Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sports Minister congratulates Smyth on sprint double

The Sports Minister has congratulated Eglinton sprinter Jason Smyth on his second gold medal at the IPC World Championships in Lyon. Jason Smyth won gold in the T 13 100m finals, after coming first in the T 13 200m final earlier in the week.

Carál Ní Chuilín said: “There is no doubting Jason Smyth’s quality as a sprinter. Clinching his second gold medal this week in record time is another excellent achievement. I extend my warmest congratulations to you.

"Both Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop are inspirational athletes. A year on from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is tremendous to see our local elite athletes continuing to do so well on the world stage."

Too many people are dying from drugs misuse

Too many people are dying from drugs misuse – that was the message from Health Minister Edwin Poots following a meeting with the PSNI and community organisations.

Speaking following the meeting the Minister said; “The recent deaths of eight people in Northern Ireland are tragic and my thoughts and sympathies are with the families but I must make it clear that this is by no means an isolated incident. Around 110 people died last year as a result of drugs misuse, whether that’s prescription drugs or illegal drugs - about nine people per month. This is far too many and totally unacceptable. No drugs are safe, the illegal drugs industry is not regulated and people have absolutely no idea what they are putting into their bodies so I urge people to think again before taking any illegal drugs.

“We must all work together to tackle this scourge on our communities, from the health service, the PSNI and into our community groups. We are all on the same team with the same dream in mind – that our streets are free from drugs and our children can grow up without the temptation drugs can bring. I want to reassure the public that all key agencies are working together to prevent and address the, potentially fatal, harm that substance misuse has on our communities.”

The Minister received an update from the PSNI on what is being done to prevent illegal substances being brought into Northern Ireland and the work being undertaken to tackle drug dealing. Mr Poots was also joined at the meeting with representatives from FASA (Forum for Alcohol and Substance Abuse), ASCERT (Action on Substances through Community Education and Related Training).

The Minister continued; “I am particularly concerned about the ongoing availability of new psychoactive substances (often mislabelled legal highs). These substances are not safe and in many cases when tested they have been found to contain banned drugs. Therefore, by taking these substances you are risking your health, and also risking being prosecuted.

“I will be writing to the Home Office asking that we work together to strengthen legislation in this area and put in place mechanism to close down those selling these substances. I believe this would send a very clear message that taking any substance that hasn’t been prescribed for you comes with real risks.” 

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Monday, 22 July 2013

First Minister congratulates Duke and Duchess of Cambridge‬

‪‬‪First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D. Robinson MLA has offered his warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son.‬
The First Minister said: "I congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. I want to extend my very best wishes to them on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland.‬

‪I was honoured to attend the celebration of their wedding in April 2011 and I wish them every health and happiness in the next chapter of their lives together."‬

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ni Chuilin congratulates Ireland on qualifying for 2015 World Cup

Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has congratulated Ireland on qualifying for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

The Minister said "This is terrific news for cricket in Ireland. Qualification for the Cricket World Cup gives Ireland the chance to compete on the global stage and is another step closer to full participation at test cricket level.

"All credit to the Irish team on their fine display today. We all look forward to many enjoyable cricketing encounters in the run up to and during 2015 Cricket World Cup."

Statement in response to Superseal press release

In response to the comments from Superseal earlier today, a DSD Spokesperson said: “Minister McCausland has not suspended any double glazing replacement programmes nor did he order a review of contracts. Following advice from his Departmental technical staff he did ask the NIHE to review their specification for replacement window installation, something which the NIHE confirmed they had already commenced.

"Last year, 12/13, 8,660 Housing Executive homes were double glazed, 9,000 are planned for this year leaving approximately 4,000 to be completed in 14/15 thereby completing the PFG target to have all Housing Executive homes double glazed by 2015. This must be viewed against the NIHE’s original plans to double glaze its stock by 2021. Had Minister McCausland not increased the installation programme to install double glazing in all NIHE homes there would still be thousands of homes left with drafty single glazed frames.”

