From Arlene Foster MLA <[email protected]>
Subject DUP News Update - 21st August
Date August 21, 2020 5:34 PM
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DUP News Update - 21st August 2020

** Pension ruling a win for victims
First Minister Arlene Foster had nominated the Department of Justice to administer the victims pension. Michelle O'Neill has now been forced by the court to follow suit.
In a damning judgement issued today, Mr Justice McAlinden ruled on the delay in bringing forward the victims pension in Northern Ireland.

The ruling was welcomed by the Party Leader, Arlene Foster MLA

“This is a massive win for innocent victims. It was 2014 when we first tried to legislate for this pension. This has been a long journey. I commend their fortitude.

In contrast and whilst welcome, it is deeply disappointing that it took a court judgement to force Michelle O’Neill and Sinn Fein to advance a pension for innocent victims. It is heart-breaking that some who would have been eligible, passed away in recent weeks without seeing this breakthrough.

The refusal by the Deputy First Minister to designate the Department of Justice to process the pension lacked basic compassion. Regardless of Sinn Fein’s view of the scheme eligibility, they should not have side-lined those who were eligible because perpetrators were not."

Writing in today's Newsletter, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson had highlighted the Party's involvement in the long campaign to secure a pension for innocent victims. He described Sinn Fein as "standing isolated and obstructive" on the issue.

Read the full article here ([link removed]) .

Listen to him also speaking ([link removed]) on BBC Radio Ulster earlier this week about the Victims Pension.

** Executive makes changes to Covid regulations
[link removed]
First Minister Arlene Foster speaking after yesterday's Executive Meeting
Yesterday the Executive agreed a number of changes to Covid-19 regulations due to an increase in cases in Northern Ireland over recent days:
* The number of people who can now meet indoors has been reduced to 6, from 2 different households.
* The number who can participate in an outdoor gathering, including in a private garden, has also reduced from 30 to 15 people.

The First Minister has asked officials to look at enforcement against those who have been reckless and ignore the rules.

** Also this week:
* Education Minister Peter Weir announced changes to GCSE, A Level and AS level exam grading. Watch his statement here ([link removed]) . He also congratulated GCSE students on their results ([link removed]) .

* Michelle McIlveen MLA challenged the Infrastructure Minister on the backlog in driving tests ([link removed]) .

* Economy Minister Diane Dodds said extra funding ([link removed]) would be needed for university places following the change in A Level exam grades. She also expressed disappointment at the delay in vocational qualifications ([link removed]) .

* DAERA Minister Edwin Poots said innovation and revitalisation are key to helping rural businesses and communities ([link removed]) recover from COVID-19.

* Education Minister Peter Weir visited a STEM summer school ([link removed]) in East Belfast providing targeted educational support in the local community.

* Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said Sinn Fein's call for those who breach the Republic of Ireland's COVID-19 guidelines to resign was "dripping with hypocrisy ([link removed]) ".

* East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson expressed disappointment at the risk of further redundancies in Bombardier's ([link removed]) Northern Ireland operation.

[link removed]
Economy Minister Diane Dodds speaking on BBC Radio Ulster this week.

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