be no charges. Then police officers who took statements three years ago also told all of us that there would be no charges. Yet a mad and expensive paper chase ensued because this officer couldn't follow the common sense of colleagues in other more contentious situations.
"It was a disgraceful waste of time and effort and defied logic. Vindictiveness took over but I am sure there are now red faces among the police: but they are very costly blushes." ENDS
Sinn Féin Vice President, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty and Fermanagh District Council Chairperson Thomas O'Reilly joined Enniskillen by-election canidate Debbie Coyle handing in her nomination papers at Enniskillen Town Hall today, Monday 18th August.
Speaking afterwards Pat Doherty said:
"Debbie Coyle is an excellent candidate with a strong track record in the community and voluntary sector and constituency work in Enniskillen. She will give a voice to the many people in this town who are marginalized by other political parties and provide support to those in our community fighting for their entitlements."
Fermanagh District Council Chairperson Cllr Thomas O'Reilly added:
"Sinn Féin is the largest party in Fermanagh, with seven of 23 seats. This is an opportunity to increase the Sinn Féin representation on Fermanagh District Council and in Enniskillen.
"We are a major force in local politics and in demanding and delivering change at local government, the Assembly, Europe and across Ireland. In Enniskillen we are expanding through work on the ground of our dedicated office staff and elected representatives."
Debbie Coyle said:
"It is a great honour to be selected to fight this by-election for Sinn Fein in Enniskillen.
"I follow a long line of people who have sought a mandate from the people on behalf of Sinn Fein; A mandate for change, for Irish national self determination and unity and equality." ENDS
The Assembly Committee for the Environment has responded to Minister Sammy Wilson, MLA, on a raft of measures to improve safety on the North's roads.
Responding to DoE proposals to review the current road safety strategy, the Committee urged the Minister to ensure the drink-driving limit is strictly enforced. The Committee also welcomed the publication of a revised version of the highway-code.
After engaging with stakeholders and interested groups, the Committee Vice Chairperson, Mr Cathal Boylan, MLA, said:
"Reducing the number of road fatalities and injuries has to be the number one priority. The Committee strongly encourages measures which make the Norths roads safer.
The Committee, in its response to the Minister, also indicated support for:
It also recommended that the Minister introduce a practical Road Safety education programme to make children and young people aware of all road dangers.
The Newry and Armagh Assembly member added:
"The Committee engaged in extensive consultation with many interested groups and thank them for their contribution on what is a major issue of concern within communities throughout Ireland. We feel it is imperative that the drink driving limit is enforced on both sides of the border to ensure consistency.
"Sinn Féin have consistently said that the issue of Road safety is an All Island issue and that more co operation is needed to dramatically cut the number of accidents and fatalities which occur, some of the proposals coming out of this consultation support this view.
"Already this year over 67 people have died on the Norths roads, added to the 175 people who have lost their lives in the 26 Counties, that is 242 who have tragically been taken away from loved ones and friends, the impact of a road death whether it be in Cork or Derry, Galway or Armagh, Belfast or Dublin is the same; the grief felt neither knows or recognises an invisible border.
"The issue of Road Safety is a problem for the whole of Ireland and should be dealt with on that basis." ENDS
South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Member Willie Clarke has welcomed the announcement by Environment Minister Sammy Wilson that householders whose homes have been damaged by the weekend floods will be able to apply for a special compensation payment from the government.
Cllr Clarke said:
"Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said those affected could expect to receive around £1,000, but the figure has yet to be finalised. It is also my understanding that Councils will this week be notified of the scheme so that people will able to make applications.
"The weekend's flooding was nothing short of horrendous with a number of towns and villages right across south Down badly affected. I was unable to get to houses in Newcastle on Saturday due to the Shimna Road being closed as a result of the Shimna River bursting its banks. On Sunday I visited homes that had been damaged in Larchfield and Elmgrove and I witnessed the tremendous efforts to clear up the damage caused by the incessant rain and also the great community spirit in the face of such wet weather.
"During the course of the weekend I phoned the emergency flood helpline on behalf of many householders living in places such as Castlewellan, Annsborough, Rostrevor Ballynahinch, and Newcastle and I am concerned that the response was less than adequate. However, the wonderful efforts made by emergency services and other statutory agencies during what was a horrendous weekend of bad weather must be greatly commended and I would pay tribute to everyone who played their part in responding to when people were in need of help.
