SDLP will keep Labour true to its values

30 03 2015


Vote Labour

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell has said that a strong team of SDLP MPs will keep a future Labour government true to its values and will ensure the best deal for people in Northern Ireland.

Dr McDonnell said, “Since its establishment, the SDLP has worked closely with the British Labour party on a wide range of issues, and we have found common ground on many of our core values.

 “But we are elected on our manifesto not someone else’s. We are not tied to another party. Whether Labour is in power or in opposition, we will stand firm on our principles. Our MPs in Westminster voted against every stage of Welfare Reform. We voted against a welfare cap. During the last Labour government, we were unwavering in opposition to the Iraq War. Our MPs voted against the cut in the 10p tax rate. We refused to accept 42 day detention. These were all issues that Labour supported. I have already made it clear that if Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister, we will continue to stand firm on our principles.

 “Naturally we want the party we share the most ideological goals with in government. That means that the SDLP will categorically refuse to support David Cameron and the Conservative party. The austerity measures he has imposed upon Northern Ireland, which we continue to oppose, are only the beginning. A second Cameron-led government would inflict further cuts of £30bn on the public. The SDLP is the only Northern Ireland party that can honestly say it has not supported the Tories and will continue to oppose them.

 “If Ed Miliband wins, it will be with our support, on our terms that he takes power. The needs of people in Northern Ireland are significantly different from those in middle England. With significant Tory and UKIP power blocks in the next parliament, we will be the left of centre backbone of a Labour administration and along with the SNP and Plaid Cymru, will ensure that the next Labour government remains true to its values. We want to work in Westminster to secure a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland: one that involves remaining in Europe, enhanced fiscal powers to unlock the potential of tourism and position ourselves on a level playing field with business in the South and a fully transparent way in which to properly deal with issues from our past.

 “We want to support a strong Labour Government with a progressive programme for the next parliament. Voting for the SDLP will help deliver that.”

Moyle Culture Concert at Corrymeela

28 03 2015

 Please support Sunday nights Culture Concert with the  Corrymeela Community who celebrate 50 years this yearMoyle Culture Concert .

The Corrymeela Community has the objective of promoting reconciliation and peace-building through the healing of social, religious, and political divisions. Ballycastle can be proud of the part it continues to play in such a valuable organisation.

Chairman’s Diary 23/03/15

27 03 2015


Chairman’s Diary 16/03/15

18 03 2015


Ballycastle Town Partnership Questionnaire

17 03 2015

SEE Ballycastle

Please take a few minutes and complete the Ballycastle Town Partnership Questionnaire.

As part of the process we really do need input from the local community.

The survey information will be used as an evidence base to help prioritise realistic projects going into the new council area…..


Syria: Turn The Lights Back On

15 03 2015

Syria Lights

Four years of brutal conflict have plunged Syria’s people into the dark. Satellite images show that 83 percent of the lights in Syria have gone out since March 2011.

Over 200,000 lives have been lost since the conflict in Syria began four years ago. A staggering 11 million people have been forced to flee their homes and three million children are no longer in school.
Now, research has revealed that the population of Syria is living in darkness – satellite images show that in the worst-affected areas like Aleppo, 97 percent of the lights have gone out.

I remember it well. The feeling of hope that rippled out from Syria when men, women and children took to the streets to peacefully call for a change to the repressive rule that had abused their rights for decades. I watched in awe at this movement of ordinary people, proudly standing with them, overwhelmed by the immense courage on display.

Four years later and Syria is in ruins.

This peaceful movement was met with violent repression and the country fell into a bloody conflict. With devastating results. Over 200,000 people have died and millions more have been forced to flee their homes. This week we worked with 130 other organisations to reveal harrowing new research showing that since this crisis began in early 2011, 83 percent of the lights in Syria have gone out.

Four years since the start of the crisis, tell world leaders that they must stand by Syrians

In cities like Aleppo the situation is extreme – satellite images show that 97 percent of lights have gone out since 2011.

Yet in this darkness the hope and courage felt so strongly four years ago still continues.

Dr Hassan is still working in Aleppo. When he was operating on a young boy and the lights failed he found himself in a pitch black theatre. Until, out of the darkness, “the nurse pulled her mobile phone from her pocket and turned it on.” Others in the room did the same, eventually producing “just enough light to allow me to finish repairing his broken little body”.

