Dog Fouling still a problem

27 10 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for an even tougher stance on dog fouling in the town.

 “With darkness descending earlier it appears that a tiny minority of dog walkers are using the cover of darkness to allow their dogs to mess the streets. I appreciate that the majority of dog walkers behave responsibly however Council’s attitude has to become one of zero tolerance. Dog walkers must get into the habit of taking dog mess bags with them every time they go to walk with their dog.”

 Council officers tasked with enforcement need information from the public as to the time, date and location of dog fouling incidents a description of the dog and details of the dog owner, without this information the chances of an authorized officer catching the offender become reduced. 

  “The general public wants to see action and results on this issue, it is important that we work hard to improve things and enjoy safe and clean areas throughout the town.”

Welfare Reform will have negative impact on economy

27 10 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has warned about the economic effects of the Welfare Reform Bill.

The Welfare Reform Bill will impact on those who are currently in receipt of Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Housing Benefit who will be moved to Universal Credit.  

Many working people in receipt of tax credits will have already seen a reduction in Tax Credits from 1 April 2012 and it is likely a further reduction will be imposed by the introduction of this legislation.  The SDLP are opposed to the Bill and believe it is unjust to further attack the most vulnerable in our society.

It is estimated that if implemented it will remove approximately £500m from the North’s economy and will impact on both in work and out of work families. 

 Public sector workers currently working in the delivery of the benefits affected i.e. Housing Benefit (NIHE) Income Support, Job Seekers and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Tax Credits (HMRC) will be negatively impacted with a proposed reduction of up to 1600 jobs. It is important that we all work hard to protect these vital public service jobs.

Pensioners Discount Day

27 10 2012

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has voiced his support for Age Sector Platform’s latest campaign, which calls on food retailers to introduce a pensioner ‘Discount Day’ in order to help older shoppers cope with the rising cost of living and enable them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

 The campaign has been prompted by one of the most popular motions passed at the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament earlier this year.
Anne Watson from Age Sector Platform commented: “ Drastic increases in food prices, and the older population’s inability to keep pace, has meant affording the weekly shop is a constant worry for many older people.  At present, one in five pensioners in Northern Ireland is living in poverty.  Rising food prices will push even older people towards this hardship line.”
Ms Watson continued: “It has been proven that older people spend a higher proportion of their income on food than any other age group; with someone over 75 spending almost twice as much on food than someone under 30.  This means older people are finding it harder to keep up with hikes in food prices, and why we are calling on food retailers to introduce a pensioner discount day to enable older people to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.”

 Recent figures revealed that average food prices rose by 26% between June 2007 and June 2011 whereas over the same period the state pension only increased by 17%.

Cunningham welcomes new measures to cut red tape in planning process

27 10 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the announcement by Environment Minister Alex Attwood of a range of improvements that will speed up the planning process and reduce costs for applicants.

Chiefly the improvements will mean that:
– many small shop and office owners will no longer need to apply for planning permission to extend their properties;
– documentation to accompany a planning application will be reduced resulting in less expense for applicants; and
– there will be much better control over demolition where works are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Councillor Cunningham said: “These changes are aimed at improving the planning system by cutting red tape. By increasing the range of development that no longer needs planning permission it will be easier for owners of shops and offices to undertake minor building works such as small extensions to their property.
“ This will help promote a speedier, more cost effective and more responsive service for everyone.”

Fuel Prices

27 10 2012


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed news that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate Petrol and Diesel prices.

Petrol prices rose by 38 percent between June 2007 and June 2012, and diesel prices by 43 percent over the same period.

Councillor Cunningham said: “Hopefully, the OFT investigation could help lead to a reduction in fuel prices at the pump. In areas like Ballycastle and Moyle, a car and sometimes a second car is not a luxury; it is a necessity for working families. Fuel costs are hitting families hard.

“There is still more Government needs to do to help hard-pressed businesses and families in rural locations. For instance the rural fuel derogation pilot, which is currently being successfully trialed in the Scottish Highlands, could be brought here. This could slash 5p off the cost of petrol at forecourts.

“We also need to look at the cost of fuel to help haulage and farm businesses. Any extra cost at this time is something many cannot afford.”

Wear It Pink’ breast cancer campaign

21 10 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has backed the fight against breast cancer and has called on people to wear something pink on Friday 26 October 2012 in support of Wear It Pink Day.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s event has adopted a superhero theme which Breast Cancer Campaign, the charity behind the initiative, said everyone who joins the fight from patients to scientists ‘is a superhero’.

The group has asked people to wear something pink and donate £2.

Breast Cancer Campaign said the cash will go toward the £15.5m it spends on 91 projects across the UK and Ireland every year.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part.

 “With your help Breast Cancer Campaign can improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.

“Every year around 48,000 women and 340 men throughout the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer.

“This is why we all need to support Wear It Pink Day on 26 October, so that Breast Cancer Campaign can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure.”

“Grease” at C.P.C.

21 10 2012

TICKETS are on sale for Cross and Passion College’s production of the teenage smash hit musical Grease.

The Ballycastle school’s production will run from Monday 22nd to Thurs 25th October.

“Grease” – The 1978 smash hit film, based on a long-running stage musical, made household names of its two stars, John Travolta – who played male romantic lead Danny Zuko – and Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy Olsson.

The pair scored joint worldwide number ones with ‘You’re the One that I Want’ and ‘Summer Nights’, both lifted from the multi-million selling double soundtrack LP.

If you can get along to see this production – please do so.