Author Archive for Cadogan

Downe A&E cuts announced by South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

ASDFG

Enright Slams Trust For Cutting Downe A&E Hours

Councillor Enright got versions of the letter below into the Irish news, Newsletter, Mourne Observer, Down Recorder and Down News. (click here)
Sir,

re: Downe A&E cuts announced by South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

2014 has opened with widespread anger around Downpatrick and District at the sudden announcement by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust that they are experiencing a critical shortage of medical staff in both the Downe and Lagan Valley Emergency Departments and were thus forced to cut back on weekend working. This leaves local doctors operating an ‘Out of Hours’ at weekends and night-time at the Downe on their own.

The Monday before Christmas I attended a 3 1/2 hour emergency meeting between the Trust and local elected representatives at the Down Civic Centre  in the Downshire Estate on the Ardglass Road to demand answers on why Accident and Emergency services were being cut at weekends with suggestions that we travel to the Ulster hospital instead.

We were able to extract a promise from Trust management that when sufficient staff had been recruited, normal service would resume. The Trust also promised to brief us on progress towards this goal.

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Suspicions exist that Lisburn and Downpatrick are being sacrificed to enable the Ulster to build up its numbers to resist being culled when the realization hits that we don’t need four major hospitals in Belfast. 45% of admissions to the Ulster are already from Belfast. Real people live beyond Carryduff.

The inability to recruit and retain middle-grade doctors to work in A&E points to poor planning and raises issues about the competency of Health Service management over a 15 year period since this problem has become widely acknowledged.  Solutions should have been found long ago.

At a time of huge graduate unemployment and emigration only 250 doctors are being trained every year in the North. Of these 100 are overseas students who will return home, and an average of 50 are emigrating annually on graduation.

You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to figure out that we should have been training at least 100 more per annum for many years, and that Trusts ought to be allowed to sponsor students who agree to work in scarce specialities for a number of years after graduating.

Roads infrastructure in South Down is very different compared to Lisburn or the Ulster which are minutes away from a selection of A&E hospitals in Belfast, Craigavon and Antrim. Some parts of Down District would require travelling 40 miles to the Ulster Hospital A&E or Daisy Hill in Newry. This is just unacceptable. Several local people described to me how that they would have died had they not been treated at Downe A&E over the last few years.

A solution must be found soon.

Yours,

Cllr Cadogan Enright

Downpatrick

 

COUNCILLOR ENRIGHT COLLECTS THOUSANDS OF LOCAL SIGNATURES FOR A&E CAMPAIGN

Cadogan Enright collects signatures at local Rugby club for Hospital accident and emergency department's return.

Cadogan Enright collects signatures at local Rugby club for Hospital accident and emergency department’s return.

In addition to the 2600 signatures he collected in Saul, Raholp, Strangford, Kilcleif, Ballyhornan, Chapeltown and Killough, Cadogan Enright collects more signatures at Ballynahinch Rugby Club to prevent the closure of the A&E department in the Downe Hospital. Many sporting clubs agreed that the Accident and Emergency service was essential. Cllr Enright collected signatures at Dunleath park, Ballynahinch Rugby club and sent petitions to over 50 GAA clubs in the surrounding area.

Extremely constructive talks on modern energy storage project

Leading energy storage project discussed between Cllr Enright, Environmental minister Durkan and leaders of the Ulster Farmers union and DDFFRE.

Leading energy storage project discussed between Cllr Enright, Environmental minister Durkan and leaders of the Ulster Farmers union and DDFFRE.

 

Ground-breaking energy storage project discussed in extremely productive talks with Environmental minister Durkan. Councillor Enright led a delegation of leaders of the Ulster Farmers union and local Down farmers organisation DDFFRE. The scheme would be the first of its type in the UK and Ireland and is slated to be based at the old airdrome in Ballyhornan and serving Ardglass and other Lecale villages with renewable energy.

