first_imgSINN FEIN TD Padraig MacLochlainn has said judges need to be given sentencing guidelines for rapists and violent criminals.The party’s justice spokesman made the call today at his party’s Ard Fheis in Castlebar.He was speaking amid growing public disquiet at ‘soft’ sentences handed down by many judges in the country. Deputy MacLochlainn also called for a reversal of cuts to Gardai and Garda stations.The Donegal Deputy also signed up to the ‘Turn Off The Red Light’ campaign.His speech in full is below:As you would expect, the motions touch on our party’s objective for an All-Ireland policing service and our determination that in the interim, the PSNI and An Garda Síochána are fully accountable to the communities they serve through the Policing Board and the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships in the Six Counties and the Joint Policing Partnerships in the 26 Counties. 139 garda stations, mainly in rural areas, have been closed in the last 18 months in the face of much opposition from the communities they have served.For the last number of years, gardaí have endured the loss of hundreds of their experienced colleagues with no new recruits to replace them. They are often asked to protect our communities, driving clapped out vehicles that are not replaced due to cutbacks. They have witnessed the closure of garda stations across our cities and villages and cringed when Minister Alan Shatter explains that this is all about “smart policing” and “efficiencies”.The government must examine the re-opening of Garda stations which have been closed and the restoration of full service in these stations.They must provide for the lifting of the embargo to start recruitment of trainee gardaí to replace those retiring over the next number of years.They must halt reductions in Garda numbers, ensure that gardaí have the required number of vehicles and ensure greater emphasis on community policing with resources dedicated to the promotion and support of community alert and neighbourhood watch schemes. EQUALITYEquality is at the heart of everything that our party stands for. Equality is the cornerstone of Irish Republicanism.Sinn Féin stands in solidarity with those across this Island who fight for their rights every day. This last while, we have been truly inspired by the women of the Magdalene Laundries. They must have proper redress with compensation and their full pensions granted.We stand with disability rights campaigners. They inspired us too with their dignity as they protested outside Leinster House in the bitter cold. There are a number of motions on the Clár, soon to be debated, advocating travellers’ rights and marriage equality. I urge you to support them.MOTIONSI also urge you to support the amendments from the Oireachtas Group on motions 159 and 160. While I understand the sentiment behind the motions, I believe that the amendments better outline Sinn Féin’s approach to justice and penal reform.We need a Sentencing Council and new Sentencing Guidelines for the judiciary to ensure accountability and consistency in sentencing, particularly for violent crimes and sexual assaults.We also need to ensure that any remission granted to persons convicted of sexual offences is based on participation in the Prison Service’s Sex Offenders Treatment Programmes and genuine rehabilitation.Finally, I would like to speak in support of motion 162 asking this Ard Fhéis to endorse the “Turn off The Red Light” campaign supported by trade unions and a wide range of civic society organisations.There are as many as 1,000 women and girls for sale for sex in Ireland today. Prostitution is not a real choice for the vast majority of these women.In countries, like Sweden, where the purchase of sex is illegal, there has been a massive decline in prostitution and a significant reduction in sex trafficking and organised crime.The “Turn off The Red Light” campaign argues that the most effective solution is to tackle the demand for paid sex that fuels prostitution and trafficking.There is no perfect panacea to this challenge but I believe that putting the onus of responsibility on the user rather than the woman or sometimes man prostituted is a more humanitarian and I would argue Republican approach. We also need to ensure that those in prostitution are supported to exit this life and make a fresh start by a range of government services working together in an integrated fashion.JUDGES NEED TO BE GIVEN SENTENCING GUIDELINES – MacLOCHLAINN was last modified: April 14th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:JUDGES NEED TO BE GIVEN SENTENCING GUIDELINES – MacLOCHLAINNlast_img read more

Miss Africa 2016 calls on young people to build a better continent

first_img6 May 2016Rebecca Asamoah, the first Miss Africa Continent, has high hopes for the continent. She believes cooperation between her and the other contestants will help create a united Africa. One that can deliver a better life for all who call it home. Ghanaian Rebecca Asamoah is Miss Africa Continent 2016. Her prize was a grant to study business management at Monash University in Johannesburg. (Image: Facebook)Ghanaian Asamoah was crowned on Saturday 30 April in Johannesburg. Zambian Michelo Malambo was named first princess, and South Africa’s Jemimah Kandemiiri second princess.Asamoah wants each of the contestants to empower youth in their own countries. “There are a lot of things to be fixed in Africa — water, education, environmental issues,” she told the news agency AFP. “My main concern is the empowerment of youths . so we can work hand in hand and put our continent in the best place it should be.”“We are not divided”Asamoah says her aim is to unite the continent. “To say no to xenophobia, and also to alleviate most challenges Africa is facing under health, education, poverty and environment. These are things I am passionate about. I plan to help raise not only the flag of Ghana high, but that of the African continent at large.”The 24-year-old Asamoah told local news channel ANN7 that it was not our differences that mattered. Instead she emphasised that we have a collective responsibility to Africa. “It does not mean we are different people. We are not divided . We are each other’s keeper.”Asamoah said her two princesses would visit projects in Ghana that supported the aged and the combating of diseases such as malaria.“There is a place called Leila and Nabuli camp for the aged, up in the northern part of Ghana. There is this misconception about them, that they are alleged witches. So they have been neglected. No proper food, clothes, footwear and potable water. Under the Miss Ghana foundation we visit them every year to interact with them and also mentor them on personal hygiene before some donations are made to them. This year, by the grace of God, the borehole is under construction to create potable water for them.”The pageantThe Miss Africa Continent pageant is the brainchild of South African film producer Neo Mashishi, who said it was about uplifting young African women. To make the pageant African, the finalists walked barefoot on stage – in their traditional clothes. The swimwear category was dropped; instead, finalists wore a uniform of black T-shirts and shorts.Mashishi told AFP that they did this to go against the norm of Westernised pageants. “The way everything was done was African. We didn’t emulate anything from Miss Universe or Miss World. This is about Africa. We are selling Africa to the world, and we are proud to be African.”According to the Guardian, during the weeks running up to the event, the 12 finalists embarked on a series of pre-pageant activities such as showing off their culinary skills by cooking traditional meals from their home countries.Watch highlights of the pageant:Second princess, South Africa’s Jemimah Kandemiiri, is a law student at the University of Pretoria. She said the pageant taught her that the best gift to yourself is to be you. “With the pressure that comes from the modelling industry and the so called ‘need to be perfect,’ it will consume you.“I learned that we are all from different parts of Africa, very similar in almost everything, but we seldom expose that which makes us authentic. I always say, be you, no-one can do you better than you. When you’re yourself, you will attract things that are like you.”last_img read more