07/01/2022

Other News In Brief

Education Minister Urged To Produce Safe School Reopening Plan

Sinn Féin has said the Education Minister must urgently bring forward a plan which 'puts the safety of children, parents and school staff first'.

Speaking after successfully tabling a petition to recall the Assembly, the party's education spokesperson Pat Sheehan said: "I welcome confirmation that the Assembly will now be recalled so that we can discuss how the Minister intends to keep our schools open in the safest possible manner.

"The priority for everyone needs to be on ensuring that our schools can function safely and that staff, children and parents are protected.

"The Omicron variant and rising cases is increasing the pressure on school staff.

"The education minister needs to come to the Assembly to set out a clear plan for keeping schools open which puts the safety of pupils, teachers and parents first and deals with the pressures on school staff caused by rising infection rates."

DUP And SF Clash Over Office Bookshelves

The DUP has it out at Sinn Féin over their alleged objection to the books an MLA might have on their office desk.

DUP Finance Committee member and MLA for Mid Ulster Keith Buchanan said the objection by Sinn Fein is "an insight towards their true attitude towards the British identity in Northern Ireland".

He said: "Most MLAs were embarrassed. We have serious business to do and Sinn Fein's greatest concern is the contents of someone's bookshelf.

"Sinn Fein defends and celebrates the most heinous of murders by the PIRA yet is offended by a centenary stone, a rose bush, a Queen's jubilee tree and now a book about the UDR. It would seem that Sinn Fein's so-called 'new Ireland' will have its own banned book list.

"The unscripted view put forward in a Committee meeting demonstrates a lot about the true Sinn Fein attitude and towards the British identity in Northern Ireland. In truth, Sinn Fein simply don't want a British symbol about the place.

"Equality seems to have a contorted definition in the SF dictionary."

McManus Agri Director Disqualified
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The director of McManus Agri Contracts has been disqualified for seven years at the High Court in Belfast.

The Company operated as wholesale of agricultural machinery, equipment and supplies and went into liquidation on 19 February 2018 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £827,875. There was a total of £1 owing as Share Capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £827,876.

The matters of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to Sean McManus (35), of Adavoyle Road, Killeavy, Co Down,

in respect of his conduct as a director of the Company and accepted by the Court were:

• Causing and permitting the Company to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown by retaining monies which were properly payable to the Crown and / or submit inaccurate VAT returns resulting in a loss of monies properly due to the crown from 2015/16. Causing and permitting the Company to retain a total of £386,521.88 due to the Crown as at the date of liquidation. This represented 46% of the Company's overall revised estimated deficiency in respect of PAYE / NIC and VAT properly payable to the Crown. Furthermore, operating a policy of discrimination in that payments were made to trade creditors at a time when the HMRC debt continued to increase;

• Causing and permitting McManus Agri Contracts Ltd to misuse its bank accounts by tendering cheques and payments without due regard to the ability of the Company to honour these upon presentation and, as a consequence, they obtained goods and services without the funds to pay for them, thereby causing a detriment to trade creditors;

• Causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that the Annual Returns / Confirmation Statements for the period ended 27 May 2012, 27 May 2013, 27 May 2014, 27 May 2015, 25 May 2016, and 25 May 2017 were not filed within the prescribed periods

• Causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with the legislation in that annual accounts for the years ending 31 May 2013, 31 May 2014, 31 May 2015, and 31 May 2016 were not filed within the prescribed period

The Department has accepted 25 Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has made 6 Disqualification Orders in the financial year commencing 1 April 2021.


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