Author Archives: Aaron McIntyre

Animal welfare should be of concern to everyone -McIntyre

alliance-animal-crueltyAlliance candidate for Lagan Valley Councillor Aaron McIntyre has said that we should all be concerned about the welfare of defenceless animals.

Councillor McIntyre was speaking after the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she was in favour of fox hunting and would allow her MPs a free vote on removal of the Hunting Act.

Councillor McIntyre said: “Alliance has consistently campaigned against animal cruelty and for appropriate sentences for those convicted of such crimes. Thanks to David Ford, during his time as Justice Minister, those convicted of animal cruelty now face; increased maximum sentences for Crown Court cases from 2 years to 5 years; increased maximum sentences for Magistrates’ Court cases from 6 months to 12 months or increased maximum Magistrates’ Court fines from £5000 to £20,000.

“These changes have given Northern Ireland some of the strongest animal welfare legislation in the UK, and if elected I would push for these sentences to be brought in throughout England and Wales.

“I am completely against the removal of The Hunting Act in Great Britain. I believe that Northern Ireland needs legislation to stop these barbaric ‘sports’ here. This is an area where Northern Ireland is weak at present. However, Alliance will seek to bring forward new legislation which would include a ban on hunting with dogs, the use of snares and wild animals in circuses. It is time we confine these barbaric practices to the history bin. It is the only humane option and one which Alliance will continue to pursue.”

Alliance nominate Aaron McIntyre as Westminster candidate

Pictured (l-r) are Brian Dornan (election agent), Cllr Aaron McIntyre (Alliance Lagan Valley candidate), Alison Gawith (Alliance Association Secretary) and new member Mark McCormick

Pictured (l-r) are Brian Dornan (election agent), Cllr Aaron McIntyre (Alliance Lagan Valley candidate), Alison Gawith (Alliance Association Secretary) and new member Mark McCormick

The Lagan Valley Alliance Association has selected Councillor Aaron McIntyre as its candidate for next month’s Westminster election.

Councillor McIntyre said: “It is a privilege to have been selected as the Alliance candidate in what will be one of the most important elections many of us will vote in for generations. The next government will have the vital task of ensuring the Brexit negotiations deliver the best possible deal for the entire UK. Given Northern Ireland’s unique position in relation to the Republic of Ireland, Alliance believes special arrangements need to be put in place to ensure we do not suffer disproportionately Post Brexit.

“As the Alliance candidate for Lagan Valley, I offer a strong pro-EU view on what is best for Northern Ireland. We benefit greatly from our membership of the EU and there is real fear many businesses and farmers will be badly affected following Brexit.

“On other issues, I strongly support equal marriage and changes to our outdated laws on abortion. I believe diversity is a strength and we should welcome people from other countries who choose to live and work in Northern Ireland.

“I have been a councillor serving the people of Lisburn since 2014 and if elected to Westminster will be a progressive advocate for all of Lagan Valley. I have the vision and ability to help Lagan Valley grow stronger.”

What a weekend!

Aaron & Jason in CS Lewis Sq

Aaron & Jason in CS Lewis Sq

Phew! That was a busy May Day weekend! Lagan Valley Alliance spent time this weekend out supporting Naomi Long in East Belfast and Paula Bradshaw in South Belfast.

This is only the start! There is a lot more campaigning to be done! Alliance were just over 5000 votes short from winning two Alliance MPs in these two seats at the last election.
We can change direction. For good.
Now’s a great time to join us
Come get involved.

The Lagan Valley Team out for Paula Bradshaw in South Belfast

The Lagan Valley Team out for Paula Bradshaw in South Belfast

The LV Team at the East Belfast Action Day

The LV Team at the East Belfast Action Day

McIntyre to stand for Alliance in Lagan Valley

Lisburn Councillor Aaron McIntyre is to contest the upcoming Westminster election in Lagan Valley, the Alliance Party has announced.

