The Alliance Party in North Belfast has hit out at what it has claimed as cut backs in the Department of the Environment Budget for North Belfast.
Tom Campbell, who is the Party’s Chairman in the area and a former Councillor, said:?? “I have raised a number of issues with he Road Service and I believe that the response reflects cut backs in spending in this area. For example I have raised the issue of resurfacing in Hopefield Avenue and I have also sought new street lighting in the Upper Cavehill area. In both cases the Department has indicated that it is not prepared to spend the money required to give these areas a satisfactory service. For example, in the Upper Cavehill area the street lighting is poor and this represents danger to pedestrians at night.”
Mr Campbell concluded:?? “I note that Cecil Walker has remerged form hiding to issue a statement condemning education cuts part of the problem with expenditure from the public purse is that the Government have made it clear that the £80 million damage to the economy as a result of the Drumcree stand off will have to come out of existing budgets. It is of some significance that the Unionist Leader David Trimble is planning further activity at Drumcree this summer, the consequences of which could result in further damage to the economy, to community relations and to the services we expect from government.”
Commenting on the DUP and Ulster Unionist decision to cut Castlereagh’s rates by 2.67p or %, Alliance Party Councillor Margaret Marshall stated that the people of Castlereagh South needed play areas and parkland.
Councillor Marshall said: “Our area has been over developed and the Council should be providing amenities for the residents, both new and old.
“The sports Council recommends 2.4 hectares of land for recreation for every 1000 people. Over 1500 new house have been built here recently with no green areas left.
“The Castlereagh Economic Development Partnership is working hard to create employment in Castlereagh. It is ironic that at the same time the Council will be cutting employees working hours and putting jobs at risk.”
Peninsula Councillor, Kieran McCarthy has criticised the decision of the SEELB to do away with summer facilities for children with learning difficulties.
Cllr McCarthy who is the Alliance Party Spokesman on Disability and the parent of a disabled daughter said:
“The withdrawal of this scheme will be a severe blow to both the parents and the child. It is important that the continuous physical and educational needs of the child is kept going during the long summer school holidays and of course it is also important that parents and carers of these youngsters get sufficient help and respite opportunities.
“I realise the problems faced by the Education Board and indeed pay tribute to them for the work and effort which they have put into Summer Schemes over the past number of years, but by withdrawing the schemes they would leave a vacuum for all concerned and I suggest that perhaps the local Health Trusts might consult with the Education Boards and hopefully come up with something that would satisfy the needs for summer activity for youngsters with a learning difficulty and their parents.”