‘SDLP working for the needs of people in South Armagh’, claims Sheridan
South Armagh local representative Anne Sheridan says she has been reassured the needs and concerns of local people are being addressed by the SDLP at local council, Stormont and Westminster level.
“At our annual conference I asked what can we, as a party, do to assist farmers in planning for future serious animal feed issues that we have seen for three years in a row, and how can we support them in Europe by ensuring payments are made a priority for Northern Ireland’s farmers.
“I was assured that our agriculture spokesperson, MLA Joe Byrne the fodder crisis is a priority and he is continuing to raise the matter with DARD through the Assembly Agricultural Committee.
“The pressing matter of single farm payments for farmers in the North is also a priority for the party, something which is urgently needed by farmers, especially now as we enter the winter period.
The SDLP representative continued, “I also asked what strategy can the SDLP bring to South Armagh mothers on the issue of childcare and ensure there is a fair system for all with an added incentive to support those in work.
“The SDLP is strongly opposing Tory cuts in welfare, by Delores Kelly, our social development spokesperson at Stormont and at Westminster with our Foyle MP Mark Durkan, which are impacting mothers and childcare, and will continue to do so.
“I was also assured the party is doing what it can to ensure working mothers are treated fairly, and can find that work life balance. The issue of what the SDLP are doing to ensure that South Armagh is central to the focus on job creation, and attracting investment was also raised.
“I was assured Patsy McGlone, our spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Investment, is lobbying the relevant minister and agencies – such as Invest NI – to see what efforts are being made to bring jobs to South Armagh. Patsy, and indeed the party, is also fighting, without further delay, for the monies from the stalled social investment fund to be released.
“The party is also pushing for the go ahead for major projects, such as the Narrow Water Bridge, which would give the South Armagh area a huge boost in terms of jobs and tourism.
“Another issue I raised was what can we, as a party in South Armagh, do to ensure that mental health and wellbeing is fully supported by our health care system, especially those in rural areas and that we ensure adequate resources are made available to those healthcare specialists,” she explained.
“The SDLP is committed to a well-resourced National Health Service, with excellent and efficient healthcare, delivered free at the point of need. However, the party is concerned at some of the proposals contained within the ‘Transforming Your Care’ proposals, as the Minister is advocating a move towards part-privatisation of our health and social care in the North.
“Our health spokesperson Fearghal McKinney will continue to block any attempts to privatise health care. Fearghal also believes the necessary processes and procedures are put in place to ensure that no discrimination on the grounds of mental health are encountered by sufferers, and that those who care for people affected receive the adequate support.
“I was assured that our local MLA, Dominic Bradley and our local councillor, Geraldine Donnelly are on hand to help and sign post people as to what and where help is available, and what help people are entitled to.
Sheridan added, “Fearghal has also assured us while The Health and Social Care Board has said residential care homes will be maintained until 2015, he has vowed to continue efforts to make sure they stay open.”
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