Speaking after his selection on Wednesday night, Councillor McIntyre said he would offer voters a progressive, pro-European alternative to the sitting MP.

“It’s clear the Conservative Government – who the DUP have been cosied up to since 2015 – has absolutely no regard for Northern Ireland, as evidenced by the decision to call a general election during the latest round of talks to save devolution.

“Brexit will have major economic, financial, social and environmental consequences.  And whilst Article 50 has been triggered, the focus now must be on ensuring we secure a special deal for Northern Ireland – something I would fight for at Westminster.

“In my council area, I have spoken with farmers, who indeed voted for Brexit, but who are waking up to the reality that they will likely lose their farm subsidies. I believe this will be a similar story for others as the impacts on their daily lives become evident.

“I’m passionate about developing Lagan Valley, letting it achieve its full potential, something I’ve always worked to achieve through my council work. I have been active in a number of environmental issues, including the ‘No Creevy Quarry’ campaign and have advocated for events to be held in the shared space of the redeveloped Market Square in Lisburn. It was my proposal when Vice-Chair of Leisure and Community Services which saw the NI European Championship matches screened in Lisburn City Centre last year.

“A vote for Alliance isn’t an empty protest vote; it’s a vote for positive politics and one that can deliver real change for the people of Lagan Valley.”

Trevor Lunn MLA added: “I am delighted that Aaron McIntyre has been selected to represent the Alliance Party in Lagan Valley for the Westminster election. Aaron has proved his worth as the  Lisburn-Castlereagh Councillor for Downshire East since 2014. Aaron was born and raised in Lisburn and I am quite sure he will give a good account of himself in the forthcoming campaign. The Alliance Party is fortunate to have a wealth of new talent from which to select candidates.”

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Left to right : Gretta Thompson (Vice-Chair), Cllr Aaron McIntyre (Westminster candidate), Naomi Long MLA, Cllr Owen Gawith & Trevor Lunn MLA

‘Open Night’ a huge success

Trevor Lunn MLA with Hazel Ervine, who has been active since the 1970s

Trevor Lunn MLA with Hazel Ervine, who has been active since the 1970s

The Lagan Valley Alliance Association recently held an ‘Open Night’ event in Pizzarellys, Lisburn. The event marked Trevor Lunn’s re-election and showcased the work of Alliance in the Greater Lisburn area, both past and present.

Trevor and the Alliance councillors were on hand to answer questions, with areas set aside to look at how we campaign, and a treasure trove of old minute books, posters, leaflets and press cuttings collected by the late Don Cheyne where on display. Trevor gave a short speech, and  Jason Ashford, spoke about his experience in the recent election campaign as a new member. It was fantastic to have such a mix of people present including long-standing members, recent recruits and brand new members. There were also people present who were considering joining and we had one new sign up at the event!

The Association presented Trevor Lunn with a photograph of himself with a very special visitor to Lagan Valley, Daisy, who wisely brought Naomi Long to our canvass day in Moira.

If you would like to help change Northern Ireland for good, why not sign up to become a member? Click here to be that change!

Lagan Valley Alliance Open Night

Lagan Valley Alliance Open Night

 

Increased turnout was vote of confidence

The LV Alliance team at the recent count

The LV Alliance team at the recent count

The increased voter turnout across Northern Ireland was a clear sign that people want devolved government and local politicians making decisions on key issues such as the economy, health and education.

That’s the view of Alliance’s Trevor Lunn, who comfortably retained his Stormont seat after seeing his first preference vote in Lagan Valley increase by almost 65 per cent from last year – up from 3,707 to 6,105.

“I’d like to thank the people for re-electing me and putting their confidence in me again,” he said. “I’ll do my best to serve them in any way they choose. When people come to me for help I don’t ask how they vote or where they come from, I just deal with their problem the best I can and I will continue doing that.” While unable to say when he and his fellow MLAs are likely to make a return to the Assembly chamber, Mr Lunn stressed that “the will is there” among the politicians. “The DUP in particular have had a big cautionary tale over the past couple of days and it’ll knock some of the arrogance out of them, frankly, and I hope they can see the benefit of trying to get together and move things forward,” he said.

