PUP manifesto launched

The Progressive Unionist Party led by Brian Ervine launced their manifesto today.  The manifesto is availble for download at www.pupmanifesto.com

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PUP Manifesto launch – Thursday 21st April – City East, Newtownards Road, Belfast

The Progressive Unionist Party will launch their 2011 Assembly and Council manifesto on Thursday 21st April in the City East building, Newtownards Road, Belfast.

The launch will commence at 11am and PUP leader Brian Ervine will outline the party’s policy ideas on health, education, the economy, welfare, environment, policing and electoral reform. Belfast city councillors Dr John Kyle and Hugh Smyth will also be speaking at the event. All of the party’s Assembly and local government candidates will be available for radio, television and newspaper interviews afterwards.

Hard copies of the manifesto will be available to all journalists on the day as well as being available for PDF download from pupmanifesto.com from Thursday morning.

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Brian Ervine welcomes news that PSNI are to set up a new special unit that will target prolific offenders within the community

Progressive Unionist Party Leader Brian Ervine welcomes news that PSNI are to set up a new special unit that will target prolific offenders within the community.

The new unit will contain around eleven officers and will given a mandate to target the most prolific offenders. These offenders will be mainly young men who have been jailed for serious crimes.

The offenders will be put under surveillance, searched on the spot, and officers could call to their homes unannounced. This special team will be rolled out in West Belfast this summer and depending on results could then be introduced in other areas.

East Belfast MLA candidate Brian Ervine welcomed the introduction of this new PSNI unit and hopes that it can be replicated in other areas as soon as possible ‘I have worked within the prison service for many years and I am all too aware of the extremely high risk of reoffending that some young men pose. Hopefully this new unit will be an effective deterrent to the small number of people it targets. Within my own community in East Belfast there have been a number of arson attacks. So far it is only by the grace of God that someone has not been killed. If this new unit can help in any way to stop these sorts of behaviours then I call for it to be launched in other areas of Northern Ireland sooner rather than later.’

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Progressive Unionist Party continue protest against H.E.T. bias

The Progressive Unionist Party has continued their protest to highlight the bias shown against the Unionist communities by the Historical Enquires Team.

Following up on recent demonstrations at Stormont and the PSNI headquarters P.U.P. members, led by East Belfast MLA Candidate Brian Ervine, took their protest to the H.E.T. Headquarters in Sprucefield.

Brian Ervine arrived with a letter detailing the grievances that the P.U.P. and the Unionist community as a whole has with the H.E.T’s methods of investigation. It was Mr Ervine’s intention to hand deliver this to the H.E.T’s head, David Cox. After waiting at the gates for 30 minutes, an H.E.T. Press Officer appeared and accepted Mr Ervine’s letter of complaint.

Brian Ervine commented ‘I look forward to the time when the H.E.T. is transparent in nature and methods and can represent with impartiality, both sections of this society. At present this is certainly not the case. A delegation from the P.U.P. will meet the Chief Constable on Monday 4th April to raise our concerns.’

Below is a copy of the letter handed to the H.E.T. Press Officer.

Whom It May Concern,

The Progressive Unionist Party wish to protest about the overwhelming imbalance in the Historical Enquires Team’s investigations.

According to your own figures, 72 arrests have been made; 70 from the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community and 2 from the Catholic Nationalist community. Allowing Mr Cox’s figures for operation Ballast i.e. 65 arrests (some would hotly dispute these figures) that leaves 7 arrests with 5 being from Loyalist communities and 2 being from dissident Republican communities.

When one considers that 60% of murders and atrocities were committed by the Republican movement, 30% by Loyalists and 10% by security forces then the unfairness is even more glaring.

The PUP have no problem with the concept of historical enquires in order to give closure to victims etc, but there must be fairness and equity in this divided society. This patently is not the case.

Your team is perceived in my community as a secret grouping who are extremely reluctant to part with any information concerning their enquiries and their methods and who are waging a clandestine campaign against the PUL community.

One dissident Republican, Gerry McGeough, claimed that he was offered exemption from investigation and arrest by Sinn Fein if he stopped criticising their party.

Your team has received extra funding from the Minister of Justice who claims he is unaware of your operational mandate. Also some people in the Police Ombudsmen office were surprised to find that their remit does not cover the H.E.T.

There is a very serious consequence of this obvious imbalance. Every arrest attracts the attention of the media and creates the impression that it was mainly the PUL communities who were responsible for the Troubles. This demonises and scapegoats these communities.

It is significant that not one member of the Provisional IRA or Sinn Fein has been arrested since the H.E.T. was set up. The perception in our community is that this is for political reasons. Should certain people be arrested the political fallout would be disastrous.

