Other News In Brief

Coercive Control Legislation Welcomed

Women's Aid Northern Ireland has welcomed the news that legislation to criminalise coercive control will be brought through Stormont.

The charity said the region was left for "too long" without legislation to protect victims.

Justice Minister Naomi Long announced on Tuesday that she will forward plans to make it an offence for a person to engage in abusive behaviour, on two or more occasions, against someone they are personally connected to.

Over 30,000 incidents of domestic abuse were reported in 2018/19 as well as 16,182 crimes, the highest level since records began in 2004/05.

It's hoped the new legislation will offer better protections to victims.

A statement released by Women's Aid NI, which has long fought for the legislation, said: "We recognise and appreciate the Justice Minister's commitment to tackling domestic abuse and bringing an often hidden problem out in the open.

"Coercive control inflicts feelings of entrapment, isolation and degradation on victims and survivors, eroding their sense of autonomy and personhood. For too long Northern Ireland has been the only part of the UK and Ireland without legislation to criminalise this type of abuse. We are grateful that this will no longer be the case."

The spokesperson added: "It is critical that victims and survivors in Northern Ireland have the same, robust legal protections as the rest of the United Kingdom. We look forward to seeing the full draft Bill and working alongside the Department to ensure that the protections contained within meet the specific needs of victims and survivors moving forward."

Translink Invests In First Hydrogen Fuelled-Buses

Northern Ireland's public transport provider Translink has invested in its first fleet of hydrogen fuelled-buses.

The company struck a £4 million deal with Wrightbus for three of the environmentally friendly vehicles.

This represents Translink's first step towards investing in zero carbon technology, to combat climate change and improve air quality.
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Local councillor Gregg McKeen has voiced his support of the deal, which will boost business for Wrightbus and manufacturing in Mid and East Antrim.

"I very much welcome the news that Translink are purchasing these hydrogen fuelled-buses from our local company, Wrightbus," Cllr McKeen said.

"The Wrightbus name has been renowned as a global leader in manufacturing and innovation, and this investment proves they are continuing to deliver results following challenging times.

"I would commend the efforts and commitment of those who bought this deal forward and secured this investment."

Call For £36m Funding To Redevelop Local Football Grounds

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has come under pressure to move forward with £36 million funding for the redevelopment of local football grounds across Northern Ireland.

The investment for local clubs was approved in 2011, but has remained stalled over the last three years due to the absence of an NI Executive.

Local UUP MLA Andy Allen MBE has called on Minister Hargey to provide clarity on projects like the 'Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer'.

"The fact that we now have a new Minister in place at the Department for Communities will give some cause for optimism that clubs will soon be able to access this much needed and long awaited funding to improve facilities and safety," Mr Allen said.

"I note that the new Minister, Deirdre Hargey – has expressed her determination to see the Casement Park project started 'at the earliest opportunity'.

"I also note that there has been a suggestion that a new consultation process may be required before the football funding cash can be released.

"If the Minister is determined to press ahead with supporting Casement at the earliest opportunity, then the Minister should be also be doing her utmost to deliver the £36 million promised to clubs in the original Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer, at the earliest opportunity.

"I therefore call on the Minister to urgently clarify what programmes within her Department require new consultations before funding can be released and in the process provide much needed clarity for those football clubs hoping to benefit from the Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer, also without delay."


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