Describing the increased turnout across Northern Ireland as “a vote of confidence” for the devolved institutions rather than a protest against the RHI scandal, Mr Lunn continued: “It shows that people trust us and they want Stormont. They want the politicians to get on with it and we really shouldn’t be letting them down. “From what people were telling us for the last five or six weeks on the doorsteps it’s very much about wanting to sort out health, education, the budget, programme for government and trying to put this place on an even keel. They want us to use the money we have wisely and make decisions for everybody and not for particular sections. We need to try to eliminate some of the costs of division. It’s a long term project, but we have to make a start.”

Reflecting on a successful election for the Alliance Party across Northern Ireland, Mr Lunn said: “Apart from securing our main seats quite easily we have reached out into areas where we only got a nominal vote in the past and we’re now getting a four figure vote, and in a couple of cases well into four figures. We got four-and-a-half thousand votes in South Down and if you go back to 2010 that was probably about 500. “Our total vote’s gone up from 48,000 to about 72,000, but it’s more the spread and the fact that we all got in with ease. Now west of the Bann we are a significant force and we’ll be looking towards council seats.”

With Alliance looking to make further gains for the centre ground, Mr Lunn is not ruling out the possibility of targeting two seats in Lagan Valley come the next Assembly poll. “We are up to thirteen-and-a-half per cent of the vote so that’s pretty close to the point where you could run two candidates, but getting two out of five is much more difficult than getting two out of six. “Maybe if we run a full term this time, in five years time, all things being equal, we would certainly be looking at the potential of running two candidates,” he said.

Racism has no place in any society

Lunn2017Alliance Justice spokesperson Trevor Lunn has said there is no place for racism in Northern Ireland, or any other society.

Mr Lunn was speaking after the Belfast Jewish Community received a message containing a racist image. Trevor Lunn said: “Members of the Jewish community first came to Northern Ireland around 150 years ago and have made a valuable contribution to our community over that time. Unfortunately, for a range of reasons in recent years there has been a fall in number amongst the Jewish community. That is why this incident involving a racist message must be condemned by all.

“We need to send a clear signal that these racist messages are not acceptable and should not be sent. We also need to send a message of support to the Jewish community that we support and stand with them.”

Lunn thanks Lagan Valley voters

Newly elected Alliance Assembly member Trevor Lunn has thanked voters across Lagan Valley for their continued support.Trevor Lunn said, ‘Once again I feel very privileged to have been selected by thousands of voters across Lagan Valley to represent them in the Assembly. The strength of my mandate shows there is support for a progressive party that wants to move Northern Ireland forward. We do not need to resort to scare tactics, but have shown we can take a principled stand on controversial issues that are important to many people.

“I thank the voters of Lagan Valley and pledge I will work for all sections of this community to the best of my ability. As the parties enter negotiations to develop a programme for government, the Alliance Party team will argue strongly for objectives that can deliver our core policies to achieve greater integration of services that will better serve the people.

“At the local level, my busy constituency office will continue to help people deal with the issues impacting on their daily lives, such as welfare benefits, unemployment and housing. These are the real issues the new Assembly must address.

“I would also like to thank my family, constituency staff and election team, who made my re-election possible.”

