Carrickmore Road Cannot Be Abandoned

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Glens Independent Councillor Padraig McShane says he believes Transport NI will make the correct decision in relation to attempts to have an abandonment order placed on a stretch of the Carrickmore Road.

Speaking this week before a meeting between Transport NI, objectors and the applicant for the abandonment order, Councillor McShane said;

“No reasonable grounds exist for the public body to walk away from this important stretch of highway.

“It serves a very important purpose and has done for many decades, indeed a few centuries. Give the archeological, historical and geological significance of the area it shall continue to do so for many more to come.

“Its importance to the local community alongside visitors to the area as a quiet and picturesque retreat and its ease of access for vehicular traffic for those with disabilities to enjoy the location, are also important considerations when making a decision on any notions of abandonment of a public road.

“While not wishing to preempt any outcomes, common sense would indicate a public body will not forgo the public interest on this application”.

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Why Dungiven Matters to Ballycastle & The Glens

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If the new facilities were developed in Dungiven, it would reduce revenue (annual year on year) costs by £70,000 for the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council. That is £70,000 saved each year, largely due to energy efficiencies found in new construction methods. To put it in context. That is £70,000 per year over the lifetime of the centre, taken at an average 40 years. That equates to £2.8million saving for the rate payer in the district – less the £350,000 initial capital investment. I can not stress this enough.
What is holding back Dungiven is equally holding back development in Cushendall, the Glens, Ballycastle and Loughgiel. Each an area of historical inequality and underinvestment. 
The reality for the new government authority is plain. If they wish to invest to enhance community and sporting facilities, they are obliged to do so in Nationalist and Republican areas where that historic inequality will require a generation of investment to balance out with those Councils who delivered for one section of the community. The stats are backed up by countless workshops and research done within and outwith the Council.
For the Glens Ward (Rathlin Ballycastle Loughgiel Waterfoot Cushendun Cushendall) inequalities to be addressed, it is vitally important that a common sense and business like approach is taken to Dungiven to release additional capital for the future. Other more unpalatable avenues are open to us as Councillors to raise funds should sectarianism continue to be the final arbitrator.
I was pleased to be asked to speak at the debate on Dungiven sports facilities last night in the County Derry town.
At the public meeting, those Unionists opposed to investing in Dungiven give no logically compelling, deeply informed or rational reason for blocking a perfectly sensible business case. That speaks for itself.

Moyle Equality Legacy Laid Waste in 120 Days of Supremacy In New Causeway Coast & Glens

Introductions. Councillor William Blair TUV Councillor Aaron Callan UUP Alderman Sam Cole DUP Councillor George Duddy DUP Alderman John Finlay DUP Alderman William King UUP Councillor James Alexander McCorkell DUP Councillor Alan McLean DUP Alderman Alan Robinson DUP

Some of the Members of the Causeway Coast & Glens who endorsed the Policy on flags: Councillor William Blair TUV Councillor Aaron Callan UUP Alderman Sam Cole DUP Councillor George Duddy DUP Alderman John Finlay DUP Alderman William King UUP Councillor James Alexander McCorkell DUP Councillor Alan McLean DUP Alderman Alan Robinson DUP Councillor Boyd Douglas TUV.

The euphoria combined with great expectations of a new brighter future are dead. Murdered by 100 days of unadulterated bigotry and old fashioned supremacy. For the people of the former District of Moyle, a council set up in 1972 to cater for that wild untamed fenian element that lives on the North Antrim Coast stretching largely from the village of Waterfoot through Cushendall, Cushendun, Carey, Armoy Glen and down into Ballycastle, it is the new and invigorated recalibration of the Orange State.

Moyle’s birth and very existence was down to the fact that Coleraine, Ballymena, Larne and in particular, Ballymoney’s ‘old school’ Unionist dominated representatives refused to countenance taking such a large base of the Nationalist  population. It’s political makeup could have tipped the balance of Unionist preeminence in each of the respective old legacy Council areas.

So Moyle, with the smallest population of 17,000, was little over half the size of the second smallest, Ballymoney with 32,000 and one of the largest geographical areas, battled its way from 1972 to March 2015 to provide for its ratepayers. With a low population base and no major industries it survived on a shoestring budget. It was fortunate in its geographical makeup with the Giant’s Causeway, the rope bridge, the Glens and of course Rathlin.  It battled hard to provide for all.

