Other News In Brief

Minister Takes Action Against Firms Dredging Sand From Lough Neagh

The Environment Minister has taken action against firms that have been dredging sand from Lough Neagh.

He has issued enforcement notices to five companies telling them to stop dredging by the end of June or face prosecution.

Alliance Environment spokesperson, Anna Lo MLA, welcomed the action.

She said: "I am glad that after years of inaction, the Department of the Environment has finally taken action against the companies who are dredging sand from Lough Neagh. The Department must bring prosecutions if these companies do not abide by these enforcement notices.

"Lough Neagh is a large natural resource for Northern Ireland and its ecosystems must be protected.

"The unauthorised extraction of sand has been going on for too long and it was disappointing that the Department had previously failed to take action."

Success Of The Irish Open Needs To Be Built Upon - Ruane

Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that the success of the Irish Open in bringing people into South Down needs to be built upon.

Ms. Ruane said: "I would congratulate the organisers of the Irish Open for selecting the Royal County Down course at Newcastle for this years tournament.

"Already we have seen the interest in the Irish Open with large crowds attending the first few days and the event being sold out over the weekend.

"However we cannot allow this event to pass us by without building on the potential that its presents for the entire South Down area."

Crisis Over NI Health Service Continues

Ulster Unionist Health Committee member, Michael McGimpsey MLA, has said the publication of two damning reports this week is indicative of the growing crisis across the Northern Ireland health service.

he Northern Ireland Audit Office revealed the financial pressures across the Health Service are so severe that last year four of the five Health and Social Care Trusts failed to break even, despite an emergency £115m top-up.

Mr McGimpsey said:

He said: "This shortfall in the budget has directly contributed to worsening A&E waiting times, a collapse in cancer diagnosis and treatment times and a major deterioration in staff morale right across the NHS.

"It is simply unacceptable that the Health Service has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that patient safety is now being compromised.

"“The publication of the report from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission includes a number of cases that it found to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of patients. In 2015 that is simply inexcusable. It is now becoming increasingly apparent that conditions right across our local hospitals are in a downward spiral. This decline in service is unacceptable and unfair for patients and staff."


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