Solas – helping to shed light on mental health issues

28 02 2012

Speaking following attending a talk given by Conor McCaffrey a counsellor specialising in suicide prevention and abuse and addiction issues, Ballycastle SDLP Dónal Cunningham called for more information to be made available to the general public. Attitudes to mental health and alcohol addiction need to be taken more seriously. This was a very informative talk and it was great to see such a good attendance.

Paying tribute to the organisers Solas he said “Solas is a newly formed community group established to support individuals, families and the wider community to gain greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues and to provide signposting to professional services, training and therapies to encourage and support positive mental health and emotional wellbeing.”

Their work supports those wishing to
– Increase their awareness of mental health issues
– Raise their awareness of support services
– Support those experiencing emotional distress and those affected by suicide
– Actively reduce or prevent suicide and self harm
– Promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing

They need volunteers who care enough to offer their time, talents and insight to help build our vision and support our communities.

They are a wonderful group and deserve all our support.

Cunningham congratulates Conleth Hill on Oscar success

27 02 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has congratulated his former class mate, actor Conleth Hill on the success of the short film “The Shore” The film won the Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars

Set on the beautiful coast of County Down, The Shore is an uplifting story of friendship and reconciliation starring Conleth and Ciarán Hinds as childhood friends Joe and Paddy.

This beautiful short film was written and directed by Belfast local Terry George, produced by his daughter Oorlagh and even shot right on his doorstep, in the bay at Killough, Co Down.

GAA leading the way on decade of commemorations

25 02 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has praised the example and vision shown by Ulster Council GAA director Danny Murphy with regard to the upcoming decade of commemorations.

Mr Murphy said that his association – despite its long association with nationalism and republicanism – would attend “every event” in the next decade.
The promise to attend commemorations of events symbolic to many unionists such as the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the Battle of the Somme and the partition of Ireland would have been unthinkable in past years.
Mr Murphy made his comment in a two-page article for the Presbyterian Herald, which he wrote in response to the challenges given to the GAA by former Presbyterian moderator the Rev Dr Norman Hamilton when he addressed a conference organised by the body in October.

Entire North Coast must benefit from Runkerry Hotel & Golf Resort

21 02 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the Planning Minister Alex Attwood’s decision to approve the proposed world class golf resort at Runkerry Bushmills, consisting of a 120 rooms International Hotel, 75 Guest Suites, an 18 hole linked Golf Course, a 9 hole course, a Golf Academy and ancilliary facilities.

“We must ensure that Ballycastle and the entire North Coast benefits from this development and that we keep our share of golf visitors and their tourist value. This is a massive lift for people and businesses on the North Coast and will create much-needed employment in both the short, medium and long-term.

“This hugely enhances our national and international profile as a sublime golf destination and will draw in tourists to the area stimulating our local economy and putting the North Coast into greater focus as a magnificent place to visit

He said: “Ballycastle has a superb golf course with views to match any in the world, Runkerry’s golf tourists can also be attracted to Ballycastle.

“The fact that this will be an eco-hotel is also very welcome and, when constructed, will be a fine example of a sustainable tourism facility in an area of outstanding beauty.

Environmentally sustainable technology will be employed to reduce the carbon foot print of the development, with green roofs, semi-transparent light absorbing photo-voltaic panels that harness solar energy, geo-thermal heating, rain water recycling and a system of natural lighting and ventilation that reduces the consumption of artificial energy

“It is also a very positive step in beginning to address the lack of hotel provision in our area.”

Talk to your Councillors

16 02 2012

Would you like to meet with your Councillors to discuss any local issues or concerns in your neighbourhood?

Moyle SDLP Councillors Dónal Cunningham & Catherine McCambridge invite you to a coffee morning in Café Boyles (North Street, Ballycastle) on Saturday 18th February 2012, 10am—12 noon.

Councillor Cunningham added “Engaging with the wider community is vital. We want to be listening councillors and through events like this can we ensure that we maximise the opportunity for the community to speak directly to their councillors.”

