Sinn Fein Motion Gives Bigotry A Temperory Glimpse of the Sun

Giants Causeway-Gaza City

A motion brought by Sinn Fein to Moyle District Council condemning Israeli actions in Gaza this month in normal circumstances could have been applauded but there is nothing normal about Moyle. The only Council in the North to operate without ‘Standing Orders’ it allows for previous decisions to be overturned on a whim.  It allows the Chairman almost unrestrained powers when chairing a meeting and allows, at her discretion, the opportunity to take any counter proposals she deems acceptable from the floor.

With all this in mind, the opportunity to attack Moyle’s historic Twinning Agreement with the Municipality of Gaza presented itself. If one Councillor was missing, the motion should have been withdrawn removing the opportunity for a counter-motion. Apologies were received on behalf of Councillor Blaney at the beginning of the meeting. At this point, Sinn Fein should have informed the Chair that Item 9, Gaza Motion be withdrawn. They didn’t.

No one can question the commitment that Sinn Fein has shown to the Palestinian cause over the last generation. Likewise other Republicans and Nationalists and more and more Unionists. For anyone to engage in such nonsense is utter folly. So it begs the question, what was Councillor Thompson thinking when he brought the motion to the floor of the Chamber – a motion that he knew he could never win?  Simple mathematics indicated what way the vote would go. I warned Sinn Fein of exactly this type of scenario ten days prior to the meeting. I implored upon their conscious to withdraw the motion.

This type of motion that we see time and again from Councillor Thompson is ego driven. The nature of these motions contains no substance and is simply employed to attract personal attention. I would hazard a guess that the Councillor went on a solo run and in doing so could have destroyed two years of work by a dedicated group of volunteers who were the driving force behind the Twinning project.

While Thompson’s ego did not receive the boost it so desperately craved, the TUV’s alongside the Orange Order’s certainly did.

Councillor Sharon Mc Killop in a piece (most likely dictated on her behalf by Jim) stated;

“A proposal put forward by Sinn Fein’s councillor Thompson expressed “solidarity” with the people of Gaza  – was up for debate.

“Thankfully, however, the motion presented the council with an opportunity to vote on the twinning arrangement again and I am delighted to be able to say that due to proposals put forward by councillor McIlroy and seconded myself the council passed a resolution ending the twinning arrangements between Moyle and Gaza.    (Ballymoney Times Webpage)

The normally very talkative Councillor Thompson for his part declined to comment on Councillor McKillop’s comments according to the Newsletter on 28/11/12.

Mc Killop’s Party Leader Jim Alister went on to add;

“This is a welcome development. I know that the twinning arrangements were a great source of annoyance to many ordinary people in the area. In fact, I suspect that the annoyance the issue caused Unionists was the chief reason why Nationalists pushed ahead with it. Sharon was worked hard on this issue and I am delighted with the result of last night’s vote.” (Ballymoney Times Webpage)

While Jim and the sidekick Mc Killop engaged in the odious triumphalism that sets them apart from most elected representatives it was the former Co Antrim Orange Grand Master and Moyle Councillor Robert McIlroy that delivered the predictable rebuke and subsequent counter motion to Thompson’s posturing;

‘we are dealing with terrorists’ and ‘we should not be associated with that’. He called on the Council to withdraw from its ‘alignment’ with Gaza.  (Ballycastle Chronicle Webpage)

There are many ways to champion the supremist Orange Order and the TUV. Ideally it should be down to them to take on the obnoxious task. But every once in a while a Public Representative can come along and do their job for them. For every action there is a re-action. It is of the utmost importance that we think of the re-action before we engage the action. What else could we have expected from the Orange Order and the TUV. It may now be time for someone to read over Councillor Thompson’s armature ideas, stunts and arguments before they are let loose on the public.

While expressing my disappointment with an individual, I reiterate that I commend the work SF and others in Moyle have done and continue to do on behalf of the Palestinian people. Unionist intransigence and bigotry manefisting itself in the most repugnant of Political guises in the TUV and the Orange Order share the responsibility of shaming humanity. This type of Jim Crowism must be erased from the pages of time and we must all work together to obliterate it.

The Twinning itself is a permanent Twinning mechanism so while a vote was taken to massage some equally large egos it changes nothing. The Twinning with our friends in Gaza remains.



Twinning on a Permanent Basis so much ado about nothing.


