Government must not allow Translink to continue making losses

30 04 2012

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has warned of the dangers for Moyle and other rural areas if the Department for Regional Development allows Translink to run into losses.

Recent predictions expect Translink to make a £2million profit this year but a £22million deficit over the following two years.

Councillor Cunningham said: “If we allow Translink to lose such large amounts, the closure and run down of non-profitable rural routes and services will be inevitable.

“Already in Moyle we feel that our public transport is not given sufficient support, this will only worsen if Translink fall into a deficit position.

“Investment in public transport is needed to get people out of cars. Petrol prices are crippling local working families; public transport needs to be a viable and realistic alternative, price increases to bus fares will not help, in fact they will only worsen the situation.”

Wording on Police Notice misrepresents area

29 04 2012

Commenting on the wording on a Police notice issued with regard to a “Street Brief” session held on Friday Night (27th April 2012), Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham expressed the feelings of many of the residents of Caman Park and Caman Drive who feel that their area has been misrepresented and wrongly labelled.
The notice read as follows –
RESIDENTS of the Caman Park/Drive area of Ballycastle are invited to come along to raise any concerns in relation to anti-social behaviour issues in their neighbourhood

“I have no difficulty with the concept and rationale of the ‘Partnership and Community Together Streetbrief’ , I feel properly conducted it can be an important tool which can be used to give the community the chance to tell their local policing team, Council and other partner agencies about the issues causing concern within their neighbourhood.The community can set the priorities, which they want addressed.

All of the benefits of the “Street Brief” could have been achieved without the misrepresentation of Caman Park/Drive as an area with a problem with “anti – social behaviour”.

Fracking Hell: The Untold Story

25 04 2012

At only 18 minutes in length, Fracking Hell is a great, short introduction to fracking. Watch it then share it with your friends: there’s still a huge amount of work to be done to raise awareness of the issue – there are still too many people who don’t know what fracking is and what will happen if we don’t stop it.

Ballycastle needs ambulance station

23 04 2012

SDLP Ballycastle Councillor Dónal Cunningham has re-stated the case for the retention of the Ambulance Service Station in Ballycastle.
He said: “An ambulance depot in Ballycastle is needed more now than ever before.

“With consultation between the Trust and the community around the key proposals of the Compton Report ‘Transforming Your Care’ about to take place, the message must be that the Ballycastle community depends heavily on an efficient and locally delivered ambulance service.

“Moyle Council strongly supports the retention of acute services at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, to get the best outcome from these services it is absolutely critical that the Ambulance Service has a base in Ballycastle which can serve people living in Ballycastle and the neighbouring isolated rural communities.”

Corrymeela Founder, Ray Davey dies

16 04 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham paid tribute to the Rev Ray Davey, founder of the Corrymeela Community who died on Monday evening.
He said “Ballycastle and indeed the entire North owe a debt of gratitude to the vision and example of Roy Davey, the peacemaker, his message of reconciliation is one that we all should all try to follow in our own daily lives, in our social and political relations, in our churches and community organisations.
When he purchased the Holiday Fellowship Centre just outside Ballycastle in 1965 ,Ray and his volunteers soon set about establishing in one of the most beautiful settings , the Corrymeela Community whose objective was the promotion of reconciliation and peace-building through the healing of social, religious, and political divisions. Ballycastle can be proud of the part it continues to play in such a valuable organisation.

Successful start for new market

14 04 2012

Commenting on the successful start to the new Ballycastle local market, SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has said “I am delighted with the success of the first market which was located at the green on Ballycastle seafront and the support it gave to local produce and local businesses. A wonderful array of superb local foods and crafts, art and photography – there was certainly something for every taste. I commend the vision and commitment to the market project of Chamber of Commerce president Mary O’Driscoll.
In Irish there is an expression – “Tús maith, leath na hoibre” which translates as, “A good start is half the work”
Future markets are planned for Saturday 5th May 2012, and Sunday 3rd June 2012 (the day the Olympic torch visits Ballycastle) and on the first Saturday of each month thereafter.

Cunningham condemns Market Street arson attack

14 04 2012

SDLP Ballycastle Councillor has said the community is angered following an arson attack on a house in the Market Street area of the town.
Cllr Cunningham said: “This was a callous and very dangerous act that could easily have caused serious injury or fatalities. The 65-year-old woman was alerted to the fire at her Market Street home by passers-by at about half past midnight on Saturday morning. Police said they believed a burning rag had been placed in the letterbox. The front door was badly damaged and there was smoke damage inside the house
“Not only did it endanger the life of the woman whose house was attacked, but it also posed a serious threat to those living in adjoining properties.
“An attack of this nature is tantamount to attempt murder and I would therefore appeal to anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the police as a matter of urgency.
“Praise must go to the passers-by who raised the alert and to the fire service for their swift response.”

The Chapel Brae

14 04 2012

Read by his daughter Christine at the funeral service on Holy Saturday of the late Donal Harkin RIP, the following poem presents a very simple and poignant refelection on the brevity of life. It touches a chord with Ballycastle people of all generations.

“The Chapel Brae – Ballycastle” by Brigid Winter

Our wee town is a hilly town
The hills go up and the streets go down
Houses lean on sides of hills
Cats doze on sloping window sills
But the busiest hill it’s true to say
Is the one we call the the Chapel Brae

In the play of life, a major part
We travel up it at the start
Babes in arms we are taken there
Blessed and named with loving care
Pledged for life, His laws obey
Going down the Chapel Brae

Infant days soon pass away
This time we are skipping up the brae
Starting school and all is new
Clothes and shoes and schoolbags too
All getting shabbier day by day
Going up and down the Chapel Brae

School days over, work begun
Love and laughter, having fun
Dances, discos, out on dates
Soon we have all met our mates
Sunshine on our wedding day
Driving down the Chapel Brae

Children come, the scenes repeat
Time flies by on winged feet
Loving, caring guiding right
Soon they’re grown and out of sight
Time now to go to Mass each day
Struggling up the Chapel Brae

Growing older year by year
The final curtain, coming near
No longer fit to climb the hill
Old and tired and often ill
I’m coming Lord I’ve had my day
The last time up the Chapel Brae

Support Ballycastle’s new Market

6 04 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called on the local community to come out in big numbers and support the new traditional local market which is due to be launched on Saturday 14th April 2012 at 10am.
The market which will be located at the green on Ballycastle seafront 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.

Future markets are planned for Saturday 3 May 2012, and Sunday 3 June 2012 (the day the Olympic torch visits Ballycastle) and on the first Saturday of each month thereafter.

Cunningham condemns theft of church heating oil

3 04 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has condemned the theft of around 200 litres of heating oil from the Holy Trinity Church in the Diamond Ballycastle.

He said: “ There has been similar thefts from other local churches, in my mind theft from any faith community is sacrilegious as well as criminal. I express my annoyance to the Rev. David Ferguson and his congregation, there should be no place for this in Ballycastle. I sincerely hope that those who were involved are caught and shamed before the courts for what they have done”