At best we have what appears to be a concerted effort to denigrate the PUL communities and at worst, if Mr McGeough is correct we have corruption in the highest levels of our judicial system.

The figures do not lie. There is an imbalance. The lack of transparency and the clandestine nature of the H.E.T itself gives grave cause for concern and undermines its neutrality. This approach demonises one community and in the long term will breed resentment, bitterness and alienation.

Unless the H.E.T becomes transparent in its nature and methodology and is seen by all communities to be fair and even handed then it will be perceived as yet another stick to beat the PUL community.

Yours Sincerely


Brian Ervine

P.U.P. Leader

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East Belfast MLA candidate Brian Ervine reacts to news that 1200 workers at call centre company given job warning

Progressive Unionist Party East Belfast MLA candidate Brian Ervine reacted with shock at the news that 1,200 workers at HCL BPO services in Belfast & Armagh have been told to accept less favourable terms or their employment would ‘terminate’.

Two major clients of HCL BPO Services have recently asked for big cuts in the costs of their contracts.  This has led to the call centre company to write to their workforce informing them that they will be presented with new contracts which would ask them to accept such things as pay freezes and cuts in benefits or lose their jobs.  HCL BPO does not recognise trade unions.

The Progressive Unionist Party has a long history of fighting for fair employment rights for all and has made representation for  those struggling against cuts in the private and public sectors as one of their key aims.   Brian Ervine commented ‘Several parts of this news story trouble me.  Hugely profitable businesses like BT & Abbey are demanding a reduction in the costs of their contracts with HCL, presumably to keep their profits healthy, and are doing so knowing that this will put jobs at risk.  HCL, in turn, ask that their staff agree to incredibly unfair contract changes.  In fairness, the 1,200 workers do have a choice, they can sign these new contracts or they can lose their jobs!  At this stage it would be fair to expect the worker’s trade union to step in and negotiate a fair and balanced compromise but HCL refuse to recognise any trade unions.  The whole situation stinks; once again the ground floor worker is being bullied and cajoled. I will be contacting HCL to see if their senior management has been ‘asked’ to agree to any inferior employment terms.’

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PUP Leader Brian Ervine welcomes discussion on the funding for elderly and vulnerable

East Belfast MLA candidate Brian Ervine agrees with the Independent Health and Care Providers that providing care for vulnerable people and the elderly will be the greatest logistical and financial challenge for the next Assembly.  ‘I and the Progressive Unionist Party as a whole have repeatedly called on the NI Assembly to look into what can be done to help the most vulnerable in society by raising issues such as suicide rates in the elderly to  the stigma attached to mental illness.  If elected I will do all I can to make sure to give a voice to those who have gone unheard, the needy and the vulnerable in our communities.’

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Brian Ervine questions fairness of penalising health departments over hospital waiting times

Progressive Unionist Party leader Brian Ervine questions the fairness of penalising departments in such an excessive fashion when they are forced to do more with less.   The figures for people waiting more than twelve hours to be seen in emergency care departments rose last month, despite a fall in the number of people attending.  There were 52,921 attendances at A&E wards in February 2011, compared with 56,476 in January 2011.  1,338 were forced to wait more than 12 hours to be seen compared to 1,236 in January 2011 and 702 in December 2010. With news that the Department of Health is planning to introduce penalties potentially amounting to £500 each time a patient waits more than 12 hours to be seen, these figures will worry many.

Mr Ervine commented ‘These figures are worrying enough, the idea that anyone should have to wait more than 12 hours to be seen in A&E is a disgrace but lets be clear, it’s not the staff on the grounds fault. The middle management can only use the resources they have available and heaping more pressure on to everyone to meet these targets without giving them the required funding will exacerbate the issue.  The NI Assembly’s failure to fight the coalition government’s cuts means that yet again that the needy will suffer.’

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PUP welcome growing support for HET equality campaign

Progressive Unionist Party leader Brian Ervine has welcomed the growing support for the party’s campaign against the inequality of the Historical Enquiry Team.

After a number of highly successful P.U.P. protests against the sectarianism of the H.E.T. victims groups, Unionist community organisations and now other Unionist political parties are beginning to follow our lead. Yesterday the Democratic Unionist Party met with P.S.N.I. Chief Constable Matt Baggott and asked why the vast majority of H.E.T. arrests were Loyalists. As Peter Robinson and the D.U.P. have stayed silent for so long over the issue we can only assume the P.U.P’s campaign is beginning to strike a chord in the wider Unionist community.