"Newcastle's flood alleviation scheme probably prevented even further misery to hundreds of householders, but some local people felt it prevented water escaping. In the face of this week's extreme weather, there will have to be a review of the emergency plan and what extra measures need to be put in place as a result of all the flooding incidents which occurred. It is unacceptable that a number of drains and soakaways were blocked meaning the system was less able to cope with the excess rainwater." ENDS
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has today set out on a tour of the West Coast including the islands on a consultation expedition to inform an Oireachtas report that he is preparing on "What is required to develop the counties along the west coast of Ireland, both in economic and social terms."
The report is part of a wider Sinn Féin campaign which Senator Doherty launched at this year's Ard Fheis around the regeneration of the West.
Senator Doherty is in Cork today for a number of engagements with business associations and campaigning groups.
Speaking ahead of today's engagements he said, "Sinn Féin is committed to fighting for the regeneration of the west of Ireland and is actively engaging with communities up and down the west coast in order to identify and seek solutions to the problems they face.
"I have secured the agreement of the Oireachtas Committee on Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to complete a report on what is required to develop the counties along the west coast of Ireland, in economic and social terms.
"The report will identify infrastructure and public service deficiencies; the impediments to job creation; potential sectors for development and initiatives and interventions required to revitalise the region. This will be an important tool in promoting within the Oireachtas how government must urgently address the imbalance in the state's regional development.
"In addition my colleague Martin Ferris secured the agreement of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to produce a report on 'What is needed to ensure the future viability of farming and fishing in the West of Ireland'.
"This report will look at issues such as farm incomes and off farm incomes, potential growth sectors in farming and fishing related activities in the rural economy as well as looking at how to maximise the economic return for those who remain in farming and fishing. Deputy Ferris recently concluded his constituency tour and has now begun the initial work of compiling the report.
"For too long the West of Ireland has been neglected. While other regions enjoyed the fruits of the Celtic Tiger the west was in decline. It is time for the communities to stand together, to agree a common platform and begin the fight back for the west of Ireland." ENDS
Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Daithi McKay has been informed by the PSNI that threats have been issued against himself and other Sinn Féin elected representatives in the North Antrim area by criminals based in the Dunclug area of Ballymena.
Mr McKay said:
"In recent days the PSNI have informed me that threats have been issued by criminal elements in the Dunclug estate to myself and other Sinn Féin elected representatives. The individuals behind these threats are well known thugs and criminals. They are not Republicans.
"Those issuing these threats now take their place in the queue with loyalist death squads and other British State Agencies in attempting to prevent Sinn Féin representatives from standing by the community who elect us. These groups have failed in the past to intimidate Irish Republicans just as these criminals will fail now.
"Sinn Féin will not be deflected from representing the vast vast majority of people in Dunclug who want these individuals off the back of the local community." ENDS
Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew commenting on the weekend attack on PSNI officers in Lisnaskea has said that those carrying out these attacks have nothing to offer nationalists and no strategy for Irish Unity.
Ms Gildernew said:
"Those who carried out this attack have nothing to offer. They have little support and their actions will not advance Irish Unity one bit.
"Sinn Féin have a strategy for Irish Unity and we will not be deflected by these activities.
"Many within the republican nationalist community wonder just whose agenda these groups are operating to.
"Those who carried out this attack are feeding off the negativity of elements within unionism who are trying to slow the pace of change and progress, who in turn are feeding off the actions of these micro groups." ENDS
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today addressed the National Hunger Strike Commemoration march in Derry. During the course of his speech Mr Adams addressed the current political situation.
In a message to political unionism he said:
"Today the DUP finds itself in a place it never wanted to be - a partnership government - in which a DUP Minister has an equal status with a Sinn Féin Minister in the Joint Office of First and deputy First Minister.
"At times all of this means that the process of change is slow - certainly much slower than the vast majority of citizens want.
"There is, therefore, an understandable frustration and annoyance, and not just among nationalists and republicans, at the lack of progress and at the DUP s refusal to engage properly.
"For our part Sinn Féin will not shirk our responsibilities nor bow to unionist intransigence.
"The message to unionism is clear - if unionists want to exercise power; if they want an Assembly, and an Executive, taking meaningful decisions, then there is a price to be paid - and that price is sharing power with republicans in a partnership government of equals.
