Community must shape future of “adult day care” provision in Ballycastle

20 12 2012

Rathmoyle Textile

Community must shape future of “adult day care” provision in Ballycastle

Speaking following a meeting between Moyle Council and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the Trust to listen to the local community and act immediately to address the issue of adult day care based in Ballycastle.
“If adult day care facilities can not be accommodated on the new Rathmoyle site, and I will be pressing the design team to ensure that every effort is made to keep the facilities within the site, then the community must help shape any future facility”
“The Trust have committed to providing “building based” adult day care facilities in Ballycastle, every effort must be made to ensure any new facility meets the needs of the service users, carers, families and staff.”
“I have recommended a stakeholders group be established to help shape the future of day services and ensure the needs of the community are met.”
“Any new model must be based on what people have told us they want, Ballycastle deserves the best possible facilities which incorporates more choice, more variety, the chance to be independent and to get involved in community-based activities.”
“Works on the new ”supported living” provision on the Rathmoyle site may begin in twelve months time so it is imperative that any project planning to deliver adult day care services needs to begin to take shape early in the New Year.”

Keep warm this winter

20 12 2012

Old lady keeps warm
Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has echoed the advice of Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride in calling for people particularly the elderly to stay safe, warm and healthy throughout the winter months.
“Keeping our homes warm is important, always keep the main rooms such as the living room and bedroom warm. Warm clothing and hot drinks will help prevent the most vulnerable people falling ill this winter.”
“The Chief Medical Officer advises that: “Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and depression.”
Dr McBride concluded: “Older people and those with long term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the cold and we need to be aware of how we can help others when the winter temperatures drop. We all need to work together to ensure that everyone is kept safe and warm in winter. If you have an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbour, look out for them during the winter months.”

Transforming Your Care- Your views sought

16 12 2012


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called upon local people to let their local elected representatives know their views on the ‘Transforming Your Care’ proposals which were put forward under the Compton review into Health and Social Care.

The proposed changes will potentially have major implications for health and social care of all of the residents of Moyle.

Moyle Council are preparing a corporate response and are seeking views and comments from as wide a range as possible, including community groups, medical practitioners and members of the public. Not only would the council like to hear views on any of the specific questions, it also wants to hear about any other problems experienced by the local community which will help illustrate  current shortcomings in levels of provision and access to health and social care services:

Because of the timescale set by the Minister, any comments should be sent by email to or by writing to Moyle District Council at Sheskburn House, 7 Mary Street, Ballycastle BT54 6QH, to be received by 20th December 2012.

“The closing date for submission to the Departments public consultations is Tuesday 15th January; these can be made by email to

Farmers urged to check new farm maps

16 12 2012


Glens of Antrim SDLP Councillor Catherine Mc Cambridge has urged local farmers to carefully examine and scrutinise in detail their new farm maps which will soon be issued by the Department of Agriculture.

Cllr Mc Cambridge said, “When farmers receive their maps and the accompanying advice letters, they should carefully check their own individual circumstances, it is vital that they report to the Department any discrepancies as failure  could lead to loss of their Single Farm Payment.

Farmers need to declare enough eligible hectares to support their SFP claim.

DARD will be issuing advice on how to check the new maps so it is vital that farmers should take their time to read the advice and if unsure seek assistance from the Department.

No plans for fracking yet in Scotland

15 12 2012

fracking drill

Shale gas exploration must be “done safely”

The Scottish Government has not ruled out future exploration for shale gas – but only if it can be done without harming the environment.

Permission has been given for hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – the process used to extract the gas from shale rocks, to continue in Lancashire by the Westminster Government.

Although there are no plans underway for fracking in Scotland, the Scottish Government told Holyrood unconventional gas could still be a possible source for energy.

A spokeswoman said: “Scotland has a wide range of energy resources and unconventional gas offers potential as another source of natural gas and in Scotland we need a diverse energy portfolio to aid resilience and maintain security of our supply.

“It is essential however, that exploration and production of natural gas is done safely and responsibly with due regard to the environment. New guidance has been produced by SEPA to cover their regulatory roles in relation to coal bed methane and shale gas which are types of ‘unconventional gas’.

“A robust regulatory regime provides clarity for industry, planning authorities and communities. Scottish Ministers cannot comment on individual planning applications, where Scottish Ministers have a statutory role.”

Shale gas is extracted by pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into rocks under high pressure. Previous attempts were halted after two tremors near Blackpool, but conditions have now been imposed to minimise the risk of seismic activity.

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey said shale gas was a potential energy resource for the UK, but added: ” Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low carbon economy.

“My decision is based on the evidence. It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field.

“We are still in the very early stages of shale gas exploration in the UK and it is likely to develop slowly. It is essential that its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment. Fracking must be safe and the public must be confident that it is safe.

Critics of shale gas have raised concerns that it the process could lead to environmental damage and also that the focus should be on more renewable energy production rather than fossil fuels

Fracking nonsense (Morning Star Article)

13 12 2012

Blackpool fracking

A surge of protest is set to erupt across the country as shockwaves from the government decision to restart shale gas fracking push people into action.
The process had been halted 18 months ago after two earthquakes were felt at the surface near Blackpool, where energy firm Cuadrilla was carrying out tests.
Environmental activists Frack Off said local groups had already sprung up around Britain ready to fight any fracking plans and they expected protests to break out.

