Other News In Brief

Urgent Action Needed To Employ Newly Qualified Teachers

The Ulster Unionist Party's South Belfast MLA Michael McGimpsey has accused the Departments of Education and Employment & Learning of failing the hundreds of newly qualified teachers who are unable to find jobs when they qualify from teacher training colleges.   

Mr McGimpsey said: "At Assembly Questions this week I asked the Education Minister how many new teachers had managed to find permanent jobs. In his response he said that of 639 teaching graduates who have qualified since April 2012, 484 were registered and only 25 have secured permanent posts.

"That is five per cent and a clear indication that both the Department of Education and the Department for Employment & Learning are failing students. They have not put in place proper procedures or support for newly qualified teachers to obtain full time teaching posts.

"This is a very poor way to start a career path. John O’Dowd is the Education Minister and he needs to do more than shrug his shoulders. It is immoral to ask newly qualified teachers start working life on the dole."

Ad Hoc Report Did Not Reflect The Evidence - Brady

Sinn Féin Welfare Spokesperson Mickey Brady MLA has said that it is unfortunate that the ad hoc committee report into the Welfare Reform Bill did not truly reflect the evidence presented to it.

Mr. Brady stated: "Sinn Féin campaigned for the ad-hoc committee to be set up due to our concerns on how the equality and human rights implications of the Welfare Reform Bill would impact on the most vulnerable.

"During the sitting of the committee we heard evidence from many groups representing a broad section of society. These groups included The Council for Ethnic Minorities, Disability Action, Mencap, mental health charity NIAMH, the Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Welfare Reform Group, to name a few.

"Each and every one of these groups highlighted issues that impacted on the equality and human rights of the people they represented and raised serious questions about the legality of this bill.

"The report presented to the Assembly did not reflect these opinions in a strong enough manner for Sinn Féin to support. We are determined to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected from this draconian bill, which is more an attack on the poor than British Tory claims that it’s tackling the causes of poverty.

"We will continue to oppose this bill until we are satisfied that the changes that are made will ensure that the rights of the most vulnerable people are protected."

Four Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

Four people were convicted at Belfast Magistrates' court for claiming benefits they were not entitled to.

Pauline Anderson (50) of Hampton Manor, Belfast claimed Jobseekers Allowance totalling £7,389 while failing to declare employment. She was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £49.

Alicia McCaffrey (29) of Victoria Place, Belfast claimed Housing Benefit, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Jobseekers Allowances totalling £7,194 while failing to declare employment. She was fined £450 and ordered to pay court costs of £70.

Paula Russell (23) of Old Brewery Lane, Belfast claimed Income Support totalling £3,458 while failing to declare employment. She was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £120.

Roisin Gallagher (41) of Moreland Avenue, Newtownabbey claimed Rates Relief and Income Support totalling £2,298 while failing to declare employment. She was fined £400 and ordered to pay court costs of £111.

All are also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Social Security Agency.

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