Scrap Trident: The Real Alternative

16 07 2013


CND launched a new report entitled ‘The Real Alternative: What the government’s Trident Alternatives Review isn’t telling you’,

The report finds that,

‘The government’s failure to consider non-replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system is an abdication of responsibility’

and says,

‘Non-replacement is a credible option, which offers serious strategic and economic benefits’. 

CND argue the government should disarm rather than replace Trident.

The government’s own Review is likely to advocate a reduction in the number of submarines and an end to their round-the-clock operation. CND believes this will be a step forward which will help open up the wider debate, but the full disarmament option must also be on the table.

You can read the report here:

Increased Permitted Development rights for farmers welcomed

15 07 2013

Agricultural buildings
Moyle SDLP Councillors Catherine Mc Cambridge and Dónal Cunningham have welcomed the announcement from the Environment Minister Alex Attwood of new permitted development rights which will increase the range of agricultural development that no longer needs planning permission.

From August 2013 farmers will now be able to construct buildings up to 500 square metres without the need for a planning application (the equivalent of over 5,000 square feet). Currently they can only erect up to 300 square metres without the need for a planning application.

Councillor McCambridge said:
“From a farmer’s point of view it is important to eliminate as far as possible any unnecessary red tape and to assist agriculture in a challenging economic climate.”

Councillor Cunningham continued:
“I am particularly pleased at how these new rules will support renewable energy technologies and follow on from the move earlier this year which allows farm buildings to install solar panels without planning permission. Farmers now have the opportunity to seize the benefits of renewable technologies such as anaerobic digesters a treatment process which can use farm crops and animal waste to produce biogas which can be used as a fuel to power and heat the farm and reduce costs.”

New Broadband technology for Rathlin

15 07 2013

Knocklayde from Rathlin
Moyle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the recent BT announcement of a pilot “wireless to the cabinet” technology scheme, the first deployment of its kind in the UK and Ireland. The pilot will deliver high speed broadband to a number of premises on Rathlin from next month, with speeds of up to 80Mbps on the island for the first time.

“Broadband speeds on Rathlin have been limited by the difficulty in providing a high speed link to the island. BT is deploying a newly developed radio solution linking the Ballycastle exchange with the Rathlin island exchange. This is then integrated into the next generation high speed fibre broadband architecture which provides a ‘fibre-like’ capacity directly to a street cabinet on Rathlin.”

Councillor Cunningham added that “The new technology will enable Islanders to enjoy similar fibre broadband speeds as those available to businesses and households across Northern Ireland.”

The initial pilot phase will be trialled by a number of premises on the island and will run for six months. If successful, the solution has the potential to offer high speed fibre broadband capability to the majority of premises on Rathlin.

Ulster GAA launch Irish Scholarships

14 07 2013

Ulster GAA has announced a major sponsorship programme for adult students of the Irish language in conjunction with the University of Ulster. The scholarship scheme will run in partnership with the School of Irish Language and Literature and is to be known as Gaeilge sa Chlub (or ‘Irish in the Club’). It aims to promote the use of Irish within clubs throughout Ulster by providing financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for the Diploma in Irish Language course at Ulster.

This two-year (part-time) course is currently available at the UU Belfast and Magee campuses, plus the university outcentres at Cookstown, Ranafast and Downings. It runs for three months in the autumn (starting 23 September) and three months in the spring (starting 27 January) and classes are taught in each centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings (5.30-8.20pm). Students are instructed in listening, speaking, reading and writing and many diploma graduates progress to the degree course in Irish Language and Literature.

Martin McAviney, President of Ulster GAA commented on the developing relationship between Ulster GAA and the University: “This initiative enhances the existing strong links between Comhairle Uladh and the University of Ulster, developing the current sporting partnership with a new cultural and linguistic dimension.”

Ryan Feeney, Head of Community Development, Strategy and Public Affairs with Ulster GAA spoke of the importance of this scheme at community level: “This scholarship scheme is an investment in GAA volunteers at grassroots level and will enable many people to achieve a university qualification in Irish, developing their own career prospects and enriching their communities.”

