Community Transport Service vital for Ballycastle elderly

28 04 2014

Community Transport


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the DRD Minister to re-instate the required funding to allow the Community Transport partnership to continue to provide the five day service known locally as the ‘Mass run’ .

 Councillor Cunningham continued “In previous years, the Department for Regional Development have been able to find additional funding to meet the increasing demands of the Community Transport partnerships, however without confirmation of this funding the North Coast Community Transport Partnership is facing a funding pressure of £10k per month”

Councillor Cunningham said, ‘I have received a number of representations from concerned elderly residents for whom the morning bus service is an essential social service. I will be asking Moyle Council to lend its support to lobby the DRD Minister to urgently find additional funding for a much valued service which is so vital to people living in Ballycastle and the neighbouring isolated rural communities.”

SDLP Representatives salute weekend of Camogie Successes

27 04 2014

Pan Celtic Festival


SDLP Representatives Joanne McKeown, Margaret Anne McKillop and Donal Cunningham have saluted a superb weekend of local Camogie success which saw Antrim Minors capture the All Ireland B Minor Shield after an impressive 6-11 to 3-10 win over Dublin and the Ballycastle Senior Club side win the 2014 Senior Pan Celtic festival held in Derry.

Update from Northern Trust on Rathmoyle

25 04 2014


Update received by SDLP Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop on Rathmoyle supported living and Adult Day Centre provision

“The Trust would confirm that in respect of the development of a supported living facility on the site negotiations are continuing with a housing association to progress the development.  This has not progressed as quickly as we would have anticipated and we would hope to see the development commence within the 2015/16 new build programme.  The Trust remains fully committed to securing this provision for the benefit of the local population.

 This development is separate from the Rathmoyle Adult Centre provision on the same site. The Trust met with families of people who attend the adult centre in September 13 and advised them that the timeframe for any redevelopment of the supported living scheme would be in the 2015/16 programme. They indicated their preference for the retention of the current day care facility. We indicated that we would seek to facilitate both a supported living development and the retention of the current day care facility on the site. We also very clearly assured those who use the day centre and their relatives of our commitment that future plans will ensure that their need for day care continues to be met.”


Carers left penniless by Northern Trust

18 04 2014
carersCarers in the Northern Health Trust area have been short-changed by the Northern Health Trust and left without wages and reimbursement of travel expenses incurred in the course of their work.

East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has called for an explanation and an assurance that the arrears owed to the carers is paid immediately and steps taken to avoid a repeat of what he describes as ‘unacceptable treatment of good people  working on low wages and performing a vital role caring for people in the community’.

He said:

“This has been happening for a number of weeks with no explanation as to why care workers have been left out of pocket and short-changed both in wages and travel costs.

“This is no way to treat key workers delivering a vital service to vulnerable people in the community.

“Clearly if there is a problem workers are entitled to know what it is and that it is being addressed.  It is totally wrong to have people on low wages living from hand to mouth while expected to fork out money on travel that they are not paid for.

“I have asked for an assurance that this shoddy practice will cease immediately.”

Relocation not an option for DVA workers

15 04 2014
SDLP Reps at DVA Rally
Government jobs should be transferred to Coleraine in a bid to offer local DVA employees the opportunity to work close to home as relocation to other parts of the north isn’t an option for them, says East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat.

After meeting with SDLP Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today on the future of the DVA workers at County Hall, Coleraine, Mr Dallat says relocation isn’t practical for many of the employees, whose jobs are to be be transferred to Swansea.

Speaking after the Stormont meeting, Mr Dallat said: “The transfer of these jobs to Swansea isa disaster for the wider economy of the area where experience tells us many more jobs will be in jeopardy after such a massive pay-off at County Hall.

“Minister Durkan remains totally committed to the future of the DVA workers and is working closely with his executive colleagues and has received the full support of the First and Deputy First Minister who raised the plight of the DVA workers with the Prime Minister at an economic conference in Belfast in October last year. 

“However, Mr Durkan has no direct evidence of the degree to which the Prime Minister’s office was directly involved in the decision to centralise vehicle licensing in Swansea and that is disappointing but not surprising.

“Recent replies to written questions tabled by me show that there are few vacancies in government departments that match the needs of the majority of DVA workers and a critical decision needs to be made to transfer jobs to Coleraine.

“The emphasis must be on transferring jobs to Coleraine rather than transferring workers to other workplaces. 

“All elected representatives must see the bigger picture and the disaster looming if this crisis is not resolved by a local solution which protects not just the jobs at County Hall, but the stability of the wider community which hinges on the retention of public service jobs in Coleraine.”

Age Discrimination Update

12 04 2014

 Stop Age Discrimination 2

email from Age NI

Hello Donal,

Thank you for meeting us at the SDLP conference in November last year.

We wanted to share some important news with you since we met.

The Assembly Executive has promised to introduce a law to end age discrimination when accessing things like healthcare, mortgages, bank loans, car insurance and travel insurance.

We know that with the help of you and your party we can help make sure that the Executive keeps this promise and introduces the law that will help older people participate more fully in society.

Help us put a stop to age discrimination:


Historic litigation a major step on road to justice

11 04 2014

SDLP Press Conference

The SDLP have together with Denise Mullen welcomed news that High Court Writs have been served on the Chief Constable of the PSNI, The Ministry of Defence and the Secretary of State in relation to the killing of Dinny Mullen, Patrick Falls and Betty McDonald in the 1970’s.

