Category Archives: This Week at Stormont

Beggs welcomes scrambler ban for Loughmourne

East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party representative Roy Beggs MLA has welcomed assurances provided to him by NI Water that preventative signage will be added to Loughmourne reservoir in an attempt to stop unauthorised scrambler use in the area. Roy Beggs MLA said “I have been contacted by concerned constituents in relation to scrambler use at Loughmourne reservoir, Carrickfergus as there is an adverse impact on public safety, nesting birds and the risk of pollution to the adjacent water supply. I am advised that there is no preventative signage up at present to request that scramblers desist from using the NI Water land to race scramblers. I asked NI Water to give an assurance that they will put up signs indicating that scramblers should not be in the area.” An NI Water spokesperson responded to the UUP MLA, saying “I can now confirm that NIW will erect appropriate prohibition signs around … Continue reading

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Electricity Security and Competition if Kilroot closes?

In a few months, as a result of a new Single Electricity Market auction stipulations and it’s outcome, NI is set to close major electricity generators that have maintained security of supply for decades. Over the last three years Kilroot’s coal fired station has met around one-fifth of Northern Ireland’s electricity demand. But Kilroot Power Station’s 440MW and a further 125MW generator at Ballylumford have now been earmarked for closure. Carefully honed generating teams managing plant and securing our electricity supply are to be scattered. Kilroot is a coal fired power station that was expected to close in 2021 as a result of increased carbon taxes and environment regulations. The SONI process has not included a mechanism for winding down older plants in an orderly manner, sweating the assets for the benefit of consumers. The one year auction system, T-1, resulted in significant maintenance costs, due this year, having to … Continue reading

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Emergency department waiting times wouldn’t be allowed to happen in England warns Beggs

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has warned that our emergency department waiting times would simply not be tolerated in England. Roy Beggs said: “The most recent figures show that 77.3% of patients treated at England’s major units were seen within four hours, against a target of 95%. This provoked an immediate and furious response by the country’s most senior medical practitioners and they wrote to the Prime Minister warning that patients were “dying prematurely” amid “intolerable” safety risks. “Yet the reality is the situation is many times worse here in Northern Ireland. Figures just published by the Health Department here reveal that in December only 63.1% of the most urgent cases were treated or admitted within the 4 hour 95% target. “If doctors are warning that patients are dying in England because their performance has dipped to 77.3%, I am frightened to think what those same doctors would … Continue reading

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Beggs questions hospital preparations for winter pressures

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has queried whether hospitals across Northern Ireland were as prepared as many of those in the rest of the UK to handle the outbreak of this year’s winter flu. Roy Beggs said: “The winter pressures our Emergency Departments are currently facing were not entirely unexpected. We have an ageing population – the highest user of hospital beds – and rapidly increasing demand which is closely linked to the rising prevalence of long-term conditions right across the population. Acute care systems, whether outpatient or inpatient services, acute medical units, EDs, primary care or the ambulance service, are all under a frightening degree of strain right now. “After speaking to medical professionals I warned last October that there were firm indications that this year’s strain of winter flu was likely going to be much more virulent than in previous years. Unfortunately that has now come … Continue reading

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Ulster Unionist Party reiterates call for nurses to be granted immediate pay rise

The Ulster Unionist Party has reiterated its call for nurses in Northern Ireland to be awarded the 1% increase in pay after the recommendation of the Independent Pay Review Body. Leader Robin Swann MLA has today written to other Party Leaders asking that, in the ongoing absence of an Executive, the Northern Ireland Civil Service is instructed to immediately implement the pay rise. Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA said: “The Ulster Unionist Party fully supports nurses being awarded the recommended 1% pay rise. Such a rise wouldn’t be excessive, it wouldn’t be unique and it wouldn’t be undeliverable. In fact, it would be a very modest and below inflationary increase. “Given our medical staff in Northern Ireland are signed up to the NHS’s wider UK terms and conditions, they shouldn’t be treated any worse or be any less thought-off than their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales. Yet … Continue reading

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