18/03/2020

Other News In Brief

North West 200 Postponed

Organisers of the North West 200 have announced the postponement of this year's race week.

The event, scheduled for the week beginning 10 May, has been pushed back amid concerns and restrictions around the current public health situation.

Up to 100,000 visitors flock to the North Coast for the iconic race week each year, a gathering that would compromise public health during the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement released on Tuesday said the decision was based on the advice and guidance received from public health officials and Causeway Coast and Glens Council.

"Our paramount desire is to act responsibly and do all we can to protect everyone from the threat posed by the virus.

"We enjoy the full support of loyal sponsors and stakeholders in making this decision but apologise for any inconvenience it has caused to them, our competitors, volunteers and race fans."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said the decision will result in a £12 million loss for the economy.

"This will be a blow to the local community," the DUP MP commented. "In fact the local economy stands to lose £12 million in turnover as a result and this will be impossible to replace. I've already asked the Government to provide rate and vat relief as well as other measures to help the local economy.

"The organisers of the race always put NI first and have the interests of Northern Ireland at heart. I know this will be a difficult decision but I can only support the Coleraine and District club for showing leadership."

SDLP Slams Govt Legacy Proposals

The UK Government's legacy proposals will effectively close investigations into soldiers, SDLP MP Colum Eastwood has warned.

The Foyle representative said the suggestion that some cases are closed without further investigation will cause "immense hurt". It would see the vast majority of almost 2,000 unsolved cases from ever being reopened.

Mr Eastwood said no individual should receive "special treatment" for crimes committed during the Troubles because of the uniform they wore.
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"The British Government's legacy proposals will cause an immense amount of hurt to victims and survivors and to families who have lost loved ones. This is not about dealing with the past ethically, it is not about delivering truth, justice and reconciliation. This is about shutting down justice and shielding former soldiers from fulsome investigation indefinitely.

"These proposals also represent a unilateral violation of the international treaty between the British and Irish Governments signed after the Stormont House Agreement. It is an act of spectacular bad faith for the Secretary of State to seek to undermine previous agreements in the absence of clear consensus from all parties.

"The measures announced today are designed to create a separate class of cases. Where one group receives special treatment because of the uniform they wore. That is unacceptable to us. Investigative paths must be followed when evidence is available."

NI Firm Secures Major Maintenance Contract

Northern Ireland-based contractor GRAHAM has secured a deal to deliver maintenance works in England.

The firm has been awarded a Building Repairs and Maintenance and Minor Works contract with Worcester City Council. Under the contract, GRAHAM will deliver reactive maintenance, planned maintenance, minor works projects and out of hours emergency works.

The contract will begin on 01 April 2020 and run for an initial five-year term, with the potential for a further two-year extension.

GRAHAM will be responsible for over 70 properties and sites within the Council's local government boundaries, ranging from public buildings and associated structures, to depots, offices, community centres, historic parks, allotments and communal areas.

The buildings include the Grade I listed Guildhall, dating back to 1721, and the Museum and Art Gallery, which was established in 1833.

GRAHAM Operations Director, Gareth Smyth said: "This latest success is another important milestone for GRAHAM in the Midlands and reflects our quality delivery, professionalism and expertise in the area. Worcester is a beautiful cathedral and university city with a suite of historic buildings.

"We look forward to bringing our collaborative approach to facilities management to Worcester City Council in support of the local community and over 100,000 residents."

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