MIL-OSI UK: Package of support needed for all those affected by Muckamore Abbey Hospital

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Package of support needed for all those affected by Muckamore Abbey Hospital

December 13, 2018 10:06 AM

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said that the Department of Health and Belfast Trust should make a package of support available to the families of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, pending the outcome of the police investigation into allegations of mistreatment.

The South Belfast MLA stated: “There is a very clear case for a public inquiry into what has happened at Muckamore over many years, but that cannot happen before the police investigation is complete. Meanwhile, families are left with unacceptable uncertainty.

“Therefore I would propose a package of services, including not just emotional support but also impartial and professional advice, should be made available to families to help them come to terms with what has happened and to enable them to take the next steps.

“We must not forget the very human cost of the issues arising, and that that cost is borne by huge numbers of people both inside and outside the facility.”


MIL-OSI UK: Department must ensure Mobility Car Scheme managed appropriately

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Department must ensure Mobility Car Scheme managed appropriately

December 12, 2018 2:34 PM

Kellie Armstrong MLA has called on the Department for Communities to urgently consider the National Audit Office report regarding Motability Operations, after it emerged the company which supplies cars for people with mobility issues had been accused of over-charging its customers.

Kellie – who is the Chair of the All Party Group on Disability – said the Department had a duty to ensure the Mobility Car Scheme was being managed appropriately to ensure people with mobility issues are not being overcharged and the Departments scarce resources are not being misused.

She said: “The issue of overcharging means people who have mobility vehicles may have incurred more costs than necessary or appropriate. The amount identified by the NAO combines to a possible £390 million being unfairly taken out of the system by Motability Operations”.

“The Department now has a duty to outline the precautions they are taking to not only protect local users, but to ensure any overcharged amounts will be returned to those people on mobility benefits, who have taken the option of a car from the Motability scheme.

“We must get to the bottom of this and stop any knock-on negative effect for those currently within the system and the only way to do that is for the Department to be open with all regarding the current situation.

“I have already asked the Audit Office if they have plans to investigate and will continuing to push for answers until full transparency is disclosed.”


MIL-OSI UK: Delayed vote must not stop us from banking the backstop, says Long

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Alliance Leader Naomi Long has again stressed the need to bank the backstop, as she responded to Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest statement in the House of Commons.

Mrs Long added that while the backstop is essential if Brexit is to happen, the Prime Minister’s “best option” was to return to the people, giving them the final say.

“For Northern Ireland, this represents further instability and challenge for jobs and growth, and compounds political instability,” she said.

“Northern Ireland voted to remain, and staying in the EU continues to be the best way forward. The local business community and civic society, and parties representing the majority of opinion, are willing to be pragmatic in supporting the backstop, recognising that it protects this region from the worst effects of Brexit and offers us the economic opportunity to have a foot in both camps.

“If Brexit is to happen, then the backstop must be the bottom line. Instead, MPs, including those who claim to be representing Northern Ireland’s interests, are rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement and the stability it offered, placing it in jeopardy, whilst offering no alternative in return.

“It now looks increasingly likely that Brexit is undeliverable. Those who campaigned for it are entirely responsible for the failure. They had no plan and completely unrealistic expectations of the UK’s negotiating strength against 27 other nations in the EU.

“Even at this late stage and despite holding senior cabinet positions through the negotiations, they have no single, coherent vision of what future arrangements they want to deliver, let alone how they would achieve them.

“Instead of accepting Withdrawal Agreement which would ensure an orderly, managed Brexit could proceed, they instead want to drag the country over a cliff edge into a chaotic future, in which the only certainty is that people will be worse off than they are now.

“The best option now is for the Prime Minister to return to the people and give them the final say on this debacle. Let the public decide whether they want to vote for the reality of Brexit – a deal worse than we have now, a future poorer than we are now – or whether they want to stop this act of national self-harm and rescind Article 50.”


MIL-OSI UK: Long condemns East Belfast attack

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Long condemns East Belfast attack

December 8, 2018 3:36 PM

Alliance Councillor Michael Long has condemned an attack on a man in East Belfast, leaving him with potentially life-changing injuries.

The incident took place in the Gibson Park Gardens area of East Belfast on Friday night.

