Cushendall and Ballycastle Community Firestations

27 05 2013

NIFRS CMD DC

Moyle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham and SDLP  Health spokesperson Conall McDevitt held talks with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services management at their headquarters in Lisburn in relation to the proposed replacement Community Fire Stations in Cushendall and Ballycastle.

Speaking after the meeting Mr McDevitt said

“We are encouraged by the work of Chief Fire Officer Chris Kerr and Gary Thompson, Northern Area Commander to bring forward a full Business Case to the NIFRS Management Board for a replacement fire station to service Cushendall and the Glens. The local community have made the case for a new build and we are confident that the Business Case will reflect this as the only viable option. We will continue to fully support this case especially when it is presented to the Department for Capital funding.”

Councillor Cunningham continued

“We also made the case that the replacement Community Fire station for Ballycastle which needed to be kept firmly on the agenda. The Ballycastle project had an Approved Business Case in February 2011, and outline planning permission for a site on Ramoan Road approved in October 2011. Since then the project has not secured Capital funding. NIFRS assured us that the business case was still live and had been recently updated and remained on the table for approved Capital funding”

 





Sympathy to road death victim

27 05 2013

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has extended his sympathies to the family of Mrs Margaret Gray who died following a road traffic accident collision in Mosside on Monday.

Councillor Cunningham said: “My sincerest sympathies go out to Margaret’s husband (Rev Dr Gordon Gray) and family; they are in the thoughts and prayers of the wider Ballycastle community”  

 





Electricity price increase absurd

27 05 2013

Power_Socket

Ballycastle SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham has said the recently announced 18% increase in electricity bills due from July 2013 will hurt the most vulnerable in the community and may prove too much for small businesses struggling to remain competitive.

Councillor Cunningham said:

“This almost absurd increase in the price of electricity represents another rise in costs for many hard-pressed home and business owners who are already feeling the pinch. I dread to think of what the impact of this might be.”

“At a time when the overall cost of living is rising; incomes are either static or falling.”

“When the increase comes into effect, the average Power NI annual bill will be £30 more expensive than the average GB bill. There can be no justification for this.”





Sunshine at the Opening of Rathlin Sound Maritme Festival

25 05 2013

welcome aboard

 Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham paid tribute to the organisers of the inaugural Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and said he was looking forward to what will be an incredible week of events.

“In glorious sunshine,  a maritme themed   fancy dress parade made it’s way from Ballycastle  Diamond to the Seafront where it was met by many of the passengers fresh from a Cruise which circled Rathlin Island”

“A lot of hard work has already gone into planning the events for the week, community groups from both Ballycastle and Rathlin have come together with others to work as a team to ensure the events realise theirs full potential.”

“The festival supported by “The Gathering 2013”  runs from 24th May to 2nd June and will be centred on the Rathlin Sound, the body of water which lies between Rathlin and Ballycastle.”

“For the opening weekend events will focus on the Ballycastle side and then on Rathlin for the closing weekend. During the week long festival the town and island will play host to a wide range of community, cultural and education events and initiatives including sea-food themed events as well as music, drama and films.”

“I have no doubt that this festival will be a success and can grow into a major annual maritime festival. It will be a fantastic cultural event for Ballycastle, Rathlin and the wider region. It will give us all a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that is best in the region”.

“I would urge the entire community to attend and support as many of the events as possible”

Fancy Dress RSMF





MCGLONE URGES MINISTER TO COMMISSION REPORT INTO BENEFITS OF GAA

22 05 2013

Ulster_GAA

SDLP Economy Spokesperson and Chairman of the Enterprise Trade and Investment Committee at Stormont, Patsy McGlone has said there should be a report into the economic and social benefits of the GAA.

This comes following a report commissioned by the Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland on the economic benefits of Loyal Orders.

 Mr McGlone said:

 “The report compiled for the Department for Social Development (“DSD”) demonstrates that loyal orders and their bands contribute £15m to the Northern Irish Economy annually.  

 “This needs to be balanced against the cost of policing parades in the North last summer, which was estimated to be £7.4m.

 “I welcome the collection of any data which gives us a fuller picture of the social and economic factors that contribute to our society.

 “While not equating the two I believe a similar study into the economic and social impact of the GAA across the North must be commissioned by DSD as well as the cultural benefits fully factored in through the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

 “I have submitted an assembly question to Minister McCausland on this issue and look forward to hearing his response in due course.”





