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Councillor News

    last Tuesday

    Alliance Councillor Michael Long has welcomed the injunction granted to Belfast City Council against the Department for Infrastructure, requiring action to be taken to reduce the height of the bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway to a maximum of three metres.

    Speaking after the granting of the injunction, Alliance Group Leader in City Hall Mr Long said: "Whilst I am glad the Department will now have to act to protect residents' homes and lives, I regret this court action was ever necessary.

    "There has been a huge investment of time and energy in mediation to encourage those building this fire to voluntarily reduce its size in line with fire safety guidance.

    "As late as last night, all parties signed up to a cross-party statement, appealing to those involved to reduce the bonfire themselves in order to protect property and lives. however, regrettably they ignored those pleas and continued to build.

    "We were left with no option but to pursue an injunction in order to protect local people, who have been contacting us over recent weeks in increasing distress and fear for their homes and their lives, which were being placed at risk. It would have been entirely wrong for the Council to abandon them and local council facilities to be destroyed. That view was vindicated by the judge who said it was entirely proper for the Council to bring the case.

  • Lorna McAlpine secures dog fouling signs in Portaferry
    last Tuesday
    Alliance Councillor Lorna McAlpine has secured new signs warning against dog fouling in Portaferry.

    Following recent Alliance residents' surveys in the area conducted by Councillor McAlpine and colleagues including Kellie Armstrong MLA, she said the issue was one of the main ones among locals.

    "People, particularly in the Windmill Hill area of the town, told us it was a major problem," said Councillor McAlpine.

    "I contacted Council officers and as a result, they have now put up 18 new dog fouling signs on Meethinghouse Street and Windmill Hill. Now anyone caught allowing their dog to foul risks a fine of £1,000.

    "Irresponsible dog owners and the mess they allow their pets to leave behind can be off-putting for residents and visitors alike. I hope these new signs will allow us to reduce this problem."
  • Aaron McIntyre 2
    5 July

    Alliance Councillor Aaron McIntyre has said recent media reports about the alleged conduct of the DUP's Luke Poots while chair of the Lisburn and Castlereagh Planning Committee has raised serious questions.

    Currently under investigation, the BBC has alleged Mr Poots used his mother's maiden name to apply for planning permission on his own property. Mr Poots has denied doing anything improper.

    Councillor McIntyre said: "This is a serious allegation, which poses a number of questions around the alleged conduct of Luke Poots and his suggested abuse of the planning process.

    "These concerns must be investigated thoroughly as, if what is alleged is correct, it is at the very least a serious breach of the Code of Conduct we all must respect as elected representatives.

    "While an investigation could potentially prove more serious findings, I would urge Luke and his family to co-operate fully so this matter can be cleared up once and for all."

  • Chris McCaw20173
    23 June

    Alliance Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor Chris McCaw has said it was a privilege to attend the first regional Armed Forces Day in Coleraine.

    Councillor McCaw was speaking after turning out at the service on behalf of Alliance. He said the service at the town's war memorial was a fitting tribute to the armed forces.

    "Today was a great chance to pay tribute to serving and former members of the armed forces, as well as those no longer with us. It was a privilege to attend on behalf of Alliance," he said.

    "It was fantastic to see the buzz around the town and I hope traders benefitted from the thousands of visitors who came to Coleraine today.

    "I would like to congratulate the organisers for their hard work in organising what was a fantastic event for all the family."

  • Peter McReynolds
    22 June

    Alliance Councillor Peter McReynolds has welcomed a Belfast City Council agreement to investigate the creation of new positions to help deliver on its commitments to sustainability.

    At today's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, it was agreed to investigate the creation of new Council positions to deliver a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Belfast City Council.

    Councillor McReynolds had previously called for the Council to take the lead in managing waste in the city, a report into which was discussed at today's meeting.

    "At today's meeting, I welcomed the report which was drafted on the back of my call for the Council to investigate how it approaches compostable coffee cups and single-use plastics," he said.

    "The report highlighted a number of avenues we can take, however, I also highlighted a number of ways in which Belfast City Council could demonstrate greater ambition in how we approach waste and sustainability.

