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Reprieve for local Social Security Offices – Hazzard

  Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has confirmed that the proposed closures of the Newcastle and Ballynahinch Social Security Offices have been put on hold until a new Communities Minister has had the opportunity to review the proposals currently on the table. The South Down MLA said: “Following discussions with the Department for Communities I […]

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Hazzard raises capacity issues with Ambulance Service

  Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has met with Ambulance Service officials, including Chief Executive Shane Devlin, to discuss the future of the Ambulance Service in South Down. A number of worrying incidents in recent times has raised local concerns that ambulance cover is not adequate for such a large rural area and the South […]

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Fisheries must be at Heart of BREXIT Process – Hazzard

  Speaking on his return from the ‘Inequality in Fisheries’ conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard said that what local fishing needs is a strong voice at the heart of the Brexit negotiations fighting for the local industry. The South Down MLA said: “I was delighted to participate in the conference […]

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Watershed election a seismic shift in South Down

  Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard has described the outcome of Thursday’s election as “seismic” as political parties, commentators, and the local electorate reflect on a genuine “watershed moment for South Down.” With Sinead Ennis topping the poll and Chris Hazzard also elected on the first count, Sinn Féin polled more than 19,000 votes cementing its […]

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Equality & Respect can’t be dismissed by DUP – Cllr Sinéad Ennis

  “This election is about equality, respect and integrity in the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement” according to Councillor Sinéad Ennis, the Sinn Féin candidate for South Down, alongside Chris Hazzard. The Crotlieve councillor said: “Equality and respect can’t be dismissed by The DUP as a wish list. Equality and respect are the […]

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Martina Anderson MEP visits Castle Living Options Downpatrick with Chris Hazzard MLA

Innovative Downpatrick Housing Project goes to Brussels

  Following her visit to Downpatrick, Martina Anderson M.E.P. has invited representatives of a local housing project to attend a housing conference in Brussels at the end of the month.  Chris Hazzard MLA said, “Martina was clearly impressed by Castle Living Options during a recent visit to the innovative Downpatrick housing project and has asked local […]

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Clarke welcomes the installation of a footpath at Park Avenue, Newcastle Sinn Féin Mourne's councillor Willie Clarke has welcomed the installation of a footpath by Transport NI, between Post office lane and Castle Park, along Park Avenue, Newcastle. Councillor Clarke said: “This section of Park Avenue is extremely dangerous and caters for large numbers of pedestrians, both young and old. It is a popular route for pedestrians to avail of Council facilities and is adjacent to a very busy children’s indoor adventure playground.

Badly needed footpath installed Park Avenue, Newcastle

    Sinn Féin Mourne’s councillor Willie Clarke has welcomed the installation of a footpath by Transport NI, between Post office lane and Castle Park, along Park Avenue, Newcastle. Councillor Clarke said: “This section of Park Avenue is extremely dangerous and caters for large numbers of pedestrians, both young and old. It is a popular […]

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Between the 25th and the 29th of January I was on work experience, and I chose to spend my week with Chris Hazzard, Sinn Féin MLA for South Down. I had previously interviewed Chris for my AS Journalism coursework; specifically asking him about LGBT rights and marriage equality in Northern Ireland, which I as a member of the LGBT community, feel very strongly about. I also asked him about various cuts to different department budgets such as DARD, welfare and education. The interview was very successful and felt encouraged to come back again for either further questions or any other issues that he could help me with. – or even work experience. I came across Chris personally about a year and a half ago, he and Jim Wells came to my school (Assumption Grammar) for a debate. During the debate I was very impressed with Chris; he was able to talk about the issues raised in such a way that you would want to support him – however I already share the views of Chris and Sinn Féin so if anything it made me feel more supportive of the party. I would not describe myself as a ‘Republican’ or my family aren’t particularly political, so I am a bit of a ‘black sheep’. I think maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in a time without the Troubles, I’m part of the Peace Process generation. I have quite liberal views which are also held by Sinn Féin such as marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights. I feel a stronger connection with Sinn Féin than I do to SDLP or Alliance – not because I’m republican but because I feel they can deliver on issues such as marriage equality here in Northern Ireland. To me they are trying to push us forward, away from the North of the late 60s, 70s, and bring us into the 21st century, to help make us a more liberal society where one is not judged on whether they are Catholic or Protestant, a Nationalist or a Unionist, a much better society of equals. I asked Chris could I come on work experience and he seemed thrilled that I wanted to come, and I was quite excited as I was going to be able to see a politician in action, as I am quite interested in politics. Everyone seemed quite impressed that I was going to be in Stormont and my history teacher seemed quite happy that I was going with Chris (he’d previously taught his sister). He said that Chris was a really lovely guy, which was already evident to my from the interview I had with him back in October. So as Monday the 25th grew closer I did become nervous – more so about being in Stormont for the day and being surrounded by a) quite prominent politicians, and b) a bunch of politicians I didn’t know and I thought I’d be expected to know them. However when I arrived in Stormont everyone – from security staff to other MLAs – were all very nice and helpful, I felt like I kind of belonged there. I was able to see debates in person and got to do some useful things such as write press releases and a letter on Chris’s behalf. I was glad that I was able to make use of my journalism skills and do something productive rather than just sit and watch what was going on in the Assembly. Chris and I were also able to have a good long conversation about issues on education, LGBT and other things that were of interest to me and I did find myself agreeing with him. I also felt he genuinely listened to my views and took them on board rather than just brush over them. The rest of the week I spent in the office in Downpatrick and again I was able to make use of my journalistic skills and write some more press releases and publish them to the website and the Facebook page. On Thursday I was able to attend a meeting with Chris and it was good to see how local MLAs engage with their constituents. This week was a positive learning experience for me and I could see myself maybe one day doing the job I was given to do, or even maybe becoming an MLA. Both Chris and his PA Vincent were wonderful to work with and treated me with a lot of respect. They gave me work to do that was interesting and not at all boring, they also supplied me with an endless supply of coffee. I’d like to thank them both for this week and for this wonderful opportunity.

My Week at Sinn Féin

Between the 25th and the 29th of January I was on work experience, and I chose to spend my week with Chris Hazzard, Sinn Féin MLA for South Down. I had previously interviewed Chris for my AS Journalism coursework; specifically asking him about LGBT rights and marriage equality in Northern Ireland, which I as a member of […]

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