Other News In Brief

Executive Has More Work To Do For People Of NI – Alliance

On the second anniversary of the formation of the Executive, following a three year impasse, Alliance Leader Naomi Long, has said that while a lot has been achieved by the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, more remains to be done.

Mrs Long said a focus on maximising the time left of the remaining mandate was needed, instead of threatening the institutions.

She continued: "New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) provided a basis for parties to re-enter government after three wasted years in the wilderness. Now we are once again seeing threats to the stability of the institutions, as if some are more addicted to disruption rather than being focused on delivery. Delivery of the commitments in NDNA has not been what was hoped but that has not been helped by a lack of focus from some in the Executive.

"However, by contrast, in Alliance we have focused on ensuring we have used every moment of this two-year mandate to drive forward new legislation and policy, including those commitments in NDNA - whether criminalising non violent domestic abuse or securing funding for additional police officers, whether delivering committal reform to speed up justice or bringing Private Members’ Bills to promote and support integrated education and end the exemption from fair employment legislation for schools.

"We have demonstrated both in ministerial office and Committees devolution does matter, can make a positive difference to people's lives and has the power to deliver the kind of wide-ranging reform which Northern Ireland needs if we are to meaningfully tackle issues like rebuilding our health services and addressing climate change.

"A lot has been achieved, but a lot still remains to be done. We need to focus on maximising delivery in every minute left of this mandate without further disruption and returning MLAs in May's election who are as committed to delivering that pace of progress and reform over the full five-year mandate which follows. Delivering stable, productive, effective Government is what NDNA sought to kick-start – we remain committed to sustaining that momentum."

SDLP Urged People To Share Views On Violence And Abuse

The SDLP has urged women and girls to come forward and share their views on violence and domestic and sexual abuse.

Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin made the call as the Executive launched two new strategies aimed at tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence against women and girls.
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Ms McLaughlin said: "While I welcome that the call for views had finally got underway for these two crucially important strategies, it is shameful that is has taken us so long to get to this stage. The failure to have a proper strategy for tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence against women and girls is a damning indictment of the dysfunction that rules the Sinn Féin-DUP controlled Executive Office.

"We should never have had to wait this long, but now that we are finally making progress it’s important that as many people as possible respond to the call for views to ensure that these strategies are as comprehensive and robust as possible and no important issue is missed out. It is particularly key that we hear from women, girls and victims who know better than anyone the steps that must be taken to address these issues.

"It is crucially important that we get these strategies in place as soon as possible. A number of high-profile incidents across these islands have highlighted the need to tackle violence against women and girls and tragically we saw domestic abuse incidents reach an all-time high during the coronavirus pandemic as many people were trapped at home with their abusers. If we are truly going to tackle these issues then we need to get to the heart of and challenge the misogynistic attitudes that are sadly all too prevalent across our society.

"While we have come a long way in addressing these issues, the reality is that women are still murdered each year in domestic and non-domestic incidents and thousands of women across the North have suffered as a result of domestic abuse and violence. It is disgraceful that these incidents are still so common and these strategies must come up with a proper plan to address these issues, support victims and make the North a safer place for women and girls."

Millar McCall Wylie Renew Sponsorship Of Ulster Rugby's Junior Cup

Belfast based law firm, Millar McCall Wylie, has renewed its sponsorship of Ulster Rugby's Junior Cup, for the 19th consecutive year.

The Junior Cup is one of the most prestigious and competitive local rugby competitions.

Although the format has changed through the years, the Junior Cup has been in existence since the 1888-89 season. The teams will battle it out for a place in the final which will take place next year at Kingspan Stadium.

Jan Cunningham, partner at Millar McCall Wylie and former Ulster Rugby player, explained that the firm is proud to once again be backing the sport: "The Junior Cup is a wonderful competition and a great platform for club players to make a name for themselves. We are very proud to lend our support to developing the club game.

"With the Junior Cup final being played at Kingspan Stadium, it is a fantastic opportunity for the finalists' fans to see great club rugby taking place at the home of Ulster Rugby."

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