Other News In Brief

NIHE Extends Contract With Bryson Energy

Bryson Energy has been awarded a contract extension to offer NI householders free energy advice.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is to invest £129,000 in the Bryson Energy Advice line based in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

The contract is to be extended for another year.

Social Development Minister, Lord Morrow MLA, said: "I am delighted to announce the extension of the Housing Executive's contract with Bryson Energy to provide independent energy advice through its freephone line for another year. Around 7,000 households contact this freephone advice line every year seeking information and advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of their home and save money on fuel bills. Tackling fuel poverty is a key objective for my Department and the Housing Executive and this vital service goes someway in tackling this issue."

Call For Unused Building's To Be Opened For Homeless People

Alliance Councillor Sian O'Neill is to facilitate the presentation of a petition to Belfast City Council calling for all the organisation's unused buildings to be opened up to house homeless people.

East Belfast Councillor Ms O'Neill said:"The recent deaths of four individuals on our streets show action must be taken on this issue and must be taken immediately," she said.

"I commend Amethyst Outreach and other groups for the work they are doing, which I why I wanted to facilitate the presenting of their petition. Whilst opening the doors of disused buildings for homeless people is not a solution in itself, it can help as part of a multi-agency approach to this issue."

SDLP 'Shocked' Minister Is Leaving Flood Victims High And Dry

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has said that he is shocked that the Rural Development Minister has refused to consider retrospective applications for access to the Flood Protection Grant Scheme after businesses across Northern Ireland were abandoned during flooding last month.

Mr McGlone said: "I have asked the Minister to make the Flood Protection Grant Scheme available to those who had their businesses and homes flooded as a result of heavy rain in December and January. It's critical that we do everything we can to support those people who have lost so much.

"I was shocked when the Minister responded to say that she will not be accepting retrospective applications because the Department is only interested in pursuing the 'economically most viable solutions'. The Minister is clearly allowing the bureaucratic bean counters in her Department to dictate to flooding victims. That is not acceptable and is typical of the poor response to this issue to date.

"It was the SDLP that called for an urgent Executive meeting to deal with this. It was the SDLP that called for Westminster funds to be made available to support flooding victims. It was the SDLP who demanded the scheme be extended to cover businesses as well as domestic properties. The Minister needs to pull up her boots and start delivering for those who need it."


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