Monthly Archives: April 2014

Alliance condemn theft of election posters

Alliance posters illegally removed

Alliance posters illegally removed

A number of Alliance election posters have been illegally removed in Aghalee and Lisburn in recent days. The thefts in Aghalee occurred on the 17th April between 19:30 and 22:15 and in Lisburn between 17:00 and 23:30 on the 18th April.

Alliance Killultagh representative Jonathan McCrea condemned the actions of the thieves “Across Europe people are standing for a democratic election, erecting election posters, delivering leaflets and canvassing. Yet there are those in our society who are quite happy to openly defy the rule of law and illegally remove election posters. The removal of election posters is illegal, anti-democratic and both incidents have been reported to the PSNI.”

Downshire East Alliance representative Aaron McIntyre continued “There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of some individuals to remove Alliance posters. We are not suggesting any political party is explicitly involved in their removal, but clear patterns are emerging.  The Alliance Party is committed to building a shared future and it is clear that those removing the posters view us as a threat to the tribal carve-up politics of ‘Orange’ and ‘Green’, which suit some political parties.  We will not be deterred, intimidated or bullied, by those individuals who try to damage our campaign for a better Northern Ireland.”

Anyone with information regarding the theft of any election posters should contact the PSNI.

European Parliament to scrap roaming charges – McCrea

Dr Jonathan Mccrea Alliance Representative for Killultagh

Dr Jonathan Mccrea
Alliance Representative for Killultagh

The Lagan Valley Alliance Party team welcomes the news that following the vote by MEPs, mobile phone roaming charges are to be scrapped. The expectation now is that they will be scrapped altogether from 15th December 2014. As the EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, is reported to have said “consumers are fed up with being ripped off”.

Jonathan McCrea Alliance Party representative for Killultagh says: “This is great news for mobile phone users, throughout Europe, and particularly in Northern Ireland. Mobile phone users who live near, or sometimes even miles from the border with the Irish Republic, are often connected to a network across the border and can incur significant costs. In some areas, the best reception is from a transmitter across the border. It will also be great to be able to make phone calls, use mobile data when on holiday or business to the Irish Republic and Europe. This also serves to illustrate the benefits of being part of EU.”

As Anna Lo MLA has said: “I am proud of the Alliance Party’s pro-European record. As a region, Northern Ireland has benefited enormously from our membership of the European Union and it is vital for our businesses that this continues. The EU gives our businesses access to a market of 500 million people and an economy worth £730billion.”

Eel stocks to be replenished

Downshire East  https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Downshire East
https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Scientists are releasing 17 000 young wild eels, sourced from the River Severn, into the Lagan river system and its associated lakes. Six thousand have already been released into Hillsborough Lake by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, financed by the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Cooperative Society Ltd.

Downshire East Alliance representative Aaron McIntyre welcomed the initiative stating “This is an exciting long term experiment that should go a long way to addressing the declining wild eel population, which has dropped by 95% across Europe in recent years.  These juvenile eels will hopefully mature to renew breeding stocks in the Lagan river system, and it is my understanding that a number of the eels are marked so that their progress can be tracked over the next number of years.

This scheme will breathe new life into the Lagan system and its associated lakes, increasing biodiversity, and the overall initiative will contribute to the on-going programme of eel research at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.”

Downshire West colleague Owen Gawith added “The marked eels will be especially useful in tracking the life of these remarkable fish.  On the River Severn poaching has been reported as a particular problem, so close observation here should help deter any such behaviour, and help ensure the re-establishment of a viable eel population.”

