Closure of Rathmoyle; “Testament to the implementation of Tory policy in the North”.

Cllr Padraig McShane at the Rathmoyle Home and Rathmoyle Resource Centre in Ballycastle. PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

Cllr Padraig McShane at the Rathmoyle Home and Rathmoyle Resource Centre in Ballycastle. PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

Independent Moyle Councillor, Padraig Mc Shane, has claimed that the five party executive have consistently and comprehensively failed the people of Moyle. He was speaking after confirmation from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust that Rathmoyle Residential Care Home would close.

 
 
Councillor Mc Shane raised claims  in 2009 during a consultation exercise on the future of Residential Care in the Northern Trust. At the time the Councillor stated the consultation was only;
“An exercise in placating a system that would ensure the closure of both Rathmoyle Care home and the Rathmoyle day care facilities”.
The Councillor said,
“Today we have a form of regional government run by all five parties together. They set the budgets for each portfolio including Health. With each local Health Trust being forced by the Executive to find savings (in the Northern Trust it was £44 million between 2008-11) all parties bear greatest responsibility for the demise of public health care in Moyle.
“Throughout the District we have twelve MLA’s from all the major parties. Not one has raised a finger to stop the onslaught of cuts to health care provision in the District. They are powerless as their party colleagues in the Executive set the budgets together. Instead we are presented with sham fights in an attempt to appease an apprehensive public”.
“The Executive has become a ‘monolith’ with no effective accountability. Moyle on Health alone has lost the x-ray facility in Dalriada, Rathmoyle Residential Home, Rathmoyle Day Care facilities are under serious threat and will meet the same fate and of course the M.S. respite facility in Ballycastle is to close. Political representatives from the main parties will bemoan these losses but given their direct input to these closures it is an exercise in futility.
“The Glens has also taken a hammering with ambulance provision being attacked, Glenmona adult day care being reduced and both Ballycastle and Cushendall have Fire Stations remain, unfit for purpose.”
 
The failure to secure fiscal powers from Westminster only helped to compound the effects of the Tory welfare cuts according to Councillor Mc Shane.
 
He continued;
 
“The Executive have failed the people of the North and continue to force welfare reforms on behalf of the Tory government.  They have also failed to arrest the decline in the levels of subvention on top of failing to gain control of fiscal powers for the North.
“Ironically the fact that the Executive accepted a five thousand pound pay rise for each MLA while failing the public so miserably is testament to the implementation of Tory policy in the North.

All Parties Agree To Rathmoyle Closure

Rathmoyle Ballycastle

Rathmoyle Ballycastle

Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane has slammed the five party Stormont Executive after the latest closure in the Moyle area – this time Rathmoyle Residential Care Home. The announcement comes following a lengthy and protracted process that could ultimately result in the closure of all nine Residential Care Homes in the Northern Trust area.

“I spoke with staff this morning following their meeting with Northern Health & Social Care Trust officials. They have been told that between November of this year and January of 2014 the building will be closed and Residents moved on to alternative accommodation.

“Some have spoken movingly of the clients they have worked with over the years. All have voiced their concern about what will happen to the clients.  They fear inadequate levels of care will be provided for them in the future.

“Concern among the staff regarding their future is also palpable. With many unable to travel due to our poor public transport network here in Moyle they feel the promise of no voluntary redundancies rings hollow. Many expect to be forced, by circumstances beyond their control, into taking a redundancy package”.

Unison

Unison has claimed all nine residential care homes operated by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust are set to be closed. The union said it expects two homes – Pinewood in Ballymena and Westlands in Cookstown – to close in November, followed by Rathmoyle in Ballycastle next January.

Democratic Deficit

Councillor Padraig Mc Shane continued;

“No one party can be blamed for the savage cuts we are witnessing here in Moyle. While the DUP hold the Ministry on Health it is the five party Executive that sets the budgets for all Ministerial portfolios. While the main Parties will point to ‘no cuts to the Health budgets’ in recent years, in real terms the budget has been reduced by over ten percent due to inflation. The Chief Executive of the Northern Trust confirmed this point to me when questioned recently.