Now here’s the rub;

Moyle relied heavily on funding opportunities and voluntary organisations to make the ratepayers money go further. Officers became experts in obtaining funding of 80% 90% and up to 100% to finance projects that were simply out of their budget. Quay Road playing fields & synthetic turf, Ballycastle, Glenariff Forest Park, Millennium Park Bushmills, new sand based soccer pitch Dundarave, Changing facilities Dundarave, the Cottage Wood in Cushendall etc etc etc. Landscape schemes were applied for and funded at 100% right along the coast etc. The GAA in the area removed a massive burden from ratepayers, providing their own facilities, growing developing and working in close proximity with the Council to promote health and wellbeing.

Before Moyle Council ended, an Equality Impact Assessment concluded that on the basis of Services delivered in the community and sporting sectors, the ‘green Bantustan’ up beside Scotland had over delivered in the Causeway Ward (Unionist), and under delivered in Ballycastle while the Glens ward (the greenest of them all) needed serious investment and had been neglected. The message in these stats was that Republicans in Moyle had went out of their way to provide leadership and support the Unionist minority in the area.

No flags, emblems and a service delivery mechanism that supported everyone. It allowed everyone to adopt and foster their own identities, to feel equal. Those decisions manifested into strong community relations in the Glens and Ballycastle. It’s no accident that sectarianism is almost unheard of. There is no proliferation of flags and public bodies like schools, churches and voluntary groups work together without recourse to the question of one’s religion.

In contrast, Ballymoney Council chose to fly its Union Flag 365 days of the year. The community jumped on board following the lead. There is hardly a lamppost in the Town and most of the surrounding villages that flags don’t adorn. It’s only serious rival in flag proliferation, Coleraine, another legacy council. The two areas are bywords for sectarianism. A fundamental religious leadership applying the lowest common denominator to a population, drawn largely as those same political leadership might see it, from a lower caste.

The problem with the promotion of supremacy and the ideology that sees a young turk with a flute have the ability throw his arms apart and declare, ‘We are the People’ is its grotesque consequences. It’s no accident that the placing of one identity above  others allows for the dehumanising of an entire people.  The ideology allows those same people to burn 3 children in their beds in Ballymoney. It allows for the kicking to death of a father in Coleraine. It also generates enough hate for a ninteen year old to blow himself up in the pursuit of doing likewise to his catholic neighbour.

It does not end there. Those who make decisions to the detriment of the community over flags are the same people who are entrusted to make decisions for the benefit of the entire community on matters of business, finance, community development, infrastructure and wellbeing.

We have a stark choice as a community. We collectively face down the supremacist ideology espoused by those granted enough power by Stormont to create their own little Orange State on the North Antrim Coast. We also work together to maintain the relations carefully fostered over generations or we pass the area off into some horrible abyss.

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Supremacist Council Picks A Fight They Must Lose

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Legal proceeding have begun as a collective think-tank of republican activists, business men leaders & community leaders held meetings to address the Causeway Coast & Glen’s Council decision to fly the Union Flag in Ballycastle. Last week the new Super Council in Coleraine adopted a policy that will see the Union flag being hoisted on […]

Dark Forces Behind Ballycastle’s Imaginary Bomb???

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Scenes Produced for Dramatic Effect In Ballycastle Last Week

No Republican threat exists to police or anyone else in Ballycastle. The Police and politicians locally have acted disgracefully in the last week attempting to portray some kind of threat in Ballycastle. The Police have sullied the good name of Ballycastle, attempted to spread fear and worry in the community and local MLA’s and Councillors have attempted to capitalize on that manufactured fear.  I am calling for full disclosure on what was meant by the term ‘viable explosive device’ following last weeks fictional discovery at Ballycastle barracks.

Given a cigarette lighter is a viable explosive device, so to a nuclear warhead, what on earth is the people of Ballycastle to make of the sweeping claims by the security apparatus and opportunistic politicians in the area.

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Constitutes a ‘viable explosive device’.

What level of threat did the so called device pose? Was it that of a box of matches or was it ten pounds of semtex? Nowhere else in the world uses the – deliberately ambiguous – term, ‘viable explosive device’. A cursory glance at google will confirm this.

Let us be crystal clear. No threat exists to police in the area. No threat of violence should exist to anyone.Given personnel continue to drive about in ‘soft skin vehicles as opposed to armoured vehicles and continue foot patrols its safe to assume the police also believe no threat exists. Given also that houses less than twenty feet from the police station were not evacuated, it is safe to assume that at no time did police or army technical officers ever believe a serious threat to property or life existed.
The two constitutional Nationalist parties alongside Jim Allister have continued to promote the ‘selective condemnation industry’ for party political gain. A race to release preexisting mundane statements without looking for answers to some fairly fundamental questions has brought a pointed and contemptuous discourtesy on the people of Ballycastle. A look at Police budgets, downgrading of personal in Ballycastle and ultimately a threat to close the barracks may have more in relation to last weeks events than some abstract military threat. More to follow.
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Pairc MacUilin Prepares for Antrim v’s Wexford