TrevorLunnreelected

Following the announcement that Trevor Lunn was the second to be elected in Lagan Valley L-R Cllr Amanda Grehan, Myra Brown, Cllr Owen Gawith, Trevor Lunn MLA, Brian Dornan (election agent), Laureen Lunn, Cllr Aaron McIntyre & Gretta Thompson

 

 

Alliance legislative priorities for new mandate

Dictionary Series : Legislation

Dictionary Series : Legislation

Alliance are the only main party to have unveiled their legislative priorities for the new Assembly term. Our legislative programme, which contains commitments to bring a Single Equality Bill, Equal Marriage Bill and an Animal Welfare Bill among others, would help correct the lack of progress in many areas by the previous Executive.  The Assembly is often criticised for a lack of movement on and discussion of real legislation. However with this legislative programme, Alliance believes the next Assembly can hit the ground running with proper business that delivers for all the people of Northern Ireland. We are already far behind the rest of the UK in terms of equality and other laws, and are in danger of falling even further behind if we do not see some serious movement soon.

Bills such as a proposed single equality one would better reflect the diversity of multiple identities within Northern Ireland, while a marriage equality Bill with robust protections for faith groups would move us into the 21st Century, and an animal welfare Bill would help defend some of the most vulnerable creatures in our society.

 

Alliance’s legislative priorities –

1. Single Equality Bill

This Bill will harmonise existing equality and anti-discrimination measures and update and strengthen equality provisions. Our Act would also revise Fair Employment monitoring to better reflect the diversity of mixed and multiple identities within Northern Ireland.

2. Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill
This Bill will extend civil marriage provisions to same sex couples, provided that robust protections are provided through legislation to protect faith groups and religious celebrants who do not wish to marry same-sex couples.

3. Integrated Education Bill

This Bill will provide a greater basis for the further development of integrated education and will implement those parts of our nine-point plan for integrated education.

4. Climate Change Bill

This Bill will develop a climate change framework for Northern Ireland, with a clear ‘road map’ for implementation. This would include binding and stringent carbon emissions targets for the Northern Ireland Executive.

5. Environmental Protection Bill

This Bill will update environmental regulation and enforcement, including establishing an independent Environmental Protection Agency.

6. Animal Welfare Bill
This Bill will include provisions that prohibit wild animals in circuses, the hunting of animals with dogs, the use of electronic dog collars and the use of snares. It will also better regulating the sale of puppies and kittens.

7. Access to Justice Bill

This Bill will deliver reforms flowing from the Access to Justice Review (Pt II) and the judicially-led Review of Civil and Family Justice, as well as new Compensation arrangements.

8. Sentencing Bill
This Bill will implement reforms flowing from the planned review of the penal policy, and the replacement of current custodial orders and community disposals in youth justice cases.

9. Adoption Bill
This Bill will provide a long overdue update of Adoption Law in Northern Ireland by ensuring uniformity across statutory agencies setting clear standards in terms of quality and putting in place eligibility criteria reflecting the norms of modern society.

10. Private Renting Bill
This Bill will improve the regulation of the private rented sector, focusing on increasing security of tenure, improving standards in poorer homes and reducing up-front fees.

Progress on combating animal cruelty must continue

Alliance Assembly candidate Trevor Lunn has said the good progress made recently combating animal cruelty must continue.

Trevor Lunn said: “In recent times, several high profile court cases have highlighted the issue of animal cruelty and neglect. These inexcusable acts of cruelty against defenceless animals have both sickened and angered people right across our community.

“The Alliance Party has always prioritised animal welfare and our party leader and Justice Minister, David Ford, has recently done important work to protect animals. His Justice (No 2) Bill, increased the maximum penalty for serious cases of animal cruelty to five years and also allows the Director of Public Prosecutions to challenge unduly lenient sentences for animal cruelty.

“As we applaud these important changes, much work remains. Alliance believes we should ban the use of wild animals in circuses, and also reduce and better regulate necessary animal testing. We would also advocate increasing the powers of local authorities to deal with issues like horse abandonment.

“The area of animal ownership should be better regulated and we believe cats should be micro-chipped and registered as dogs are. Tighter regulation of the selling of pets would help protect the animals and ensure purchasers are dealt with honestly.

“Alliance believes that by better protecting animals, our society can show itself to be compassionate and caring.”

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