The cases have been initiated by the next of kin of those killed by a group of renegade loyalist terrorists known as the ‘Glennanne Gang’. The gang was associated with the killing of up to 120 people in terrorist killing sprees that spanned a 5 year period in the late 1970’s in mid Ulster.

Speaking during a Press Conference in SDLP Party Headquarters, which was also attended by Denise’s legal representative Kevin Winters, Party Leader Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA said:

“Denise has been fearless in pursuing justice over a period of many years. Today is a major step on the road to finding out the truth about the murder of her father.

“The SDLP have always stood shoulder to shoulder with victims and demanded fair play for them. Victims demand truth, justice and closure-not simply partial closure. If we don’t deliver and implement the Haass proposals then an increasing number of victims like Denise will be forced to seek legal redress.

Party Justice Spokesperson Alban Maginness MLA said:

“A total of 32 families have agreed to take part in this unprecedented mass litigation which addresses the very serious instances of collusion that took place during the course of the troubles.

“This historic action is a culmination of a lot of hard work by Denise in conjunction with her solicitor Kevin Winters to bring an action which alleges that the British Government and its agencies, the Police, the military and the Northern Ireland Office facilitated or otherwise sanctioned collusion.” 

Speaking following the press conference Denise Mullen said:

“I want the Chief Constable, the Secretary of State and The Ministry of Defence to come out and tell the truth, not a partial truth that seeks to silence my families and others. I don’t want some expensive inquiry – it costs nothing to open a filing cabinet.

“This is just the start of my quest for truth and accountability-it is the very least my Mother and I deserve.”

SDLP Position on CAP reform

11 04 2014


The SDLP have come down in favour of a single zone region for CAP Pillar 1, and a four year transition period to achieve a single flat rate payment across Northern Ireland

What has happened with the CAP Reform?

  • A political agreement was reached on CAP in the European Council of Ministers in June 2013.
  •  It paves the way for changes to be made to the support arrangements for farmers and for the development of the next rural development programme, with regional variation allowed.
  •  The Single Farm Payment Scheme will be replaced by a Basic Payment Scheme with Greening conditions.
  •  New Young Farmer Entrants scheme (for people less than 40).
  •  The Minister for Agriculture Michelle O’Neill has yet to make the decision on the model of payment model.
  •  Great uncertainty about entitlements relating to the 2014 Single Farm Payment application

What is the SDLP position?

The SDLP have come down in favour of a single zone region for CAP Pillar 1, and a four year transition period to achieve a single flat rate payment across Northern Ireland

Why did the SDLP make this decision?

The key factors influencing this decision are:

  • The principle of fairness and equality
  • The sustaining and development of family farm based rural communities
  • A sensible period of four years transition  to allow for necessary adjustments

What happens next?

There has been too much uncertainty and confusion allowed to grow since the debacle over the Pillar 1/Pillar 2 transfer at the end of 2013 which is adding to the anxiety surrounding the CAP Pillar 1 issue.

SDLP believe that the sooner the Minister for Agriculture concludes this issue, the better for all concerned in the farming sector.

Moyle SDLP Councillors call for single flat rate payment of Single Farm Payments

11 04 2014



Moyle SDLP Councillors Margaret Anne McKillop and Dónal Cunningham have called for a single zone region for CAP Pillar 1, and a four year transition period to achieve a single flat rate payment for Single Farm Payments across the North.


After attending the party’s Agricultural Conference in Co Tyrone, Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop said


“We strongly support the party’s call for a single zone region, splitting the north into two or more regions makes absolutely no sense ,and would amount to little more than an attempt to create a two tier system of payments , something that would no doubt disadvantage and discriminate against most of the farming families in the Glens of Antrim. It is vital that we fight our corner and robustly support the implementation of a single region model”.


Councillor Cunningham continued


 “The SDLP has listened to a wide range of farming groups and agri-sector stakeholders. The key factors influencing our decision are the principle of fairness and equality, the sustaining and development of family farm based rural communities, and a sensible period of four years to allow for necessary adjustment.


“There has been too much uncertainty and confusion allowed to grow since the debacle over the Pillar 1/Pillar 2 transfer at the end of 2013 which is adding to the anxiety surrounding the CAP Pillar 1 issue.”




Glens Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop joins the SDLP

9 04 2014
 ma dc
Moyle Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop, who has represented the Glens since 2011, has announced that she has joined the SDLP. 

Announcing her move, Councillor McKillop said;

“I have made a principled decision to join the party which I feel best reflects my political vision for building a better Ireland. I am joining a party which steadfastly adhered to the principles of democracy, peace, reconciliation and social justice. I am proud and excited to be joining the SDLP, and will continue to work hard for my community in the Glens of Antrim.”
Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said:
 “I am delighted to welcome Margaret Anne into our party and onto the Council group. She is a hard working local councillor and an excellent representative who cares a great deal about her local community and the people she represents. I have worked well with Margaret Anne on a number of projects and am now looking forward to working with her as a party colleague. There is a place in the SDLP for people who are committed to progressive politics and want to make a positive difference.”
Party Leader Dr. Alasdair McDonnell MP said,
“I am delighted to welcome Margaret Anne to the SDLP. Margaret Anne is a committed community worker and someone who has shown her dedication to public service during her time in Moyle Council. I am confident that Dónal Cunningham and Margaret Anne will make a formidable team working together to create change for the better in the Glens.”
It is expected that the local SDLP Branches will this week ratify Councillors McKillop and Cunningham as joint candidates on the SDLP ticket for the expanded Glens District Electoral Area in the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council.