Follow Scotland’s example on energy efficiency’

30 03 2014

 Energy Efficient Homes

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is calling on the Assembly to follow the Scottish example an introduce a new energy efficiency standard which could save tenants an average of £210 per year on fuel bills.

Councilor Cunningham continued “The energy efficiency standard for social housing (EESSH) recently launched by the Scottish Government as a way to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty and carbon emissions.”

“Rising fuel prices have pushed the issue of energy efficiency up the agenda; there is also a need to address fuel poverty.”

“Setting the standards will result in carbon savings and will reduce fuel bills for tenants whose homes don’t currently meet the standard.”

“The big issue for the Assembly is to make sure that there is funding available to ensure that the standards can be met and that all sources of funding, such as European Union grants are drawn down.”

Earth Hour 2014

29 03 2014

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is backing the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) campaign and its starry- themed ‘wish for a better future’ ahead of the global lights out event due to take place on Saturday 29th March at 8:30pm.

Cllr Cunningham said: “Our natural world is precious to all life that inhabits it, but we need to do more to protect it.  WWF’s Earth Hour reminds us that there are simple things we can all do for the planet – not just for one hour, but every day. It’s a great opportunity to bring together millions of people from across the world with one united goal – to help protect our planet.”

Earth Hour sees millions of people around the world coming together to switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act of support to show they care about our planet. WWF already works to tackle a lot of environmental challenges – like deforestation, threats to endangered species, and the impacts of climate change – but Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to say they’ll do their bit.

Last year, Earth Hour brought together over 10 million people in 154 countries took part. Iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House all switched off and hundreds of local communities, schools and businesses took part.

Year after year, more people sign up and join the millions of people across the globe taking part in this celebration of our beautiful planet. By switching off your lights, you will be part of a movement of people that are pledging to live more sustainably and creating a brighter future.”

To find out more about WWF’s Earth Hour and register to take part visit<file:///C:\Users\sbrown\AppData\Local\users\krollings\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\HRSULW4C\\earthhour> and join millions of people who are signing up to the big switch off.

RTE Tonight – For The Record: Seamus Mallon

27 03 2014


For over forty years Seamus Mallon has been a central figure in Irish politics North and South. Deputy Leader of the SDLP throughout the worst days of the Northern troubles, he has been a lifelong advocate of reform, civil rights and non-violence. His election to the office of Deputy First Minister in 1998 after the Good Friday Agreement remains his crowning achievement. However, the road to peace in Northern Ireland has been paved with adversity. In this profile documentary for RTÉ One television, Seamus Mallon talks candidly to John Bowman about his life and career: his childhood growing up a Catholic in the predominantly Protestant town of Markethill in South Armagh; the influence of his nationalist parents; his almost accidental route to political representation. He remembers witnessing murder first hand in the town where he was reared, the Republican posters that accused him of being an informer and the dangers his family endured during his years as a Westminster MP.

Seamus Mallon also recalls his role as Deputy Leader of the SDLP during the darkest period of the Troubles; his sometimes fraught relationship with SDLP party leader, John Hume; the tense negotiations leading towards the Good Friday Agreement; and the bitter tragedy of the Omagh bomb. For three years Seamus Mallon was also the first Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive alongside First Minister David Trimble of the UUP. It was a working relationship that had Mallon wondering ‘what the fates had against me’.

Mixing in-depth interview with compelling archive, For the Record: Seamus Mallon is a revealing look at the man behind the pivotal political figure that is Seamus Mallon. It is also a partial snapshot of Mallon’s view of recent Northern history, including his hopes for the part of Ireland he’s called home for over seventy-seven years

Cunningham welcomes £750,000 investment in Glenariff Forest Park

25 03 2014


Moyle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the plans announced for a substantial £750,000 investment at Glenariff Forest Park under the Forestry Fund.

Councillor Cunningham added: “This investment came after Moyle Council had developed a comprehensive and strategic proposal for the upgrade of forest based recreation and tourist facilities in the three major forests in the Moyle area namely Ballycastle, Ballypatrick and Glenariff.”

“The development of as high quality caravan and camping facility in Glenariff Forest Park will include 43 Caravan and Camper van site plus 9 Timber Tents is the first phase of a much bigger and more ambitious project which will play an important role in catering for and encouraging recreation and tourism within the Glens of Antrim.”

Councillor Cunningham continued

“Forest recreation and tourism promotes a better quality of life and improves people’s physical and mental health.  This development will provide a spur to the fragile rural economy and local community and will help regenerate Glenariff.”

5% increase in Ballycastle housing waiting list

24 03 2014
Ballycastle Waiting List

Ballycastle Waiting List

The graphic shows the 5% increase in the housing waiting list in Ballycastle in the last two years.

