On the same morning another lorry load of aid leaves Ballycastle and the Glens for Calais, Greece and beyond to support fellow human beings in plight, those who would join in the fight for humanity had to endure a racist attack on their church premises in Coleraine
Refugees making their way across Europe from Syria, escaping the West’s brutal intervention in the internal affairs of another Nation State, are the upwardly mobile, third level educated, young, articulate, intelligent and like anyone in a similar situation, are desperate to survive.
On the other hand, those who placed graffiti on the walls of the Salvation Army centre on the Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, are a lot further down the evolutionary tree. They have a supremacist ideology carved from generations of anti-catholic sectarianism. It is no surprise to see a mural to UDA TEENAGER William Campbell shadowing the latest Racist graffiti along the banks of the Bann. 19 year old Campbell blew himself up while in the process of attempting to kill catholics in the Coleraine area.
The UDA, who sponsored the placing of the disgusting graffiti on the Church property, enjoyed links to like minded far right groups including COMBAT 18, the National Front and more recently, Britain First.
Coleraine has had a chapter of the National Front since the 70’s. It has been allowed to grow and flourish among the poorly educated, loyalist communities that senior Unionist politicians court for votes. It is that link that allows much of the hate to be airbrushed and is the chief reason why the Loyalist tail can be seen wagging the Unionist dog.
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.
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.
“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”.
The transitional committee of the Causeway Coast & Glens super council will face a legal challenge if they vote to drop the ‘Glens’ from the Council’s domain name. The warning came from Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig McShane, who went on to describe the proposed move as; “the beginning of a process that would lead to the introduction of ‘political and cultural apartheid’ in Ballycastle and the Glens”.
“It is clear that Unionists in both Coleraine and Ballymoney are keen to rid themselves of the Glens badge in any future Council. But the reason to do so does not contain one logically compelling, deeply informed, or conceptually arresting argument”.
“If as Councillor McShane has indicated, the Causeway Coast and Glens transition committee intends to proceed with the omission of the “Glens” from the domain name of the new council, then the consequences will be clearly detrimental to our client. In this instance our client will have no option but to challenge such a decision through the courts.”
“For a short time I entertained the misguided hope that political Unionism, both in Coleraine and Ballymoney, might rise above what has distinguished Unionist politics on this island. But it is clear from the latest move that, ‘The Green Glens of Antrim’, from Glentaise in Ballycastle to Glenariff in Waterfoot, are a shade too green for some Unionists.
“Ballycastle and the Glens are steeped in Gaelic tradition and culture. The fusion of language, music and sports will make up an integral and desirable part of any new political considerations for local government. Councillors in Ballymoney and Coleraine must begin to embrace the area and look upon it as the asset it is.“And decision made by the members of the transition committee must be morally sound. If the wish is to disenfranchise an entire area because of its political or religious makeup, then I can confirm that legal repercussions will accompany any and all those decisions both now and in the future.
“The old order and the undiluted power that was accorded to it is being erased from the pages of time. Those Councillors who incubate a desire to return to the ‘failed political model’ of the past should avail of the opportunity to retire.
Causeway Coast and Glens Community Support Framework Community Engagement Workshops
All councils have a responsibility for community services/support which includes capacity building, networking, resourcing the sector and information provision. Currently each council has different service provisions however, all have the same core aspects to their work. Each Council wants to involve community and voluntary groups and other interested individuals in the preparation of the new Framework which will help shape how the new Council will support communities and community groups in the future.You are invited to attend any of the following workshops:
Thursday 28 February 2013
2.30 – 4.00pm Limavady Borough Council, 7 Connell Street
6.00 – 7.30pm Coleraine Town Hall, The Diamond, Coleraine
Wednesday 6 March 2013
1.30 – 3.00pm Joey Dunlop Centre, 33 Garryduff Road, Ballymoney
6.30 – 8.00pm Sheskburn House, 7 May Street, Ballycastle
To book a place at any of the workshops please contact Community Places on 028 9023 9444 or email email@example.com Please include your name / group’s name and details of any access or support needs.
You can also give your views and ideas by completing our on line survey at
A new Tourism-Leisure facility in Moyle would increase rates by as little as one percent under a new super-council arrangement set to be in place by 2014. But a Councillor Claims rates are set to fall further for the residents of the District as they become part of a new local government structure.
Following months of work Independent Councillor Padraig McShane is to present a case for the development of a Tourism-Leisure facility on the Quay Road, Ballycastle.
The Councillor is set to propose that Moyle prepare a robust case for the development to be put forward to the transition committee for consideration. The transition committee is made up of Councillors from Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle areas that are set to make up the Causeway Coast and Glens Super-council.
It is believed that talks are already underway as other Councils recognise and have identified the need in Moyle.
Councillor Mc Shane himself a member of the committee said;
“The making of a case for this facility was never going to be easy. The history of Moyle has been one of excessive rates bills and very poor services. To develop a facility of that nature today would increase the rate by fifteen percent in Moyle. To develop it through the new super-council structures will increase the rate by only one percent.
“That fact belies the truth in real terms. Moyle ratepayers will see a substantial drop in their rates as an equilibrium is created throughout the Super Council area.”
Councillor Mc Shane continued;
“What others take for granted, the people of Moyle are asked to do without. Our job as Councillors is not to make money but to offer services for residents. Moyle must position itself to address a historical legacy that has seen the needs of the local community, the business sector and indeed the tourism sector be ignored because of its geographical isolation and low population base.
“The needs analysis has already been completed alongside a robust business case performed by one of Europe‘s leading Leisure consultancies. It evidences the requirement for this facility in Moyle. The multi-million pound investment is a must for the sustainability of the North East corner of the new Super-council.