19/12/2017

Other News In Brief

Concerns Raised Over Plans For Social Homes In NI

Serious concerns have been raised over plans for social homes in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein was speaking after submitting a detailed response to the Department of Communities plans for social housing.

The party's housing spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín said: "They focus on allocations when it is abundantly clear that what is required are tangible measures to address homelessness and overcrowding by building more social housing and allocating them on the basis of objective need.

"The United Nations the Equality Commission have both highlighted the unequal access to social housing for the Catholic community here. That evidence cannot be ignored and the ongoing failure to address social housing on the basis of objective need cannot be tolerated.

"Sinn Féin believes unequal access and unmet need are inextricably linked and structural constraints must be addressed rather than just processes."

Three People Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

Two men and a woman have been convicted for claiming benefits they were not entitled to at Newry Magistrates' Court.
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Wayne McKee claimed Income Support, Carer's Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £4,919 while failing to declare employment. He was given a three month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Ciaran Burns claimed Jobseeker's Allowance totalling £115 while failing to declare employment. He was fined £200 plus a £15 offender levy.

Tamara Martin claimed Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £1,855 while failing to declare employment. She was fined £400 plus a £15 offender levy.

They are also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Department for Communities.

Alliance Welcomes Reopening Of Ballysallagh Road

Alliance Councillor Scott Wilson has welcomed the reopening of the Ballysallagh Road following repairs to the damaged bridge, but expressed his frustration at the failures of the department.

He said: "While I am happy that the road is now open, this should never have happened.

"Following the last major closure in 2016 I had warned Transport NI that this was going to be an ongoing issue. Unfortunately even after the Council wrote to TNI earlier this year following my notice of motion, they still refused to take further measures to prevent bridge strikes.

"The serious disruption that local residents and businesses have experienced over the last number of weeks was unacceptable and entirely preventable. I hope now that Transport NI will take this issue more seriously and do whatever it takes to stop it happening again."

(CD)

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