"Anything less is not acceptable and anything less will not work."
Full text of Gerry Adams address
Towards a United Ireland
I want to begin by welcoming you all here today to Derry and to the annual commemoration of the 1981 Hunger Strike.
I want to welcome especially the families of Bobby, Francie, Patsy, Raymond, Joe, Martin, Kevin, Kieran, Tom and Micky; and all the families of our republican dead;
And I want to welcome the families of those victims bereaved by British state forces directly or as a consequence of their collusion with unionist death squads.
This is the first time that the National Hunger Strike Commemoration march has been held outside of Belfast.
It is very appropriate, given that five of the hunger strikers are from County Derry and two, Patsy O Hara and Micky Devine, are from this city, that this march and rally should be taking place here.
And I want to say a special word of thanks and commendation - comhairgdeas - to all of those who have worked tirelessly over recent weeks and months to plan and organise this very impressive march and rally. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Civil Rights Struggle
The people of Derry endured much before and during the years of conflict.
After partition the British government set about the creation of an apartheid, corrupt little sectarian state in which Catholics were treated as second class citizens. The unionist party were the caretakers.
They governed a state in which tens of thousands were denied the right to vote, or a job or a home because they were Catholic and deemed nationalist.
This City represented all that in a very graphic way. It was a nationalist city run by a unionist elite! In response to this much of the energy and drive of the Civil Rights
movement was in this city.
I remember, like it was yesterday, the October 5th Civil Rights march in 1968 - 40 years ago this October - which took place on the eve of my 20th birthday.
The brutal attack by the RUC on peaceful marchers, caught on television for the first time, was stark evidence of the refusal of the unionist state and of unionist politicians to agree to the necessary fundamental reforms.
As a result of this failure the north slipped into decades of conflict.
And Derry was frequently in the front line.
During internment hundreds were imprisoned from this city and county.
Shoot-to-kill actions, the worst being Bloody Sunday; plastic bullet killings; paid perjurors; house raids and harassment and the torture of local men and women and much more were part of the daily lives of families here.
Lean Poblachtanaigh agus naisiunaithe na cathrach seo ar aghaidh - dílís agus neamhbriste trid ré corrach.
Bhí sibh croiúil, cróga.
Skip forward 40 years and the change has been remarkable.
Of course, British jurisdiction in Ireland and other issues of injustice, of disadvantage, of poverty and underfunding in public services, continue to be major problems which need to be resolved.
They are part of the legacy of partition and of British government involvement in our country.
But the reality is that the peace process and the agreements that have emerged out of it have wrought profound change.
And the challenge for all of us in the time ahead is to use these agreements to bring about even greater change.
Truth Recovery Process
This annual march and rally has its roots in two major historic events in the last, almost 40 years of struggle and conflict. One is the hunger strikes of '81. The other is internment.
In August 1971 the British government introduced internment at the behest of the Unionist regime.
It was a catastrophic decision which saw a dramatic escalation in the conflict.
Its human cost on families and communities across the north was incalculable.
36 years ago British Paratroopers were unleashed on the people of Derry, thirteen men were murdered in the name of the British government that terrible day and two later died as a result of the injuries inflicted. The consequences of the 30th January 1972 were so far reaching that the repercussions catapulted us into a spiral of conflict that left few in Ireland untouched. Because Truth was also a casualty that day and the denial of truth is a denial of justice.
Last Saturday I attended an event in Ballymurphy, in west Belfast, organised by the families of 11 people killed by the same British Army's Parachute Regiment in the 48 hours after internment began.
All 11 were civilians. One was the local parish priest, another was a mother of 8 children. Forty seven children were left without a parent.
And like Bloody Sunday and so many other similar incidents there was a cover-up of the circumstances.
In the last few years these families have come together to organise and campaign for the truth.
The Ballymurphy Massacre Committee is demanding an Independent International Investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding these deaths and for the British government to issue a statement of innocence and a public apology.
They are not alone. Countless hundreds of other families are similarly demanding truth.
Many are victim of collusion and British state violence.
Sinn Féin supports them in this endeavour.
Engaging with the DUP
It is clear that significant elements of political unionism are deeply uncomfortable with where unionism is today.
Traditionally, historically, Unionism in this city and elsewhere has been about constantly saying NO and about domination.