    "The Council has now agreed to investigate the creation of new positions within the organisation to help deliver on its commitments to sustainability, which I welcome. Alliance's vision is of a Belfast which is sustainable, environmentally friendly and conscious of its impact on the environment. New Council positions can help deliver that and it is something I will continue to fight for."
  • David Armitage
    10 June

    Alliance Councillor David Armitage has called for a newly-erected paramilitary banner in East Belfast to be taken down.

    The UVF banner was displayed over My Lady's Road. Councillor Armitage, who has reported it to police, said it should not have been put up in the first place.

    "This banner is nothing more than an act of intimidation and should not have been put up in the first place," he said."

    "It is designed to do nothing more than attempt to showcase control over the area by an illegal paramilitary organisation. The majority of people here do not want to see it, instead wanting to live in an area open to everyone in the community and free of the poison of paramilitarism.

    "I have reported this banner to the police, while my party colleagues, including Naomi Long MLA, are seeking an urgent meeting with the PSNI over a number of issues, including intimidation such as this. All banners and flags glorifying all paramilitaries are wrong. We need to see an end to all paramilitary activity and for every group to leave the stage completely."

  • Alliance Women's Network at the Processions suffragette event in Belfast
    10 June

    Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has said while today's celebration of votes for women is a celebration, it also serves as a reminder of work still to be done.

    Councillor Nicholl, who is Convener of Alliance's Women's Network, was speaking after taking part in Processions, a mass participation artwork across the UK. It saw thousands of women and girls come together to mark the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave some women here the right to vote for the first time.

    "Today's event was a wonderful celebration of hope, art and solidarity," said Councillor Nicholl.

    "Members of Alliance's Women's Network were proud to participate in Processions, to mark those women who campaigned and sacrificed so much over decades to give the first women in the UK the right to vote.

    "However, in paying tribute to how far we've come, it is important to reflect on the work still to be done to achieve full equality. As a society, we need to do all we can to encourage more women into public life while tackling key issues. Each of us shares in that responsibility."

    10 June

    Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said the housing of animals at Belfast Zoo needs urgently reviewed after an escaped monkey was killed after being hit by a car.

    The animal escaped from the zoo yesterday and later died after being hit by a car on the M2 motorway. Belfast City Council has said it is investigating how the monkey escaped.

    "Belfast City Council has a duty of care to look after all the animals at Belfast Zoo," said Councillor Long.

    "Therefore, a review of security in relation to the housing of animals at the zoo needs carried out urgently, particularly as monkeys have previously escaped from there in the past few years.

    "Belfast Zoo carries out good work in terms of conservation and taking part in breeding programmes to help protect many species but it is not good enough to have animals escaping and unfortunately subsequently killed."

  • Lisburn and Castlereagh
    8 June

    Alliance Councillor Amanda Grehan has been elected as the new Deputy Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

    Taking on the role at the Council's annual general meeting, the local Councillor said she was 'honoured' to be following in the footsteps of her Alliance colleagues Councillor Stephen Martin, who previously held the role, as well as out-going Alliance Mayor, Councillor Tim Morrow.

  • Peter McReynolds
    6 June

    Alliance Councillor Peter McReynolds has said the audio recording of Belfast City Council working groups is a "major win" for ratepayers.

    East Belfast Councillor Mr McReynolds was speaking after the first recordings of the working groups were uploaded to the Council website. It marks a successful campaign by Councillor McReynolds, who said it was an important step towards full transparency of the decision-making process.

    "Since 2014, the area working groups have allocated more than £4.6 million to various projects and programmes across Belfast," he said.

    "However, no decision made in the previously unrecorded groups was ever significantly debated or rejected by the audio recorded Strategic Policy and Resources Committee. This meant the area working group mechanisms had unintentionally become a money allocating body outside of the scrutiny of the public.

    "Therefore it is only right the public are able to go on the website and listen to how decisions are made and how funding allocations are granted. Alliance has always demanded the highest standard of accountability, integrity and transparency from politics, and this decision is a major win for the ratepayers of Belfast."

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