Thursday, 21 January 2010

Support for Haiti

The Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Ms. Teresita Trujillo, advises today that an account has been established by the Cuban Government to receive international donations from people wishing to support the work of the Cuban medical brigades in Haiti. The details below will facilitate a credit transfer from any bank in the world:

Account name: Terremoto HaitíBank: BICSASWIFT

Code: BIDCCUHHAccount number: 01321010770900

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Important work ahead

On Tuesday evening I left what was a very busy day of work in the Sinn Féin Press Office to make my way down to the Mount Conference Centre at Woodstock Link.

As I ventured across the road I saw a group of teenagers from the Strand head in ahead of me; they greeted me in typical Béal Feirste fashion; “There’s Niall!”, “Hiya Niall!”, “Alright Niall?!”.

These same young people were some of a group from both the Short Strand and Inner East Belfast who have been working with the Inner East Belfast Antisocial Behaviour/Young People Interface Project. (Long title but important work nonetheless!)

The project began after a meeting of key stakeholders in East Belfast 18 months ago in the East Belfast Mission; I attended that meeting, which focused on collectively dealing with the problems of antisocial activity at the interfaces, youth provision and community safety, but also about approaching all of this in a joint up, cohesive and comprehensive fashion. Tuesday night showed the beginning of this work and why it must continue in the time ahead.

Tuesday also saw launch of the Project’s “R U Brickin’ it?” campaign as well as the launch of a DVD showing the views of all those caught up in the antisocial activity at the interface; the victims, the young people, their parents, youth/community workers and the PSNI.

The DVD in my opinion did a good job at getting some of the views across and it would be excellent if it was made more widely available. The whole purpose of the “Brickin’ it” campaign is to highlight the very real and often times dangerous consequences of engaging in this type of activity, particularly at the interfaces.

Its important to note that the room in the Mount was filled to capacity with people having to line up outside in the hall to listen to contributions from speakers from the Short Strand Community Forum, the CROWN Project, the Doyle Youth Club, the Bridge, Alternatives and the Project itself. Many politicians, from the UUP, PUP and Alliance were also in attendance, as were community reps, members of the community, but most importantly in my opinion, was the fact that so many young people, some of whom have been caught up in the problems, were there on the night. The work of the Belfast Conflict Resolution Consortium ( as well as the East Belfast Area Contacts cannot also not be diminished, the seeds of this project were planted by the work which they were determined to begin in order to tackle the problems we were having to deal with (sometimes on a nightly basis!) at the interface.

I wish the project every success and I look forward to assisting their endeavours in the time ahead; I think we all have a key stake in it’s work given its importance to our community.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ceisteanna fa choinne an 'Royal Mail'

Tá CTR Shinn Féin do Tuaisceart Bhéal Feirste Carál Ní Chuilín chun iarraidh ar Oifig an Phoist fiosrúcháin a dhéanamh isteach ar cén dóigh a raibh baill foirne ábalta scríobh ar litir seolaithe as Gaeilge “Most people in this country only speak English” ar na mallaibh.

Tá Carál go hiomlán ceart nuair a deireann sí go bhfuil an phobail Gaelach i dteideal meas ón Oifig nuair a bhaineann siad úsáid asan seoladh i dteanga s’acu fhéin. Go pearsanta, tá mo chuid litreacha uilig seolaithe trí mheán na Gaeilge.

Labhair mé le Carál fa seo níbe luaithe agus is rud a bheas mé fhéin, chomh maith lei fhéin, a choinneal súil géar air sna laethanta beaga romhainn.

Ba chóir do Ghaeilgeoirí ar fud na Sé Chontae lean leo a’ bhaint úsáid as an foirm Gaeilge, rud a bheas mé fhéin a dhéanamh mar is gnáth agus is cinnte go mbeidh muid uilig ag súil le gníomhach ó Oifig an Phoist gan mhoill.

