Karen Bradley to Leave Cabinet

Karen Bradley is to leave the Cabinet following the appointment of Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister. Bradley had served as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 2018.

Karen Bradley Says Progress Being Made in Northern Ireland

Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has said that progress is being made in political talks to restore the executive. She also paid tribute to Lyra McKee, the journalist who was murdered in Northern Ireland.

In a statement Bradley said:

“The sickening attack that led to the death of Lyra McKee has deeply shocked everyone across the world.

Lyra was a brilliant, talented journalist. She was a role model to many who always fought to make Northern Ireland a better place.

Since Lyra’s death communities across Northern Ireland and the political spectrum have come together – united in condemnation at this murderous act – and they have delivered a clear message:

The people responsible for this act of terrorism have absolutely nothing to offer Northern Ireland and have no place in society.

Due to the hard work, resilience and commitment of the people of Northern Ireland, along with those we entrust to uphold the rule of law, the security situation is transformed.

But there remain small numbers of dissident republicans who remain intent on killing.

Our challenge is to ensure that we continue to work for peace for the whole community. Northern Ireland today is a dynamic, modern, outward looking place and it is open to everyone regardless of their community background, political aspirations, race, gender or sexuality.

Lyra symbolised the new Northern Ireland and her tragic death cannot be in vain.

All of us must take inspiration from what Lyra achieved in her life and work even harder to make Northern Ireland a brighter, more peaceful and prosperous place for everyone.

As Secretary of State, my absolute determination is to see the restoration of all the political institutions established by the 1998 Agreement.

That Agreement has formed the bedrock of peace and progress here since it was reached just over 21 years ago. It must be upheld and it must be defended from those who would seek to undermine it.

Northern Ireland needs its political leaders to stand together and work with each other in the spirit of unity and togetherness – now more than ever.

That is why, the PM and Taoiseach, in their statement earlier today, called formal political talks to restore the Executive, commencing on the 7 May.

The talks will take place in full accordance with the well-established three stranded approach to which we remain committed. There will also be a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) on the 8 May.

Both our teams will be working with the parties on an intensive period of preparation to get ready for those talks.

The Tanaiste and I will do everything in our power to make those talks a success, but we need Northern Ireland’s political leaders to do everything they can to ensure we emerge with an agreement, restore the Executive, and build a better future for the people of Northern Ireland.

Over 21 years ago Northern Ireland’s political leaders reached the Belfast Agreement, and showed how coming together for the benefit of the whole community can achieve truly ground-breaking and remarkable things.

These talks offer us a chance to move forward, restore the political institutions and deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.

I am determined to ensure we use this opportunity to succeed in doing just that. We have a narrow window in which genuine progress can be made and we must act now.”

Northern Ireland Power Sharing Talks Collapse

Attempts to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland have today collapsed without a deal being obtained. The failure to reach agreement comes after over a year of talks and is thought to have been based around disagreements over the Irish language and same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland will continue to be governed directly from Westminster until a settlement can be found.

Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, said:

“For almost four weeks, we have been engaged in intensive negotiations with Sinn Féin. We have attempted to find a stable and sustainable basis for restoring devolution. Those discussions have been unsuccessful. Despite our best efforts, serious and significant gaps remain between ourselves and Sinn Féin, especially on the issue of the Irish language”.

Michelle O’Neill, representing Sinn Fein, blamed the DUP, saying:

“We had reached an accommodation with the leadership of the DUP. The DUP failed to close the deal. They have now collapsed this process”.

Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said in a statement:

“Both parties have conducted discussions seriously and in good faith. While substantive progress towards an agreement has been made, it appears that this phase of talks has reached a conclusion. I would urge everyone to reflect on the circumstances which have led to this and their positions, both now and in the future.

The position of the UK Government remains the same: devolved government is in the best interests of everyone in Northern Ireland and is best for the Union. I believe the basis for an accommodation still exists. As the Prime Minister said during her visit on Monday, we are ready to bring forward legislation to enable an Executive to be formed.

We will continue to work with everyone to make sure we do deliver this. We now need to consider practical steps. In the continued absence of an Executive, other challenging decisions will have to be taken by the UK Government. I will update Parliament when the House returns from Recess next week”.

Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said:

“This is desperately disappointing news, especially as there had been widespread hope last week that a deal might be reached. It seems clear, however, that the cause of the breakdown was the DUP’s unwillingness to accept legislation to support the Irish language or marriage equality. Their lack of leadership on these issues, despite their powerful position in Stormont and Westminster, leaves Northern Ireland without an accountable government or a voice in the Brexit negotiations.

Karen Bradley will now have to explain how she hopes to get the DUP back to the table, and if that proves impossible, how she is going to take forward issues such as equal marriage, as well as dealing with tough decisions on health, education and infrastructure that have been left unresolved for over 400 days”.

Karen Bradley Welcomes US Decision on Bombardier

Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has welcomed a decision by the US Trade Commission which will prevent the US Government from imposing 292% import tariffs on products made by Bombardier. It was feared that hundreds of jobs would have been lost if the decision hadn’t been reversed.

Bradley said in a statement:

“It is excellent news that the International Trade Commission has unanimously found in favour of Bombardier. It is great that the company will continue to play a hugely important role in our economy as we build a Northern Ireland fit for the future.

I know Bombardier workers and their families have been waiting some time for this and I wish them well as we welcome this news together.

The UK Government has been working tirelessly to safeguard Bombardier jobs and argued from the very start this case was wholly unjustified”.

Karen Bradley in First Visit to Northern Ireland as Secretary of State

Karen Bradley, the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has visited the province for the first time since her appointment this week. She visited Belfast Metropolitan College in the city to meet both students and staff.

In a statement Bradley said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be in Belfast and to be appointed to this important Cabinet post and I am really looking forward to getting down to work as quickly as possible. I want to work with all sections of the community here to help build a Northern Ireland that is fit for the future and that works for everyone.

During my visit to Belfast Metropolitan College, I have been struck by the wonderful education facilities that are available to students here. Throughout the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is highly regarded for the excellent levels of education it provides, as well as the high calibre of its students – they can hold their heads high and compete with the best from around the world;

And of course I can’t forget the marvellous tourism that this part of the world is so famous for – the Giant’s Causeway, the Mourne Mountains and of course the No 1 visitor attraction in the world – Titanic Belfast. I know my family are already looking forward to getting to know this beautiful part of the United Kingdom.

Of course I have a very important job to do, and as I said yesterday my immediate challenge and key objective is to ensure that Northern Ireland has a devolved government in place in order to address the issues that affect everyone’s lives, including health, education and the economy. I’m also conscious of the need to deliver a Brexit that works for Northern Ireland and to ensure everyone is safe and secure.

It is fitting my first visit should be to Titanic Quarter, which reflects both Belfast and Northern Ireland’s past and its future. Once one of the world’s leading industrial cities and now one of the world’s largest urban-waterfront regeneration schemes.

And I understand the importance of dealing with the past and securing a safe and prosperous future. My aim is to work collaboratively to find solutions to these issues acceptable to everyone.

I have spoken to all the main party leaders. While there will be many challenges in the coming weeks – which all parties will need to rise to – I will do all that I can to ensure that we find a way to restore devolution to Northern Ireland”.

Home Office Announces New Child Abuse Whistleblowing Helpline

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The Home Office has announced that a new phone line has been established to report any concerns about child abuse. The line will be operated by the NSPCC which will receive a £500,000 annual subsidy from the Government in its first year.

The helpline’s number is 0800 0280285 which is available from 08.00 to 20.00 on Mondays to Fridays.

Karen Bradley, the Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime, said in a statement:

“The new NSPCC whistleblowing helpline will be a vital service in our fight to end child abuse, including sexual exploitation.

Every child deserves to be safe from abuse, and organisations that are trusted to protect our children must work as effectively as possible to achieve this.

Some employers are making great strides in strengthening whistleblowing processes. But more can be done to encourage employees to report malpractice without fear of victimisation – particularly in relation to children where the cost of failure is so high.

No one should be afraid to report concerns about failures in child protection”.

Peter Wanless, the Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said:

“If an employee thinks a child is in danger or has been failed by their organisation then nothing should stand in the way of them speaking out.

Too often people with concerns have kept silent because they have been fearful of the consequences for their jobs, and this can have devastating consequences for the children involved. A feature of the child abuse scandals of recent years has been people who said they thought something wasn’t right but were unsure whether they could discuss their concerns confidentially outside their organisation.

The new whistleblowing helpline is a vital new initiative and will provide a confidential, safe place for anyone who has concerns and wants support or advice”.