Why not just drop in for a chat ?

Cunningham re-issues call for road safety measures at the “Quarry Bends”

13 02 2012

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has re –issued his call for Roads Service to introduce new road safety measures including road strengthening and the erection of marked impact barriers on a stretch of the Magheramore Road known locally as the “Quarry bends”.
Expressing his disappointment at the Department’s response to Council which indicated that “the stretch of the road did not meet the current criteria for a “vehicle restraint system” he felt that a fuller explanation was required as to what criteria is applied.
The Department’s response continued that “A collision remedial scheme in the vicinity of the “Quarry bends” which involves the provision of additional signs and lines is currently underway at the site. The aim of the works is to improve driver awareness of the road layout and therefore to enhance safety at this location.”
The Magheramore Road (A44) is the main link road between Ballycastle and Armoy and serves as the main route from Ballycastle to Ballymena, Belfast and the Antrim Area Hospital.
Residents are concerned that this stretch of the very busy road is dangerous especially at night time and in periods of inclement weather. Part of the road is supported by a retaining wall put in place and strengthened by a neighbouring farmer. There is also evidence of damage to the road, which locals fear could cause subsidence. ”
” I will be urging Council to continue to press Roads Service for urgent action.”

Comhghairdeas do na Seomrogaí

12 02 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham congratulated Antrim and Ulster hurling champions Loughgiel Shamrocks who qualified for their second ever All-Ireland Club SHC final after an extra-time classic at Parnell Park, Dublin .
The Loughgiel men will meet Coolderry of Offaly in the final on St Patrick’s Day.
In a pulsating encounter Loughgiel had led by 0-11 to 1-05 at half-time of normal time, but in a dramatic finale saw their lead pegged back to finish normal time all square at 0-18 to 2-12.
The Shamrocks restored their lead to 0-21 to 2-13, midway through added time, and pulled comfortably away in the second period of extra time adding six unanswered points.
Councillor Cunningham added “Many of us remember Casement Park in April 1983 when Loughgiel overcame Offaly opponents to win the Tommy Moore Cup- is history going to repeat itself?

Level of debt extremely worrying

10 02 2012

SDLP Ballycastle Cllr Donal Cunningham has urged people to refrain from borrowing money from payday lenders and to seek advice on managing debt.

Speaking following the publication of a report on debt levels here from PriceWaterHouseCoopers ‘Precious Plastic 2012’, Cllr Cunningham said:
“The level and scale of average household debt is a big worry along with the borrowing trends of young people in our community.
“Many people are under severe pressure right now to make ends meet with widespread local unemployment and the increased price of fuel and other commodities and are turning to loans with high interest rates as a quick fix.

“I am very concerned at the number of people in the Ballycastle area who are really struggling financially at present and are turning to loan sharks and pay day lenders as a means to get by.

“This is resulting in longer term debt for people and is driving many people into an awful state of despair.

“I appeal to anyone experiencing debt problems to seek help on managing their debt through the Citizens Advice Bureau or to contact their local councillor to direct them to alternative advice services.

“As a community, it is vital that we do all we can to help those in need and distress.”

Highest Petrol and Deisel prices no surprise

10 02 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has stated that it was no surprise to read the recent AA survey which revealed that the North has the highest diesel prices in Europe and the highest petrol prices in these islands.
Ballycastle petrol stations are certainly doing their best to remain competitive, but with the lack of employment opportunities in Ballycastle and the the rural communities nothing is on our doorstep. For those lucky enough to be working there are large distances to travel.”
Fuel prices are threatening the future of rural communities

Good Luck Tonight Christy

8 02 2012

Good Luck tonight to Christy Moore – nominated with writer Kevin Littlewood for the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards for Best Original song “On Morecambe Bay” the harrowing tale of a night in 2004 when 23 Chinese migrant workers who were collecting cockles were killed, cut off by the fast tides. The gang-masters were eventually prosecuted. The 2006 film Ghosts, directed by Nick Broomfield, is a dramatisation of the events leading up to the tragedy.