Minister promised to make an on-site tour in July

Grant given to local Energy storage scheme

DDFFRE and David Surplus from B9 meet with Cllr Cadogan Enright over a new energy storage project fund worth up to a possible £450,000 for the Lecale area.

DDFFRE and David Surplus from B9 meet with Cllr Cadogan Enright over a new energy storage project fund worth up to a possible £450,000 for the Lecale area.

Councillor Enright organised a joint funding application between energy company B9 representative David Surplus and the local farmers co-operative Down District Farmers for renewable energy. The grant is aimed at creating a ‘micro-grid’ in the Lecale area which will enable farmers to connect to the national grid without the massive charges they currently face of up to £450,000 for a connection. This will make the Lecale area the first project of its kind in Britain and Ireland.

Coney Island affected by Porky pies

CONEY ISLAND RESIDENTS OUTRAGED BY ROAD SERVICE CLAIMS

Local residents were outraged when they read this article suggesting they had not been abandoned without sandbags by the road service.

Local residents were outraged when they read this article suggesting they had not been abandoned without sandbags by the road service.

Local residents were outraged when they read this article suggesting they had not been abandoned without sandbags by the road service. Councillor Enright has organised a meeting between council and road service to ensure that one of the two will take responsibility for Coney Island in future flooding situations.

School Transport Campaign for Irish Medium Children

I have created this web-page for the benefit of Down District Council’s Education committee to try and give a summary of the plight of pupils attending secondary education through medium of Irish. They have been refused the same form of transport to their school (Coláiste Feirste in Belfast) that every other regional school in Belfast is provided with its own dedicated transport network covering County Down.

The GFA placed a statutory duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate Irish medium education in line with current provision for integrated education.

Access to second level IM education for many/most children outside of West Belfast is effectively blocked by the use of transport regulations that were not present when the Integrated, State and Catholic secondary school sectors were set up.

Given that all other sectors are English Speaking, not only may the DOE be acting illegally, but also may be acting in a racist manner.

Access to integrated education is given a clear priority by the department of education in both city and country areas to enable this sector to develop. Lagan College for instance is seen as a regional college servicing county Down. In addition to a fleet of City buses, Lagan college has been provided with a “shuttle service” between the school and Belfast bus-stations and a fleet of country buses serving areas around county Down as far south as Downpatrick.

This same priority must be given to IM education based on the application of existing UK law as well as the provisions of the European Charter signed by the UK Government following its commitment to do so in the 1998 GFA.

Find linked letters clearly stating the law supporting Coláiste Feirste’s case from
• the NI Human Rights commissioner here
• the Children’s’ Commissioner here
• and Rodger Watts the Lawyer who has advanced this case over the last 3 years on behalf of these Children here.

1. Secondary Education Transport in NI – a look at the Belfast Area

Any child living more than 3 miles from school is entitled to a bus pass and may use normal public bus provisions or one of the many dedicated buses serving schools the secondary sector.

Transport to school in NI via the normal daily public bus service but is supplemented by approximately 2020 dedicated school buses funded by the Department of Education. These additional buses are provided where the public routes are unsatisfactory, crowded, where the distances are great, where the children may be in danger from traffic or crossing hostile areas etc. This form of transport is ideal, as it takes a child to the door of a school, but where they are engaging in extra-curricular activity they can still use their bus passes on ordinary transport.

None of these 2020 buses are available for IM secondary school children.

When one compares the generous dedicated bus provision shown in the attached link for integrated schools in the Belfast area to the complete absence of any dedicated buses for the Irish Medium secondary sector, one only begins to scratch on the surface of this problem. (Note the provision of dedicated buses to areas like Lagmore or Downpatrick where Coláiste Feirste children have been refused a similar service.)
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&safe=active&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100156166942575328650.00046e825ab15e9497659&ll=54.551359,-5.780182&spn=0.3158,0.890579&z=11

2. Putting Children in Danger in Hostile areas

There are other scandals affecting transport in this sector. I have been copied on letters from the Department of Education by the parents of children in North Belfast who have been instructed that if their Children were to walk down the Shankill Road (a Loyalist/British Nationalist area with a long history of anti-Irish/Catholic violence) to Irish secondary school their journey would be just less than 3 miles – and are therefore not entitled to a bus pass.