The following is PART of the latest update from our Partner Authority in the Municipality of Gaza. This section is to the people of Moyle from Gaza Mayor Rafiq Mekki.
Dear Friends and Colleagues of European Twinned Council of Moyle,
I would like to express our gratitude and thanks for your sympathy and solidarity with the Gazan people during the recent Israeli attack on Gaza. 175 people have lost their lives, out of them 50 children and other 1399 have been injured, out of them 601 children; we hope that children and civilian people shall not be again the victims of this conflict, however, we expect more escalation in the future as justice and legitimate rights of freedom and security have not been prevailed yet.
I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the European Governments that are going to back our bid for “Non-Member Observer State” status at the U.N. General Assembly vote tomorrow. France has announced officially their backing to our bid and other European Governments still undecided; It is the first step towards recognizing the State of Palestine away from violence and through the peaceful diplomatic channels.
Thanks again for all your support and solidarity.

Giant’s Causeway Shaped by imagination Community Open Day Free Admission

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Giant’s Causeway Community Open Day – 24th November 2012

National Trust staff at the Giant’s Causeway extend a warm welcome to a free community open day taking place this Saturday (24th November) from 9am to 5pm.  This is your opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site and explore the new visitor centre.

Everyone Welcome
• Free Park and Ride service from Bushmills
to the Giant’s Causeway
• Free entry into the Visitor Centre
• Free use of a hand-held audio guide and free
guided walking tours on the hour

Mc Shane Calls for Removal of Orange Hall :)

“Dole Office…. Certainly redundant”

A Local Councillor in Ballycastle has challenged what he described as the “Forked tongue of the Orange Order” after the Order’s press release on the raising of the tri-colour on a Hall in the town.

The erection of the Irish tricolour in Ballycastle County Antrim has been condemned by the Orange Order as a “cheap sectarian stunt“.

But Councillor Padraig Mc Shane said,

“Well really, it’s a bit rich! What next? The Klan to celebrate the emancipation of slaves?  The Orange Order can not pontificate on sectarian stunts without giving themselves a poke in the eye. They have engaged in stunts themselves for a number of years with sectarian parading etc.”

The flag was attached to a pole at Ramoan Orange Hall in Ballycastle overnight on Monday but was subsequently removed.

Condemning the incident, an Orangeman said the “cowardly perpetrators” had carried out the act “under the cover of darkness“.

Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane went on to say;

“People in the town are seething with anger and have demanded the removal of the offensive item. Locals have told me its very bad for community relations.

“They thought it was a dole office some years back and have not seen an Orange Man about the place for years.

“I would join with the community and call for the removal of the Hall at once………………Keep the flag.”

Impressions from a City Under Seige-A Diary by Hadeel Abu Mariam

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Hadeel Abu Mariam from Gaza shares her Diary over the last few days with the MoyleSoviet Blog. A fantastic advocate for the Moyle/Gaza Twinning. She was one o many from the NGO sector who provided support for the project from the outset. She is also Irish Charity Palestine Aid’s representative in Gaza

  Continue reading

Tidal Power Offers Local Opportunities

Ireland’s First Tidal Power Station at Torr Head.

A Councillor in Moyle has called on the local business community in Ballycastle and the Glens to prepare to maximize any potential spinoffs from the development of 100mw tidal energy farm off Torr Head.

Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane was speaking as he prepares to meet with Tidal Ventures Ltd to discuss several areas of interest including impact and potential.
Councillor Mc Shane stated;
“I have been in contact with Tidal Ventures and I want to follow any potential for the development of the local economy. It is important to engage with this company now to realise any potential going forward to 2020.
Job creation must be explored as the company has committed to employ locally. The location of any premises required gives an additional potential income source.
“The environmental impact of the turbines has been raised on a number of occasions. Previous testing concluded that the turbines planned for the sea bed off Torr Head had proved harmless to Marine life”.
Tidal Ventures, a collaboration between Bord Gáis and tidal energy partner, Open Hydro plan to have a tidal energy farm in place off the North Coast that will have the potential to power 75,000 homes.

Attwood to be invited to Moyle District Council to explain his case.

Minister Attwood and his officials……. Do we have to go to Ballycastle????

An Independent Councillor in Moyle has challenged the Environment Minister to evidence how a National Park will improve the lives of those who reside within it. Padraig Mc Shane was speaking following the Minister’s ‘no show’ at a public meeting to debate the issue in Ballycastle. Seven Hundred people packed into the Council offices in the forlorn hope of hearing the Ministers proposals on Wednesday night.

Councillor Mc Shane said;
“I will be requesting the Chairman of Moyle invites Minister Attwood to a special meeting of Council, at a time of his choosing, to defend his position. It is obvious the Minister has abdominal issues with large crowds given his inability to attend both at Newcastle and Ballycastle. While he afforded no respect to the community here, he may present to the Council.”
“No qualitative or quantitative evidence has been presented at any stage to justify why the people of the Causeway and Glens would wish to reside in a National Park. The opposite is true with empirical evidence supplied indicating the decimation of the locality.”
The Councillor went on to add;
“It is this reason that prevented the Minister from coming to Ballycastle to defend his proposals. The Minister should be allowed to evidence his case but he is well aware he is running on empty.