Ráiteas Carál @

An Glór Poblachtach

Tá iris úrnua de chuid Shinn Féin, ‘An Glór Poblachtach’ anois ar fáil ón pháirtí nó sa chultúrlann i mBéal Feirste. Tá costais £2:50 no 3 Euro air.

Tá an iris léite agam cheanna féin agus caithfidh mé a rá, is léamh iontach suimiúla é!

Beidh an Glór ar fáil dhá uair sa bhliain agus tá síntiús ar fáil.

Déanaigí bhur ndícheall cóip a fháil agus níos tábhachtaí arís tacaígí leis an iris Gaelach seo.

Tuilleadh eolais @

An Glór ABÚ!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Áthbhliain faoi mháise

A chairde,

The blog has been somewhat quiet for the past number of weeks, not least due to the onset of the Christmas and New Year's Festivities.

As well as that, during December I lost my Grandmother, May. She passed on the 18th of December at the age of 80, surrounded by her family. It was a truly difficult thing for our family to go through and while I am not yet sure that I wish to write about that day and the previous weeks and months, what I do know is this, I'm very glad I was there that afternoon.

A particular thanks to everyone who called to the house, sent their best etc.

But as we enter 2010 we enter into a period of heavy lifting, the parties have ended for another while and the shoulders will be returning to the wheel.

For us in East Belfast there are various issues that need continued attention and some that need immediate action.

As has been the case for some time now, the major developments at Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays will bleep loudly on the radar of communities within this part of the city.

Just a short while ago we saw why there is very real concern at any planned extension to the runway at Belfast City Airport, there must be a full public inquiry into any planned extension, the people affected in South and East Belfast, as well as North Down, deserve no less!

More broadly speaking crime and anti-social behaviour, the scourge of drugs and the safety of our elderly and vulnerable citizens is a massive issue of concern. Individualy and collectively, our community can only do and should do as much as they can to make their areas safe and friendly places, but the onus remains firmly on the PSNI to act accordingly in response to needs of our varied communities. They have some way to go in the time ahead to ensure that communities feel safe and free to go about their daily business; there is an onus on us however to make sure we proactively hold the PSNI to account at every step of the way. All of our people deserve the highest standard of policing and I firmly believe that by working together as political, community, Church and Statutory representatives we can continue in the process of achieving that highest standard.

The economic downturn is hitting homes right across Ireland; every day I see and hear of the effects on people here in my own community in the Short Strand, as I mentioned earlier, the potential for multi million pound investment on our doorsteps in the form of Titanic and Sirocco as well as others, must not be squandered, it must not be allowed to divert away from the very communities who surround them.

Housing provision is a massive issue in this part of Belfast, as it is in other parts of Belfast. Communities across the East are crying out for decent, social and family homes to sustain our long established communities well into the future, keeping families and neighbours together. While housing will be a major feature of the bigger developments, and will hopefully be of benefit to all of Belfast, we in the East cannot pin all our hopes on this. The Minister has made housing a major priority during her tenure, we need to see some of that focus put on this constituency. Margaret Ritchie could start by heeding the calls from the Short Strand community to acquire the land at the now redundant Mountpottinger Barracks and utilise it for social, family homes.

For Sinn Féin the New Year brings with it a Westminster election, on the ground our party continues to remain active and relevant, we are continuing to strive in terms of breaking down barriers and meeting with and working on behalf of people we never have before. The people in this constituency share many common problems and issues, things that Sinn Féin have been proactive in trying to tackle. In a constituency like this (which correct me if I'm wrong, is considered the most Unionist of all the constituencies) I believe we are punching well above our weight in terms of helping citizens and working on their behalf, not just in our traditional, core area of the Short Strand but increasingly beyond that.

As much as that is welcome political reality, we can always do more and I am certainly committed to the task of doing what I can to improve the conditions, environment, interaction and well-being of communities right across this part of our city.

Go néirí linn agus áthbhliain faoi mháise daoibh go léir!