Councillor Michael Long said: “It is extremely distressing to hear of such a brutal attack taking place within our local community and I must condemn all involved.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home and my thoughts are with the victim, his friends and family as they attempt to come to terms with and deal with the aftermath of this heartless attack.

“I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible, ensuring those behind this attack are removed from the streets and dealt with before the courts.”


MIL-OSI UK: Armstrong welcomes Translink investment

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Armstrong welcomes Translink investment

December 7, 2018 3:03 PM

The Alliance Party’s Infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong has welcomed the latest round of investment in Translink, after the company announced a new deal with Spanish rail manufacturer CAF, securing a number of new train carriages.

She said: “In this, the year of infrastructure, it is fantastic to see more positive publicity for Translink, especially if this news gives some that extra push needed to leave the car at home and opt for public transport.

“Yet while this investment must be welcomed, Alliance recognises that on-going investment is needed in our rail service – especially if we are to see that kind of service that benefits all.

“I not only welcome this news, but also further welcome that in the current challenging economic environment, Translink is still investing in rolling stock.”


MIL-OSI UK: Alliance take McDonalds concerns to planning committee

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Alliance take McDonalds concerns to planning committee

December 6, 2018 3:42 PM

East Belfast Alliance representatives will outline serious concerns over a planned new McDonalds at the Tesco Knocknagoney site at a Belfast planning meeting next week.

Councillor Peter McReynolds and Chris Lyttle MLA have been working closely with residents over the past few months and will appeal to planners to listen to the growing fears over the impact of the project on Tuesday night.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Councillor Peter McReynolds said, “the proposed two storey drive through restaurant risks putting further strain on an already congested area and would also have a serious impact on surrounding residents and Knocknagoney Primary School”.

“At the meeting, Chris Lyttle MLA, residents and I will present a range of concerns about this application which is regarded by many people as likely to result in a significant increase in vehicle congestion and a detrimental impact on the neighbouring residential area.

“Over the last year, Alliance has been approached by many residents in the area and raised their concerns direct with McDonald’s and the planning office. Concerns include litter, noise and air pollution and the need for an improved traffic impact assessment – meaning this application should be given greater scrutiny. I want the committee to call out to the site and to see the impact it will have on the area.

“Councillors should also consider whether the location would be consistent with the aim of the Belfast Agenda to promote healthy living and lifestyles for children and young people.”


MIL-OSI UK: New petition tackles parking problems in Bangor West

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

New petition tackles parking problems in Bangor West

December 6, 2018 3:17 PM

Local Alliance Party activists have unveiled a campaign set to target the on-going problem of parking in and around Bangor West Train Station.

Councillor Scott Wilson and local representative Connie Egan – who have both been revealed as Alliance candidates for the Bangor West area in next May’s Local Government election – have said the problem has gone on long enough, adding they are determined to see a park and ride installed to alleviate the pressure.

Connie, who lives near the station, stated “Bangor West is my home and I regularly see the issues caused by irresponsible parking. While most people park with consideration for others, unfortunately some commuters leave their cars places where they block line of sight at junctions or make it difficult for residents to exit their driveways.

“I was shocked to hear some of the reports from those who have witnessed accidents. I can’t help but feel a serious incident is inevitable unless something is done soon.

“One of the reasons I have put myself forward as a candidate for Council is to help with issues such as this. I hope our petition will show Translink the public desire is there, and adequate Park and Ride facilities are long overdue.”

Scott Wilson, who has been working on this issue for a number of years now, is hoping the petition will send out a clear message to Translink that Bangor must not be overlooked.

Councillor Wilson stated, “I get contacted regularly by frustrated residents regarding problem parking and the issue seems to be getting worse. I was not surprised at the level of support for our petition when we called door to door but I was shocked by some of the stories from residents.

“People pushing prams and wheelchair users often have to walk down the middle of the road and ambulances have been unable to get past due to lack of space left by parked cars. This a serious concern and people’s lives could be put at risk.

“The Department for Infrastructure have previously agreed to my requests to paint yellow lines in various places and this has helped reduce the danger in some areas. They don’t however want to extend these any further so as not to inconvenience residents who want to park outside their own house. The answer then must surely be to give these commuters somewhere else to park.”

“With a Park & Ride being planned for Newtownards I am extremely disappointed that Bangor seems to have been forgotten about. If you would like to help, please sign our petition at: