Protestors gather at Dalriada Hospital Ballycastle
A Multiple Sclerosis sufferer is set to take the Health Minister to court for closing Dalriada hospital. The user contacted Independent Councillor Padraig McShane following last weeks public meeting where the Councillor outlined the case for MS clients to judicially review the Minister’s decision.
Councillor McShane said;
“A client has contacted me regarding the prospect of judicially reviewing the Health Minister’s decision to close Dalriada Hospital. The Minister has been put on notice regarding this impending action and it is now a legal matter.
“Speaking with the Client it is clear his human rights alongside his right to lead as normal a life as possible are being seriously transgressed by the Minister’s decision.
“I would encourage other users to investigate the possibility of taking a review. We will continue negotiations in the immediate future and if the client wishes, he may also include the Finance Minister in the review owing to the incompetence of the Executive’s mismanagement of budgets”.
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.
Independent Councillor Padraig McShane who sits on the development committee of the McQuillans GAC in Ballycastle said;
“The club has gone from strength to strength in the last number of years. The modern facilities have been promoted to the number one county ground as Casement Park undergoes redevelopment. Gaels locally are proud the venue played host to County league and Championship fixtures in the last few months when the hurlers of Cork, Offaly and Wexford all paid a visit.
“McQuillans have a zero tolerance to racism or sectarianism. Members are drawn from all backgrounds. A team of volunteers will gather and remove the damage this evening because the club has a magnificent place within the community.”
At four minutes past noon on 24 April 1916 the proclamation to the Irish people was read from the steps of the General Post Office (G.P.O.) on Dublin’s O’Connell Street by Patrick Pearse.
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.”
A proposal to withdraw funding of £33,000 from a soccer pitch in Bushmills caused uproar in Moyle District Council. The Council had planned to invest the money on pitch improvements to allow Bushmills the chance for promotion in the soccer leagues.
But following a request for additional funds to facilitate a bonfire Independent Councillor Padraig McShane requested,
“The money is withdrawn until such times as the Council could satisfy itself there would be no more criminal damage at the football facility in Dundarave”.
Councillor Padraig McShane made the proposal after recommendations for additional money came to Council following a meeting with the Bushmills Bonfire Review Committee. The recommendations included an option to move the pitch at an additional cost of £27,500.
After receiving confirmation that damage had been caused to the facility in the past and the clean-up had cost the rate payer considerable money year on year, Councillor McShane said he could not allow rate payers money to be spent on facilities that are continually being destroyed.
Councillor McShane said;
“The bonfire review committee and local Councillors had to come to their senses. A normal society could never justify spending public funds in the full knowledge that it would go up in smoke.
“Political representatives locally are unwittingly developing communities which aspire to nothing beyond the momentary consolations of material contentment. Apologies are made for naked sectarianism and the destruction of public property in the pursuit of a fictional culture.
“Common sense offers us the chance to reject this type of practise despite everything in local politics urging us to tolerate this behaviour. It took twenty minutes and sustained reasoning to convince colleagues of the merits of withdrawing this funding in Council.
“The sheer abnormality of spending ratepayers’ money on facilities we know are going to be burnt on the 11th night can only be comparable with funding the purchase of white crosses, a can of petrol and a box of matches for the Klu Klux Klan.”
Here come the Rebels
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 husband and wife team Catherine and Michael Snads.
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
Artists Impression of Leisure Facility in Ballycastle
“A Tourism and Leisure facility in Ballycastle is now inevitable and construction should begin in the 2016/17 financial year”.
The prediction comes from Independent Councillor Padraig McShane who recently secured £350,000 to help develop 3g artificial grass pitches in Ballycastle and Cushendall.
Following a favorable report by consultancy firm, Strategic Leisure, which indicated a solid business plan coupled with a case of need Councillor McShane in 2012 proposed;
“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 Councillor who continues to spearhead a campaign to develop the centre said;
“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.
3G surfaces earmarked for Cushendall & Ballycastle
“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”.
When asked how he could ensure any future Super Council would proceed with the development Councillor Padraig McShane said;
“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”.
Speaking on his work being debated in Stormont Councillor McShane added;
“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.”
This Sunday will see the return of Senior Inter-county hurling to the Glens when Ballycastle GAC will host Antrim and Wexford in the Allianz National Hurling League. Pairc MacUilin was selected to host two homes games in the league after the county ground, Casement Park in Belfast, closed for a substantial redevelopment programme.
The facility in Ballycastle was recently voted the best club grounds in Ulster by the Provincial Board.
“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.”
Following his visit to Derry at the weekend Councillor Padraig McShane highlighted the similarities in The Bloody Sunday march and the march for civil rights some 42 years earlier.
Free Derry Corner with Stafford Scott of the Justice for Mark Duggan Campaign.
“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.
“It is ironic that a march for Civil rights led to the collapse of Stormont in 1972. Today a larger crowd than had been seen for many years are demanding many of those same rights from a regime that, because of its makeup and its limited powers, is set in paralysis.
“Those locally who believe the regime is delivering must ask themselves firstly, why Rathmoyle is closing? Why is the hospital,both here in Ballycastle and in Coleraine being downgraded? Why upwards of five thousand hours had been removed from Ambulance provision in East Antrim and the Glens. Where the £44million removed from Healthcare budgets went in the Northern Trust. Or why jobs and opportunities are becoming much more centralised and those in rural locations like Moyle are being
The Councillor finished by noting the difficulties for many in admitting;
“While it will be difficult for many of us to accept, an honest appraisal brings an uncomfortable conclusion. The Stormont Executive is impacting negatively on the quality of life and the life chances of the vast majority of people across the six counties”.
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.
Coleraine Councillor George Duddy who was keen to remove the Glens from the domain name of the new Super Council
“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”.