Fair access to housing was one of the major civil rights issues that led to the formation of the SDLP. It was the SDLP in the 1970’s that insisted that housing should be taken away from local authoritiies who had proved unfit to discharge their responsibilities. Local Governement was reformed and responsibility for housing was vested in the Housing Executive. Those reforms put an end to discrimination in housing. The SDLP has been at the forefront of many reforms since then.

Today we are experiencing yet another housing crisis. Decades of underinvestment by successive Direct Rule regimes has left us with a depleted housing stock, record long waiting lists and high levels of housing stress and homelessness. In addition the global economic downturn has made it difficult for people to get on to the housing ladder.

Today SDLP will be bringing a motion to the Assembly tabled by Alban Maginness and Dolores Kelly calling for an extra 4000 houses to be built by DSD (on top of the Programme for Government commitment) to address the growing Housing Crisis.

There is  still a major challenge ahead in getting the resources needed to deliver the SDLP Housing Vision – A Decent Home for Everyone. 

Assembly Question on Ballinlea exploratory bore well

22 03 2014


Proposed On-Shore Oil Well in Ballinlea

 Mr Agnew asked the Minister of the Environment what consideration has been given to the health of residents in the vicinity of the proposed on-shore oil well in Ballinlea (E/2013/0093/F); and whether he is aware of best practice regulations in other locations which require a buffer zone around the vicinity of such developments. AQW( 31531/11-15)

Mr Durkan:

To clarify, application E/2013/0093/F relates to temporary works for the drilling of an exploratory borehole to approx 2700m depth to investigate underground strata for hydrocarbon exploration under DETI licence PL3/10 issued to Rathlin Energy Ltd. The application is not for the commercial exploitation of oil. In relation to the health and safety of the local residents the Department consults with a range of statutory consultees when assessing the impact the proposed development will pose to the local area.

In relation to this application the Department has consulted with environmental agencies within NIEA such as Water Management Unit, Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate and Land and Resource Management who assess the potential impact the development will have to the local land, air  and water environment.

The local Councils Environmental Health Department (EHD) has been consulted and has the remit to assess and comment on noise and air quality impacts. The Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) has also been consulted to ensure that on-site operations are conducted in line with health and safety regulations.


The Department also intends to consult with the Public Health Agency upon receipt of information to be submitted in March from the applicant. In terms of best practice, DOE Planning Officials work closely with colleagues in NIEA and in other regulatory agencies to ensure that the development is comprehensively assessed and safeguards are in place to protect the safety and amenity of the public.



Action needed to help DVA workers – Dallat

21 03 2014

SDLP Reps at DVA Rally

East Derry MLA John Dallat has told a rally in Coleraine supporting hundreds of DVA workers whose jobs will transfer to Swansea that Executive ministers must co-operate in a bid to bring  jobs to the town.

 After addressing the NIPSA rally in Coleraine this afternoon, Mr Dallat said: “I have been privileged to carry the trade union flag through the streets of Coleraine and stand in solidarity with workers who are prepared to challenge the haemorrhaging of public sectors jobs and say ‘enough is enough’.

 “I pay tribute to those workers who kept their campaign above party politics and followed the path of the Polish workers in Gdansk many years ago when they also said ‘enough is enough’ and transformed democracy in that part of the world.

 “I believe the DVA workers in Coleraine have set an example which will be emulated across the North that this callous campaign of haemorrhaging jobs out of Coleraine across the water must stop, and the opposite must happen. The workers have lit a beacon of hope for others who will find their jobs in jeopardy too if this Tory party dogma is to continue.

“The message of solidarity must be matched by one of hope; hope that the Assembly will act and ministers will co-operate to identify jobs that can be transferred to Coleraine to support those who will find they are either unemployed, or are facing long journeys to work that are not practical or worthwhile.”

Defend the DVA March and Rally

18 03 2014



Following the announcement that the Coalition Government is to proceed with the closure of all vehicle licensing offices in NI, Branch 230 which represents around 300 of the affected staff, have organised a march and rally in protest at the decision.  This is a huge blow to DVA staff in all 8 local offices and the impact will be particularly devastating for the local community in the Causeway Coast area and NIPSA is therefore asking all branches to make every effort to send representatives to the event.




Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!

17 03 2014


France 20-22 Ireland- Six Nations Champions 2014

15 03 2014

Andrew Trimble

In what only can be described as a classic, Ireland beat France 22-20 in Paris to claim the Six Nations title and give a fairytale ending to Brian O’Driscoll’s international career.
In a game that had everything including a disallowed French try for a forward pass (90seconds from time), Irelands Johnny Sexton had scored two tries, missed five kickable points and was knocked out cold trying to tackle man mountain Mathieu Bastareaud.
Ulster’s Andrew Trimble had scored Irelands other try