Author Archives: alliance

Councillor Grehan welcomes continuation of Boiler Replacement Scheme

Amanda Grehan Lisburn South Alliance representative

Amanda Grehan
Lisburn South councillor

The Department for Social Development has announced that £2 million has been made available for the continuation of the Boiler Replacement Scheme. The scheme helps people to replace their existing boilers and will now run until March 2016.

Lisburn South Alliance Councillor Amanda Grehan welcomed the department’s decision; “Replacing inefficient boilers will not only help individuals and families to reduce their energy costs but also improve their health and general well-being through living in a warmer home.

“Homeowners earning less than £40000 gross income with a boiler 15 years old or more are eligible to apply for the scheme. This scheme has been very successful to date with 18, 500 boiler replacements and I would encourage anyone who is eligible to contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive who administers the scheme.”

Tagged , , ,

Alliance welcomes proposed development at Maghaberry Airfield

(Photograph credit- Property News)

(Photograph credit- Property News)

The former Maghaberry Airfield site is set to be given a new lease of life with the unveiling of plans for a proposed solar farm. The proposed development is set to produce enough energy to power 6440 households saving nearly 11 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Local Alliance councillor Amanda Grehan said “This is a tremendous opportunity for a much needed positive development in the area. For too long Northern Ireland has been left behind in the development of green energy sources. However, we now have the chance to learn from what has happened elsewhere, to deliver renewable energy supplies without any disruption to residents or wildlife.

“I particularly welcome the commitment from the developer, through their biodiversity management plan, to protect and encourage wildlife through the use of native plants in hedgerows, seed-rich areas, log piles as well as bird and bat boxes. The underground cabling and absorption of daylight by the panels means the overall landscape would be largely unaffected.”

Councillor Aaron McIntyre added “The protection of mature trees and ‘strong points’ of the former airfield will help maintain the current landscape and protect the heritage of the site for future generations. The solar farm is specially designed for grazing by small livestock including sheep and chickens. This will enable the land to be productive in the produce of food stuff as well as local renewable energy.”

Councillor Grehan concluded “This is a significant opportunity for the local area and there are no doubt further potential sites throughout Northern Ireland. It is important we proceed carefully but quickly with such projects.”

Tagged , , ,

MARTIN WELCOMES HILLSBOROUGH ROAD WORKS

Cllr Stephen Martin

Cllr Stephen Martin
Lisburn North
07706 526036

Councillor Stephen Martin has welcomed a commitment by the Council to carry out clean up works on a Council owned wooded area near to the scene of a recent fatality on the Hillsborough Road in Lisburn.

A local resident contacted Councillor Martin with concerns that if something wasn’t done a similar incident could result from overgrown trees on land owed by the Council on the same stretch of road.

Councillor Stephen Martin stated ‘Following representations, the Council have confirmed that the necessary works are due to start on Sunday 8 February and continue for up to 4 Sundays with partial road closures expected from 7am until midday on each of those days.’

‘While it might prove temporarily inconvenient, we can’t allow the tragedy that took place a few weeks ago to pass without making certain any potential risks in the area within our control are managed.’

‘I want to thank the concerned resident who highlighted the matter and all the diligent Environmental Services staff involved in progressing this issue so quickly.’

Woodland Park litter bin repair

Cllr Stephen Martin

Cllr Stephen Martin
Lisburn North
07706 526036

Councillor Stephen Martin has secured the repair of a litter bin at Woodland Park bus stop following complaints from local residents.

Councillor Martin stated ‘As soon as the issue was brought to my attention, I called out to see firsthand the damage.  The bin has broken open at its base and as a result rubbish had spilled over the footpath causing real difficulties for pedestrians and commuters.’

‘Council officers responded immediately and I am delighted a problem that could have went unreported was nipped in the bud very quickly due to quick actions of both the residents and council staff.’

‘I can not stress how important it is to report such issues to the Council so that would could end up being a significant health and safety issue is dealt with promptly.’

Petitiion for Moira Bypass gathers pace.

Owen Gawith Alliance representative for Downshire West

Owen Gawith Alliance councillor for Downshire West

In light of the worsening traffic situation in Moira I welcome our MP’s renewed attention to the problem.

However, as the long-time campaigner Neil Johnston has found, it takes more than a sporadic effort to get anything done.

To honour a promise made during the last local government election campaign, I have set up a petition to obtain 5,000 signatures to be delivered to Stormont. The petition is available at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/moiraneedsabypass; it went live on 22nd September and has gained pace this week, approaching 400 signatures in just 4 days. The paper version I am presenting door to door each week has also gained around 100 with just a few hours work so far.

My thanks to all who have signed so far, and I would encourage people of every shade of political opinion to sign the petition as this is for everyone’s benefit. If anyone prefers the paper version or has concerns to air, I can be contacted via the local Alliance office on 92671177 

How to improve housing services for older people

Cllr Brian Dornan

Cllr Brian Dornan
Lisburn North
07775 429113

Speaking after a meeting of Lisburn City Council Planning Committee at which senior Housing Executive staff made a presentation, Alliance Party Councillor Brian Dornan welcomed the commitment of the NIHE Chief Executive, Mags Lightbody, to improving services for older people.

