MIL-OSI UK: Long says Prime Minister’s Brexit statement a wasted opportunity

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Long says Prime Minister’s Brexit statement a wasted opportunity

January 21, 2019 4:43 PM

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said the Prime Minister’s statement to MPs on her way forward for Brexit was a “wasted opportunity”.

Speaking following Theresa May’s comments to the House of Commons, Mrs Long said: “”This was a disappointing statement from the Prime Minister and a wasted opportunity.

“Until she can accept she has mutually incompatible redlines and face up to the sharp choices available, then progress is not going to be made.

“There is little point in wasting further time indulging those obsessed with changing or ditching the backstop. Any negotiated Brexit will require a withdrawal agreement, which will in turn require an open-ended backstop until and unless a better solution protecting the Good Friday Agreement comes along.

“The Prime Minister is arrogant to keep dismissing calls for either a People’s Vote or an extension of Article 50 to avoid a catastrophic no deal outcome. She seems to be afraid to see either of these propositions formally tested, and it is now important Parliament forces her hand on this.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Armstrong says Alliance will continue to hold airport to account

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Armstrong says Alliance will continue to hold airport to account

January 21, 2019 10:37 AM

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said her party will continue to hold Belfast International Airport to account over recent problems with the length of security queues there.

Ms Armstrong was speaking after a meeting with management at the airport, alongside her colleagues Stewart Dickson MLA and John Blair MLA, who arranged the meeting in his South Antrim constituency.

“Northern Ireland needs a modern, secure airport in which people can be guaranteed they will be able to navigate quickly and without the regular delays going through security in particular we have seen in recent months. There is no doubt Belfast International Airport has not been that in recent times,” said Ms Armstrong.

“This meeting was a chance to put across the frustration many members of the public have felt while using the airport during that time. We were told by management they are fully committed to tackling the problems and investment has been put into dealing with the security issues in particular.

“Those assurances are welcome but Alliance will continue to hold the airport to account to ensure it is not just talk. These problems have been frustrating for everyone, including the airport. Now is the time to prove they will take people’s complaints onboard and make the necessary changes to improve their service.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Long appalled and disgusted at murderous attack

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Long appalled and disgusted at murderous attack

January 19, 2019 10:49 PM

Alliance Leader Naomi Long has expressed anger at those who “dared to bring violence back onto our streets”, after a car bomb exploded in Londonderry.

The explosion occurred outside the courthouse in Bishop Street, after police had received a warning.

“I, like many in the community tonight, am completely appalled and disgusted at this murderous attack – an attack on our peace, our prosperity and everything we have worked towards over the past 20 years, and an attack on the people of Derry~Londonderry.

“It is absolutely sickening that there are still people willing to bring violence to our streets and risk people’s lives and livelihoods. Those behind this have no excuse and no support for their actions. Neither have they anything to offer beyond their desire to cause death and destruction.

“The people of Derry~Londonderry and of Northern Ireland are united in condemning this vile attack: those determined to drag us back to the dark days of the past can and must never be successful.

“I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible so that those responsible can be apprehended and dealt with before being allowed to strike fear into our community again.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Dickson condems shooting in Warrenpoint

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Dickson condems shooting in Warrenpoint

January 19, 2019 11:16 AM

Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has urged anyone with information following a fatal shooting in Warrenpoint to speak to the PSNI immediately.

A man was killed and a woman critically injured in the attack in the Lower Dromore Road area.

He added: “This is an absolutely vile attack which will have left the local community in shock.

“Incidents like these should not be present on our streets in 2019 and I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible, so the thugs who deemed it necessary to take a life can be apprehended immediately.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Lavery to seek meeting with Education Authority over future of Lurgan campus

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Lavery to seek meeting with Education Authority over future of Lurgan campus

January 18, 2019 3:16 PM

Alliance Lurgan representative Peter Lavery is to seek a meeting with the Education Authority after it announced a consultation into the future of the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High School.

The move could see the school’s pupils transferred to the Portadown campus from September 2020. The plans were outlined in a meeting at the school earlier this week. A public consultation has been launched into the matter.

Peter Lavery, who attended the meeting, said there was concern from parents in the room.

“There is no doubt people are worried about the future of the Lurgan campus, with students potentially having to be bussed to the Portadown campus.

“I want to encourage everyone to take part in the consultation process to ensure their views are heard and to have a say in the final outcome.

“Alliance has sought a meeting with the Education Authority to raise the concerns of parents and pupils. We will be talking through all options on the table, including the potential to locate the Lurgan campus on the Lurgan Junior High School site.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Bradshaw expresses sympathy after death of man in Belfast

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Bradshaw expresses sympathy after death of man in Belfast

January 18, 2019 2:18 PM

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has expressed her sympathy after a homeless man died in Belfast city centre.

The man, believed to be in his mid-30s, was found in a doorway on High Street by staff members from the Welcome Organisation.

“This is a tragedy and my thoughts go out to this man’s friends and family,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.