Letter to North Belfast Parent (widowed during ‘troubles’ and bringing up children alone).

Map here for stroll to IM school down Shankill Road.

When I met the department at Balloo House in my capacity as elected representative, DOE representatives openly accepted that no parent of an Irish speaking child could possibly let their child walk down the Shankill Road to school, but insists this rule must be followed and that “special exceptions” specified by the regulations do not apply. By contrast Integrated schools have a network of busses crossing “hostile areas” all over Belfast. Catholic Schools in East Belfast have buses provided that journey less than a mile and a half through hostile areas for very good health and safety reasons – but Coláiste Feirste students are refused the same facility. (Note other precedents exist to deal with this situation – eg Holy Cross primary get 2 buses because of “special circumstances”)

3. Looking at the Transport Situation outside Belfast

The situation outside of Belfast is even more dire. Parents have been campaigning for dedicated bus transport from Downpatrick to school. All other secondary school sectors (state, catholic, integrated) have a network of such buses serving Downpatrick – even where those sectors already have a school in Downpatrick and where no necessity exists to transport children in those other sectors to secondary school in distant towns. The attached links show the network of dedicated buses for;

State schools in Downpatrick area, e.g. special dedicated buses for Methody and Victoria colleges http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&safe=active&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100156166942575328650.00046ea7bcc67c5b879a7&ll=54.461258,-5.918884&spn=0.316497,0.890579&z=11

The Catholic schools in the Downpatrick area, e.g. special dedicated buses to Assumption Grammar school. http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&safe=active&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100156166942575328650.00046ea70bd5c43aa07da&z=10

Integrated Schools in the Downpatrick area, e.g. special dedicated buses for Lagan College http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&safe=active&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100156166942575328650.00046e825ab15e9497659&ll=54.551359,-5.780182&spn=0.3158,0.890579&z=11

The average distances to IM secondary school in Belfast from towns in Antrim and Down are made greater because outside of Belfast those communities most likely to take up secondary IM education are in North Antrim or South Down for historical reasons. This means that children as young as 11 must travel two hours each way per day (20 hours per week) if they wish to continue to receive their education in their Native Language as required of the UK under EU law.

Not one of the 2020 dedicated buses supporting secondary schools provided by the Department via Translink and the Education Boards serves the Irish Medium Secondary sector – despite this sector having the most pressing need of transport to distant schools.

It is noteworthy that were NI a county in England and Wales, most of the 2020 buses serving secondary schools would not exist, as in E&W pupils are expected to attend their nearest school in category. Yet the DOE refuses to allow Irish speaking children equivalent transport provision to attend their ONLY school in category.

While we have focused on Downpatrick in our campaign, exactly the same situation is found in the Mourne mountains area, the districts around Sliabh Crúibe, South and East Armagh, North Antrim, Tyrone and other areas around NI.

If the same percentage of the dedicated bus fleet to be available to the Irish Medium secondary sector based on (at least) the percentage of children attending secondary education though the medium of Irish, Coláiste Feirste would have a comparable fleet of country buses and city buses to that which services Lagan College or the other Belfast colleges servicing the Down/Antrim regional area.

See here for briefing document on language rights in Northern Ireland according to the Human Rights Commission

Wind Turbines, Conservationists and Environmentalists

Below is a letter that Cllr Cadogan Enright sent to the Down Recorder with regards the emerging debate between Environmentalists and Conservationists on the issue of Wind Turbines on the South Down Coast.

Sir,

I read with interest your 3-page article on renewable energy in the Down area, and how the local planning authorities’ are failing to react in a manner consistent with UK government policy in support of renewable energy.