Grehan demands clarity on welfare reform

Amanda Grehan Lisburn South Alliance representative

Amanda Grehan
Lisburn South Alliance representative

Alliance Lisburn South representative Amanda Grehan has demanded an end to DUP-SF carve-up politics and the delivery of clarity on welfare reform for people across Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Ms Grehan stated: “People across Lisburn are coming to me in severe distress caused by the uncertainty over welfare reform.
“The DUP and Sinn Fein may feel they can enjoy a game of political ding-dong over this, but we are talking about real people’s lives and real people’s futures.
“I am in no position to advise people on how they should prepare, for example, for the change from DLA to Personal Independence Payment or for the big switchover of other benefits to a single Universal Payment because we simply do not yet know if it going to happen. I know independent Advice Centres and the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux across the area are finding the same.
“The fact is that people are being caused further distress and uncertainty while the DUP and Sinn Fein abuse this issue for electoral gain. It is simply unacceptable that they are causing people to wait until the other side of 22 May to resolve this vital issue.
“The Bill should be placed on the floor of the house and debated urgently, so that people know how to prepare for the future.”

The Ulster Grand Prix – an opportunity not to be missed – McCrea

Alliance Representative for Killultagh

Dr Jonathan T McCrea
Alliance Representative for Killultagh

The Belfast Film Festival opened last week with the world premiere of ‘Road’. Narrated by Liam Neeson, this film tells the story of the world famous motorcycle road racing family, the Dunlops. The Isle of Man TT, the NW200 and the Ulster GP circuits are equally well known. Motorcycle Road Racing is an extreme sport which has attracted increased interest over the past 10 years.

The Isle of Man has led the way in developing its full potential. As motorcycling journalist Mat Oxley (Bike Magazine, July 2013) put it: “It’s… a hugely costly operation, funded by the Manx government and various sponsors. So why does the government spend so much money televising the races? Because the show advertises the Isle of Man to the rest of the world, just like the Qatar GP advertises Qatar across the globe. It’s a competitive world and the global game is getting noticed amid the chaos. The TT show certainly gets the Island on the radar: when… (television) coverage began in 2009 the show was beamed to 35 countries, now it’s seen in more than 130 countries”.

The Lagan Valley Alliance Party team welcomes the Northern Ireland Assembly having finally changed the legislation to give more flexibility for road closures, as is the case in Isle of Man. This should avoid the shambles of previous years and allow races to happen. Manufacturers, teams and sponsors will then be more likely to support these events. This year Michael Dunlop is being supported by BMW Motorrad Motorsport, and German motorcycle tyre manufacturer Metzeler will again sponsor the Ulster GP.

Spectators will be also more likely to come for a whole week to enjoy the racing at the Ulster GP and to explore the many tourist attractions of Northern Ireland and beyond.

The Lagan Valley Alliance Party team welcomes the support Lisburn City Council has given over past years in support of this event.

 

Dr Jonathan T McCrea has been selected by the Alliance Party to run in the new Killultagh DEA at the forthcoming Local Elections.

Lisburn Alliance makes reminder about rural funding

Owen Gawith Alliance representative for Downshire West

Owen Gawith Alliance representative for Downshire West

The Lagan Valley Alliance team is reminding people locally that the ‘Maximising Access to Services, Grants and Benefits in Rural Areas’ (MARA) project is ending in June this year.

Downshire West representative, Owen Gawith explains “The project has the potential to offer highly valuable assistance to local people in rural areas. I have used a similar scheme myself and can vouch for it. For example, a partial grant towards replacing a boiler can be hugely beneficial in the current economic climate.

“The project works through trained enablers, who carry out home visits and can provide assistance including rural community transport, benefit entitlement and home safety checks. They can also assist with access to boiler replacement and energy efficiency grants”.

The local scheme covers Glenavy, Maghaberry, Moira, Ballinderry, Ballymacbrennan, Hillsborough, Maze, Drumbo and Dromara.

Downshire East representative, Aaron McIntyre concluded “This innovative project is essential because it uses a personal approach to give people access to local services, grants and benefits that they may not be aware they are entitled to. I would encourage everyone in the MARA project area to avail of the services offered by the project before the scheme finishes in June 2014.”

For more information on MARA or to arrange a home visit please phone 028 38398888, or contact the local Lagan Valley Alliance office on 028 92671177.

Flagship wastewater scheme for Stoneyford – Alliance’s McCrea

Dr Jonathan Mccrea Alliance Representative for Killultagh

Dr Jonathan Mccrea
Alliance Representative for Killultagh

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has announced the construction of a new Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) in Stoneyford.

