Thursday, 22 April 2010

You Votin'???!

Sorry I haven’t been able to update the blog as regularly as I would, but I’m sure regular visitors will understand the busy nature of campaigning and if I’m honest, I would much rather spend the best part of my time on streets, at people’s doors, than typing up reports on the blog.

As far as the canvass goes things are looking good!

People are understandably concerned about economic issues, in particular jobs and investment in their communities. A massive issue being raised with me is about social housing and the immediate and real need for more social homes to be built in order to prevent people languishing on waiting lists. People rightly want to stay in the communities in which they were born and reared; in turn they want to bring their own families up in these same, good communities.

Keeping families and people together lends heavily to the important issue of community cohesion and all of the benefits that flow from that. With massive developments taking place on our doorstep citizens in the east of the city want to see the tangable benefits of these future developments. Housing is central to this, but so too is economic and business stimulation, job creating and training opportunities. leisure and sporting facilities and everything that should and must be enshrined in these large scale developments, both Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays.

Something raised with me regularly throughout this campaign is the issue of community safety. Concerns about anti-social behaviour are growing all the time; communities can only do so much to prevent that tide from growing, the PSNI have to do more to prevent people from being frightened in their own homes. The idea of our elderly residents being afraid to walk the streets of areas they have spent their entire lives in is unacceptable. I have mentioned the recent, unacceptable behaviour of the PSNI in the Short Strand and intend blogging about it more comprehensively in the time ahead, but for the immediate time being the issues of concern aren’t going to go away. I am glad that I can say Sinn Féin have so far played our role, with others, in bringing the necessary stakeholders and those with specific responsibility in relation to dealing with issues of crime and antisocial behaviour around the table, we must continue to ensure that they deliver on their responsibilities and work to create a safer east Belfast for all.
Last week Sinn Féin held our annual Belfast town hall meeting, this was one of ten held across the Six Counties. What struck me from previous town hall meetings was the growing number of people attending who weren’t Sinn Féin activists. Representaives of the Party leadership, including Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly, Alex Maskey and Bairbre de Brún MEP. Issues on the night ranged from disability rights, to the parading issue, from social and community investment to the painful subject of suicide. People wanted to know what Sinn Féin were doing in the Executive and more importantly what more we could deliver for people post May 6th.

We’ve been out in force in north Belfast, Gerry Kelly has a very real chance of taking the seat from DUP and Orange Order stalwart Nigel Dodds, who thus far has delivered little for the constituency except attempting to cement sectarian division. Gerry K is the man who can do it, I’m delighted to have been able to join the canvass in support of him and look forward to a few more between now and the election. The feedback on the day was certainly reflective of the desire people have for change and the faith the have in Gerry as the one to deliver it!

In the meantime we have been doing the usual, canvassing, leafleting and getting the posters up!

In the run up to May the 6th we are being contacted by a growing number of people from outside of our core support areas, people wishing us well in the time ahead and contacting out constituency service in their droves. This is a good thing and not least down to the work by Sinn Féin in east Belfast to branch out and engage beyond our traditional areas. Speaking of that though, friends and neighbours in the Short Strand have been giving our canvass team great feedback; they know the party who is on the ground, delivering for them. That party is, and always has been Sinn Féin.
Alex has removed his candidacy in south Belfast; I have no doubt this was a difficult decision for him, Alex is a political leader unequalled in his constituency but given that fact he will acknowledge the reasons this move had to be done, to maximise and consolidate nationalist/republican representation throughout the north. I have no doubt many in south Belfast will be annoyed that no republican is standing in the constituency but be assured that Alex and the south & east Belfast SF team are going nowhere. Our track record in the south of the city speaks for itself and under Alex’s leadership will continue to work on behalf of the people, very much looking forward to the Assembly and Council elections next year. Alex comments on the SF initiative here

Again, sorry this blog post is brief and the postings are becoming fewer but yas know the craic!!!

Beirigí Bua!


PS I'm writing this during a quick break while working from our office on Bothar na bhFáll before heading back east for another canvass this evening!

PPS My aunt and uncle thankfully got home from Rome safely during the volanic ash disruption but I'd say like most residents in east Béal Feirste, the few days peace and quiet didn't go un-noticed!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

SDLP - A Party you can trust...........apparently

Feel free to click on the above image for a game of 'spot the difference'

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

update soon........

Dia daoibh a chairde!

Forgive me for the lack of positing lately, obviously things have been busy with the election.

There are a number of issues I want to update followers on, not least the unacceptable behaviour of the PSNI in the Short Strand last week.

Hope to get some time this week to sit down and give you all an update.

In the meantime you can keep up to date via Twitter

Beirigí Bua!!


Saturday, 3 April 2010

Eirí Amach na Cásca


IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government.

Thomas J. Clarke,
Sean Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh,
P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt,
James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Getting ready for the election

Getting ready for the election

Election fever, slowly but surely, is beginning to gain momentum.

While others have been seen to be just a tad brass-neck, Sinn Féin have been, for several months now, where it actually matters, not up lamp-posts but on doorsteps..

A lot of the media focus is on the battle within Unionism (given that they know where the nationalist/republican electorate will go) and in particular the ever growing problems within the Irish Tories, the UUP.

In east Belfast we have a politicised and energised electorate; the names for the ballot paper in that constituency is growing week by week and personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

East Belfast is the most Unionist constituency in the north of Ireland, for an Irish Republican it can prove difficult to tap into that electorate beyond our traditional support base in the Short Strand. I am confident that through the ongoing engagement with working class Unionism and Loyalism, we are allowing them to see Sinn Féin from a perspective they never have before. The PUL (Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist) community is in growing numbers, availing of the first class services offered by Sinn Féin’s constituency offices right across the north. Clearly they are impressed with the leadership being shown by people like Martin McGuinness as their joint First Minister.

Locally Sinn Féin continues to look ahead, this election will be an important one, and next year in 2011 we have a council seat we are seeking to take back to give those working class communities, Republican or Loyalist, a loud voice in the heart of City Hall once again!

As busy as all candidates become I will do my best to keep you up to date with how things are going. I have outlined before the issues that will no doubt be faced by the candidates in this constituency and many of the others too. I think Sinn Féin’s record in east Belfast and across the Six Counties speaks for itself but that alone is not enough; we will be out and rapping as many doors as we can and speaking with as many people as we can, just like we continue to do regardless of an election or no election.