A councillor in Ballycastle has said a club that was vandalised with sectarian graffiti will continue to go from strength to strength as he emphasised the positive aspect of being a Gael.
Last week a debate organised by Independent Councillor Padraig McShane for young people explored the message of the Rising and the subsequent aftermath. A focus on the Proclamation and the Good Friday Agreement, there parallels and their differences!
Commenting on the events of Easter Week and the 98th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig McShane said the most potent weapon in the history of Ireland remained the Easter Proclamation to the Irish people.
The Councillor said;
“Ignoring that leaden and almost perfectly ductile phrase, ‘peace’, which was used to sell the Good Friday Agreement on a weary population, the 1916 document – considered by many scholars and academics to be a political watershed – was so advanced and ahead of its time that when stood beside the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, it makes the later look dated and mundane.
“Even today its greatest virtue would be a genuine peace removed from the curse of sectarianism.
“Among the many strategic aims and objectives of the document, ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland; that the form of government was to be a republic; a guarantee of “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens”, the first mention of gender equality and a promise to cherish “all the children of the nation equally”.
“It was these aims coupled with a clearly defined will to govern – ‘oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government’ – that spell out the terminal danger to the Empire from which Ireland sought to free herself.”
Acknowledging the need for – yet the shortcomings in the Good Friday Agreement – young people from North Antrim suggested;
“The overarching difference between the aims of Proclamation and the Good Friday Agreement remained stark. The proclamation envisaged a nation of equals not dependent on colour creed or class while the Good Friday has clearly defined the ‘statelet’ and it’s people as separate and distinct.
“Today’s political governing is based on religious make up and runs entirely contrary to the aims of the 1916 document.”
Councillor McShane concluded that young people had a tangible grasp on the differences contained within the documents.
“While the Good Friday Agreement has been used to cement political strength for favoured individual outcomes in association with her majesty’s government, it remains indisputable – the will of the 1916 proclamation would best serve the people of Ireland as a unit.”
If it’s traditional and Irish you want on St. Patrick’s weekend, then here’s two events not to be missed.
Moyle District Council in association with Causeway Coast Arts is proud to present local band Fonn the traditional/folk outfit will be accompanied in an amazing double bill by PITAK from Guadeloupe at the Marine Hotel this Friday March 14th @7:30pm. Tickets £6/£5 (conc).
Fonn comprise Aoda Jeffries joining the husband and wife team of Catherine and Michael Sands. Last year they played with Afresh, an Afro-beat, reggae, Jazz outfit while this year they deliver alongside PITAK who are playing Creole Soul music from Guadeloupe. mailto:http://www.feileafrica.com/pitak.html
It’s one of two events not to be missed this St. Patrick’s weekend. The other of course is the visit of the ‘Rebels’ to Ballycastle. It’s fair to say Antrim are struggling a little in this year’s league but it ain’t often we get Cork Hurlers up to the North Coast. Throw-in 2pm at Páirc MacUílín
“A Tourism and Leisure facility in Ballycastle is now inevitable and construction should begin in the 2016/17 financial year”.
“That Council prepares a robust case for the development of the Tourism, Leisure Facility for the Moyle Area to be put forward to the Transition Committee for consideration”.
“The decision by Moyle to support my request to update the feasibility study this year is an important step. Design and planning will follow in the 2015/16 financial year with building commencing the year after.“Concerns have been raised about cost which has been used to block the project in the past. The obstacle has been overcome and we can build and maintain the Tourism/Leisure centre for an additional 1% on the rates of the new super council. Given that our rates in Moyle could drop by as much as 15%, we could not only have this facility but a substantially reduced rates bill.“We must remember this type of facility is taken for granted in every other Council area in the North”.
“The case of need alongside the feasibility study has already been established. It is now a statutory requirement for the super council. The only real reason why it could refuse to develop a centre is on the grounds of affordability. Our work over the last number of years has proved the centre is affordable. Should a future super council refuse to develop it they will inevitably find themselves answerable to a judicial review. The Tourism/Leisure facility will therefore be developed”.
“Failure is an orphan while success will have many fathers. The heavy lifting on this project has been completed by Moyle District Council over the last number of years. Given the project is on a successful trajectory, others will undoubtedly wish to attach themselves to that success. I welcome it eventually reached Stormont but surrounding that debate is a few unpalatable facts.“The project is seven years old yet only when success is presenting itself do MLA’s bring it to the floor. It seems no local MLA was aware of the facts of the Strategic Leisure research in addition to the tourism section of the proposals. Undoubtedly the most confusing aspect of the question about Leisure provision in Moyle was that it was asked of the DOE Minister. One would have thought it would have been more appropriate to ask the Minister responsible for Leisure.”