Party leader Brian Ervine has welcomed this latest development. He said “The P.U.P. are delightful that at long last the D.U.P. are following our lead and have highlighted the total imbalance in investigations carried out by the Historical Enquiry Team. This secretive body – which is neither answerable to the Police Ombudsman or the Minister of Justice who funds them – is pursuing a clandestine policy mainly against Loyalists. While the P.U.P. would advocate the pursuit, apprehension and arrest of all perpetrators of murder and atrocity we have been alarmed at the complete disproportion of arrests. Of the 72 arrests linked to H.E.T. investigations so far only two have been Republicans – and neither mainstream Provisional IRA or Sinn Fein members. This is despite the fact that the PIRA and their fellow Republican groups committed 60% of ALL killings throughout The Troubles. One of the two Republicans – Gerry McGeough – has publicly claimed Sinn Fein promised immunity from prosecution if he was to stop criticising the party. If this is true it demonstrates the corruption of our judicial system for political reasons. Sinn Fein are in government in Northern Ireland. Their members also crowd council chambers across the country. If the H.E.T. pursued these people the political fallout would be too great. The upshot is that our community is scapegoated and demonised. At last the First Minister and D.U.P. are beginning to ‘smell the coffee’ and have raised this issue in their recent meeting with the Chief Constable. I suppose it’s ‘better’ late than never’!”

The party’s next protest will be held on Thursday 31st March at 11am at the H.E.T. headquarters at 4 Ravernet Road, Sprucefield, Lisburn.

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The Best of Koh Samui Luxury Villas

A cute and attractive yet affordable resort set on one end of the coveted Lamai Beach – that describes Bill Resort perfectly. Located right on the beach, it is dream come true for visitors to the resort. The beach area is not yet touched by commercialization as has happened with the more famous Chaweng Beach. This helps resort guests enjoy the picturesque beach and its activities without the hawkers and such like intruding on their privacy.

The 5-star villa koh samui has 88 guestrooms and bungalows, all designed and furnished to make it most comfortable for guests. The spacious rooms have simple yet elegant décor with huge windows and cozy beds. The private balconies come in handy in enjoying the beautiful vistas and fresh air outside. The facilities provided in the rooms are in keeping with the resort’s star rating. These include air-conditioning, television with satellite channels, non-smoking rooms, mini bar, shower, bathrobes and writing desk. The services offered are equally good such as tour desk, hotel/airport transfer, restaurant, poolside bar and room service.

Koh Samui Villa has a nice swimming pool with a separate wading pool for kids. There is an open-air massage sala offering traditional Thai massages. The restaurant serves a variety of popular dishes from Thai and international cuisines. Lamai town, located at a 10-minute walking distance has more activities in store for visitors. With the Angthong National Marine Park nearby, visitors can take part in activities like diving, kite boarding and kayaking. Land-based activities like golf, bungee jumping and trekking are also popular.

Spending Samui holidays at Samui villa has a dream-like feel for its picture-postcard setting at the beachfront and Chaweng’s array of restaurants, shops, entertainment centers and water sports activities. Most of the 3-star resort’s 88 rooms are sea-facing, offering standard facilities. The villa’s central location is a plus for visitors to explore the island without losing much time and money, if need information about property for sale in samui visit century21zazen.com. Waking up in the morning watching waves lashing against the beach gives an incredible high that is indescribable.

For those who love water sports, there is no better place to spend a beach holiday than at koh samui luxury villa. The resort offers a helping hand in organizing water-based activities such as kayaking, canoeing, diving and snorkeling. Non-motorized water sports are available at the resort. The villa also has ample arrangements for kid’s activities within the resort property. There is a playground and games room that will keep the youngsters engaged while the parents get to enjoy a relaxing treatment at the spa or the massage parlor.

The Terrace restaurant serves traditional Thai cuisine and a host of international options. As Samui villa is located right in the heart of Chaweng, where there is no dearth of dining options, guests here are a pampered lot. The swimming pool, kid’s pool, sauna and a host of other recreational facilities offered by the resort ensures that the guests savor each moment of their stay. The private villa rentals at https://www.samuivillaretreat.com/ featured beach lounges for the exclusive use of hotel guests is a definite plus in the otherwise crowded Chaweng beach.

Thailand villas lies cocooned among verdant mountains in a secluded spot just three kilometers away from Koh Samui. Offering affordable accommodation with 4-star amenities and services, the resort is ideal for leisure as well as business travelers. Immobilier Thailande (http://immobilierenthailande.fr/) provides awe-inspiring views of green-clad mountains, exotic lagoons, dense vegetation and tropical garden on its grounds. An ample-sized convention center that can accommodate up to 1000 people and a well-equipped business center are its other highlights.