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sports Minister applauds victorious sportsmen and women.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has applauded local sportsmen and women following victories in golf, cycling and boxing over the weekend.
The Minister said:”This has been a tremendous weekend for golf, cycling and women’s boxing.  Graeme McDowell has done us all proud again by winning the French Open in Paris – his third win this year.   
“Dan Martin has claimed a first stage victory on the Tour de France, a terrific personal achievement and Ireland’s first Tour de France stage winner since 1992.
“And Belfast youth light-flyweight Kristina O’Hara was among five Irish gold medallists at the European Women’s Senior, Youth and Junior Championships in Hungary which also included Olympic Champion Katie Taylor.  The Ireland squad also won three silver and seven bronze medals – a fantastic result for women’s boxing.
“Long hours of training as well as individual skill and endurance have contributed to each of these victories.  You have shone on an international stage, competing with the best in the world and becoming heroes yet again in the process. Congratulations to all of you.” 
Notes to Editors:
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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Department of Justice – Proud to be at Pride

Justice Minister David Ford has visited Justice Corner at the Belfast Pride Festival.

Justice Corner offers an opportunity for a one-stop for visitors to discuss a range of criminal justice matters with officials. It includes stands from the Department of Justice, the Youth Justice Agency, the Policing Board, the Courts and Tribunals Service and the Public Prosecution Service.

The Department used the opportunity of Justice Corner to highlight a number of its ongoing initiatives such as the delivery of the community Safety Strategy (including tackling hate crime) and the ongoing work to improve the services for victims and witnesses of crime.

In wishing the organisers and visitors a successful day David Ford said: “Pride provides an excellent opportunity for staff from my Department, and other organisations in the justice sector, to talk to members of the LGBT community, their friends and family, about issues important to them. 

“This is the third year the Department has been represented at the event and this year visitors can find out about our support for victims and witnesses and on the delivery of the Community Safety Strategy which aims to build safer, shared and confident communities. 

“The Youth Justice Agency is also availing of the occasion to seek views on how to most effectively support victims of hate crime. 

“This is an important and worthwhile engagement event and I welcome the fact the justice sector is represented and it is only fitting that I am here to offer them support and thank them for their work in this field.”

More information...

The Department of Justice Community Safety Strategy 2012-2017 'Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities' aims to build:
  • Safer communities, with lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour;
  • Shared communities, where each person’s rights are respected in a shared and cohesive community; and
  • Confident communities, where people feel safe and have confidence in the agencies that serve them.
The Community Safety Strategy can be downloaded from the Department’s website.

The DOJ Victim and Witnesses Strategy and Action Plan can be found on the 
Department’s website

Culture Minister joins in Belfast Pride celebrations

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín attended the Belfast Pride parade in the city today. 

The Minister said: “Over the years, as a supporter of Pride, I have been heartened to see it grow and develop from a small event into one of Belfast’s biggest festivals. The LGBT community has, together with other progressive people across society, courageously faced down bigotry and inequality. 

“Today Pride stands as a city-wide celebration of the LGBT community. It is a friendly, fun, inclusive festival, which brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. It also reflects an increasingly vibrant, tolerant and diverse city.” 

Usually held in August, the 2013 Pride events were moved forward by a month to facilitate the World Police and Fire Games. 

The Minister continued: “Belfast Pride is supported by DCAL’s Community Festivals Fund. Also the LGBT community has a strong tradition of creative expression through arts and culture. As Minister I want to acknowledge and applaud this, and pledge my continued support for initiatives from and for the gay community. 

“But today is an opportunity for Belfast to celebrate the positive social, economic, cultural and creative value of the LGBT community in they city's civic life, and most of all to celebrate the fine tradition of equality which must be at the heart of our society going forward. Pride is a festival which Belfast can genuinely be proud of."