02/03/2018

Other News In Brief

Scottish Govt Ready To 'Explore Improving Connectivity' With NI

The Scottish government is reportedly ready to "explore improving connectivity" with Northern Ireland.

Speaking on BBC NI's The View about the proposed bridge between Scotland and NI, a Scottish government spokesperson said that they were ready to "initiate discussions to explore improving connectivity between our two islands", and that given the scale of any proposed link, "it is important that all options are fully considered".

The idea of creating a "fixed connection" between the two countries has existed for more than 100 years.

Magherafelt Woman Order To Repay Benefits Claimed While Failing To Declare Savings

A Magherafelt woman has been found guilty of claiming Income Support while failing to declare savings over the statutory threshold.

At Londonderry Crown Courtm a Confiscation Order of £16,719.99 was made against 46-year-old Bernadette McGreevey.

During her claim to benefits, the defendant failed to declare that she had capital over the statutory thresholds. As a result of this she received £17,440 in benefits that she was not entitled to over a five-year period. 

On 05 June 2017, the defendant pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonesty. At the confiscation hearing on 01 March, the Court granted a Confiscation Order in the amount of £16,719.99.

The defendant must satisfy the order by 01 June 2018 or serve an eight-month prison sentence for non-payment of the order, which will remain payable.

Company Prosecuted After Train Strikes Excavator Bucket Left On Line

A Co. Down-based company has been prosecuted after a train struck an excavator bucket left on a railway track.

Northern Excavators Ltd, of Culcavy Road, Hillsborough, have been fined £8,000 with £1,092 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Article 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2000.

The company had been sub-contracted to carry out repair work on the Belfast to Dublin railway line due to their expertise in working on railway lines.

However, following an overnight operation for track rehabilitation works, an excavator bucket was left on the line in February 2016.

The following morning, a six-carriage passenger train struck the bucket. There were no significant injuries to passengers on board.

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) said Northern Excavators failed to have adequate safety precautions in place during the repair operation, which "could have resulted in passengers being hurt or even killed".

HSENI Inspector Linda Murphy said: "This case highlights the dangers of railway maintenance with inadequate safe systems of working. Appropriate attention must therefore be given by those who work on such activities, to ensure that high standards of safety control are in place at all times."

(MH/LM)

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