Newry Community groups welcome Sinn Fein MEP

January 14, 2013

Two of Newry’s community groups were delighted to welcome the MEP, Martina Anderson, on her day long tour of community organisations in the Newry and South Armagh area last Thursday.

The Confederation of Community Groups (CCG) and PIPS Newry and Mourne were both visited by the MEP who commended the organisations for the services and support they provide for the local community.

Raymond Jackson (Chief Executive of CCG) provided a guided tour of the Ballybot House and An Stóras buildings and introduced Ms Anderson to CCG Board members, Staff, Tenants and members of the public.

Following a short presentation on the Confederation’s long history in community development, achievements to date and current programme delivery, MEP Anderson said she was impressed with the range of projects delivered as well as the number of service providers housed under one roof.

She added “The one-stop-shop advice and community service building was an exemplary model of social enterprise and one that should be developed across the island of Ireland and indeed one that I will encourage in my home city of Derry”.

Ms Anderson fully supported the CCG’s stance in opposing the use of Newry Court House as a venue for the Appeals Tribunal Service and suggested that the Minister of Justice be invited to Ballybot House to view best practice for the hosting of benefit appeals. She also discussed the need for organisations such as the Confederation to continue to challenge disadvantage and to help ensure that statutory bodies deliver services to those areas in greatest need.

Local  MLAs Mickey Brady and Megan Fearon also accompanied the MEP on her tour of the PIPS Newry and Mourne premises.

PIPS CEO, Seamus McCabe, provided Martina with an informative tour of the facility and explained in detail the work carried out by the organisation.

Speaking after the tour Martina said,

“I was very impressed with the PIPS Newry & Mourne facility and the warm welcome I received from members of staff. Having visited them today it is very evident the crucial work that this group undertakes in supporting families affected by the tragedy of suicide.

“It is essential that these groups are supported and acknowledged by statutory agencies and funders and all elected representatives should lend their support.”

Also speaking after the visit, PIPS Newry & Mourne Chief Executive Seamus McCabe said;

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to share our views with Martina on the policy matters that affect our services. This visit also recognizes the importance of engagement with policy makers to ensure that continued resources for suicide prevention are available to organizations like PIPS Newry & Mourne which significantly contributes to the safety of our communities.”