Other News In Brief

Infrastructure Minister Committed To Delivering West Belfast Greenway

Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd has said that he is committed to delivering the West Belfast Greenway as he met with West Belfast Partnership Board today to discuss active travel opportunities in the area.

Speaking after the meeting Minister O'Dowd said: "I am committed to improving active travel opportunities and am pleased to hear the enthusiasm for cycling infrastructure from the West Belfast Partnership Board and for the development of the West Belfast Greenway, a key component of the Department's ‘Belfast Cycling Network Delivery Plan.

"A feasibility study is underway to determine route options for the greenway which aims to create a shared cycling and walking route of approximately 10 kilometres, from the Bog Meadows adjacent to Broadway Roundabout to the Lagan Tow Path close to Glenburn Road, Dunmurry.

"My Department will now continue to engage with stakeholders to further discuss route options and move the project towards design stage."

New version 1 Assured Skills Academy

A new Assured Skills Academy, offering 20 training places, has been announced with IT services provider Version 1.

Successful applicants to the Department for the Economy’s fully funded Assured Skills Academy will receive eight weeks of industry-relevant pre-employment training at Belfast Metropolitan College. Completing the Academy guarantees an interview for a role with Version 1 in Belfast.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: "I am delighted to announce the third Version 1 Assured Skills Academy in partnership with Belfast Met. Twenty people will receive high quality training that will help prepare them for a professional career in the dynamic local IT services sector.

"My Department’s Assured Skills Academies offer participants the skills that they and employers need to flourish and grow within the IT sector. Version 1 offers IT services to a variety of global brands, and to do so the company needs people with specialist skills.

"Anyone interested and eligible should apply for the high-quality, well-paid positions available."
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Lorna McAdoo, Director of Operations Version 1 NI, said: "This is our third Assured Skills Academy following on from the hugely successful Academies this year. These Assured Skills Academies will continue to run over the next two years and represent our ongoing commitment to Northern Ireland and our ambition to be one of the most successful IT companies here.  Investment in local tech who can help our customers accelerate their digital transformation is paramount to this ambition."

SDLP Criticise UK Govt's Refugee Deportation Plans

The SDLP has said that that UK Government "appears absolutely committed to erasing its moral authority" as plans to deport refugees to Rwanda look set to continue.

South Belfast MP Claire Hanna, who previously worked for an international aid charity, said that a policy of punishing vulnerable people seeking safe refuge will not disrupt criminal traffickers but would have a detrimental impact on desperate people trying to reunite with their families after unimaginable experiences.

Claire Hanna MP said: "The UK Government appears to be committed to erasing any vestiges of moral authority it has left on the international stage. Aside from the casual law-breaking which cabinet members have sought to justify over the last few days and weeks, the brutal policy of deporting vulnerable refugees to Rwanda is degrading, unethical and will have a negligible impact on the criminal traffickers who the government should be targeting.

"The real objective here is to punish some of the most vulnerable people on our continent many of whom have been subjected to unimaginable human rights abuses, including torture. If the government was in any way serious about tackling the criminal gangs that are taking advantage of vulnerable people willing to risk their lives crossing the channel for safe refuge, they wouldn't be enforcing a 20% cut on the NCA which is tasked with dismantling these networks.

"Separating families, deporting desperate people and outsourcing international obligations to a country with a deeply troubling human rights record is a policy of institutionalised cruelty. It is an appalling terminus that signifies just how far the UK has fallen under this administration."

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