We have substantial river, tidal and sea current sources of renewable energy in this District. We have smaller biofuel, solar and photo-voltaic installations. The main issue in your article was wind energy and its relation to landscape conservation and economics.

All business development proposals interplay between Economics, the Environment and Conservation. Often in the past we have seen Ministers (usually DUP) intervening myopically to make economics the only angle. Witness Minister Poot’s out-of-town shopping decision which will devastate businesses in Banbridge, or the laughable planning policy proposal PPS23 where the Minister effectively is saying Economics is the only real planning criteria – clearly contrary to UK and EU law.

What is new in this energy debate is that there is now no difference between the economic and environmental position. It is clear to all in industry that cheap fuel oil has had its day. Only the DUP seem to be dissenting from this environmental and economic consensus.

As highlighted in your article, business must reduce consumption or switch to cheaper renewables. This applies to N.I. as a whole – we cannot depend on 90% of the county’s energy being reliably and affordably being delivered by the Russians, the Arabs and the Nigerians. The supply of hydro-carbons has peaked. Demand continues to grow. There can only be one conclusion, and it’s not going to be pretty for N.I. and Co. Down.

The only remaining debate on wind turbines is with Conservationists. The key question is “What are we trying to conserve?”. Only 200 years ago all energy in East Down came from wind, water, horse power, biofuel and human labour. There were hundreds of wind mills all over East Down.

With the industrial revolution we lost much of this indigenous fuel, and we saw quays being reinforced around the District to accommodate coal. Now conservationists place almost equal emphasis on preserving these now redundant coal quays along with preserving the biodiversity and landscape in which they are based – as in Delamont or Steamboat Quay in Downpatrick. In London, iconic coal power stations are being listed for conservation – but how they were loathed when they were first built!

Conservationists and Environmentalists fight to preserve local railway tracks. The railways in this area were not killed off by the internal combustion engine, petrol and the car. They were killed off by the political decision to have railways pay for their tracks, but not have road vehicles pay for their roads. Clearly the new energy reality is going to change this equation and we may once again see the Downpatrick express pulling into Queens Quay in Belfast.

Had conservationism been strong in the 19th century we would have hundreds of wind mills dotted all over East Down and along our coast now only a few stumps remain like the old windmill at Mill Field in Killough.

Conservationists need to ask, what do we really need to conserve? We lost the tidal powered mills in Strangford to the Vikings. Our field system came from the Normans. We lost our vast forests to agricultural development and the Ulster Plantation. We lost windmills and watermills to the Industrial Revolution. Our landscape was marred in the 1930’s by electrification. Would our landscape be recognisable to our ancestors?

It seems to me that the key thing we need to conserve is the best aspects of our built and natural heritage – but focus on reviving our local bio-diversity. Meanwhile we must ensure a sustainable, cheap energy supply for our children that does not damage the environment and keeps our money at home and our people in jobs. Advanced economies like Germany, Holland, Austria and Denmark are already doing this – we need to catch up.

Cllr Cadogan Enright

FLOOD MAP LECALE

FLOODING PROJECTIONS LECALE

Flood Map Lecale

You can see the projected flooding to the Lecale area as well as all of Northern Ireland by clicking on the above link and then  selecting the level of sea level rise on the top left.

PARKING METERS IN DOWNPATRICK: “A SLAP IN THE FACE FOR LOCAL SHOPPERS & TRADERS”

Downpatrick’s Councillor Cadogan Enright has slammed DARD’s proposals to install parking meters in the Town as “a short-sighted and ill-conceived raid on struggling High Streets to fund the department with no local benefits”.

Cadogan Enright pointed out “What is particularly frustrating is that the £37.7 million that the DRD hopes to raise in 5 years is set to plug holes in central government, not to benefit Downpatrick or other local towns in any way. If these proposals had any legitimacy, the funds raised in each town would be ring-fenced for that town to improve road quality, to widen pedestrian access, to revise and improve town traffic management or to provide extra parking spaces in strategic locations.”