There are some - particularly within the DUP - who would like a return to the old days, and to the old ways of majority unionist rule - it isn't going to happen.
Tá na laethanta sin thart.
Today the DUP finds itself in a place it never wanted to be - a partnership government - in which a DUP Minister has an equal status with a Sinn Féin Minister in the Joint Office of First and deputy First Minister.
Tá Sinn Féin iontach soileir ar ár gcuspóirí, ar an bhealach chun tosaigh, ar ár mbeartaoíochta agus ar na dúthshláin atá romhain.
At times all of this means that the process of change is slow - certainly much slower than the vast majority of citizens want.
One example of this is Acht na Gaeilge. Another is the transfer of powers on policing and justice.
In my opinion the vast majority of citizens want the transfer of powers to take place; they want the institutions to be delivering for them on all these matters, as well as on other bread and butter issues; like rising energy costs and the crisis on the housing market.
There is, therefore, an understandable frustration and annoyance, and not just among nationalists and republicans, at the lack of progress and at the DUP s refusal to engage properly.
For our part Sinn Féin will not shirk our responsibilities nor bow to unionist intransigence.
The message to unionism is clear - if unionists want to exercise power; if they want an Assembly, and an Executive, taking meaningful decisions, then there is a price to be paid - and that price is sharing power with republicans in a partnership government of equals.
Anything less is not acceptable and anything less will not work.
Talking to Unionists about a United Ireland
Sinn Féins goal is a United Ireland.
Togfaí tochaí na hEireann ar bhunchloch chearta saoranaigh do gach duine a chónaíonn ar an oileán seo.
Republicans and democrats believe it is in the best interests of all the people who live on this island that British government interference and jurisdiction are ended. To advance this goal means developing an entirely new relationship with
A chairde, we have come a long way and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
The most important challenge facing us is the challenge of nation building. Republicans have a vision of a new future, a better future, and we have the spirit and the confidence born out of decades of struggle to achieve this.
The two key words - concepts - of our republican future are 'change' and 'equality'.
Republicans are for positive change - progressive and deep rooted.
We are for an Ireland with core values which uphold the well being of the aged, and the advancement of youth, the liberation of women and the protection of our children, where all citizens are treated equally.
Our past was built on colonialism, dispossession, discrimination and division.
Our future has to be different.
Our future is a future together.
To succeed we have to take this republican message of hope and change, of progress and equality, and of freedom; to every corner of this island; and to every citizen.
And everyone here can play a part in that.
As Bobby Sands put it: "Everyone, republican or otherwise has his own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something."
41 years ago, as a young republican activist I attended the meeting in Belfast from which emerged the Civil Rights Association.
40 years is a long time in a persons life.
But it is only a blink in the history of struggle.
Today we can take great confidence from the reality that republicanism is bigger and more popular than in generations; and is ready to achieve what previous generations only dreamed of.
This is in many ways due to the huge courage and sacrifices of the hunger strikers and their families.
Is fir spreagúla iad - thug said sampla duinn uilig sna laethanta gruama,dorcha sin i naoi deag ochtó a haon, chuir said i néadan Rialtas crúalach, gránna na Sasanaigh i nÉirinn. Tá cuimhne ar Thatcher ar an náire a tharraing sí ar a tír fein agus ar an chruáileacht a thaispeáin sí do tír s'againn.
For their part the hunger strikers are remembered with pride by freedom loving people every where.
Even in the worst of times and the worst of conditions they never gave up.
More than that they were confident of success, and they succeeded.
Well, this is our time to succeed.
This is our time to change history. ENDS
Sinn Féin councillor Liam Johnston has criticised the decision by the South Eastern Trust to close St John's residential Home in Downpatrick.
Accusing the Trust is of duplicity, Councillor Johnston said:
"When Sinn Féin broke the news two years ago that this facility would be closed the Trust denied that this was their intention.
"At that time we were accused of scare mongering and of upsetting the elderly residents who live there.
"Two years later and we now see that the information Sinn Féin made public was accurate and we now see exactly who is upsetting residents.
"Certainly, when St John's Home was built, the building was not fashioned for a long life. That building now needs replaced.
"However, the Ministers statement, in which he expressed support for the Trust's decision for closure, suggests that St John's is to be replaced with a joint public-private facility by 2010.
