Other News In Brief

Woman Convicted of Benefit Fraud

A woman has been convicted for claiming benefits she was not entitled toat Dungannon Crown Court.

Eithne Dinsmore claimed Income Support, Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance totalling £22,796 while failing to declare she was living with her partner. She was given a nine month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

She is also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Department for Communities.

Funding Announced To Improve Shop Fronts In Co L'Derry

Funding of £268,300 has been allocated to improve and enhance shop fronts in Co L'Derry.

A total of 16 properties in Upper Strand Road and Clooney Terrace will benefit from new frontages, painting, replacement of rainwater goods, as well as repairing or replacement of windows, doors and external plasterwork.

The scheme is being funded by the Department for the Communities and was developed alongside Derry City and Strabane District Council and the City Centre Initiative.

Communities Minister Paul Givan said: "This funding will help to improve the appearance of the shop fronts in these two key commercial streets and complements my Department's earlier investments to enhance the public realm in the area. The improvements will attract more shoppers to the streets, bringing a boost to trade and increasing the vibrancy of the area."

The work is expected to be completed before 31 March 2017.
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Did Minister Bid For Money To Tackle Waiting Lists? - Alliance

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called on the Health Minister to reveal whether she bid for money to tackle waiting lists.

Minister Michelle O'Neill this week revealed her Department's response to the Bengoa Report, which was designed to transform the health service here. However, she received criticism from some quarters for not revealing her targets for bringing down waiting lists.

South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said the Minister should state whether she bid for funding to fight waiting lists, as she had not revealed the information to the Health Committee.

"Earlier this week, Alliance said we would hold the Minister to account and ensure she did not delay any implementation of her plan to reform the health service. However, part of that involves the Minister engaging with the Health Committee, something she did not do before this announcement. Committees are there to not only scrutinise the Minister and the Department, but provide guidance and support in how to deal with pressures, particularly those in the short-term.

"As she did not inform the Committee, the Minister needs to reveal immediately whether she actually bid for funding to tackle the waiting list problem. If she did, was she refused? Growing waiting lists are not only an issue for people on them but wider society, as an inability to bring them down is also detrimental to the economy."


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