Government can act to unlock renewable potential of Rathlin Island

17 05 2013

Knocklayde from Rathlin

Speaking after a Councillors meeting with the Rathlin Development and Community Association, Councillor Dónal Cunningham called for the Government Departments to recognize and work to alleviate the additional difficulties and high costs facing the development of a renewable energy project on Rathlin Island.

“Rathlin’s Community Renewable Energy Project proposes to install a 3 bladed 250kw wind turbine, will be the first community managed renewable energy project of its kind in the North. It will move the island further away from its reliance on fossil fuels and help develop Rathlin as a carbon neutral island generating electricity from renewable sources. Compared to similar sized projects on the mainland, the high costs of transport links to the island are likely to be a problem”

“This is an excellent project, which the Assembly needs to support. Not only does it present fantastic opportunities in terms of community empowerment it is a vitally important environmental project. It also offers the island community the opportunity to generate income and employment.”

“A recently published report by the Scottish Government indicates that by investing in clean energy projects on Scottish islands they could create thousands of jobs for the local communities. The report found that while there are many opportunities to exploit wind, wave and tidal resources across the islands, there are also cost obstacles to overcome. Taking that into account every effort must be made to allow the Rathlin Community to progress their project”

I congratulate the dynamism of the Rathlin Development and Community Association in particular the dedication to this project displayed by their Chairman Michael Cecil and wish them every success in this and other projects”





BIG Spring Clean on Rathlin

16 05 2013

Beach Clean

The residents of Rathlin Island are holding a BIG Spring Clean on Wednesday 22nd May beginning at 11.00am and finishing at 3.00pm.

The event is being organised by Rathlin Development and Community Association. The clean up will focus on the beaches and anywhere else that needs a little spruce up before the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival which begins on 24th May.





Rathlin Island Rue Point and Roonivoolin Walk

15 05 2013

Walk

Information from Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust

The next walk in our Events Programme for 2013 is on Rathlin Island and takes place on the 1st June 2013 at 1.30pm.  This walk takes place during the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and the ferries will be very busy so if you wish to take part in this walk we recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd on (028) 2076 9299 asap to book your place on the ferry.  The ferry times can be found at the following link: http://www.rathlinballycastleferry.com/tr/index.php?id=timetable0 (Please ensure when booking your ferry that you leave yourself ample time to prepare for the walk.  It is also recommended to bring refreshments.)

 Once you have booked your place on the ferry, please contact either myself or Tierna (tierna@ccght.org) to register with for the walk. More information can be found below. Thank you for your time.

 Take the route less travelled on this beautiful walk to Rue Point, the most southerly point on the island and then on to the RSPB Roonivoolin Reserve and back to the Harbour area. This is a varied and leisurely walk and is also one of the great activities offered as part of this year’s exciting Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival celebrations. Enjoy amazing views of the coastline. Enjoy stunning views of the cliffs, Church Bay and the Northern Irish coastline as well as, during the Festival dates, a Search and Rescue Demonstration in the seas below.

Prebooking is required. Contact Tierna on (028) 2075 2100 or email tierna@ccght.org

We recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (028) 2076 9299 to arrange ferry travel.

Assembly point: 1.30pm Rathlin Harbour, Rathlin Island.
Date: Saturday 1st June 2013
Duration: Approx 3 ¾ hours.
Distance: 5 miles.
Surface: Tarmac laneway, established tracks and open fields.
Grade: 2.
Footwear: Strong/solid footwear and waterproof clothing recommended. Sunscreen may be necessary and a bottle of water. No dogs please





Launch of Rathlin Sound Maritime festival

14 05 2013

Tall Ships Fairhead

Friday 10th May saw the launch of the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, set to be one of the highlight events of the summer, beginning later this month on 24 May. The launch event was held at Portnagree House Harbour & Marina Visitor Centre in Ballycastle, the building that is home to the Harbour Master’s office and the Visitor Information Centre and offers impressive facilities for both visitors and locals. The launch event was organised and hosted by Caroline Carey, Acting Tourism Development Manager for Moyle District Council and John Morton, Harbour Master for Moyle District Council, both part of the Festival steering group.

