Cushendall and Ballycastle Community Firestations

27 05 2013


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


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


22 05 2013


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.