La Fheile Bhride

31 01 2013

St Brigids Cross

 1st February is St Brigid’s Day who along with St Patrick is Irelands national saint.

According to tradition during one of her travels, St Brigid went to visit a dying pagan chief. As she sat near his bed, she picked up some rushes on the floor and began weaving a cross. When he asked her what she was doing, she told him about the meaning of the cross and this led to his conversion to Christianity.

St Brigid’s cross is made from rushes or reeds and traditionally is blessed with holy water and then hung in the kitchen all year, to be burned and replaced with a newly-woven cross on the next St Brigid’s day.

Small businesses need all the help they can get

29 01 2013

Small Business
SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is hopeful the sustainability of many small local businesses will be helped with the extension of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme in April.
Councillor Cunningham continued
“Following a review of commercial rating an additional band of 20 per cent relief is available from 1 April 2012.
There are three levels of Small Business Rate Relief:
• business properties with a NAV of £2,000 or less will receive a reduction of 50 per cent relief
• business properties with a NAV of more than £2,000 but not more than £5,000 will receive 25 per cent relief
• business properties with an NAV of more than £5,000 but not more than £10,000 will receive a 20 per cent relief
“It is estimated that this measure will benefit an additional 3,500 businesses across the north and undoubtedly a large number of local businesses will be able to avail of this much needed assistance

Community loses out when playgrounds are vandalised

27 01 2013

Stop Vandalism

Reacting to the reported vandalism in Glentaisie children’s play park where a litter bin was burned and park bench damaged earlier in the month, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said

Any act of vandalism no matter what the scale  is annoying but especially when hard pressed public money has been invested in upgrading and improving our playgrounds and play equipment.

“Our playgrounds are very popular and well used, so it’s an absolute disgrace that a small minority are attempting to ruin them. Ratepayers’ money pays for these projects, so the people responsible need to realise that it’s their neighbours, friends and families who ultimately lose out as a result of their behaviour”

Clarity required over the direction of Coastguard following resignation

27 01 2013

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has raised questions over the future direction of Rescue Coordination following the reported recent resignation of Belfast Coastguard Centre Manager, Richard Newell.
“Local and Scottish boatmen are concerned about the consequences of the transfer of large parts of the Clyde Coastguard sea area to the Belfast station based in Bangor which has the responsibility for the North’s entire coastline.”
“Clyde Coastguard was closed on 18th December 2012. I am told that at the time of these major changes, Mr. Newell had made his concerns over safety known”
“The new Operational Area now stretches on the Irish side from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough and on the Scottish side from the Mull of Galloway to Ardmurchan Point, and includes the Islands of Jura, Gigha, Islay, Arran, Colonsay, Coll, Tiree, Mull, Bute and Cumbrae”
“The public need reassurance that the new areas are manageable and properly resourced and that no reduction in the level of service occurs”.

Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January 2013

26 01 2013


Every year on 27 January, the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day.

Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and apply them to the present day to create a safer, better future. This is our opportunity to share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur in order to challenge hatred and persecution throughout the world today.

Support the St Vincent de Paul Furniture sale

25 01 2013


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the local community to support this Saturdays (26/01/13) local St. Vincent dePaul Society second hand furniture sale.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul exists to fight poverty,it is the largest, voluntary, charitable organisation in Ireland. It gives practical support to those experiencing poverty and social exclusion, by providing a wide range of services to people in need.
The Furniture Sale will take place at Fr. Barney’s Garages on Saturday, 26th January, from 11.30am to 1.30pm


Cunningham: Exploratory drilling programme must be fully scrutinised

24 01 2013

Onshore drill to sea 2

SDLP Ballycastle Councillor Dónal Cunningham has responded with a word of caution to the announcement by Providence the Irish oil and gas exploration company which has found there may be oil potential in the Rathlin Basin.

Mr Cunningham said:“The statement issued by Providence Resources today announcing a future exploratory drilling programme in the offshore Rathlin Basin should be given proper consideration.

“Any proposal must undergo the rigours of a full environmental impact assessment which would examine any possible positive or negative impacts on the environment, consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects. Nothing must be done to disturb either the outstanding beauty or natural character of the area.

“While I welcome the confirmation that “shale gas” is not the target and therefore hydraulic fracturing “fracking” will not be the extraction technique, it is important to ensure that any development is in keeping with our environment”

“More research is required to ascertain the density of the off shore subsurface and its rock properties”

“It would appear most likely at this stage that an exploratory offshore target in the Rathlin Sound would be accessed from the onshore Ballycastle side with nothing visible above the sea surface. Exploratory drilling is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2014. Providence has engaged regularly with the Rathlin island community and I now expect this consultation to be extended to the Ballycastle side.”

“I am keen supporter of the neighbouring tidal energy projects at Fair Head and Torr Head as a safe and environmentally friendly measure of providing energy.

“I look forward to Providence engaging in discussions with all relevant parties before embarking on any exploratory drilling programme.”