Moyle District Council Chairman Cllr Sandra Hunter welcomed everyone to the launch event and paid tribute to the work of the Festival steering group and all the organisations involved for their efforts to put together such an exciting programme of activities throughout the Festival dates of 24 May to 02 June 2013. The Festival has been organised by a team comprising Moyle District Council tourism and marina staff, Rathlin Development and Community Association, Ballycastle Community Development Group and Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce. Michael Cecil, Chair of Rathlin Development and Community Association, Paul Kerrigan Chair of the Ballycastle Community Development Group and Mary O’Driscoll, Chair of Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce all spoke at the launch to welcome the guests and acknowledge the strong working relationships between the Festival team and outside organisations which has demonstrated how the local area and local businesses can be successfully promoted through this and other exciting tourism events in the Moyle area. A host of other organisations from across NI and beyond are also involved and will be running activities during the Festival, including Ulster Wildlife Trust, NI Environment Agency, Bushmills Distillery, NI Libraries, National Trust Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Ballycastle Market and many more with representatives present at the launch event.
Guests were treated to samples of the excellent local produce available in Moyle with catering by local cafe Thyme & Co and Morton’s Fish Shop, provided courtesy of Malin Waters and their Sail West programme, with the focus on seafood to tie in with the overall maritime theme of the Festival.
Heavy showers didn’t dampen enthusiasm at the event with guests also visiting Ballycastle marina to see the iconic Colmcille currach, currently moored in Ballycastle and soon to head to Iona in the Western Isles of Scotland before making the return journey to Rathlin Island to take part in the Festival later this month.
The full programme of activities has recently been released for the first Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival which will run from Friday 24th May to 2nd June 2013. Programs with full activity listings as well as tickets for the music events are now available from Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre at Portnagree House on Bayview Road. Headline acts include among others Bap Kennedy, Bagatelle and Skerryvore.

The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is aimed at celebrating and promoting local maritime heritage, history, culture, music and food and has grown out of a number of conversations within local communities as well as last year’s successful Sailing Regatta. There has also been great interest from various organisations throughout Northern Ireland and beyond to participate.

This festival is centred on Rathlin Sound, the body of water that lies between Rathlin and Ballycastle and is about inspiring a passion for the sea by bringing together a rich mix of activities and events both on the sea and on land with an overall maritime theme. Events will focus on Ballycastle for the opening weekend and Rathlin for the closing weekend with plenty of activities in both locations throughout the Festival dates.
With on the water and seaside based ‘get involved’ activities including kayaking, diving, paddleboarding, surfing and more, historic and modern sea craft, dinghy and yacht racing, competitions, local and historic talks, tours, guided walks, open days and exhibitions there will be something to interest everyone including plenty of family friendly activities. The Festival will also include a special seafood themed food and craft market with cookery demonstrations, and a Can’t Cook Won’t Cook challenge by local Councillors. Local cafes, bars and restaurants will also be offering special menus and events throughout the event to celebrate our unique food offering. In the evenings there will be a wealth of entertainment to choose from including music, drama and films including great local, national and international singers and bands.
Full details of all activities and events can be found in the Festival program available at Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre and online on Moyle’s new tourism website at http://www.heartofthecausewaycoastandglens.com >, and also on facebook at http://www.facebook/HeartofCCAG or the festivals dedicated page as well as on twitter @heartofccag Head to Ballycastle and Rathlin Island at the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens this bank holiday weekend 24 May to 02 June for a fantastic family friendly event listed as one of the top events for this year in the NITB International Visitor Guide, on The Gathering website and in Belfast Telegraph’s Ultimate Events Guide for NI.





Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in Ballycastle Forest

13 05 2013

Ballycastle Forest

  Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed a report by Outdoor Recreation NI which explores the Tourist and Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in the three major forests in Moyle, Glenariffe, Ballypatrick and Ballycastle.

 Councillor Cunningham continued “Ballycastle Forest located as it is so close to Ballycastle town centre has enormous potential. We need to make the most of our visitor and tourist potential, BallycastleForest is home to many important archaeological sites, souterrains, megalithic tombs and standing stones and there are many stories to be told about the history of the area.”

 “Ballycastle Town Partnership hopes to extend the TowRiver path as far as the entrance to the forest, so there is no reason why the old narrow gauge railway line cannot be developed to form a “Glentaisie Trail” which would facilitate walking, running, cycling, orienteering  and horse riding. There are a host of sporting events which could be staged in our wonderful surroundings.

 The Moyle Way and the climb of Knocklayde can be better promoted, alongside the Red Squirrel safari. With proper planning and marketing we can realise the fantastic opportunity which is on our doorstep.”