Fracking – shorthand for hydraulic fracturing – involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

A government report earlier this year gave the green light to continue provided monitoring systems were in place to halt extraction if a quake looks likely.
today Energy Secretary Ed Davey ended the moratorium, saying safeguards would be put in place before Cuadrilla could resume – but now huge areas are threatened with potential exploitation.

Fracking is widespread in the US, where many environmental problems included contaminated water supplies have been linked to the practice.
Frack Off campaigner Lilly Morse said: “The long-expected announcement is the start of a major battle over what sort of world we will leave to our children.
“The government and industry’s promises of cheap, abundant gas are deluded.
“In the US the gas bubble has already burst, with fracking companies on the verge of bankruptcy.
“Fracking is dirty, destructive and extremely expensive, and could never deliver the quantities of gas envisaged.”
Greenpeace energy campaigner Leila Deen said: “Energy analysts agree the UK cannot replicate the American experience of fracking, and that shale gas will do little or nothing to lower bills.
“Pinning the UK’s energy hopes on an unsubstantiated, polluting fuel is a massive gamble and consumers and the climate will end up paying the price.”

The government’s decision came on the day its own climate advisers warned that continuing to rely on gas would cost families hundreds of pounds more than if there was a shift to low-carbon power such as wind.
Cuadrilla is currently the only company which has started fracking in Britain.
It claims reserves in Lancashire could supply a quarter of Britain’s demand for gas.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said it was concerned over possible damage to the countryside and that planning decisions could be taken out of the hands of local communities.

Take the Community Safety Questionnaire

13 12 2012


Moyle Policing & Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) is working to reduce crime, anti social behavior and fear of crime within our homes, the community in which we live and throughout the entire District. To help us in our work, we are keen to hear your views on policing and safety across the Moyle District. By telling us about your concerns and fears, we can work together to create a safer Moyle for locals and visitors alike.

We would be grateful if you would take a few minutes of your time to complete the questionnaire which can be accessed by clicking the following link:
All responses are anonymous and all information will be treated in strict confidence, used only to provide Moyle Policing and Community Safety Partnership with information to develop and undertake actions to improve the safety of everyone.

Tidal Energy Projects a great opportunity for the local economy

13 12 2012


All commercial installations will be mounted on the seabed

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has commended the work of the Council’s Development Department who have arranged for the two consortia who were successful in their bids for the tidal energy projects off Fair Head and Torr Head to meet with Council in January 2013.
“Tidal Ventures Limited a joint venture between Open Hydro Group, a designer and manufacturer of tidal turbines, and Board Gáis Energy one of Ireland’s leading energy providers received the lease off Torr Head, and a consortium comprising Cork based DP Marine Energy Limited and the Belgian marine engineering company DEME Blue Energy received the lease for the tidal stream energy project off Fair Head”.

Councillor Cunningham commented “These infrastructure projects present a great opportunity for the local economy and community.”

 “We are keen to ensure that Moyle and its community benefits from these projects”

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy, said: “This project is a milestone for the development of tidal resources on the island of Ireland and marks our ongoing commitment to renewable assets. Bord Gáis Energy brings an ability to manage large scale infrastructure projects such as Whitegate and our windfarm portfolio together with a track record of financing projects of this scale. This experience is complemented by OpenHydro’s tidal specific experience”.

James Ives, Chief Executive of OpenHydro, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the lease to develop what could the first tidal energy farm in the island of Ireland. Our company’s vision is to deploy arrays of tidal turbines under the world’s oceans, silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment. The project will have the capacity to generate 100 MW of energy – enough to power over 75,000 homes in Northern Ireland. Our partnership with Bord Gáis Energy was a key factor in securing this award; combining OpenHydro’s proven technology with Bord Gáis Energy’s experience in delivering large scale infrastructure energy projects.”

Electricity produced by tidal energy is completely renewable since it relies on tides that are created by the gravitational effect of the sun and moon, which also makes it entirely predictable.

OpenHydro’s tidal turbines are located on the seabed beneath the ocean surface and cannot be seen or heard.


Cunningham calls for clarity over capital investment plans

10 12 2012

Leisure Centre

With the necessary subordinate legislation defining the wards and local government boundaries now having been made, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is calling for more clarity from the Department and the Assembly over the level and extent of capital investment projects, which Moyle Council can back.

Councillor Cunningham made the remarks following a Council debate on a proposed Tourist & Leisure facility for Ballycastle.

“This investment is long overdue, and Council should be doing all it can within its current powers, however we need to know the extent of capital investment and limit of Council powers in the transition years”

“For the remaining years of Moyle’s existence, we need clarity on areas such as capital investment, access to capital and public sector procurement.”

“I welcome Moyle Council’s commitment to maximising capital investment at a time of severe budgetary constraints within the wider economy.”

Moyle Flag Protest

10 12 2012

 Moyle Flag Protest

Commenting on the “Flag Protest” at Moyle Council’s Monday night meeting, SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham questioned the motives of the protest’s organisers.

Councillor Cunningham said “Flags and symbols are all too often used to mark division and difference, in themselves they become destructive. Moyle Council quite rightly in my opinion chooses not to fly any national flags on any of its public buildings, this is not a political statement, but a way in which we create a welcoming space where everyone can feel valued and represented. “

“If we are serious about building a truly shared society then we must base it on equality, on respect for diversity and on the principle of consent.”