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”.