"The long term value of partnerships of this nature for the tax-payer has never been established nor is it proven that tax payers accrue any savings from such a venture.
"Indeed, and more importantly, experience shows that the workers caring for the elderly suffer lower wages and poorer working conditions.
"The lower morale arising out of these can impact on the quality of care.
"Sinn Féin looks forward to the provision of a new building but it would be remiss not to highlight our disappointment at the direction the South Eastern Trust is going." ENDS
Sinn Féin Newry and Mourne Council Leader, Brendan Curran has said that a recent meeting between Newry and Mourne Council Leaders and members of the 'South Down Defenders' was not a serious attempt to resolve the outstanding issues around contentious band parades.
Councillor Curran said,
Parade organisers asked to meet with Council group leaders, however only Sinn Féin and the DUP attended. While the meeting discussed some of the issues, this can in no way be seen as a substitute for the dialogue that needs to take place between the parade organisers and local residents.
These band parades have always been hugely contentious in Newry with the closing down of a main road into the City thus ensuring maximum inconvenience and traffic chaos and delays taking place. The flying of UVF Bannerettes and Flags by several Bands is seen as very deliberate sectarian act and intimidation on the nationalist residents of the area and a direct violation of previous Parades' Commission's determinations.
"The people of the Belfast Rd. are entitled to have their voices heard in relation to these matters and the parade organisers need to begin a genuine process of negotiation with the residents." ENDS
Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has told delegates to the Parnell Summer School that reform of the education system in the North of Ireland is vital.
The 2008 Parnell Summer School, held in Co Wicklow, is underway this week on the theme "Educating Ireland". Education Minister Caitríona Ruane addressed delegates on "Education in the North".
The minister said:
"In the north of Ireland we have an education system that produces many great achievements, and I celebrate those. In our schools we have principals and teachers who are professional and dedicated in giving the best educational experience to our children and young people. But, we also have too many young people coming out of school without qualifications and without important literacy and numeracy skills.
"Our education system is outdated and in need of reform to ensure that all children, from every background, are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. I have a programme of progressive reforms planned to make education in the north fit for the 21st century. A programme that puts children, not institutions at the centre of every policy.
"It will involve building a system which can sustain a range of different types of schools and provision which values them all equally. I want to preserve academic excellence and improve performance of the system so it caters for the needs of all our young people. To achieve academic excellence we do not need academic selection, which most countries abolished many years ago.
"We can build an education system that prepares our young people for a rapidly changing world and encourages schools to work together for the good of their pupils." ENDS
Sinn Féin today published the party’s annual financial statements for both the north and south. In addition the party will also publish a breakdown of the party’s spend on the Lisbon Treaty Referendum campaign next week.
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald today said:
“Each year Sinn Féin has published its financial statements for both the north and south. In the north political parties are required under law to provide a full income and expenditure annual financial statement to the electoral commission. We commend this requirement and believe a similar practice should be in place in the south.
“Like all organisations a political party needs an income in order to cover its expenditures. The general-public understand that fundraising and donations are part and parcel of generating that income. Where cynicism starts to creep in is when it is perceived that political parties are not open and transparent about their financial affairs.
“The primary source of donations to Sinn Féin in the south comes from each of the party’s TDs and MEP who each donated €6,000 and of the north’s twenty seven MLAs who donated €5,787.04. Our fundraising comes from the party’s annual National Draw and a big and widely supported annual fundraiser dinner ‘Le Cheile’. In addition we hold other sports and social events throughout the year.
“It is Sinn Féin’s firm belief that all political parties in the state should be required to submit an annual set of accounts to the Standards in Public Office Commission. Sinn Féin is one of the only political parties in this state to produce an annual set of financial statements available to the general public. In the absence of legislation I believe all political parties should follow our lead.”
Youth Broadcast for Fermanagh By-Election
Ogra Shinn Fein have produced a youth election broadcast for the upcoming by election in Enniskillen on Wednesday 17 September.
The youth electon broadcast urges young people from the relevant electoral ward to come out and vote for Sinn Fein's candidate Debbie Coyle and visualises the advances that Sinn Fein have made in recent times.
It also includeds a number of short interviews with Mary Lou McDonald MEP and Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew.
And it traces the strong legacy of republican candidates being elected in Fermanagh, most notably, the election of Bobby Sands MP, whilst on Hungerstrike in 1981.
