Republican News · Thursday 20 September 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Sinn Féin consults lesbian and gay groups

Sinn Féin councillor Chrissie McAuley hosted a meeting between party activists and representatives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) support organisations in Belfast on Saturday 16 September.

Speaking beforhand, McAuley said the meeting was the first in a series ``aimed at informing the party on issues affecting the LGBT communities.

``We hope this dialogue will inform both our party's policy and political action in the months ahead,'' she said. ``The Good Friday Agreement has created a new opportunity to start the process of addressing discrimination against a range of constituencies, among whom the LGBT communities are one of the most marginalised.''

McAuley said that it was time all political parties listened to the voices from within the LGBT communities and then turn what they hear into concrete action to improve the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

A report on the meeting will be passed to Sinn Féin's Equality Committee.

Small farmers loss out in Rodgers plan

Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Gerry McHugh is accusing Agriculture minister Bríd Rodgers of ignoring the needs of small farmers in her Rural Development Plan.

``The Rural Development Regulation Plan and Accompanying measures leaves 2,600 small farmers out in the cold'' said McHugh.

The Fermanagh Assembly member, a farmer himself, explained that the plan runs against the department's stated commitment to Target Social Need. ``Under the plan, European-funded Area Aid payments will only be given to farmers who have farms over 10 hectares,'' he pointed out. ``This effectively leaves 2,600 small farmers out in the cold and is blatant discrimination against the small farmer.''

McHugh called on Rodgers to explain how her plan will help to sustain or encourage rural development: ``There is no point saying you will implement strategies that will aid rural development and target social need and then renege on your public statements when the opportunity arises.''

Belfast women's film premiere

Burned Out, a short video featuring the experiences of West Belfast women involved the events of 14 and 15 August 1969, is to be premiered as part of the Belfast Film Festival (21-29 September).

The film was produced by local woman in conjunction with the Dúchas living history project based in the Falls Community Council and features women living in the Clonard and Divis areas of Belfast who were burnt out of their homes during the loyalist pogroms of August `69.

``Since Dúchas began in January this year, we have collected many oral history accounts of this defining moment in the history of West Belfast and we wanted to present some of those accounts through the medium of film,'' Mairéad Gilmartin of Dúchas told An Phoblacht.

Claire Hackett, also of Dúchas, praised the efforts of the local women who made the film. She said: ``Dúchas wants to continue to involve the local community in collecting and presenting our own history. The belief in the importance of history is one that is deeply felt in the West Belfast community. We want to reflect that in the project.''

Before the film is screened at 3pm in Springvale Training Centre on Monday, 25 September, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will present the women involved with certificates from their media study course.

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