“The Executive has become a ‘monolith’ with no effective accountability. Moyle on Health alone has lost the x-ray facility in Dalriada, Rathmoyle Residential Home, Rathmoyle Day Care facilities are under serious threat and are sure to meet the same fate and of course the M.S. respite facility in Ballycastle.

“The Glens has taken a hammering also with ambulance provision being attacked, Glenmona adult day care being reduced and both Ballycastle and Cushendall have Fire Stations not fit for purpose.

“All the while local representatives of the five main parties will bemoan the decline of Health Care Service Provision while failing to comprehend their active part in closing and removing the facilities. I believe the local Councillors fail to grasp their roles in the removal of services and have a genuine, if somewhat deluded, concern.

Arrest in Ballycastle murder!

Crime scene investigators at the the murder scene at Stroanshesk Park in Ballycastle where th eoplice have launched a murder investigation after a man in his mid twenties was stabbed to death on Sunday afternoon. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

Crime scene investigators at the the murder scene at Stroanshesk Park in Ballycastle where th eoplice have launched a murder investigation after a man in his mid twenties was stabbed to death on Sunday afternoon. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

A man in his mid twenties was murdered in Ballycastle County Antrim on Sunday afternoon. It is believed he was stabbed to death in a house in the Stroanshesk area of the town. He has been named locally as Kevin O’ Neill.

Police have arrested one person believed to be a man in his mid twenties. Forensic detectives are examining the scene, a house in StroansheskPark.

Speaking following the death of Mr. O’ Neill, Ballycastle Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane stated;

“This is an absolute tragedy that has befallen this young man’s family. They have my deepest sympathy for their loss. He was held in high regard by those who knew him best and he will be sorely missed.”

Councillor Mc Shane worked with the deceased for over a year and had come to know him well.

“Kevin was a likable young man. I will always be thankful that I had the opportunity to get to know him and I know many of his large circle of friends will be mourning his sad repose.”

Images of damage to Glenariff Forest Park. (Remains Open)

Glenariff Forest Park has seen many of its spectacular walks closed. While it is right to ensure the safety of the public at all times, there is nothing here to suggest the Park could not be opened in a week. A few D-Rails and little clearing would open the most back up immediately.

The Forestry Service an DARD need to ensure this Tourism facility opens post-haste. If it was the Causeway it would be open tomorrow morning. They have worked in the past to clear landslides through the night. Are the Glens people second class?? The Tourism Minister might want to get involved also to at least pretend they have an interest in the Glens.

Planning Hurdle for New Hotel Overcome.

116 Bedroom Hotel, Ballycastle

116 Bedroom Hotel, Ballycastle

The Minister for the Environment has confirmed that a new hotel development in Ballycastle will not have to go through the full planning process again.

There had been fears it would be subject to re-evaluation on the insistence of the local planning office, after the plans were altered to include a further 16 bedrooms. Confirmation that this would not be the case came in the form of a letter to Independent Councillor Padraig McShane.

He had written to the the Minister objecting to the need for a new planning application.
In response, Minister Attwood said:

“I acknowledge the site has the benefit of a live planning approval and accordingly do not consider the alterations to the proposed scheme to be material within the overall scheme.

“The submission of a formal planning application is therefore not necessary.”

Welcoming the Minister’s input, Councillor Mc Shane said:”Time is of the essence and I welcome the intervention of the Minister following my letter.

 “The entire project is with Invest NI who has before them a comprehensive and extensive Business case for several months now. “Invest NI must match their past affirmation to support the tourist sector. A commitment to job creation in the Ballycastle area was a past promise by the body who offered no other major source of employment to the area. “If the private sector is showing major commitment, then Invest NI must be prepared to match it.”

Job creationWhen asked for more details on job creation, Councillor McShane said:

Artists Impression Lobby

Artists Impression Lobby

“To service a hotel of this size will require a minimum staff compliment of 90 people. “In addition the hard pressed building sector could see many local jobs created for the duration of the construction phase.
“But it is the by-product of having both The Marine Hotel and the Whitepark Hotel in operation that will have a major effect on the region.
“If we create a destination from our natural tourism product locally, and Ballycastle and the Glens become that destination, not only will other accommodation providers reap significant benefits across the sector, the derivative will also be additional jobs.
“If the Marine and Whitepark hotels were to open tomorrow, an additional 125 wage packets could be generated in the area. “Compounding those figures, additional footfall in the locality plus additional spend from visitors creates a superior economy for the region. It is this simple scale of economy that Invest NI must be pressed on.

