Monday, April 26, 2010

Freedom of the Borough

It was with enormous pride and honour I was involved with the Freedom of the Borough presented to the Royal Irish Regiment this month by the Council.

The men were inspected on the West Lawn of the Town Hall complete with bands and their mascot Irish Wolfhound, Brian Boru.

The men marched through the town to tremendous applause and respect. Everyone realising that these young men would shortly be redeployed to Helmand province later this year.

The greatest cheer went up when they played their special march - Killaloe.

My best wishes go with the regiment and for a safe return to home.

Education Minister Difficulty with Sums

Education Minister’s mathematical skills stop at “division”

The issue of cuts to funding for preparatory departments and the activities of our wayward Education Minister were discussed at this week’s council meeting. The mere fact that this is being discussed at council level indicates the level of bad feeling across the community towards the Minister and her agenda.

Speaking during the debate, I stated that I thought she should be called - rather than Caitriona Ruane - Caitriona 'Ruin' because she does what she wants, when she wants and listens to no one. Reason flew out the window.”

Addressing the Minister’s most recent campaign against preparatory departments – and her decision to cut their funding by one third, I continued, the extra costs to the education system just don't make sense. She doesn't do addition and subtraction although she is very good at division.

Her policy as far as I can see is to destroy education in Northern Ireland.

Choir of the Year

As the Councillor who refused to allow a grant for Ballyholme Primary School be rejected.

I called on Council to reconsider their decision particularly as at times money seems to be able to be found for various projects when necessary.

I was delighted that very quickly after this meeting Council were able to grant aid the school their request.

So, congratulations must go to Ballyholme Primary School for winning the BBC Songs of Praise Primary School of the Year.

They competed against over 200 schools in London, winning £1000 for musical equipment for the school.

Well done to everyone involved and once again congratulations.

Problem - what Problem?

Buck Passing at it’s Best

“The residents of Bangor West have experienced another dose of road closures. There is no doubt that travelling by road in this area will be challenging.

The reason for this latest closure is quote “the proposed storm and foul sewer to be constructed will serve a new development of domestic units on the Bryansburn Road.”

Now we come to the interesting part. Once again the Planning Service approve an application, in total isolation. I have no problem with new storm and foul sewers being constructed. My problem is that the Planning Service do not appear to take issues such as major road disruption into their considerations.

As a conclusion to all of this, traffic is being diverted down the Brunswick Road, again total madness. This road had a primary school, several businesses and the local chapel, which will have services, weddings and funerals. It is a narrow road, where people do park outside their own homes. I do not think that the person who decided to send the volume of traffic there is in this area down the Brunswick Road can live in the area or know anything about it.

Problem? Not the Planning Service, not the Roads Service? Just another example of the men in grey suits making decisions with little or no coordination between departments.

New Mental Health Facility

Cllr Mrs Marion Smith welcomed the £9million adolescent mental health inpatient facility at Beechcroft, on the Foster Green site in Belfast. This facility will provide much needed accommodation for adolescents between the ages of 13 – 18 with mental health problems; as well there will be accommodation for over night accommodations for parents.

This announcement will make a real and lasting difference to all within the mental health sphere. It is an example of investment in the health and social care services.

The accommodation will provide 18 en-suite single bedrooms, day rooms, dining rooms, quiet areas, therapy and educational facilities and outdoor recreation.

This new unit will make a very real and welcome difference for those young people using this service.