Councillor Dornan had commended the work of the Housing Executive and housing associations in making it possible for older people to continue to live in a home of their own rather than having to move to a care home but called for more innovation.

“Relatively simple services can be the key to making older people feel supported and less anxious”, he said. “Examples of what people would welcome are having a bag of rubbish collected from the door of their flat, and simple repairs such as lightbulb replacement. These tasks can be a worry and a problem for older people who may not have a lot of family help. Such services cost very little but mean a lot.”

Ms Lightbody had explained to the Committee that she had experience in a Scottish local authority of working in a joint housing and social services department. She would do all she could to encourage close working together of housing and health and social services. She agreed on the importance of services such as Councillor Dornan had suggested and said that she would be encouraging such developments by housing associations.

Brian Dornan
Alliance Party Councillor
Lisburn City Council

Dispute between Councillors about Planning Application at Richmond Drive

Cllr Brian Dornan

Cllr Brian Dornan
Lisburn North
07775 429113

Speaking after the Lisburn City Council Planning Committee meeting on Monday 2nd September, Alliance Party Councillor Brian Dornan said that he had been amazed at a most unusual response by unionist Councillors to the request of concerned residents of Richmond Drive and Richmond Mews to meet with planners about a planning application.

At the request of a number of residents Councillor Dornan had relayed their concerns to the Committee and the Senior Planning Officer had offered a meeting on Wednesday 10th September “in the interests of fairness”. Previously 21 letters of objection had been submitted. Concerns included the height of the houses and fences, adjacent as they were to bungalows.

“DUP and Unionist Councillors used their majority to vote to block the Planning Officer’s offer of a meeting”, said Councillor Dornan. “This included North Lisburn Councillors who should have respected their constituents’ wish for the meeting with planners. I have never observed such cavalier disregard for the rights of residents to have their concerns heard and such determination to achieve an instant decision in favour of a development. I am at a loss to understand how waiting until next week to allow residents to have their meeting was too much to ask.”

Independent Councillor John Drake had supported Councillor Dornan’s request.

Brian Dornan
Alliance Party Councillor
Lisburn City Council

McIntyre welcomes funding for environmental projects

Downshire East  https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Downshire East
https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Downshire East Alliance councillor Aaron McIntyre has welcomed the announcement from the Department of the Environment that the NGO Challenge Fund 2015 will receive £1.3 million funding from the carrier bag levy.

Councillor McIntyre said “There has been a 72% drop in demand for ‘single use’ carrier bags in Northern Ireland since the introduction of the levy which is fantastic for the environment. This equates to around 250 million fewer plastic bags. The recent £1.3 million pledged by the Department of the Environment to the NGO Challenge Fund will help to set up environmental projects that encourage the community to take an active interest in the natural and built environment”

“I would encourage local community groups, charitable trusts and schools to avail of this funding. There is increasing interest in environmental concerns and a number of issues have been widely reported on recently in the Lisburn area. The natural and built environments are a beautiful non renewable resource and it is great to see the money raised from a levy to protect the environment going back to the community”

Further information on the NGO Challenge Fund 2015 and how to apply can be found on the Northern Ireland Environment Link website and the deadline for applications is 3rd October.

An Alliance of Recipes

New cook book available for only £5.00. Pick up your copy from the Alliance office in Graham Gardens.alliance

Trevor Lunn opinion piece: Muslims play a full and integral part of our society

Trevor Lunn MLAI have had the pleasure of working with the Egyptian Society of Northern Ireland (a Muslim society open to all faiths and none) since 2005 when I first hosted an event in Lisburn to mark the end of Ramadan and since then have several times hosted the event in Stormont. When we first used Stormont it was and remains the first and only time a Western European Parliament has hosted a Muslim event. Northern Ireland has received much positive publicity from these occasions, across the Arab world.

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell has attended and Jeffrey Donaldson also has supported the Society by attendance at some events. Jeffrey, like myself has visited Egypt as a guest of the Society, meeting Egyptian government ministers, all intended to foster good relations between the two countries and the possibility of business links/educational exchanges and to promote cross community understanding and mutual respect within Northern Ireland.

You can therefore understand my dismay at the remarks by the First Minister in relation to the disgraceful outburst by Pastor McConnell. I was saddened but not surprised by The Pastor, he isn’t the first firebrand preacher in NI to lose the run of himself, but his remarks were clearly designed to promote fear of and ultimately hatred towards Islam and its followers, whatever his apologists may argue.

The First Minister of Northern Ireland then stoked the flames by lending the weight of his office in support, implying that Muslims are not to be trusted and are not therefore an integral part of NI society, something which his own Junior Minister and a senior MP have by their commendable actions, sought to encourage.

A lot of righteous indignation has been directed at Mr Robinson but the real question is this – was there a single person who voted DUP who regretted doing so after they heard his remarks? I hope so, but they are very quiet at present.

It is all very well for the rest of us to demand apologies, but the real challenge is to develop a fundamental understanding that we are all equal citizens of Northern Ireland regardless of our religious background or affiliation and until we do that we will simply continue to recycle Unionist leaders who pursue the same agenda of exclusion and intolerance – and get rewarded for doing so.