Urging young people to watch the youth election broadcast and to vote Sinn Fein, National Organiser of Ogra Shinn Fein, Barry McColgan, said,
"Sinn Fein have a proven track record in promoting young people, representing their views and demanding increased funding and resourcing for youth projects and facilities."
"Sinn Fein is committed to achieving Irish unity, building an egalitarian society and ensuring young people are placed at the centre and have a part to play in all of this."
"We are encouraging the young people of Enniskillen to vote for our candidate Debbie Coyle, to assist in further increasing our mandate, so that we can move forward strengthened and more determined to achieve our programme of change both in Fermanagh and Ireland."
To view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hb2A7RvZIk
British Army recruitment billboard not wanted - Maskey
South Belfast MLA, Cllr Alex Maskey has said that a British Army recruitment billboard should not have been erected on Balfour Avenue in South Belfast and has welcomed its removal.
Cllr Maskey said,
"I have contacted the company with responsibility for these billboards and urged for the removal of this particular advertisement. I welcome the fact that it will be taken down and that the vicinity will be restricted in terms of the erection of these offensive adverts.
People in the community here have a very real experience of the brutality and oppression of the British Army and there is no place for glorifying their current antics overseas as well as suggestion it is in some way an excellent career choice."
Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has urged farmers here to remain vigilant and not risk importing potentially infected stock.
Discussing the continuing Bluetongue risk, the Minister said:
"I welcome the Ulster Farmer's Union comments last week urging farmers not to import livestock. It is vitally important that we continue to keep Bluetongue out. The main risk to the north continues to be the import of infected animals, particularly in light of the continuing spread of disease on the continent. Our farmers need to think very carefully before they bring animals here that may have been exposed to infection and especially those from areas zoned in respect of bluetongue in Britain or on the continent.
"Although increasing numbers of farmers in Britain are now vaccinating against Bluetongue, our farmers must remain on their guard. The next few months are the highest risk period and farmers need to be aware of that and should not be complacent. If they import infected stock the risk is not only to themselves but to the whole industry."
The Department already has processes in place to reduce the risk. However, importers should be aware that any imported animals found to be infected with Bluetongue will be slaughtered and no compensation will be payable.
Farmers taking cattle and sheep to shows in Britain, or purchasing animals there, must ensure the show is located in a Bluetongue Free Zone.
All animals being imported from Britain require a Specific Import Licence (applications may be obtained from the DARD website or by contacting Trade Branch, tel: 028 9052 0931).
The Licence should also be accompanied by a Defra issued Export Health Certificate, a declaration completed by the original Owner, a Veterinary Supplementary certificate completed by the local Veterinary Inspector at the show and, where animals are being re-imported into the North of Ireland, a copy of the original export health certificate that travelled with the animals to Britain in the first place
Imported cattle and sheep, except those from the South of Ireland, must be housed, isolated and be subjected to post import Bluetongue testing. The animals must remain housed and isolated until all tests are completed and a de-restriction notice is issued.
DARD continues to liaise closely with Defra, other Devolved Administrations and with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Dublin to monitor the Bluetongue situation. DARD also reviews and updates its Veterinary Risk Assessment on an ongoing basis in light of new developments, to ensure the measures in place are appropriate and timely.
DARD is continuing to work in partnership with key stakeholders to mitigate the threat of Bluetongue incursion.
Seolann Mac Ádhaimh chomhbhróin le chlann Uí Ghabhrá
Sheol Uachtaráin Shinn Féin Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh chomhbhróin s'aige le teaghlach Nollaig Ó Gabhrá; a bhean chéile Máire agus a gcuid bpáistí Siobháin, Máirín agus Daithí.
"Ba staraí, scríobhnóir, léachtóir agus iar-Uachtaráin Chonradh na Gaeilge é Nollaig Ó Gabhrá agus bhí baint mhór aige le bunú an stáisiún Theilifís na Gaeilge.
Is cailleadh mhór é seo do ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge ar fud na tíre.
Go dhéanfá Dia trócaire ar an anam uasail."
Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the resignation of Dr. Patricia Cunningham as Network Director for Radiology for the North East HSE region (Cos. Cavan, Monaghan, Louth & Meath) is a very serious development given that she has stated that the HSE's aim is to deliver the cheapest possible service regardless of patient safety or need.