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster complemented Ulster GAA for this ‘pioneering’ scheme: “This is a significant investment by Ulster GAA in club members throughout the province. There is a growing appreciation of increased employability for Irish language graduates and this pioneering project is in keeping with the ethos of the GAA and the current DCAL initiative for Líofa 2015.”

There is sure to be much interest in this scheme throughout the GAA clubs of Ulster. Donegal All-Ireland winning footballer Éamonn McGee, who graduated with the Diploma in Irish Language at Magee campus this month, has given a strong endorsement of the course: “The Diploma was a real game-changer for me – now I’m starting the Degree in September. The part-time course is ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle!”

Further information on the Diploma in Irish Language is available from Mrs Ros O’Hagan in the School of Irish Language and Literature: or +44 (0)28 7167 5277.

To apply for a Gaeilge sa Chlub scholarship, contact Dónal McAnallen, Ulster GAA Cultural Education & Outreach Officer: or +44 (0)28 37517180.

SDLP mourns passing of Party Stalwart

11 07 2013

Pascal O Hare Joe Hendron John Hume

SDLP Leader Dr. Alasdair McDonell has expressed deep sadness and regret at the passing of Paschal O’Hare, a former Belfast City Councillor and SDLP stalwart.

 The South Belfast MP said:

Paschal worked hard both legally and politically to support the people of North Belfast. He was tireless in his efforts and steadfast in his commitment to building fairness and social justice in his council and legal work.

Paschal will be sorely missed by his wife Eileen, his family and very wide circle of friends in North Belfast and beyond. We all have a profound sense of loss that he is sadly no longer with us”.

Oxford University confirm the potential of Scottish tidal ener

11 07 2013

Islay Underwater-tidal-power-
RenewableUK today welcomed new research published by Oxford University, which highlights the huge potential of tidal power in the Pentland Firth. The report says that tidal turbines in the currents between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands could generate up to 1.9 Gigawatts of energy, which represents almost half of Scotland’s entire electricity requirements.
The report is an extensive piece of research and calculates that the Pentland Firth is one of the best tidal energy sites in Europe. When other sites in Scottish waters are taken in to account, this points to the real possibility of marine energy playing a serious part in the energy future of both Scotland and the UK.
David Krohn, Wind and Tidal Energy Development Manager said: “Scotland’s potential for developing tidal power is amongst the highest in the world. While the Pentland Firth is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown, Scotland’s large coastline and archipelagos contain a number of significant sites. Kyle Rhea and Islay are currently under development and have received upfront capital support from the UK Government and the European commission respectively. The Crown Estate has granted leases for a further 14 sites across Scotland, including the extremely promising Cantick Head, Brough Ness and Lashy Sound sites. In addition, technological advancements made by the industry, such as floating platforms, allow us to extract more energy from tidal flows.
“The development of the world leading tidal energy industry in Scotland has been partly down to the consistent support it has received from the Scottish Government.This support has been based on the fact that a sizeable proportion of Scotland’s energy requirements can be sourced from the tides but also on the recognition that Scotland, and the UK more widely, can capitalise on the significant global opportunity by supplying skills, goods and services to tidal energy projects in other parts of the world”.

Sadness at death of Kilrea Men

7 07 2013

Kilrea accident

East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat who has visited the homes of Declan McKenna and Christopher O’Neill said:

‘Relations and friends have gathered to offer support to both families as they try to come to terms with the fact that two young men who were much loved are not coming home alive.

‘Only those families who have been in this situation can begin to understand just how devastating it must be to get the call on the door that there has been such a tragedy.

‘The police and emergency services have been very good and the local people will do what they can over the next few days as Kilrea prepares for two funerals from the same part of the town. It just shocking and all any of us is be there and pray that somehow the McKenna and O’Neill Families will be able to see this through over the next few days and beyond.

Local SDLP councillor Roisin Loftus who also called at the homes said people in the town were finding it hard to take in the tragedy.

“The mood in the town is just one of total shock at what has unfolded here today, she said.
“They’re two very popular young men in their early 20s, very popular within the local area, they had many friends in the area and the young people are just totally numbed by this.”

Amnesty video

6 07 2013