“While many organisations and agencies are doing good work on the issue of homelessness, this fundamentally represents a failure to tackle its root causes. We need to see more investment in support mechanisms, with resources put into mental health, addiction services, family reunification and other practical support.

“However, unfortunately that is all too late for this poor man.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Urgent clarity needed on budget allocations, says Armstrong

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Urgent clarity needed on budget allocations, says Armstrong

January 17, 2019 4:30 PM

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said urgent clarity needs to be given by the Secretary of State and NICS Board on budget allocations for Government Departments to stave off financial threats facing them.

The Strangford MLA said the lack of a functioning Executive meant the community and voluntary sector in particular was plagued with uncertainty over what resources it had to deliver for the forthcoming financial year.

“While Brexit takes up most of the headlines, the lack of a functioning Executive continues to have a biting impact on many areas. Among these is the community and voluntary sector – we need to know when we are going to hear about the Budget for the 2019/20 financial year, so Departments can begin giving allocations to the sector, as well as various arm’s-length bodies.

“We are less than three months out from the start of the next financial year and most community groups have not even received application forms for the funding process to begin for the 2019/20 year. That uncertainty means they are unable to strategically plan how to deliver their much-needed resources and services, while many are placing their staff on protective notice as a precaution.

“This week Alliance met senior civil servants to hear how the Executive’s Outcomes Delivery Plan is being delivered. Time and again we heard about the importance of partnership working, yet due to a lack of financial certainty those same partners have no idea if they will still be operational after March.

“Alliance will be seeking a meeting with the Head of the Civil Service and NIO so the situation can be clarified and a date given as to when details of the 2019/20 Budget will be made available. We must cut through the uncertainty and allow organisations to do their jobs.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Bradshaw welcomes new nursing campaign

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Bradshaw welcomes new nursing campaign

January 17, 2019 2:13 PM

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the launch of a new international nursing campaign with a specific focus on tackling homelessness and health inequalities.

The South Belfast MLA said the Nursing Now campaign was an “outstanding initiative” which would help demonstrate nurses can have a direct and positive role in improving not just health, but also social and economic outcomes.

“One key area is in working to counter the negative health effects of homelessness in the broadest sense,” she said.

“The campaign will also rightly focus on challenging childhood obesity and mental ill-health, and recognising the vital role of nurses in these areas.

“The public perception of nurses is already rightly very high, but the outcome of this campaign will be to demonstrate the role of nursing can be much broader than we think, and can have a very wide and positive impact.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Lack of devolution severely hampering early childhood development, says Lyttle

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Lack of devolution severely hampering early childhood development, says Lyttle

January 17, 2019 11:35 AM

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said the lack of devolution is severely hampering early childhood development, after a major survey showed the childcare bill is the largest or second largest monthly outgoing for two-thirds of families here.

The Childcare Cost Survey Report by Employers for Childcare showed after housing, the childcare bill continues to exceed groceries, heating, transport and other household costs. It added enhanced and strategic investment in financial support for childcare is key to help provide quality provision.

“Childcare is by far the issue raised with me the most by my constituents. Affordable, quality childcare is vital to the development of children, while simultaneously helping families access employment and training opportunities to obtain skills and contribute to our economy,” said East Belfast MLA Mr Lyttle.

“However, this report clearly outlines how much of a struggle achieving that childcare is for many families. There is a Childcare Strategy awaiting Ministerial sign-off, but due to the collapse of power-sharing, it is simply gathering dust instead of helping those who need it.

“Those parties blocking the restoration of the Assembly are hampering early childhood development and need to ask themselves if they see anything as more important than the care of our children and helping give quality childcare provision which is accessible and affordable for all.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Armstrong says serious questions must be asked after welfare reform report published

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Armstrong says serious questions must be asked after welfare reform report published

January 17, 2019 10:27 AM

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said serious questions needs to be asked after a report warned the full impact of welfare reforms has yet to be felt here, with further hardships predicted by 2020.

The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General said the end of mitigation measures, such as the so called ‘Bedroom Tax’, which are due to take place in March 2020, could see an increase in hardship experienced by people in Northern Ireland, leading to more usage of food banks and other measures.

“This report outlines some stark figures which should make sobering reading for every person in our society,” said Ms Armstrong.

“When welfare reforms were first introduced to Northern Ireland, the Assembly voted to enable Department for Communities to put in mitigation measures to attempt and alleviate the impact. However, this report shows millions of pounds allocated to the Department for this purpose has not been drawn down. It raises serious questions as to what is happening with that money and why it is not being used to help people who are faced with hardships.

“Those hardships are going to be increased thanks to the recently announced delay to the managed migration to universal credit in Northern Ireland. While we do not agree with the idea of universal credit, for it to be rolled without transitional protections for claimants means more debt and people being pushed into poverty just because of a change in personal circumstance’

“Unless we have a restored Assembly, we are going to soon be faced with a cliff edge thanks to welfare reforms such as universal credit. While the DUP and Sinn Féin continue to refuse to form a Government, people are going to suffer and continue to be failed by those two parties.”

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