We Shall Overcome

30 01 2014

In the week of the death of Pete Seeger protest singer and activist and author of the Civil Rights and SDLP anthem  – “We Shall Overcome” – a documentary of the same name concentrating on the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960’s.

Former Green Party Chair to run for SDLP

30 01 2014

 Conor Quinn

The Social Democratic and Labour Party has selected a former Chair of the Green Party in Northern Ireland to run for the new Lisburn and Castlereagh Council in the Lisburn South electoral area.

Conor Quinn, Green Party Chair from June 2010 until October 2012, lives in Lisburn.

Mr Quinn said: “Moving to the SDLP has been a positive experience. When one examines the voting record of the SDLP in the Assembly there is much alignment with Green thinking, particularly on social justice issues.

“The strong performance of the SDLP ministers in the Department of the Environment was a decisive factor in encouraging me to join, as were my strong family connections to the party.

“I have also been deeply impressed with the strong cross-community approach taken by the current SDLP members of Lisburn CityCouncil.”

Councillor Pat Catney, SDLP Group Leader, said: “I was delighted when Conor joined the party in early 2013 and it is of no surprise that such a strong candidate has managed to convince the party organisation of his capabilities.

“Conor is very active in the community, particularly with his local church, and will be an excellent representative for the citizens of Lisburn.”


Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January 2014

27 01 2014


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cuuningham has urged as many people as possible to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January)and to remember  the victims of the Holocaust and other subsequent genocides.

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.

As anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice are still present in society – this Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust and pledge to create a safer, brighter future for all.

 “It is an important opportunity to remember not only the victims of the Holocaust but subsequent genocides. I would therefore encourage as many people as possible to mark the day and to join the fight against prejudice and intolerance..”

Martin Luther King’s 1964 Nobel Prize acceptance speech

26 01 2014

Moyle Council to review charging policy

24 01 2014

sheskburn recreation centre


Following a request from Councillor Dónal Cunningham, Moyle Council is to review it’s charging policies for recreation/community facilities with regard to discounting admission/hire fees for Senior Citizens and Registered Disabled persons.

Councillor Cunningham said “ A number  of organisations representing both Senior Citizens  and Registered Disabled Persons have contacted me with regard to Moyle’s charging policy and have highlighted the fact that neighbouring Councils are able to offer greater discounted rates than Moyle. I am pleased that Council have agreed to my suggestion that our charging policy be reviewed”

Cunningham looks forward to second Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival

24 01 2014

welcome aboard 

Ballycastle Councillor Dónal Cunningham has expressed his delight that following the success of the inaugural Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival in 2013, the 2014 event is to receive sponsorship from the NITB Tourism Event Fund.

“I have every confidence that this event will continue to grow, and the NITB sponsorship will be an enormous help.”

“This year’s event will  run from 23th  May to 1nd 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. Both locations will host events during the week in-between.”

“The spirit of the event is to encourage “on the water ‘get involved’ activities”, there will be a host of historic craft and modern craft and something to interest the whole family.”
“Throughout the event special menus in local cafes and restaurants which will celebrate our unique food offering.  Last year there was great interest in the special seafood themed market which  included cookery demonstrations, and a special novelty event “Councillor Can’t Cook Won’t Cook” jointly won by Councillor Cunningham.”

“On top of all of that there will be wealth of entertainment in the evenings to choose from including music, drama and films. This certainly an event we can all look forward to.”

Sandra Hunter

Attwood: EU climate and energy proposals less ambitious than they should be

22 01 2014

renewable-energy green

Attwood: EU climate and energy proposals less ambitious than they should be

Whatever the details of the EU climate and energy proposals today, Northern Ireland and Ireland must continue to roll out its green and renewable strategies according to West Belfast MLA and European candidate, Alex Attwood.

“Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland has some of the very best quality wind, wave and tidal in the world today. This is a catalyst to roll out renewables – both as economic drivers and as environmental remedies. Nothing has changed.

“Green energy is an essential feature of our economic future and opportunity – it remains so whatever about today’s proposals.

“The net effect on the EU proposals is that these are still ambitious but less ambitious than they could have been or the SDLP would argue for. A binding 40% emissions reduction from 1990 levels and 27% of energy from renewables (UK argued for 50%) is less in its scale than what the SDLP would propose given the character of climate change and the critical temperature increases that are now being recorded.

“The SDLP will continue to press that renewables, waste reduction, energy efficiency and a single minded carbon reduction approach are big ways for our economy to prosper and our wonderful environment in Northern Ireland to be enhanced.”

