9 February 2006 Edition
News in Brief
Fahy disowns Good Friday obligations
Sinn Féin TD Aengus O Snodaigh has accused Junior Minister Frank Fahey of showing a complete lack of understanding of the Agreement and thus demonstrating his unsuitability for his position By admitting that he does not accept that there is a shortfall between the equality protections in this State and those in the Six Counties and by arguing that the Government is not bound by equivalence.
Contradictions in direct rule
The alcohol and drugs strategy unveiled by NIO Minister Shaun Woodward demonstrates the disjointed and unco-ordinated nature of Direct Rule. Only last week the Department of Social Development's consultation on the Review of Liquor Licensing closed. That consultation document contained proposals which, if implemented, will undoubtedly lead to greater availability of alcohol.
Call for action on bias
The revelation revealed that only 155 out of 657 core departmental staff at the NIO are Catholics has been condemned by Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson Caitríona Ruane MLA. The NIO has huge power in the state and wields particular influence in the Peace Process. It is very worrying that the level of Catholic under-representation is lower in the NIO than in any other government department.
Concerns raised over Budget
Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Thomas O'Reilly has met with officials from the Department of Education. He raised concerns about the inadequate education budget and the pupil teacher ratio which has an adverse effect on both pupils and teachers. He also called for a greater all-Ireland approach on the issue of education.
Motion opposed by Labour Party
A motion by Sinn Féin Councillor Christy Burke calling for the building of a children's hospital at Temple Street has been opposed by the Labour Party. Burke described the action as staggering hypocrisy given that local Labour representatives had pledged support for the hospital. Every time you think you have got used to the Labour Party's duplicity they surprise you by going the extra mile.
EU Must focus on Palestinian statehood - de Brún MEP
Speaking after a European Parliament debate on the recent Palestinian election Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún called on the EU to focus its energies on assisting the Palestinian people in building a stable and peaceful state. This would lead to the realisation of the democratic aspirations of Palestinian society and their legitimate demand for a just and lasting peace.
Suspect device at High School
Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has expressed concern for the safety of staff, school children and parents and frustration over the disruption caused and the impact on school life after a suspected device was found at St Colm's High School in Twinbrook.
The joint PSNI British Army base in Roslea, County Fermanagh. Following a demilitarisation protest on Sunday 5 February, a number of protestors entered the base.
A Tricolour was flown from the look out tower of the barracks which is currently in the process of being dismantled.
For many years, much to the annoyance of the local nationalist population, a union jack was flown from the building by the British military.