Fracking explained in two minutes

27 11 2011

Fairly succinct explanation of hydraulic fracturing

Support the “Workers”

25 11 2011

As the Guardian said yesterday, the Village People never had a line up like this. Including a civil servant, teacher, firefighter, probation officer, nurse, physiotherapist and more, The Workers are a group of 14 public service union members from around the country, who’ve come together to record the rock standard ‘Let’s Work Together’.

The idea is to help inject a bit of solidarity with the hard pressed public service workers into the charts and the media, ahead of the day of action on pensions justice planned for 30 November.
The song was the brainchild of Jeff Chegwin, a music promoter whose many credits stretch from discovering Billy Bragg through to getting Simon Cowell his first hit boy band. From idea to iTunes in only 2 weeks, this has been a bit of a roller-coaster for the group, who have coped amazingly with their first experiences of using a professional recording studio, appearing in a video, and talking to the media.

The song is only one small part of a day which will see actions and events taking place right across the country (find your nearest here), by members of 23 unions taking industrial action and others offering support. Hopefully though, the awareness and morale raised by having a high profile song will benefit all of the action happening that day.

Public service workers are under a lot of strain – Job losses are happening at an even higher rate than in the private sector, and the cuts mean more people need to fall back on our public services – putting more strain on fewer staff. Workers are demoralised from seeing the needs of the people they care for threatened by the unrelenting attacks on the services they try to provide.

But to cap this, the government are also attacking public sector staff themselves – aiming to drastically cut their pensions, and make people work much longer and pay much more into the bargain. This will mean many low paid staff unable to afford to contribute to any pensions provision at all – a race to the bottom that will do nothing to help pensions under attack in the private sector too.

So please take a moment to help The Workers set the mood music in the run up to 30 November. You can download the song for around 99p (raising money for Age UK into the bargain), but once you’ve done that, please help to spread the word to all your friends and colleagues (some useful tools here). Or as The Workers might say:

“Come on people, get on the ball and work together…”

Cunningham backs motion opposing cap on Housing Benefit

24 11 2011

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham will vote in support of a motion proposed by Councillor Joan Baird which opposes the “cap” on Housing Benefit.
“The Tories brought housing benefit caps in under the guise of forcing London landlords to reduce rents. This policy is wrong in London and even more wrong here.
The cuts, which will be imposed from 2011/12, are directed at tenants in receipt of housing benefit for private rented tenants. Implementing the cap on Housing Benefit will severely disadvantage people who are already in severe poverty, people on benefits and low pay will have to spend more of their incomes on rent and this will in most cases mean surviving on lower levels of food and heating.

Cunningham supports Ballycastle Judo Club

24 11 2011

Voicing his disappointment on hearing that Ballycastle Judo club had been unsuccessful in attaining funding from Sport NI, SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called on Moyle Sports Advisory Council to do all that they can to assist the new club.
“Since their formation Ballycastle Judo Club have been an outstanding success.. I am familiar with the founding members of Ballycastle Judo Club and can not speak highly enough of their contribution to community life since their formation earlier this year.
I am impressed by the level of cross community participation in the clubs activities, and the special efforts made to include woman and girls, people with disabilities, older people, and ethnic minorities.”

Bus Shelter needed for Market Street

19 11 2011

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Donal Cunningham has called for the speedy completion of proposed bus shelter for the town’s Market Street bus stop.
“The community have responded positively to the removal of the old bus shelter/toilets which had become an eyesore for many years. However with the worst of the winter’s weather fast approaching we can not leave people standing in the pouring rain or hail at the town centre’s busiest bus stop.”

Vandalism Condemned

19 11 2011

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has condemned as “mindless” the vandalism and destruction of the Red Squirrel feeder site in Ballycastle forest.

“Great efforts have been put into the construction and maintenance of these sites by the local Glens Red Squirrel group, this vandalism can not be allowed to damage the red squirrel population within this area of Ballycastle Forest.”
“The Glens Red Squirrel Group was formed to protect the Red Squirrels in the Glens which have one of the biggest concentrations of the animals in Ireland. I have seen at first hand the efforts of the group through the recent “squirrel walk” and hope that the actions of a few do not deter the enthusiasm of the group to continue in their very important work”

Agreement on gritting of footpaths

18 11 2011

Welcoming proposals which see a formal arrangement between Moyle District Council and DRD Roads Service for gritting of footpaths, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham called on all those involved to ensure that some flexibility is retained so that the gritting is adequate and meets the needs of the community by including schools, churches the health clinic, old peoples homes and other public spaces in Ballycastle and throughout Moyle.
“I am pleased that Moyle District Council and Roads Service have reached agreement on the gritting of footpaths, and we leave behind us the confusion of the past years, when no one seemed to know where their responsibilities lay. “

Ballycastle needs a hotel

16 11 2011

SDLP Ballycastle Cllr Dónal Cunningham has welcomed news that the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle has been placed on the market and has expressed hope that a new owner can be found quickly.

Cllr Cunningham said: “It has been very frustrating that this issue has been allowed to drift to this stage. The Marine Hotel and Country Club has already been closed for over eleven months and as a result Ballycastle was without any hotel provider for the summer of 2011.

“I have called on Moyle District Council’s economic development department to place the need for hotel provision and support for any new hotel business for Ballycastle high on their agenda. I equally support the plans to develop the 100 room hotel on the outskirts of the town.

“Ballycastle has a lot to offer visitors with its wealth of history, the natural beauty in and around the town as well the Glens, Rathlin and the Causeway. As a seaside town, Ballycastle has excellent static caravan parks and bed and breakfast establishments but, it really needs quality hotel accommodation.

“The local economy needs people to stay over in the town, to shop in our local shops, eat in our restaurants and to drink in our pubs and clubs.

“There is a market for increased stay-over provision within the town for both visitors and business people. It is vital that we do everything we can to support the development of the hotel industry within our town.”

Comhghairdeachas agus beannacht do Mhichael D Higgins mar Uachtarain na hÉireann

11 11 2011

Is bua mór don tir é, gur toghadh Michael D. as an seachtar a bhí ag seasamh. Beidh áit lárnach ag an nGaeilge ina uachtarántacht ón tús. Tá mé cinnte nach mbeidh aon áifeála orainn gur roghnaíodh polaiteoir stuama, intleachtóir misniúil agus saor focal gan sárú le bheith mar chomharba ar Mháire Mhic Giolla Íosa. Go maire sé a nuacht agus go ndéana sé muintir na hÉireann mórtasach as ár gcultúr ilghnéitheach is as ár gcumas ildhánach.

Estonia 0-4 Republic of Ireland

11 11 2011

The Republic of Ireland all but sealed their place in Euro 2012 after a 4-0 away win in Tallinn.
Keith Andrews opened the scoring with a header following a cross from McGready in the 14th minute added to in the second half by goals from Jon Walters and two from captain Robbie Keane.