Dog Fouling bye-laws get tough 14th Nov 2012
Archive for the 'Killyleagh' Category
Following Digital UK writing to Down District Council last year us last year on the schedule for switch-over, I wrote back to them to them seeking reassurance that widespread concern around Down District that RTE1, RTE2 and TG4 would be available from day one as had previously been announced and as agreed under the Good Friday and Saint Andrews Agreement.
It was clear from the on-line maps they were supplying at the time that large areas of Down District including Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ballynahinch would be left out, I had been seeking improvements to this scenario. Map of Best Case Scenario April 2012 for RTE / TG4 coverage
Very large numbers of people in this district rely on these stations for sports coverage, Irish Language broadcasting and news across the Island of Ireland.
Denis Wolinski, Digital UK’s National Manager in Northern Ireland, wrote to me last October saying “Beidh RTE agus TG4 ar fáil ar an gcóras nua. Beidh a thuilleadh eolais faoi seo á fhógairt amach anseo.” (RTE and TG4 will be available on the new system, more information will be announced on this.)
However significant gaps in coverage emerged (see link above to map) during the digital switch-over which I continued to query in a lengthy correspondence with Digital UK
Worryingly, digitaluk’s team here in N.I. have confirmed that only one of the two transmitters in the Belfast area will be carrying the Irish as well as the UK stations. Blackmountain will have both, but the Divis transmitter will only have UK services – most TV’s in Down District receive their signal from the Divis Transmitter.
I have challenged this arrangement both directly myself, and have had Down Council express concerns on behalf of all citizens in the District.
Digital have written to me saying “Our advice to consumers is based on information made available to us from the broadcasters. This indicates that the new Freeview service supplemented by Saorview signals from the Republic will make TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two available to approximately 93 per cent of households in Northern Ireland. Our campaign reminds viewers that Freeview HD equipment will be needed to receive these channels via Freeview.”
I am campaigning to make sure we do not end up as part of the 7% who do not get the service.
Councilor Cadogan Enright proposed a motion to allow bicycles being dumped at Downs civic amenity centers to be refurbished and sold on for charity. Cllr Enright put the motion at Wednesday night’s environment meeting at the request of committee chair, Castlewellan Cllr Eamonn O’Neill.
Cadogan Enright said “Following proposals by myself last year, Council Management have agreed to include an area in Downs new larger civic amenity site to be used to allow people to leave out perfectly reusable goods for others to take away for free as is done in the USA and Australia. Anybody visiting our local civic amenity centers will see dozens of perfectly good bicycles in the skips, furniture, doors and many other reusable items like furniture. As rules currently stand, ratepayers are not allowed to re-use what is in the skips. This makes no sense”.
“My motion on Wednesday night will allow the council to bring forward this date at least for bicycles, and we can move on the other large recyclables when the new civic amenity center comes on-stream.”
Cllr Enright continued “There are other options available. For instance Banbridge District Council opened a ‘restore Centre’ on the Scarva Road in Banbridge in summer 2009. Since opening thousands of items have been purchased including sofa’s, tables, chairs, dressers, washing machines, tumble driers and cookers to name just a selection of items for sale. ‘Restore’ has helped Banbridge get across the principals of full sustainability and created a more positive outlook on reusing second hand goods with the financial benefit this has for the whole of society in these economic tough times.”
Cadogan Enright pointed out that “During a recent visit to the ‘restore’ project I was able to see how young apprentice joiners, electricians and others have been taken hired and are undergoing training from skilled tradesmen to divert perfectly good consumer goods from landfill to resale as tested, top-quality, low-price goods. In the first year it was estimated that the project reduced the Councils ‘carbon-footprint’ by 60 tonnes.“
“I am pleased with moving the bicycle part of this project forward to this year, but look forward to a more substantial project next year to a more substantial project next year and see is no reason why the council could not operate a Banbridge-style scheme with local NGO’s or charitable groups gleaning the benefit.” concluded Cadogan Enright.
What the New St Patricks Parade Flag will look like
(MARCH 1st 2012) DUP Councillor Billy Walker of Killyleagh has been putting pressure on me though the papers to support his calls for the new Downpatrick St Patricks Day Flag to be withdrawn or amended because of his opposition to the use of the Irish name for Downpatrick. This is not now legally possible, even if it was morally desirable. See legal advice at bottom of this post.
Jim Wells also wrote in claiming that the Protestant community would be offended by the inclusion of ’Dún Pádraig’ on the Downpatrick flag (link). BUT The Protestant Churches in Downpatrick wrote in contradicting him (link).
