30 March 2006 Edition

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In Brief

Pearse McAuley denied compassionate parole

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams condemned the petty vindictiveness of 26-County Justice Minister Michael McDowell in refusing campassionate parole last weekend to Pearse McAuley, a political prisoner in Castlereagh, so that he could attend his mother-in-law's funeral.

Ógra activist jailed

A member of Ógra Shinn Féin from west Tyrone had been jailed for three days in the past week. Danny Turnbull from Omagh was held in Maghaberry Jail, County Antrim from Monday 20 until Thursday 23 March. He was jailed after he refused to pay a fine relating to the greening of a number of post-boxes in the Tyrone area.

In 2005 Danny was arrested alongside a member of west Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin on the main street of Fintona. The two men had been in the process of painting post-boxes from red to green. Ógra Shinn Féin claimed that it was a part of a campaign launched by the youth movement "to highlight the folly of partition".

Speaking on the jailing Six County organiser of Ógra Shinn Féin, Barry McColgan said: "It's disgraceful to see an Ógra Shinn Féin member jailed for his part in a campaign to highlight the folly of partition. Ógra will continue this campaign as a method of asserting our national rights in a manner of our choosing. No amount of harassment and intimidation will deter us from the path of promoting and securing the cause of freedom in Ireland."

Peace commitments undermined

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has claimed Irish peace keeping commitments will suffer from the loss of the 200 to 300 troops on permanent stand by to EU battle groups. Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs 22 March he accused the Minister for Defence Willie O' Dea, of spin in calling them "peace brigades" saying the distinction between Peace enforcement and war making was unclear. Defence spending would also go up said Ó Snodaigh.

Call on DUP to face drugs problem

The DUP was urged to respond to the drugs crisis by Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan who said areas such as Ballymena, which have a high level of loyalist gang activity and a high level of DUP representation, continue to be ravished by the scourge of drugs but the DUP refuse to engage with the issue.

Political tour

• A group of foreign exchange students, from various European countries who took part in the recent Coiste na nIarchimí political tour of West Belfast. The group met with Bik McFarlane, IRA O/C in the H-Blocks in 1981, who delivered a talk on the Hunger Strikes

SDLP cautioned on talks

Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd said the SDLP might be misrepresnted over its talks with the Orange Order. The Order must realise that talks with the SDLP are not a substitute for direct dialogue between the loyal Orders and communities where they wish to parade.

Aer Lingus fate decided

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport, Seán Crowe TD condemned Transport Minister Cullen's remark, 28 March, that he would facilitate an "investment transaction" in Aer Lingus in the next few weeks as completely undermining the upcoming Oireachtas Committee's deliberations on the issue of the privatisation and promised discussions with trade unions. Crowe said it was clear that Cullen had made his mind up, but that he should listen to the workers and the Irish people at large.

Anti- racism campaign

• Sinn Féin Upper Bann assembly member John O'Dowd lending the party's support to the launch of the anti-racist beer mat initiative by the West Against Racism Network (WARN)

Labour inspectorate under resourced

In Leinster House, 30 March, Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan pushed Minister for Sate with responsibility for Labour Affairs, Tony Killeen TD, to reveal what if any plans he has for the Labour Inspectorate. Recent cases of exploitation had been contributed to by the under resourcing of the Inspectorate he told the house.

Make your voice heard

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew ,has urged rural communities to make their voice heard during the public consultation phase of the new draft planning policy. As An Phoblacht reported last week this will all but prohibit the building of single dwelling houses in rural areas.

Electric shock guns opposed

Sinn Féin welcomed a Human Rights Commiss-ion's response to the Six County Policing Board in which it highlighted that no case has been made for introducing electric shock TASER gus, in a limited way or otherwise. Sinn Féin's Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Caitríona Ruane MLA, accused the policing board of attempting to introduce the weapons by stealth allowing only a two week consultation process. The board had ignored HRC recommendations regarding plastic bullets she warned.

Sandra McLellan for Cork East

• Youghal Councillor Sandra McLellan and Sinn Féin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Féin has selected Youghal Councillor Sandra McLellan as its candidate in Cork East for the next 26-County General Election. A working mother and a former shop steward, McLellan who was chosen at a selection convention in Midleton, said: "Sinn Féin will promote local employment across the constituency, whether urban or rural, a health system accessible to all, and an education system which is funded to provide a high level of education to all children. We will continue to push for access to childcare and services for young people.

"There is a considerable appetite for change in this constituency and the people can avail of the opportunity to elect a Sinn Féin TD in the next election."

An Phoblacht
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