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Monthly Archives: September 1998

ALLIANCE Party Leader Sean Neeson has slammed whoever was responsible for last weekend’s attack at St. Comgall’s Intermediate School in Larne.

And Mr. Neeson – who is an assembly member for East Antrim – has called on the North Easter and Education and Library Board to provide security cameras at the school.

The Alliance Party Leader, a former teacher of history at the school, believes that the installation of cameras might prevent vandals from targeting the school in the future.

Mr. Neeson, who visited the ransacked school yesterday afternoon, also urged vandals to think about the “terrible consequences” of their actions.

“I would like to condemn this wanton destruction and ask these people to think about the devastating effect their actions are having on the local community,” said Mr. Neeson.

“We must not tolerate this type of behaviour and I would urge the NEELB to seriously consider the possibility of using cameras at the schools.

“I think this action is necessary because the school, which is situated in an isolated area, has been attacked on numerous occasions.

“Extensive damage has been caused at the school and as a former teacher, it breaks my heart to hear about these type of attacks.

“I hope the police are successful in apprehending the culprits and I hope we have seen the last of such attacks.

“However I will still be calling on the education board to install the cameras – sooner rather than later,” added the assemblyman.

STRANGFORD Assemblyman Kieran McCarthy has urged Northern Ireland’s new government to speed up the process of establishing a civic forum.

The Alliance Party representative said that such a body would help boost the peace process and make the assembly more “accountable”.

He said that, with community, business and voluntary representatives on board, the people of Northern Ireland would help create a “much better” future.

And Mr. McCarthy further claimed that – when the new structure is finally up an running – the people of County Down will also have an important role to play in its implementation.

“Assembly members may have the duty of governing Northern Ireland – but the people will also have an important role to play,” explained the Assemblyman.

“I firmly believe that a civic forum, where members of the assembly and the population work together, would be of vital importance to the people of Northern Ireland.

“We know that the civic forum is high on the agenda of the assembly members – but it’s essential that the tempo of this process is increased.

“We have seen how successful the partnerships involving the business, community, voluntary and political sector has been in recent years – and this must continue.

“I think that the people of Northern Ireland and the people of Co. Down will all contribute positively to the civic forum.

“For it is clear that all of our assembly members should make moves to establish this body where everyone can have their say on how we are governed.”

A FORMER Castlereagh councillor has expressed outrage at the Environment Minister’s decision to allow 550 homes to be built in Cairnshill.

And Mrs. Margaret Marshall, who is the chairperson of the Alliance Party’s Castlereagh South Association, has called on the Department of the Environment to build a suitable play area in the borough.

Speaking after the announcement from Lord Dubs, the Alliance spokeswoman said:

“I absolutely deplore the DoE’s decision to build 550 new homes in the Cairnshill area of Castlereagh – it is an absolute disgrace.

“I attended the public inquiry in 1997 as an objector to the building of more homes and I emphasised the need for a children’s play area. And even though I attended the public inquiry, I have to hear of the minister’s decision from the media.

“1,500 new homes have already been built in this area and there is not one single play area for the children. However, I also think a public park should be built in the Cairnshill area – not more private dwellings.

“The DoE have always given planning permission without any requirements for open space, cycle tracks and play areas – so why can’t they do it in the Cairnshill area.”

Meanwhile the former councillor has called on Lord Dubs to build a “much needed” community centre in Cairnshill and urged DoE chiefs to allocate land for the centre “immediately”.

NORTH Down shadow assembly members will have to work “tirelessly” for the benefit of the constituency, a leading member of the Alliance Party said today.

Mrs. Eileen Bell said it was essential for the borough’s Alliance, Ulster Unionist, Women’s Coalition and United Kingdom Unionist assembly members to work together for everyone in the area.

But the Alliance Party Chairperson also pointed out that the North Down assembly members must work harder to remove what, she says is, the “gold coast” image of the borough.

Mrs. Bell insists that if the borough’s assembly members strive to improve the image of the borough – then the possibility of more economic investment will be greatly enhanced.

Speaking after attending yesterday’s meeting of assembly members at Stormont, Mrs. Bell said that “only time will tell” if her fellow politicians are prepared to work together.

“Whilst recognising that it is our duty to take an interest in the wider problems facing Northern Ireland – we still have an obligation to protect the interests of our constituencies,” she said.

“And as an assembly member for North Down, I will be doing my best to improving the image of the borough and I will be listening to what people have to say.

“Many people throughout Northern Ireland often refer to this constituency as the ‘gold coast’ but this is totally wrong and totally inaccurate.

“It might be a more prosperous area compared to other parts of Northern Ireland but it still needs more investment.

“I raised this matter with delegates from the US Presidential team when they visited Northern Ireland last week. However, I will be still pressing from more economic investment when the assembly reconvenes on Monday,” added Mrs. Bell.

Gerry Lynch, Chairperson of North Belfast Alliance, has branded the
Secretary of State’s Handling of the release of Guardsmen Fisher and Wright
as ‘grossly insensitive’.

Gerry said:

“The early release of prisoners is never easy, but to release these men so
close to the anniversary of Mr McBride’s death is grossly insensitive. The
insufficient notice given to the McBride family about the releases raises
very serious questions about both the NIO and the Secretary of State’s
handling of this case.

“71% of people in Northern Ireland backed the Good Friday Agreement, which
included prisoner releases. In that context the release of Messrs Wright
and Fisher was essential. However, their convictions remain, and it would
be deeply worrying if people convicted of murder were allowed to remain
serving with the armed forces.”