It has come to my attention there is a significant backlog in the processing of blue badge applications for disabled drivers. As of July 17th there are 6,793 applications waiting to be processed, including renewals. Transport NI have indicated that applicants can expect to wait six to eight weeks for a response to their application. […]

Today in Parliament I asked Prime Minister Cameron directly if he agreed that following disgraceful scenes in North Belfast this week the Loyal orders should take up the offer from local residents to engage in direct dialogue to reach a meaningful resolution on disputes.

I was in the Commons yesterday to witness the first Tory budget in nearly 20 years. It took over an hour for the Chancellor to outline his plans, but what he said will affect our lives for many years. I am disappointed that the Chancellor made little reference to Northern Ireland in his budget and […]

I met with representatives of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum earlier today, and we discussed voting age and other issues impacting on young people today. I support their campaign to reduce the voting age. Lets reduce the voting age in all elections and referenda,including the in/out European referendum. One of the lessons of the Scottish […]

At Northern Ireland Questions I asked the Secretary of State to confirm if the British Government was approaching the current impasse within the devolved administration as an active participant for peace or a neutral observer. There are many who now believe that the government has largely disengaged and is concerned only with advancing its austerity […]

Good news today from my colleague Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announcing grants worth over £1m to 21 groups around Northern Ireland. The money is from a new Natural Environment fund, set up by Minister Durkan to shield environmental projects from the worst effects of Executive budget cuts. Grants range from £3,000-£139,000. Groups to benefit […]

I welcome news that from Saturday 20th the process of switching between major telecoms providers will become easier. The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has introduced a new ‘one touch’ process making it easier to change landline or broadband provider. From tomorrow the responsibility for the broadband or landline switch will fall into the hands of the […]

Earlier today I announced my intention to stand down from the Northern Ireland Assembly in the summer. A selection convention which will determine the person to be co-opted into my South Belfast seat will take place on June 25th 2015. There are many conflicting emotions surrounding my decision to stand down as MLA for south […]

The cuts announced by Queens University Belfast are big blow to third level education in the province, and are surely short sighted when we look at the long term needs of our society. These are cuts forced upon Queens by the executive budget, and highlights the real impact of austerity and cut backs. When the […]