CRLYpan 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.”
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‘Fabricated Concerns’ Help Executive Councillors in Moyle Deliver Health Care Cuts

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SOME OF THE MANY HEALTHCARE SERVICES LOST UNDER STORMONT / TORY CUTS
An Independent Councillor has described the relationship between the Stormont Executive and those local Councillors who are party to that same Executive as, “The most pathetic of all political nostalgia’s”. He also warned ‘Executive’ Party Councillors not to treat the local community as fools.
“Councillors locally are shedding crocodile tears while their party colleagues in the Stormont Executive are delivering ‘death by a thousand cuts’ to our local health care provision”, Stated Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane.
The Councillor was reacting to the closure of six beds at Dalriada Hospital in Ballycastle.
Explaining Councillor McShane continued;
“The Stormont Executive delivered cuts to the Health Care budget in the Northern Trust area totalling forty-four million between 2009-11. At the time the Ulster Unionist Health Minister Michael Mc Gimpsey ordered savings to be made which included the downgrading of the M.S. Center in Dalriada.
“Two years later, and in what many will see as a certain deficiency of tragic sense, two local Ulster Unionist Councillors attempt to attack the cuts their Minister and party colleague implemented with the support of the entire Executive – by blaming others!
Councillor McShane continued;
“The proclamations of both Councillors Baird and Hunter would mercifully indicate that in fact, they hadn’t a clue what was happening. Their claims that it had come “Out of the blue” in addition to “As far as we know there has been no consultation”, was the strongest indications of that fact.
“The Councillors performance in the press last week was only ever a hymn of political triumphalism. Should they however, wish to ‘breech a moment of moral clarity’, they could join with me in calling for a more left leaning, service delivering political system that would ensure the vibrancy of our health care system going into the future”.
So Who Is Making The Cuts & Why! 
Councillor McShane said it was too simple to suggest the Stormont Administration were administering cuts on behalf of the Tory Administration.
“The British Exchequer bailed out the private banking system by almost four hundred billion in ‘quantitative easing’. To offset the huge losses encountered by the private sector, the social sector had to endure the most significant cuts since the foundation of the Social Welfare State.
“In essence Stormont is facilitating that process and we in Moyle are seeing the repercussions first hand. Rathmoyle Residential Care and Day Care, X-Ray facilities in Dalriada, Glenmona in Cushendun, Ambulance Provision in the Glens, Mental Health Care downgraded in Dalriada and the constant threat of the closure of the Hospital entirely are only some of the effects of the most ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘at risk’ being asked to bail out the private banking institutions by Stormont and the Tory Administration”.

 

“No Jobs for Local Community” – Rathlin Energy

Rathlin Energy:    Employment Opportunities Will be non-existent for local communities.

Rathlin Energy:
Employment Opportunities Will be non-existent for local communities.

Rathlin Energy, the Canadian owned Oil and Gas prospecting Company who are currently seeking planning approval for a second well in Ballinlea, will not be a major employer in the local area. The news was released by Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane following a meeting with Company directors last week.

 
Councillor Mc Shane met Diarmuid O’Loan, the company’s planning agent, and former UUP MLA Dermot Nesbit, who is a director of Rathlin Energy at Sheskburn House on Thursday.
The Councillor was joined by Conor Mc Carry of Ballycastle Community Development Group.
 
Councillor Mc Shane stated:
 
“Fracking was only discussed for a limited period of time as we found the company had been evasive while addressing questions in the past. Instead we focused on socioeconomic issues – chief among them was job creation.
 
“Rathlin Energy confirmed that no major employment opportunities would present themselves and the programme of work they envisaged would not be labour intensive. In addition, drilling rigs and specialised crews would all be brought in from overseas to the Ballinlea site. Neither would the company be offering training to enhance the prospect of job creation within the local community”.
 
Mr. Conor Mc Carry who is currently engaged in third level environmental studies said:At Sheskburn House L-R Diarmuid O'Loan and Dermot Nesbit Rathlin Energy with Councillor Padraig Mc Shane and Mr. Conor Mc Carry.

 
“While discussions were limited on Fracking the company continue to insist it is a valid option. Also lower domestic energy prices could never accrue when any such commodities would be traded on the global market. I was pleased when the Company performed a volte face and confirmed as much.”
 
Councillor Padraig Mc Shane finished by stating:
 
“The meeting confirmed that very limited or possibly no jobs would be created for the local community by Rathlin Energy. In addition the Public Relations spin about cheaper energy prices can be firmly dismissed. All in all there may be no real tangible benefits for the wider community who may have to live with irreparable environmental damage”.

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.

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.”