Earth Hour tonight

31 03 2012

Earth Hour tonight- lights out – 8.30pm, 31 March 2012
WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that’s quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights for one hour, on the same night, all across the planet.

Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.

More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.

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Rally – produces many great ideas

31 03 2012

Welcoming many of the ideas that flowed from Friday nights”I Care about Ballycastle” rally organised by Ballycastle Community Development group SDLP Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham was particularly impressed with the innovative plans to bright up and rejuvenate some of the empty and unused business properties particularly in Castle Street.

Council needs to support the community and the groups many of them voluntary, who take the lead on decision-making about priorities in the town and how best to tackle problems. The community must have the opportunity to identify, design and deliver their own solutions that work locally. That may mean stonger lobbying of the various Government Departments and statutory agencies by Council – this is something I am particularly looking forward to.

Long term strategies are required to achieve sustainable regeneration within the town which put greater emphasis placed on community projects.
We need approaches to regeneration that nurture Ballycastle’s own physical, social and human assets and better ways to align the total public spend in the town.





Marine Hotel vandalism condemned

27 03 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has hit out at those responsible for a vandalism attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the vacant Marine Hotel site which saw many of the ground floor windows smashed.

Describing the attack as “a disgraceful act of wanton violence and destruction”, he said those responsible were mindless thugs who were intent on causing disruption and destruction in the town.

“I am disgusted at this incident particularly in a week that saw the formation of a new Ballycastle Community Development Group – therefore it is important that the community continues to promote Ballycastle as a great place to live, work and visit.”





Gerry McKinley – a Ballycastle gentleman

27 03 2012


SDLP Ballycastle Councillor Dónal Cunningham has said that “Ballycastle has lost one of the real gentleman of the community with the death on Tuesday of Gerry McKinley owner of the famous hardware shop “Sharpe and McKinley”
The shop which retained the charm and character of an earlier and less complicated period was much loved by locals and visitors
Gerry was actively involved in many aspects of community and parish life, a long time member of St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Choir, Ballycastle Choral and Dramatic Society and the charity St Vincent de Paul.
“I extend my sympathy to his sons Vincent and Gerard and the entire family circle.”





Cunningham welcomes formation of “Ballycastle Community Development Group”

23 03 2012


Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the newly formed “Ballycastle Community Development Group” a group which was inspired by the facebook page “What I would like to see in Ballycastle”.
The Ballycastle SDLP Councillor said “This is exactly what the Ballycastle community needs; I am particularly impressed by the group’s stated objectives of promoting community spirit and working to improve the area”
The Ballycastle community has a large and untapped pool of people (particularly the young) who have different skill sets which we need to get involved and have a real say in the decision making as to what happens in their area. This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen local democracy and for the council to reconnect with the community by empowering the group to be involved in influencing decisions that affect them.





Cunningham welcomes proposed new Local Community Market

21 03 2012

Welcoming the proposed establishment of a monthly traditional local community market to promote local foods and crafts, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham hopes that this venture can create positive economic benefits for the local community. The market will support local produce and local businesses with what promises to be a wonderful array of superb local foods and crafts, gourmet food and drink, fruit and vegetables, organic meats, custom made jewellery pieces – there will certainly be something for every taste.
Praising the work of Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce president Mary O’Driscoll the driving force behind the venture, Councillor Cunningham said “I am particularly pleased that the group hope to work alongside and enhance the traditional Apple Fair- which was once a major event in the Town calendar. It will be great to restore this event to it’s former glory”





Communities need to respect each other

19 03 2012

Commenting on the selective targeting of the “Ballycastle” name on directional road signs in a number of locations in North Antrim, SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for neighbouring communities to show each other greater respect.
“I am concerned that the recent spread of this vandalism looks to have some systematic and planned approach involving considerable effort. I have three major concerns regarding the impact of these actions
Cost to the Taxpayer:the cost to the taxpayer in terms of finance,time and resources required by the Roads Service to repair and maintain these signs
Tourism:as a tourist area we need attractive , accurate directional signs as a means of promoting the area
Community impact:the psychological impact on local communities at a time when we should be looking improve cross community and inter community relationships.

Strong local community leadership is needed to combat prejudice and ignorance and to promote better understanding, tolerance and respect.