Thailand luxury villas has 221 luxuriously furnished and well-designed guestrooms in various categories. All rooms have contemporary décor with subtle hints of Thai touch. The bewitching beauty of the surroundings is brought closer to guests with extensive glass walls and furnished private balconies. The rooms are made pleasant and comfortable with cozy beds, comfy sofas, soothing color scheme and soft lighting. Room facilities include air-conditioning, wireless internet access, television with satellite channels, in-house movies, shower, bathtub, kitchenette, mini bar, coffee/tea maker, in-room safe and hairdryer. The Koh Samui real estate offers services such as hotel/airport transfer, meeting hall, room service, restaurant, poolside bar, coffee shop, elevator, bike rental, car park and concierge service.

Luxury Thailand villas arranged excellent recreational facilities within its grounds for guests. These include a wide range of water sports, a magnificent swimming pool, spa, massage sala and steam room beside the tropical garden with winding walkways. Onsite restaurant serves lip-smacking dishes from Thai, Chinese and Continental cuisines.

There is a karaoke room playing English, Thai, Japanese and Chinese songs and a Music Lounge offering cheap Thailand wedding packages and live music entertainment.

The interior of the place is as beautiful as the rest of the villa. Giant rocks are used as accents to give some texture and interesting charm to the living area. An L-shaped couch is placed in the living area. The dining room is just nearby, looking simply elegant. The bar has wooden stools and is a great place to have breakfast and catch up with the guests.

It’s just simply hard to get bored in a villa such as this. Most luxury villas Koh Samui is famous for are known to be luxurious, but this one takes it to a whole new level. Here, guests can play basketball, videogames, and table tennis. They can also head to the spa room to get some soothing spa treatments. The place also has a boxing ring, for wannabe boxers and for those who just want to do something fun and physical refreshing. The villa also has a fully equipped gym for guests who love to work out and keep up with their schedule while on the island. Villa 12 is unique, lavish, and is a must try.

To be able to unwind in a lush modern paradise is a dream for many. There are many locations where guests can choose to recharge their batteries and take a much needed break from work and pressures of every grind. Among these locations is a beautiful island in Thailand called Koh Samui. This place is synonymous with turquoise waters and powder like sand. With a weather that is very typical of the tropics, this is the best place on earth to get a tan, try some water sports, and spend some quiet time at the beach.

Villa Michaela

Koh Samui villas mostly have a swimming pool. A Koh Samui pool villa that may be suitable for you is Villa Michaela. If upscale living conditions appeal to you the most, then there’s no need to look further. This is a haven that is all about modern day island luxury. Because it seats on top of a lush mountain, the views from here are simply mesmerizing. Everywhere you look, greens and blues will tease your eyes. There is no better place to greet the morning in Samui than here. It is as though you are on top of the world and worries are so far away.

White is used as the dominant color in the place. Expect a lot of textures and plenty of great views even on the bedrooms. Elegant and luxurious villas for sale at Astoria Samui Villa would make any property buyers beam with joy as there are a number of beautiful artworks that are used as décor for the interiors.

The main living room is classy and very artistically designed. Stuffed chairs that are big for everyone take up most of the space. This part of the property for sale in Koh Samui is air conditioned and has a modern sound system. The Cinema Paradiso is a highlight of this villa. Movie buffs won’t be able to resist the collection of films available, as well as the rich black colored chairs and rare pieces of art.

Facilities for relaxation are onsite too. Here guests can enjoy spa services and spend some time at the sauna. For your entertaining needs, there is a pool bar and an elegant dining area. You can also have a BBQ party at the grill area.


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PUP take HET bias campaign to Stormont

The Progressive Unionist Party continued with their campaign against the imbalance of the Historical Enquiry Team with a demonstration at the front gates of Stormont on Monday 21st March.

After the success of the PUP’s first protest at PSNI headquarters on Tuesday the party will seek to increase pressure on the HET with another protest at Stormont’s gates on the Upper Newtownards Road. PUP leader – and East Belfast Assembly candidate – Brian Ervine will be there alongside former internee and community worker Jim Wilson and leading victims campaigner Willie Frazer. All three men will be available for interviews from 11am and will continue to argue that former IRA and Sinn Fein members are being ignored as the HET delves into our troubled past.

Brian Ervine has stated on numerous occasions he has no issue with the arrest and prosecution of Loyalists as this was agreed in the Good Friday Agreement. The Progressive Unionist party’s problem is with the complete lack of mainstream Republicans being arrested, charged and convicted for their crimes. Of the 71 arrests in relation to HET investigations 70 have been Loyalists and only one a Republican – who claimed Sinn Fein would grant him immunity if he stopped publicly criticising them.

We aim to continue with our protests across Northern Ireland until the HET are operating fairly and are focusing as much attention on mainstream Republicans as they are on former Loyalists.

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