The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said:
"The resignation of Dr. Patricia Cunningham as Network Director for Radiology for the North East HSE region is a very serious development. It will be viewed with deep concern given the shambolic state of hospital services in the North East due to the flawed policy of the government and the HSE, under-funding and mismanagement.
"Dr. Cunningham has stated that the HSE's aim is to deliver the cheapest service possible 'regardless of patient safety or need, with disregard for the best clinical practice and no resources for the safe delivery of quality care'.
"This senior clinician felt compelled to step down in this way a month before the current review of thousands of x-rays and CT scans in the region was ordered. The HSE mismanagement she identifies has been well known to patients and staff in this region where hospitals have been downgraded and services underfunded and understaffed.
"Equally worrying is the HSE response which speaks of the 'fragmentation of services' across the region. The reality is that the HSE is allowing services in the five hospitals in the region to deteriorate in order to further its drive to centralise all hospital services, initially in Cavan and Drogheda and then, at some unknown future date,in a new regional hospital. But this regional hospital is itself in doubt. Meanwhile patients and front-line healthcare workers continue to suffer.
"I call for the early publication of the report on radiology and scanning in the North East and the reversal of the HSE's centralisation drive."
Councillor Johnny McGibbon condemns Irish News British Army advertisements
Sinn Féin Councillor Johnny McGibbon has criticised the Irish News for their promotion of the British Army through several advertisements contained in the paper.
Cllr McGibbon said,
"I have contacted the Irish News today to highlight my opposition to these adverts. The Irish News has always claimed to be editorially opposed to violence, yet in yesterday's paper I seen several examples of hypocrisy.
Promoting education through the British Army, or "Back to School: ARMY STYLE", is surely not the most appropriate avenue for young people to re-enter education. There are many avenues available to young people to continue their education, without being involved in an Army that has a long and violent history in Ireland.
I am disappointed that the Irish News feels it is acceptable to promote British Army recruitment to people as young as 16 considering their history, and current practices in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Education Minister Cáitríona Ruane congratulates all those students receiving AS and A-Level results
Visiting St Mary's High School in Newry and Newry High School, Cáitríona Ruane said:
"Congratulations to all the young people who have today received their A and AS level results. I firmly believe that they result from the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of our young people. The results are also a credit to the professionalism, passion and commitment of teachers and parents.
"There will be young people today who did not get the results that they hoped for in order to pursue their career. However, you have come this far and I would urge you not to give up pursuing your goals, there are many options available to you and I would urge you to explore these.
"I wish you all every success for the future on whatever your chosen career route. This is an exciting time in your life and I would advise that you consider all avenues open to you and make your own decision as to what goal you wish to achieve.
"I have a progressive programme underway to reform our education system. This programme will maintain our excellent record in results while improving the educational experiences of all young people and narrowing the gap between those who do well and those the system is failing."
98.2% of entries at A level here have achieved pass grades, with 35.4% being awarded the top grade A. This is respectively a 0.2% and 2.2% increase on last year, demonstrating that high standards have been maintained. CRÍOCH
Following the extensive damage caused by flooding in Rostrevor last night (Tuesday August 12th), Crotlieve Sinn Féin councillor for Newry and Mourne Council Mick Murphy has called on the Rivers Agency, NI Water and Roads Service to ensure permanent measures are put in place to avoid any more destruction.
"This is an extremely serious issue which has a massive impact in the local area," Cllr Murphy said, "and it was only last December that the community suffered the same devastation through flooding. A number of houses sustained serious damage, including houses in St Jude's, Carrickbawn, St Colman's and on the Newtown Road. The Greenpark Road was also damaged, and the gardens of houses there were flooded.
"As always it is the human stories behind the flooding that are so sad. A young couple in St Jude's, for instance, had put everything they had into a new house there, only to see it devastated by the flooding. What is of most serious concern is that this extensive damage happened while the tide was out. With more rain forecast we have to be prepared for even greater danger if this coincides a full tide."
"I have asked the Rivers Agency to supply additional sandbags for vulnerable areas in readiness for further flooding but most important of all is that the relevant agencies meet as a matter of urgency to put in place whatever measures are necessary to protect these vulnerable residential areas from flooding on a permanent basis. I have been calling for this for some time now and it is essential they do this immediately. This community has suffered enough and it demands and deserves far better protection than it is currently getting". ENDS