 

Did Thatcher defeat some Republicans?

Thatcher signThe death of Margaret Thatcher has sent a cacophony of sound, a kaleidoscope of colour and a feel good factor that could have us confuse this Monday morning for a Friday evening at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend among the working classes worldwide.

The mainstream media outlets will eulogise a tyrant in both British and (semi-British) Irish media outlets that will have little reflection on how the masses viewed the greatest narcissist in World politics in the last half century. But it will not reflect the general feeling of the masses who greeted the news of her demise with a huge,

‘Thank f@#k for that’.

In South America she is hated for her resolute support for the detested Chilean dictator, General Pinochet, her support for right-wing Contras in Nicaragua and of course the abdominal sinking of the Argentine Navy light cruiser, the General Belgrano. The Belgrano was sailing away from the war zone of the Malvina’s in 1982 when she was sunk on the orders of Thatcher with the loss of 323 souls. The action was a war crime.

In other notable International affairs she labelled Nelson Mandela a Terrorist and supported covertly the Apartheid rule in South Africa. Given her support for Pinochet and the right wing Contra’s and her recourse to label the ANC terrorists, it’s a relief to note Ireland’s best shared the same stable with the ANC, PLO etc. Thatcher failed to hide her racist tendencies.

Ireland

In Ireland there will be those who uncompromisingly support the actions of Thatcher throughout the 32 counties. They are some of the few individuals who done exceedingly well from her neo-liberal policies that destroyed the lives of millions from the working classes, Bobby-Sandsdestroyed the welfare state and ensured greed, ‘loads a money’ and a mentality of ‘me first’ took over from the need for collective wellbeing.

But when the book on Thatcher is authored by the enlightened, it will make difficult reading for those who fought Thatcher only to surrender and embrace her political philosophy in the pursuit of that age-old fiendish crime, preoccupation with self.

In Ireland, few in politics are immune. The demolishing of the welfare system has been resumed by her greatest advocate, David Cameron and delivered with alarmingly little fuss by his contemporaries in the N.I Executive.

The closing of Residential Care Homes, Vulnerable Adult Day Care facilities, Specialist Care facilities, longer waiting lists for healthcare, Social housing, bedroom taxes, the removal of thousands from disability living allowance schemes, public services run into the ground etc. can be traced directly to Thatcher’s policy of attacking the working classes and the poor. It is Thatcher’s economic policies via her ‘chomp’ Cameron that the present Stormont Executive is administering.

Some of the great moral and intellectual capacity that once inspired the more heroic in the political mainstream has evaporated like a puddle in the Sahara. Ireland no longer enjoys visionaries like Connolly or Larkin.James%20Larkin-ZLVOLWFRFDindex

While we have watched the appallingly ignorant diatribe of bombast and crocodile tears flood from the eyes and mouths of representatives of the five party Executive, only a complete failure to grasp the most basic in economics could prompt this strange inversion of logic while attempting to support the parties that administer these cuts. To be fair the shallowness is not evenly distributed and some members are beginning to question policy. But on the day of Thatcher’s ultimate demise, it is important to show where the ‘Left’ resides.

The one question we all must ask ourselves, and we may wish to ignore the answer, Did Maggie Thatcher defeat Republicans & Socialists in Ireland?

Mayor of Gaza Requests a Report on ‘The Glens’

Gaza Moyle Twinning One Year On

Gaza Moyle Twinning One Year On

Rafiq Mekki, the Mayor of Gaza,  requested updates on the people of the Glens during the recent snow crisis. The Mayor asked an envoy from the International Relations Department of the Municipality of Gaza City to update him on the plight of residents in the District. He was furnished with regular updates via Twitter, Facebook and email.

 Ahmed Hashem from the Municipality speaking to members of Antrim to Gaza twinning group stated;

“Our Support is with you .. Will share these updates with the Municipality”.

Official logo of Gaza

Official logo of Gaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commenting he said,

“The people of the Glens are in our thoughts at this difficult time. We in Gaza share the hardship and difficulties inflicted on our friends in the Glens area of our Twin District and we pray that their suffering may be alleviated soon”.