21 November 2002 Edition

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Move to take the London out of Derry

Derry Sinn Féin councillor Barney O'Hagan has proposed a motion for the next city council meeting on Tuesday 26 November to officially change the name of the city to Derry.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, O'Hagan said: "Derry is the name of the city that everyone, regardless of cultural background, can identify with. It is the only sensible thing to do to bring an end to the neverending confusion that surrounds the name of the city for residents, visitors and investors. Instead of running around with half a dozen names for the city that satisfy no one and confuse everyone, we need to bring this matter to its conclusion for the betterment of the city.

"The city council needs to show leadership to the people of this city. I have read and heard reports that have identified the problems emanating from our inability to market this city with a clear and single name, therefore we need to officially name this city once and for all and the only name it can be called is Derry.

"The name of this city is much too important an issue to ignore and by officially changing the name of this city to Derry we will have a unique image and brand name we can market throughout the world".

The Sinn Féin councillor stressed that the party's motive for bringing the motion before the council was to establish Derry as the 'Regional Capital' of the North West of Ireland.

University of Ulster ejects Sinn Féin

Newtownabbey Councillor Breige Meehan has criticised the University of Ulster after members of Sinn Féin were forced to leave the Students Union Building at the Jordanstown Campus on Tuesday 19 November.

Student leaders issued invitations to all political parties, including Sinn Féin, to attend an open day at the University but as the Sinn Féin members set up their stall in the building, they were told to leave.

The four members of Sinn Féin moved into the Students Union before being forcibly removed by university security staff under the guidance of Estates Services Officer Frank Halpin.

A student source has told An Phoblacht that the removal of the Sinn Féin group was ordered by the Public Affairs Committee of the University. The source said: "No other political parties were removed when they were giving out leaflets; it seems the university doesn't want students to hear about Sinn Féin policies."

Sinn Féin's Breige Meehan said the university's interference in the affairs of the University of Ulster Students Union undermines and raises questions about the self governing authority of the entire student movement, not only at the University of Ulster but also across all campuses.

Meehan added that the way Sinn Fein were treated by the University authorities is blatant discrimination and fails to adhere to parity of esteem.

Sinn Féin has sent letters to the Chancellor of the Campus, Gerry McKenna, and the Students Union asking for a meeting to explain the removal of its members on Tuesday.

Housing Executive failing on derelict houses

Sinn Féin councillor for North Belfast, Eoin Ó Broin, has called on the Housing Executive to acquire derelict properties in North Belfast and renovate them so families can move in.

ó Broin told An Phoblacht that he had identified around 60 run down houses to the Housing Executive six months ago but still none hae been renovated. "It is within the powers of the Housing Executive to acquire these houses and renovate them," he said.

In a recent case, three empty houses in Kinnaird Street off the Antrim Road have become the subject of an animal cruelty investigation after dead dogs were found rotting inside. Resident Martina Dwyer said she made countless phone calls to the Housing Executive telling them what was going on in the houses but nothing was ever done. She is furious that instead of acquiring and renovating the houses for families, the Housing Executive allowed them to go to rack and ruin.

"At one point my own house became infested with flies because of dead pigeons covering the floors of these houses," she said.

ó Broin said everyone knows of the chronic housing shortage in North Belfast yet when empty houses in nationalist areas are identified the Executive chooses to ignore them or take no action. "These houses would make perfectly good housing for a number of families but they are being left to deteriorate and very often they become infested with rats and attract young people as drinking dens," he said.

He reminded the Housing Executive of its responsibility and legal duty to make these houses habitable for local people.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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