Other News In Brief

MPs Approve Customs Union Motion

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has welcomed MPs approving a non-binding motion saying the UK should be in a customs union with the EU.

The motion was passed without a vote in the House of Commons, which followed a more formal but similar vote in the House of Lords.

"While this was a non-binding motion, it gives a strong indication there is majority backing in the House of Commons for the UK to enter a customs union with the EU," said Dr Farry.

"This situation should encourage the UK Government to rethink their overall position on Brexit. It is clear they have boxed themselves into a corner with contradictory commitments to three positons, only two of which can be achieved at any one time - to avoid a hard border within the island of Ireland, for the UK as whole to leave both the customs union and the single market, and to rule out any special arrangements for Northern Ireland in relation to a customs union and single market."

Newry Road Improvement Scheme Almost Complete

The improvement scheme on the B8 Newry Road at the Ballydoo and Edentrumly Road junctions is almost completed.

The £300,000 scheme is designed to improve the road alignment and forward visibility on the B8 Newry Road between Mayobridge and Hilltown. It results in improved safety for road users in the area.
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Final resurfacing is planned for week commencing Monday 30 April. In order to carry out the operation safely and effectively a road closure will be necessary until Saturday 5 May.

Traffic from Newry will be diverted via the A25 Rathfriland Road, Newry Street and Downpatrick Street, Rathfriland and the B25 Hilltown Road.

Traffic travelling towards Newry will be diverted via the B25 Rathfriland Road, Downpatrick Street and Newry Street, Rathfriland and the A25 Newry Road.

UUP Describes A&E Waiting Times As 'Frightening'

The UUP has described the latest A&E waiting time statistics as "frightening".

Only 59.3% of patients attending major emergency departments in March were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours of their arrival - a fall of almost 11% on the same period last year.

UUP Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, said: "Only two weeks ago there were warnings in England that it was witnessing its worst ever A&E waiting times on record and over there calls are growing for urgent government intervention and for heads to roll. Yet in March across all of its major units it still managed to see 76.4% of patients within 4 hours; an entire 17% better than our performance and yet no heads are rolling here.

"We must commend the frontline staff who are delivering emergency assessment and treatment, something which I myself recently experienced. A recent survey has once more however highlighted that staff are working under huge stress and that the overall system is simply not meeting expectations."


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