Feedback from Road Service queries

20 01 2014


Here are the issues raised by Councillor Dónal Cunningham to Roads Service at their presentation to Moyle Council in November, the written responses were forwarded last week.

Request for update on Quarry Bends, Magheramore Road.

A proposal to realign the bends at this location is currently on a long list of similar minor works schemes in the Division. Due to the potentially high costs associated with the delivery of this scheme and the very limited funding available for the minor works programme it is currently considered to be low priority. It may be some time therefore before it will be considered for inclusion on a works programme.

 Request for Street Lighting at Magheramore Road junction with Moyarget Road

The road junction at Moyarget Road/Magheramore Road is in a rural location just over one mile outside Ballycastle. It is one of hundreds of unlit junctions on main roads throughout Northern Ireland. It would not be possible to provide street lighting at this time.


Request for traffic survey at Castle Street Ballycastle   

Traffic section staff will arrange to have an assessment of this location carried out which will include a pedestrian /vehicle survey.

 Request for pedestrian safety measures at Ramoan Road/Leyland Road roundabout  

Traffic staff will carry out a site inspection and assessment of this junction


Request for mini-roundabout at junction of Rathlin Road/Atlantic Avenue/Strandview Road

Network Development staff have carried out a site inspection and assessment, I regret that on this occasion  I have to inform you that the assessment indicated that the request was considered to be of low priority and would not be placed on the list of scheduled schemes.

 Measures to improve visibility at junction of Glenshesk Road/Dunamallaght Road

A junction improvement scheme for this location is currently on a very long list of similar minor works proposals in the Division. It is currently considered to be low priority and therefore has not made its way onto a works programme at this stage.

Requests for realignment/embankment work appraisal at 147 Cushendall Road

A proposal to put in place a vehicle restraint system at this bend is currently listed and will be considered for inclusion in the 2013/14 works programme  subject to the availability of funding along with a number of key issues including the successful acquisition of land required. A number of additional traffic management measures are also being considered for implementation at this bend.

Low level street signage at Ballycastle Diamond

Roads Services has agreed to increase the clearance height of these sign plates.

Update on progress of adoption of road leading to Leyland Farm

All of these roads have been adopted in November 2013 with the exception of Leyland Mews which has a relatively minor street lighting problem. It is hoped to have the remaining cul-de-sac adopted within the next year.

Update on progress on 20mph pilot scheme in Whitehall residential areas

Roads Service is currently taking forward four pilot schemes, one of which is at Whitehall, Ballycastle to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential areas. The statutory procedure including enabling legislation is currently being drafted. Following implementation, in due course, monitoring the effectiveness of these pilot schemes to inform the way forward will take place

Single Farm Payment delays leaving farmers under pressure

20 01 2014


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham says delays in Single Farm Payments are leaving some farmers under pressure and struggling to pay bills.

Councillor Cunningham continued “Concern is mounting as some farmers have revealed they are facing pressure to pay their autumn bills.”

“The picture is really only starting to emerge. Farmers who have contacted the SDLP say they were expecting to receive their Single Farm Payment two to three weeks ago. They’re saying they would use that payment to pay suppliers for a variety of items, such as meal and fuel bills and, in some cases, the banks.

 “Now, they’re saying they’ve been told their land is to be inspected and they’ll have to just wait. Farmers are saying they should have been forewarned that payment would be delayed because at least they would have had time to make alternative arrangements to pay off suppliers and keep them happy, and in other cases, negotiate with the bank.

 “What we’re seeing is serious pressure being placed on the finances of some farmers, and their cash flow. In some cases there is already enough pressure, so they don’t need this.

“I will be raising the matter with our Agriculture spokesperson, Joe Byrne MLA, who is vice-chairperson of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, to ensure the concerns of farmers are heard at the Assembly. “

Shock at Ballycastle shooting

19 01 2014

 Islandboy Road

 SDLP Ballycastle Councillor Donal Cunningham says the local community are shocked at news a 74-year-old man was shot and injured as he worked in his shed last night.

Cllr Cunningham said where the gun attack happened at Islandboy Road is a quiet area.

He said: “I was at a meeting when I became aware of the incident, and was shocked to hear what had happened. Where this attack took place is a very quiet, rural isolated area and that is why people are so shocked to hear there has been a shooting.

“No one has the right, or mandate to the take the law into their own hands and to act as judge, jury and executioner. I would urge anyone with information about this attack, which I understand is being treated as attempted murder by police, to contact them immediately.”