Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Alliance welcomes speed limit changes

Downshire East  https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

Downshire East
https://twitter.com/AaronMcIntyre_

The Roads Service has announced that the national speed limit currently in place along the Hillhall Road, the Ballylesson Road and Purdysburn Hill will be reduced to 50mph in the near future.

Alliance Downshire East candidate Aaron McIntyre welcomed the decision “The Lagan Valley Alliance team have been working with constituents along this stretch of road for a number of years, and it is fantastic that the Roads Service have decided to reduce the speed limit from 60 to 50mph. If properly enforced this change should reduce the number of accidents along these main roads which form the main route between the Lisburn and Castlereagh sections of the new super council. It will also make it safer for vehicles using the roads which connect to the route, especially at the Ballyaghlis junction, which can be extremely dangerous at busy times due to excessive speeding by some.

Although the Lagan Valley Alliance team welcome the speed limit reduction, we would like to stress to the Roads Service that improvements to the roads themselves should be considered in the long term and we will continue to liaise with them in regards to the changes outlined previously.”

BALMORAL SHOW AGAIN AT THE MAZE SITE

Owen Gawith, Alliance candidate for Downshire West, says:
“It is great to see the Balmoral Show again at the Maze, following the success of the event last year.  Sadly this is the only positive achievement to report at the Maze Site, after many years of political wrangling and a considerable amount of waste of public money.”

In answer to an Assembly question from Trevor Lunn, OFMDFM confirmed that £974,000 has been spent on the conflict transformation centre.  This figure includes EU and Heritage Lottery funding which had to be refunded after the plans were pulled.  Everyone agrees that the Maze site has enormous potential for inward investment and badly needed jobs but the project has continually been blighted by political disagreement, firstly over the proposed Stadium and then the Peace Centre.  Similar political disagreement has blighted the John Lewis development at nearby Sprucefield.

Owen adds:  “I hope that potential investors will not be put off and the example set by the RUAS will encourage others to follow their lead and establish on this prime site. Northern Ireland has so much to offer, as evidenced by the recent job announcements and the success of events such as the Giro D’Italia  and the World Police and Fire Games (which was originally to be held at the newly built Maze Stadium).  With the right political leadership the Maze site can play its part in the future economic development of Northern Ireland.”

NOTES
(i) In 2013/14 the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation (MLK DC) was allocated a budget of £7.3m from our Department. £974k has been spent on the Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre project primarily made up of EU funding and Heritage Lottery funding. £540k EU funding which had been drawn down has since been repaid.
(ii) As a result of the full regeneration project not being pursued at present, the remaining Departmental budget the MLK Development Corporation had for 2013/14 was £3.4m.
(iii) Unspent funding for 2013/14 is not carried forward to the 2014/15 allocation.
(iv) Our Department surrendered £3.5m to the Department of Finance and Personnel in 2013/14 for their reallocation. The remainder was reallocated within this Department.
Please note, rounding applies to all the figures cited above.