Stand with them and shine a light in the darkness – sign our petition now

Like me, may sometimes feel that there is no hope in this desperate situation. But when you start to give up or feel despondent, remember Dr Hassan and the nurse who lit his way. And the many others like them in Syria committing unseen acts of heroism every day. Do that, and let their courage drive you to act.

Sign the petition now

continue to stand in solidarity with Syrians demanding their human rights and in defiance against anyone trying to stop them.

Please join us.

Thank you,

Welfare Reform U-Turn ?

13 03 2015
Justin McNultySDLP Newry and Armagh Representative Justin McNulty has called on Sinn Féin welfare spokesperson Mickey Brady to explain his U-Turn on the Welfare Reform Bill after months of opposing the SDLP stance against cuts to the vulnerable.

He said:

“Mickey Brady owes people an explanation. He needs to explain why, after months of supporting the worst excesses of Tory austerity in the Welfare Reform Bill, including his vocal support for introducing the Bedroom Tax in legislation, he and his party have decided to backtrack.

“The SDLP has publically and vocally stood against this bill. We have submitted scores of amendments in an attempt to salvage the legislation and protect the most vulnerable. That included petitions of concern that Sinn Féin refused to sign. It also included an attempt to guarantee a statutory right to free, independent advice for benefit claimants, something that Mickey Brady, himself a former benefit centre worker, voted against.

“I’m glad that he and his colleagues have woken up and realised the devastating impact this bill will have on struggling families, the sick and the disabled. I’m glad that they have joined the SDLP in opposition to these savage attacks on the vulnerable. But he must now account for what he has said and done which allowed these proposals to get to this stage.

“People are sick of the spin, sick of the double speak and sick of the U-Turns. Either you stand up for the vulnerable or you don’t. Mr Brady needs to decide whether he will stand with us against the Tories or stand with them against the people of his constituency.”

Durkan welcomes £300m for dementia research

8 03 2015

Alzheimer'sResearch_Mark Durkan

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement at the weekend that more than £300m is to be spent by the government on research into dementia.

Mr Durkan, who has campaigned both at home and in Westminster in support of the 15,000 people in Northern Ireland affected by dementia, said:

 “I welcome David Cameron’s commitment to provide significant funding in the fight to defeat dementia.

 “I am also pleased to see the launch of a separate multi-million pound fund to help establish an international investment scheme to discover new drugs and treatments that could slow the onset of dementia, or even deliver a cure, by 2025.

 “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia – and therefore this is a health issue that we can no longer afford to ignore.

 “As well as backing Alzheimer Research UK’s global call for action to defeat dementia, I supported last year’s ‘Memory Walk’ in Derry in aid of the Alzheimer Society’s ‘Fighting Dementia Together’ campaign.

 “I have also supported the Alzheimer Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ campaign which aims to help people with the condition play a fuller role in their communities.

 “Importantly, we need to see additional support for people with dementia and improved diagnosis rates not only here in Derry but throughout the North.”

Connectivity essential for future of the Glens

8 03 2015
broadbandSDLP Glens Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop highlighted the problem of poor mobile phone and broadband coverage in the Glens and has welcomed the input of SDLP Regional Development Spokesperson John Dallat who has taken a proactive stance on the issue.

She said: “The poor quality of mobile phone signals and the absence of a decent broadband speed is one major disadvantage for those living and doing business in the Glens. It is also a particular irritant for those passing through as visitors and tourists.

“As a member of the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council I want to see the imminent publication of the master plan for these communities so that we can have a firm focus on developing tourism and industry where it is appropriate.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster has given a personal commitment to my SDLP colleague John Dallat that she will take a personal interest in this long-standing issue.  

“I am also seeking a direct meeting with Vodafone to find out how their recently announced programme for small communities can help the people of the Glens of Antrim.

“Above all we need joined-up thinking based on the wishes and aspirations of the people who live there. Our coastal areas are unrivalled in beauty anywhere in Ireland and we can take advantage of this if our local communities are listened to. Sustainable jobs can be created without threatening the environment or the landscapes.

 “It is time to begin talking up the Glens.  We need to collaboration of the tourist board, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the synergy of the new council which I hope will focus on real issues and not time-wasting debates”