Welcoming the announcement from Minister Kennedy, Jonathan McCrea says: “This environmentally friendly and sustainable method of managing wastewater has been used in the Republic of Ireland and Europe for some years and is now being introduced by Northern Ireland Water for first time. It is particularly suited to the rural setting and has been demonstrated to be a low cost, low energy and low maintenance alternative to the ‘traditional’ sewage treatment. It works by mimicking the the function of natural wetlands”.

“The ICW method is likely to be used in the upgrade of wastewater treatment throughout Northern Ireland in the coming years. Indeed, as well as being used for municipal wastewater, this method has also been used to treat industrial and agricultural wastewater”.

“This improvement in the management of wastewater in Stoneyford, may also serve to facilitate the growth in population in Stoneyford”.

Stolen bag found in Blaris Old Cemetery, Lisburn

Downshire East  https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Downshire East
https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Alliance would like to remind people to be vigilant about their personal safety as there have been a number of thefts in the Lisburn Council area over the past few months.

Local representative Aaron McIntyre recently uncovered a stolen bag at Blaris Old Cemetery whilst tidying family graves. He said “It is despicable that individuals are being targeted in this way. I’d like to remind people to remove valuables if they are leaving their car unattended and place bulky items out of view. I have to express my gratitude to the Lisburn PSNI who attended the scene. The perpetrators have no consideration for anyone but themselves.  Anyone with information should contact the police or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111”

Owen Gawith added: “We are fortunate to live in a relatively law abiding part of the world. But crime is still around us, as evidenced by the personal belongings found by Alliance representative Aaron McIntyre and taken away by the police for examination. We don’t need to be fearful, but we should all take our personal safety seriously. I found excellent information on the PSNI website where there is a wealth of good advice on how to keep yourself safe.”

Grehan condemns Lisburn burglaries

Amanda Grehan Lisburn South Alliance representative

Amanda Grehan
Lisburn South Alliance representative

Alliance Lisburn South representative Amanda Grehan has condemned those responsible for two burglaries in Lisburn on Friday night, which the Police believe may be linked. A family of four were locked in a room in their house on Laurelhill Road by four masked men. Jewellery and money was taken  A pensioner was then bound and locked in his room in his house on Glenavy Road by two masked men, however nothing was taken. Nobody was injured in either crime.

Amanda Grehan said: “I am disgusted by those responsible for these burglaries. It is disgraceful that a pensioner was tied up and locked up in his own home. People should not have to worry about this sort of thing happening in their own home.

“While I am thankful that nobody was hurt during these crimes, I am sure it was a very traumatic experience for those involved.

“If anybody has any information about these burglaries then I would urge them to contact the Police.”

 

Housing repair contractor must get to work swiftly across Lisburn – Grehan

Amanda Grehan Lisburn South Alliance representative

Amanda Grehan
Lisburn South Alliance representative

Lisburn South Alliance representative Amanda Grehan has welcomed news that a contractor has been appointed to repair up to 800 Housing Executive properties across Lisburn. The move comes after the Lagan Valley Alliance team applied pressure in the Assembly on the subject.

Ms Grehan, who is well known for her work on housing in the Lagan Valley Alliance office in Graham Gardens, stated: “The announcement of a contractor is long overdue, but at least now it looks like we will be able to get on with tackling the backlog.

“As just one example, I have had one constituent waiting since the start of last summer for a window to be replaced. This alone has had a severely detrimental effect on one household’s quality of life.

“Since then, I myself have visited countless properties across Lisburn, and come across issues with rising damp, problems with heating and insulation, and in one case one person who has been unable to wash at home for months due to a broken shower.

“It is bad enough to find people struggling to make ends meet on a disposable income of just £71 per week. When you add that to severe discomfort and a huge hit to their quality of life in their own home, the situation had become beyond unacceptable.

 

“It is unfortunate that we had to go the Assembly route to get a result on such a basic necessity. Nevertheless, we will continue to work for everyone across the new Lisburn/Castlereagh district to ensure matters are put right quickly, and such a deplorable situation is never again repeated.”