Other News In Brief

Call For Transfer Tests To Be Scrapped

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has said the latest evidence on the damaging impact of academic selection on children further strengthens calls for the policy to be scrapped.

The party's education spokesperson was commenting after research from Ulster University found academic selection to be 'traumatic' for children.

He said: "Fresh research from Ulster University has again highlighted the cruel and traumatic impact on academic selection on children.

"Academic selection is unfair and unnecessary, it should be scrapped.

"The overwhelming evidence from human rights organisations, the Children’s Commissioner, trade unions and churches are clearly pitted against selection and its damaging impact on children.

"In light of this latest study, school Boards of Governors should now show leadership in favour of building an inclusive and non-selective education system for the benefit of all our young people."

'Victims Of Sexual Offences Deserve Better' - SDLP

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has said that victims of sexual offences deserve better than facing lengthy waits for their cases to be heard.

She was speaking after it emerged more than 70 sexual offence cases have taken more than five years to come before courts in NI.

Ms Hunter said it important that all victims are treated with the utmost sensitivity and expressed concern the lengthy waits could dissuade others from coming forward.
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She said: "It's shocking that after a victim of child sexual abuse bravely came forward to share her harrowing experience of waiting five-years for her abuser to appear in court we have now learned that over 70 people are in a similar situation, with nearly 200 cases still working their way through our criminal justice system over three years after they had become active.

"While we should expect every single case to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible I am seriously concerned that these lengthy delays could further traumatise victims and also dissuade others in a similar situation from coming forward. We know how often sexual offences cases go unreported and we should be doing everything within our power to make our legal system as easy as possible for victims to navigate, waiting over half a decade for their case to be heard sends the opposite message.

"I understand the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our legal system, but the reality is many of these cases became active years before the pandemic began. I’d urge Justice Minister Naomi Long to get to the bottom of exactly why these cases have become delayed for so long and to ensure that a plan is put in to tackle the issues raised."

TUV Leader Raises Concerns On Veterinary Certificates For Racing Pigeons

TUV leader Jim Allister has written to Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots raising the "absurdity and unacceptability" of veterinary certificates being required to bring racing pigeon stock from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

He said: "Due to the Sea Border which DAERA oversees and operates if young stock, or any pigeons, are bought in GB then a veterinary certificate has to be obtained and paid for by the vendor (but cost passed on to the purchaser) before the pigeons from any loft can be sent to Northern Ireland.

"Here we have another example of the Protocol not just adding unnecessary bureaucracy to Northern Ireland consumers, but also significant cost. I have challenged the Minister as to why his Department is continuing to require this imposition."

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22 June 2022
Other News In Brief
Too Much Money Has Been Spent On Sectoral And Employing Bodies - Alliance Too much money has been spent on sectoral and employing bodies which could be better spent educating children, Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said.
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World's First Electric WorkBoats Launched
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07 June 2022
Summer Holiday Food Grant Announced
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced that families of children entitled to a free school meal are to receive a school holiday food grant this summer.
16 February 2022
New Legislation To Strengthen NI Sexual Offence Laws
New legislation to strengthen existing law and introduce new offences to tackle sexual offending in Northern Ireland is to be considered during the Assembly.
20 December 2019
21 Year-Old Charged With 386 Sexual Offences
Police have charged a man with 386 sexual-related offences.