Ball Wall for the ‘Dall.

Cushendall have become the latest GAA Club to benefit from our infrastructure fund in Moyle. The fund, unique to the Council, was set up to leave a legacy in the wake of RPA and the dissolution of Moyle District Council in 2008. The Council will be part of the new Causeway Coast & Glens Super Council in 2015.

While Moyle had an outstanding history of under-funding in Gaelic Games, the opportunity to design and develop a programme that would help redress the inequality has paid dividends with all six Clubs in the District benefiting.

The latest is the Ruairi Og’s Cushendall GAC who received 20% of a £40,000 project to build a ball wall. Coaching staff recognise the benefits of these investments;

 “Hurling Walls provide a safe, accessible environment for players to develop their skills and improve their technique. The benefits of having a Hurling Wall facility within a club or school are huge, and combined with appropriate drill sets can result in a dramatic improvement in players’ skill levels over a relatively short time period.”
Paudie Butler, National Hurling Co-ordinator.

National Parks Meeting Will Go Ahead …………….Minister Attwood “Running Scared”?

Alex Attwood

An information evening to discuss the introduction of a National Park in the Causeway Coast and Glens will go ahead in Ballycastle despite the rumoured withdrawal of the Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

The meeting set for Wednesday night at 8pm in Sheskburn House had met with the approval of Minister Attwood’s diary and according to one of those involved with the organisers, Councillor Padraig Mc Shane, “The Minister himself had approved the contents of the agenda little over a week ago”.

The minister has previously indicated he wanted two National Parks to be created, with the Mournes, the Causeway coast, the Antrim Glens and Fermanagh Lakelands identified as possible areas. But in the first public meeting in Cookstown to promote his plans, even the most unassuming spectators believed the SDLP man was ill prepared and took serious backlash as he was found wanting.

All parties to the Executive signed up to the idea of National Parks here in the 2007 programme for government but many have now hedged their bets since the public backlash to the proposals.

Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane confirmed;

“The meeting will go ahead as planned. Minister Attwood will have a chair reserved and he is more than welcome to attend. The meeting is first and foremost an information evening for the local community.

“The local action group put an enormous effort into this presentation and worked in partnership with the Minister, changing the date to suit his diary and going as far as to agree the agenda for the evening.

“I do not wish to suggest the Minister is running scared but we attempt to deal in facts here. The Minister got a poor response from the first public meeting in Cookstown and followed that up with a no show in Newcastle. He did apologise saying he did not receive enough notice. The Causeway Coast and Glens group invited the Minister months ago affording him the opportunity to be informed at all times. I can no longer define what enough notice means.”

Ghosts of an Irish Past echo round latest Banksters Evictions

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Irish Banksters are moving to evict those who cannot meet their debt repayments. In scenes that many believed, would only find a home in starvation ravaged 19th Century Ireland, citizens and in particular farmers are being thrown off the land. But is their a smell of the finest attributes of resistance in the air?


LAST month I made the journey to Newcastle West, CountyLimerick to Seamus Sherlock’s farm in the townland of Feohanagh. I wanted to meet the farmer and five kids who are standing up to the banksters and bailiffs in an attempt to highlight what is happening throughout rural Ireland today.


Banksters have served an execution order forcing the family to leave their home never to return. At the time of my visit, day 58, the banks had not made their move. The norm following execution orders is 10 days. It’s a modern day equivalent of the horrors of evictions perpetrated on the souls of this country’s past.


THE farmer has barricaded the entrance to his farm and has had a large group of supporters standing at the house with him day and night since he received the eviction notice. He has quite literally; dozens of people on speed dial who pledged to stand alongside his family to repel any moves by the banks bailiffs to put him out of his house.


The only justice I could attempt to do to the story is to have Seamus tell the story in his own words so I interviewed the Limerick farmer. The interview took place with a few friends at the bottom of the lane leading to the farm. While the story is a painful one that is becoming more and more commonplace on the island, you will hear of the resilience of the man and his family. Added also is a strong sense of injustice and alongside his friends, a willingness to ensure justice is done. Expect some humour near the end, but it’s a reflection of the good nature of this group of individuals rather than a blasé approach to the topic. A major thank you to Joe Gilmartin of Tipperary for his help.

We start with the intervention of Europe on a rural Irish farmer.