East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has welcomed news that ‘Redeeming Our Communities’ will be having a ‘ROC Conversation’ in Larne, on Tuesday May 28, at Larne High School.
The initiative is aimed at tackling social issues.
A similar event took place in Carrick recently supported by Mid and East Antrim Policing and District Partnership and borough council.
An action group has since been formed.
ROC is a national faith-based community engagement charity meeting a range of social needs across the UK.
Their mission of ‘empowering people of goodwill’ is to work together for safer, stronger communities’ underlines all that they do.
ROC works in partnership with churches, statutory agencies, community groups, charities, faith-based groups and residents to “transform communities in innovative and meaningful ways”.
Mr. Beggs said: “I met ROC and their local worker Keeva Watson, at Stormont, last year and started a conversation about bringing Redeeming Our Communities to the East Antrim area. I had a number of meetings with Keeva and I am glad that they have delivered local conversations.
“The idea of ROC is to bring together those who live, work and serve in the local community to celebrate the good work that is already taking place. “Between the group, we then determine where any gaps in provision may be and then see what each person can offer to bridge the gap. The conversation should lead to action and positive change in the local community.”
But it was not the end of the road for Mr Nesbitt, who proved you can’t keep a good politician down when he “photobombed” BBC News NI’s political correspondent Stephen Walker following UTV’s leaders debate.
Of course Mr Nesbitt was, himself, a broadcaster for many years. It seems he couldn’t resist the opportunity to walk into somebody else’s camera shot.
SDLP youth member Cormac Kerr couldn’t hide his admiration for his own party leader during the same event.
He shared a heart-felt video tribute to his party leader after the debate on Facebook stating “I know who gets my vote tonight.”
Whether there were any careless whispers during the debate is not clear.
Other BBC journalists managed to get on the wrong side of different party leaders.
Mark Devenport provoked a tongue-in-cheek (we hope) threat from DUP leader Arlene Foster when he suggested she had a short fuse.
We can report that the threat was not carried out and the black eye Mark was sporting in following days was a result of bumping into a door.
Meanwhile, Alliance leader David Ford called out the BBC’s Mark Simpson for selling his party short over the number of MLAs it had in the previous assembly.
But it wasn’t just BBC journalists who got confused at times during the campaign.
Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir momentarily forgot which part of Belfast he was standing in.
So that’s another election campaign over and done with, with only the counting left to do.
Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription. Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2016-northern-ireland-36128665
SYDNEY, N.S. — A Christmas card bound for Down Under will be a bit late after it made an unexpected stop in Cape Breton.
The holiday letter was one of many sent by Doug and Jennifer Beggs, a retired couple from the Ottawa suburb of Manotick. It’s intended recipient was Jennifer’s 94-year-old sister, Pat Gillespie, who lives in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The card was affixed with the proper $2.50 stamp and was postmarked on Dec. 18. A legitimate Australian address was legibly scribbled on the front of the envelope and the destination country’s name was underlined twice.
But the letter has yet to arrive.
It didn’t stay in Ontario, either. Somehow it ended up in the mail box of a Sydney, Nova Scotia, couple who just happen to share the same street name and the same address as the intended recipient in the other Sydney, the one with the famous opera house.
But that’s where the similarities end — the names are different, not even close to being similar, and the community address is written as North Sydney, N.S.W. (New South Wales).
At the request of the Cape Breton Post, Canada Post reviewed the situation and confirmed there was an internal mistake in the sorting process, for which it offered its corporate apologies.
The card is now on its way to the Australian nonagenarian who lives in an upscale neighbourhood just a few hundred metres north of the renowned Sydney Harbour Bridge and the architecturally unique Sydney Opera House.
“Pat will certainly be delighted with the turn of events – not every Christmas card goes on such a journey,” said Jennifer’s husband Doug, who like his wife and sister-in-law is originally from England.
“We came to Canada for a better life, a better place to raise our children and she went to Australia – she still lives on her own, looks after herself and she’ll be 95 years old in a couple of weeks.”
For the record, both Sydneys were named for Thomas Townshend, the 1st Viscount Sydney, who served as the Home Secretary in the British cabinet. The Nova Scotia community was founded in 1785, while its Southern Hemisphere namesake was established as a penal colony three years later.
Mid-Ulster Ulster Unionist MLA, Sandra Overend, along with her Ulster Unionist Party colleagues, Doug Beattie MLA and Roy Beggs MLA, has brought a motion to the Assembly calling for a review of bail policy in cases of terrorism and murder.
This followed the revelation that Damien Joseph McLaughlin, who had been on bail charged with offences linked to the murder of Cookstown Prison Officer David Black, had not been seen by police since November.
Mrs Overend said: “Earlier this month I was shocked to learn, through media reports, that a man accused in connection with the murder of David Black has not been seen by the police since November, whilst on police bail.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that this man – a man that has already made headlines, when the authorities previously allowed him to attend a spa break in Fermanagh – was allowed to disappear while on bail. Those responsible for this inexcusable situation have demonstrated a lack of respect towards the family of the late David Black.
“My thoughts and sympathies continue to be with the Black family, who have been put into the public eye once again due to the failings of the judicial system, the very system in which he served so faithfully.