Cadogan Asked, “Where is the sense in milking our struggling Town Centre and High Streets in 30 other towns across the North as a route to raise central government funds? The money-grabbing mentality of this proposal is highlighted by the proposal that parking fines may increase to £90. This policy actually encourages people to leave their locality and opt for the free or discounted car-parking facilities provided by large multinational supermarkets. This policy is a slap in the face to those who are trying to ensure that the centre of Market Towns in N.I. do not become ghost towns like many parts of England.”

‘A better approach would be to consult with each town on its individual needs and its geographical realities before applying a broad brush, one-size-fits-all approach. Downpatrick is a town with unique heritage and we are working locally in our ‘Realm Committee’ to ensure that issues like congestion and under-development are dealt with. Downpatrick also benefits from a varied central shopping area with many independent traders. Traffic management is an issue that is indelibly interwoven with the overarching business and tourist strategy of the town and should be dealt with by way of open consultation; not draconian top down legislation,” said Cadogan Enright.

“If I am elected on the 5th May I will fight this proposal and ensure that parking and retail development in Downpatrick is managed for the benefit of local people, not central government coffers” Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.

ENRIGHT WARNS LOCAL BUSINESSES TO ACT NOW TO AVOID CARBON EMISSIONS STEALTH TAX

South Down Councillor Cadogan Enright is warning local businesses to prepare now for a tax on their carbon emissions set to be introduced in April next year.

He has also warned that the government’s plans to implement the Carbon Reduction Commitment is nothing more than a stealth tax that will disproportionally damage our local economy.

Cllr Cadogan Enright said “The original idea of the CRC was a fund to help businesses and households to modify their buildings to be cheaper to run, and to use local renewable energy. It was to be funded by a tax on carbon-emitting businesses. But the Lib-Con coalition has turned this sensible proposal into a stealth tax by keeping the fund for central government”.

“Businesses also need to be warned that the Carbon Trust is also set to lose 40% of its current funding and is expected to stop its free carbon/energy audit service for businesses within one year. Thus any business that has been putting off seeking this service needs to contact the Carbon Trust now,” said Cllr Enright.

Councillor Enright said: “The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) was initially designed to incentivise large private and public sector bodies to increase energy efficiency. By charging for carbon credits and rewarding those who performed well with financial pay back, the scheme would have encouraged investment in low carbon technologies. It was a carrot and stick approach designed to reduce carbon emissions, but now the government has removed the carrot and all we are left with is the stick – a stealth tax.”

Cadogan Enright pointed out that “This will have a particularly devastating impact in Northern Ireland as our private and public bodies will be disproportionately affected. With the publication of departmental draft budgets we are already seeing the impact of the UK government’s slash and burn policies. This will further add to the misery and will likely result in further jobs losses and cuts in services.”

“Our private sector will also be hit hard. “Companies are already struggling with the pressure of ever-increasing oil prices. The addition of the new CRC stealth tax puts at risk any chance we have of economic recovery. Money raised by the scheme will go straight to the Treasury so it is essentially a way of clawing back money from our block grant. The government is literally giving with one hand and taking away with another.”

“It is yet another example of the government hijacking what were well intentioned and well designed ‘Green’ incentives and using them to make money – not reduce waste which they were initially designed to do. Northern Ireland will suffer most as we are so far behind the UK in making energy efficiencies which is something that our Ministers must take responsibility for,” said the South Down Councillor.

“The CRC has been on the cards for a number of years, so whilst I abhor the changes made by the Con/Lib Government, the NI Executive should have ensured we were better prepared.”

“It therefore now falls to local business to be prepared in order to minimize the amount that they will have to pay once this tax has been introduced next year. I have published a list of recommendations on my web-site that local business can do to minimize the cost of energy and the CRC to themselves going forward at

http://enright.ie/policies/energyadvice

,” Concluded Cadogan Enright.