This flag was brought in as a neutral cross-party proposal to end the use of either the Irish portion of the Union Flag , or the Irish Tricolour on the parade, and to allow Downpatrick to claim ‘ownership’ of the ‘St Patricks Trail’ and the important tourist initiative in St Patricks country – as this symbol is used in all Tourist-related signs for St. Patrick. What it looks like . Also see HERE to view alternatives as background
Were councillors to act in the manner suggested by Billy Walker , they could be shown to act in an illegal or prejudiced manner. We can be surcharged and even lose our seats were we to vote for his idea of deleting ‘Dún Pádraig’ from the other side of the flag, leaving only Downpatrick.
It would be open to any member of the public to challenge us legally. It is pretty clear that any councillor voting in this manner would end up in the same situation that lost half a dozen SF councillors their seats in Newry and Mourne in the face of a legal challenge by Frazier of ‘FAIR’
I attach the DCAL guidance to council on the law for your attention (see full document here). Also note the words of the EU Convention signed by the UK government in 2001, highlighted in bold, which are pretty clear.
A summary of the legal situation is below.
The Human Rights Advisory says; “Should objections to the use of Irish or other minority languages be based on intolerance or prejudice against the language, there is a positive duty on the state party to take measures to address this. This should be undertaken through measures that tackle intolerance, rather than penalising the minority language, for example, through linguistic diversity training. This is in keeping with the commitments to promote respect, understanding and tolerance of Irish contained in Article 7(3) of the Charter and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. “
Also note that the UK signed up to the European Convention in 2001 for “the use or adoption, if necessary in conjunction with the name in the official language(s), of traditional and correct forms of place-names in Irish. ”
And “The United Kingdom undertakes to eliminate, if it has not yet done so, any unjustified distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference relating to the use of Irish and intended to discourage or endanger the maintenance or development of it. The adoption of special measures in favour of Irish aimed at promoting equality between the users of Irish and the rest of the population or which take due account of their specific conditions is not considered to be an act of discrimination against the users of more widely-used languages.34
There a similar commitment by the British government in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement
I would say to Cllr Walker that his sort of rabble-rousing will get no change in Downpatrick / Dún Pádraig where community relations are excellent. It is frankly un-British to discriminate against any one of the indigenous minority languages in Britain and Ireland in the manner proposed by Billy Walker.
Cllr Cadogan Enright , Downpatrick 1st March
What It Looks like; New Saint Patricks Flag
Councillor Cadogan Enright’s 3 year campaign of opposition to what he has described as “excessive cash reserves” in Down District Council at the expense of the ratepayer appears to have been vindicated.
Cllr Enright, a qualified Chartered Accountant, was the only councilor to vote against the adoption of Down Districts Annual Accounts last year. At the time he claimed that the council had over-provided in its cash reserves by at least 3 to 4 million pounds.
Cadogan Enright said “following my defeat last March by a margin of 22 to 1 on this issue last year, I referred the matter to the external auditor, the audit committee and managed with the help of 2 other councilors to have the internal auditor spend time investigating this matter.”
“The council’s turnover was estimated to be £18 million this year, but cash reserves had been allowed to accumulate to well over £10 million. Ignoring specific reserves, our closing current cash balance last year was standing at £4.9 million, compared to Newry and Mourne at £0.6, Ards and Castlerea both at £1.3 and Armagh at £0.1 million. Were we to merge with Newry and Mourne as planned, this would be the equivalent of giving each person living in Newry and Mourne a present of £29 – a £2.5 million ‘hello present”. Said Cadogan.
“In addition to this, I disputed the entire provision of £3.7 million of additional reserves earmarked to decommission Drumnakelly dump. I believe we are only legally and environmentally required to provide for decommissioning for a maximum of 30 years after its closure, not the 60 proposed by management. We are also allowed to recognize the future value of income from renewable energy and, in particular electricity generated from methane at the dump. Newry and Mourne have done this and as a result only have a fraction of our reserves for the same purpose”.
“Having attended audit and strategic resource committee meetings over the last 18 months I am now certain that all technical questions about this matter have now been resolved. The bigger parties are now faced with estimates of 20 to 30% of rates increases over the next 4 years, and have been forced to come round to my point of view to be able to achieve an acceptable rates figure. We have at least £4 million is reserves available to use before the merger with Newry and Mourne.” Concluded Cllr Enright.
Cllr Cadogan Enright also thanked fellow councilors John Doris and Eamon Mac Con Midhe for their support in pursuing this matter, saying “Cllr Mac Con Midhe has proved to be an excellent Audit Committee Chairperson, not afraid to take on the experts and I am grateful for his support”.
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.