31/07/2008

Other NI News In Brief

Party Funds Revealed

Sinn Féin is in the money with the healthiest balance sheet among Northern Ireland's main political parties, accounts released by the Electoral Commission reveal. The party's income exceeded more than £1m in the past financial year. Sinn Féin spent most of its income last year, but still boasts a surplus of £108,000. The other four main parties are operating at a loss. Sinn Féin, in Northern Ireland, had almost £500,000 in contributions from its members, plus donations of around £300,000, following a sharp rise in donations from the United States of America. The DUP's Assembly accounts revealed an operating loss of about £27,000 - although income was up. The Ulster Unionist Assembly party suffered falling income and a deficit of £6,000. This compared to a loss the previous year of £16,000 and the SDLP suffered the biggest financial loss - £130,000. Although the SDLP attracted almost £400,000 through fundraising and donations, its operating costs soared.

'Key' Move In High Rise Fire Safety

North Belfast high-rise flat tenants have welcomed a new Fire and Rescue Service safety initiative. The initiative will see 'Fire Key Boxes' installed in the communal entrance hall of nine blocks of flats at New Lodge and Mount Vernon. The Fire Key Boxes can only be accessed by the Fire and Rescue Service and are designed to ensure, that in the event of a fire, the attending crew has immediate access to communal areas and lifts, and other information needed to help them deal quickly and efficiently with the incident.

Portadown Gets Facelift

A street that has 'blighted' Portadown town centre for over 30 years is to undergo a major facelift. NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has pledged to transform the site in a bid to boost regeneration in the area. Part of the Minister's plan includes new social housing and premises for small businesses. Ms Ritchie said: "The regeneration of the Curran Street site will be a major boost for the town. It has been lying 
vacant for far too long and is a significant blight in the area."

Derry Housing Praised

NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has visited a number of housing projects benefiting from Neighbourhood Renewal funding in Londonderry. The Minister was given a tour of the Irish Street Community Association facilities in the Waterside which includes a Multi-Use Games Area. Ms Ritchie also visited the Pennyburn Inclusive Playtrail in the Cityside to view this play, recreation and leisure facility.



NI Team For Final

Northern Ireland and Chile will go head-to-head in Friday's Elite Milk Cup final at Coleraine Showgrounds. Northern Ireland only just saw off Belgium who put in an impressive performance on Wednesday. Match reports said that while it was clear that NI were intent on making their third final appearance in four years, and they looked comfortable at 4-1 up before half-time, the Belgians made it a nailbiting finale as they scored three times in the second.

(BMcC)

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