“We look forward to welcoming Wexford to Ballycastle. It’s a great occasion for local Gaels in North Antrim to play host to some of the illustrious names in the hurling world. The ‘yellow bellies’ of Wexford will provide keen opposition on Sunday before the ‘Rebels’ of Cork arrive next month.
“While the Club have prepared well to play host, the Council have sought to play their part also. I received excellent input from Kerrie, our tourist officer, when I asked her to promote the game. Not only is it on the Council website but the Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership, NITB and Bord Failte Ireland have advertised and marketed the events prominently. It is hoped the local economy will receive a bounce from the games”.
“Hurling has seen a dramatic improvement in Antrim over the last few years. Shamrocks in Loughgiel have set the standard in recent competitions and Antrim’s under 21’s beat Sunday’s opposition to progress to the Inter-county All-Ireland at that level last season. Where once it would have been unthinkable for Antrim to beat Wexford, Sunday could serve up a cracker with the outcome unpredictable.”
“It will be lost on no one that many marching today were still protesting at the distri
bution and allocation of housing. Rights surrounding the access to fair and gainful employment for all and the highlighting of the devastation wrecked on healthcare provision.
The Glens will be retained in the domain name of the super council. The new model, stretching from Greysteel near Derry City to Waterfoot in the Glens of Antrim, being brought in under the Review of Public Administration will merge Moyle Limavady, Coleraine and Ballymoney councils.
Independent Councillor Padraig McShane welcomed the move saying it was essential for the development and security of the Causeway Coast and Glens brand. In addition it will make sure the business sector is not disenfranchised in the Glens area.
“I welcome the fact that both the DUP & UUP in Ballymoney and Coleraine have been brought to their senses. The first proposal was both sectarian and partisan. No reasonable argument could be presented to sustain the proposal to drop the Glens”.
Councillor McShane had promised to take the matter to the courts with a judicial review being proposed should the transition committee have decided to drop the Glens from the domain name.
“It’s ironic that it was Coleraine DUP Councillor George Duddy who proposed the domain name to include the Glens in the title. He had been one of the most vocal proponents of dropping the Glens.
“Those set out to intentionally disenfranchise anyone on the basis of their culture or religion have learned a valuable lesson I feel. A judicial review will go with attempts to do either both now and in the future.
“The domain name should never have been an issue. I would hope the unfortunate episode can now be set to the side and the committee can perform on the basis of equality and need”.
The transitional committee of the Causeway Coast & Glens super council will face a legal challenge if they vote to drop the ‘Glens’ from the Council’s domain name. The warning came from Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig McShane, who went on to describe the proposed move as; “the beginning of a process that would lead to the introduction of ‘political and cultural apartheid’ in Ballycastle and the Glens”.
“It is clear that Unionists in both Coleraine and Ballymoney are keen to rid themselves of the Glens badge in any future Council. But the reason to do so does not contain one logically compelling, deeply informed, or conceptually arresting argument”.
“If as Councillor McShane has indicated, the Causeway Coast and Glens transition committee intends to proceed with the omission of the “Glens” from the domain name of the new council, then the consequences will be clearly detrimental to our client. In this instance our client will have no option but to challenge such a decision through the courts.”
“For a short time I entertained the misguided hope that political Unionism, both in Coleraine and Ballymoney, might rise above what has distinguished Unionist politics on this island. But it is clear from the latest move that, ‘The Green Glens of Antrim’, from Glentaise in Ballycastle to Glenariff in Waterfoot, are a shade too green for some Unionists.
“Ballycastle and the Glens are steeped in Gaelic tradition and culture. The fusion of language, music and sports will make up an integral and desirable part of any new political considerations for local government. Councillors in Ballymoney and Coleraine must begin to embrace the area and look upon it as the asset it is.“And decision made by the members of the transition committee must be morally sound. If the wish is to disenfranchise an entire area because of its political or religious makeup, then I can confirm that legal repercussions will accompany any and all those decisions both now and in the future.
“The old order and the undiluted power that was accorded to it is being erased from the pages of time. Those Councillors who incubate a desire to return to the ‘failed political model’ of the past should avail of the opportunity to retire.
“After consultation in 2010 with the community in the Glens we identified several projects of work, chief among them the beach at Cushendall. I was fit to identify funding from the Rural Development Programme in conjunction with securing a commitment from my colleagues in Moyle Council to invest in the scheme.“I spent quite some time in the Glens on Friday and to see the damage to the beach was disappointing. I have addressed the need to have the significant damage assessed and repaired as quickly as possible. In addition I have already hosted a meeting with some of the senior management team and other colleagues in Moyle District Council on site to plan a coordinated response to the devastation.
“The Glens has suffered severely at the hands of mother nature over the last twelve months. Glenariff Forest Park suffered considerable damage in March of last year and is only beginning to receive a definitive response from the Forestry Department. The repairs to the beach at Cushendall will require a more expeditious response from Moyle District Council.”