“I have written to both the Chief Constable and the Justice Minister regarding both the clear failings identified in this case, as well as the wider issue of the policy of granting bail to suspects accused of offences relating to terrorism and murder. However, along with my party colleagues, I felt that it was important that the deep concern at this case, and the wider bail policy, was put on record in the Assembly Chamber.
“The appalling failings demonstrated here have understandably caused much anger across Mid-Ulster, an area which has suffered more than most at the hands of terrorists. Faith in the justice system has been damaged, particularly amongst victims.
“It is my firm belief that terrorist suspects should remain in custody for as long as is necessary to allow judicial proceedings to be completed. Our motion, which called on the Justice Minister to reflect on the failings clearly identified in this case, and review how terrorism suspects are managed within the justice system, received the majority support of the Assembly this afternoon.”
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The health service in Northern Ireland is at a crossroads. People can expect to wait up to four years for a first outpatient appointment and the outcomes for emergency care can vary depending on the time of the day, or week, or even which hospital, a patient goes to.
It’s not the kind of NHS the public wants. And it’s certainly not the service that health professionals want to deliver. Successive expert reports and reviews have been clear: the NHS cannot continue to function in its current format.
The most recent of these, the Bengoa report, made a series of recommendations for the future of the health service, including centralisation of services to make the best use of over-stretched resources.
The idea behind the restructuring of the health service is to make best use of limited resources to improve the patient journey and, ultimately, save lives.
So, it is little wonder that, when it was published to much fanfare in October 2016, the document had cross-party support and was welcomed by professional bodies as having the potential to help their members deliver the best service possible to patients.
The then First Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “We either try and manage the change, or we manage the chaos that would come if we didn’t tackle the huge issues that there are.”
Meanwhile, her deputy, the late Martin McGuinness, said: “Change has to happen and the only question is whether it will happen in a controlled, planned fashion, or unfold out of control. There is only one responsible choice to make.”
Of course, when the report was launched, no one could have known that, within a few months, the Assembly would collapse.
And while the political stalemate has not stopped health officials pressing ahead with implementing change, there is no doubt that the momentum for change has somewhat stalled as a result.
So, it is to be welcomed that the Department of Health has, in recent weeks, launched public consultations that will change the way cancer and stroke services are delivered In both cases, patients are currently being failed.
As it stands, health trusts are struggling to meet the 14-day government target for patients referred with suspected breast cancer.
Meanwhile, the fate of someone who has a stroke depends on the time and day they fall ill and which hospital they attend.
The fact is, resources are currently spread too thinly across too many sites and smaller and less-busy centres will always find it difficult to attract and retain the expertise they need to deliver world-class care.
This is being exacerbated further by the uncertainty that comes with Brexit and the shortage of doctors and nurses available to run clinics, wards and theatre lists. Without changes to the NHS, you can expect to see more services collapsing at short notice and the chaos that ensues as a result.
So, whether you like it or not, the argument for transformation – properly planned, managed and resourced – still stands as strong, if not stronger, than it did when the case was made in 2016.
Despite all of this, it wasn’t exactly surprising that politicians have been less than enthusiastic about the proposed changes to stroke and breast assessment services.
After all, supporting the closure of a service in your constituency is never going to be a vote-winner.
UUP MLA Roy Beggs said he does not believe centralising services will produce better clinical outcomes, while SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said the proposals relating to breast cancer assessment services are “deeply disappointing”.
The changes will mean patients from the Southern Trust with suspected breast cancer having to travel to Belfast, Antrim, or even as far away as Londonderry. But if it’s a choice between having to travel for a few hours to be seen within a fortnight, or going to a hospital appointment five minutes down the road and waiting months to be seen, surely there is no choice?
A case in point is my own personal experience. Just a few weeks ago, my young son, Ethan, became unwell.
While I live a stone’s throw away from an acute hospital, my first and only instinct was to take him to the emergency department at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
It meant a longer journey to get him in front of a doctor, but I knew that, once we were there, he would be seen by someone who is an experienced paediatric doctor. It was a no-brainer to me.
Of course, it is understandable that, if you live in a remote and rural location, you would be less than happy about the prospect of having emergency services, such as stroke treatment, removed from your local hospital.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is already struggling to cope with demand without being expected to transport patients further for life-saving treatment.
In the absence of a radical overhaul of Northern Ireland’s infrastructure, which is never going to happen in the current financial climate, the air ambulance will have to play an even greater role in ensuring patients get the care they need as quickly as possible.
These are issues that health bosses will have to consider when pressing ahead with any changes.
The real problem here is that people want the NHS to continue to be free at the point of delivery and for it to be delivered on their doorstep.
There is an automatic fear of change, as though any change from the norm will result in disaster.
However, as it was warned in 2016, the health service cannot continue to operate under the status quo – staying the same will result in disaster.
A serious and mature conversation is required and the public voice should be included in the debate. But one thing is clear: we can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand.
The question is not whether change should happen, but, rather, what can we do to support the health service to deliver and grow?
Lisa Smyth is a freelance journalist specialising in health issues