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Councillor News

  • Lauren Gray
    15 October
    Alliance Carrick Castle candidate Lauren Gray has said this week's by-election is an opportunity for the people of the area to have their say on the type of politics they want.

    Lauren said the positive leadership shown by Alliance was reflected in the support she had received from locals throughout the by-election campaign.

    "Throughout this entire period, I have spoken to residents and know the issues which matter to me are the same issues which matter to them as well. From increasing the economic investment in Carrickfergus to helping regenerate the town centre by supporting local businesses, creating a café culture and ensuring the Castle is better connected to the town.

    "Carrick is a family town. If elected as Councillor, I want to do everything in my power to support everyone in our community by providing a crèche at the Amphitheatre, creating a dementia friendly town and having better provisions for young people.

    "I grew up in Carrick and love living here. Now I'm raising my family in the town and I want to help make it somewhere my daughter can be proud to come from too. I love Carrick's community feel and its heritage but we're being held back rather than fulfilling our potential. I want to change all that. Anyone who wants the same thing, I encourage them to vote Alliance on October 18."
  • Emmet20171
    9 October
    Alliance South Belfast Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown has said plans to make Belfast a dog-friendly city are almost complete.

    The city's Deputy Mayor - who has campaigned for the change over the last few years - says the move will make clear where dogs are welcome, helping dog owners and business owners across Belfast. He has encouraged all businesses which are dog-friendly to avail of the scheme.

    Council officers have confirmed the opt-in badge scheme is ready to launch, with a new website almost ready to go live as well.

    "I'm delighted to see the effort that has gone into making my idea of a dog friendly Belfast a reality," said Councillor McDonough-Brown.

    "Dog owners often want to take their pets with them into bars and coffee shops and previously it wasn't clear where they were and weren't welcome. This scheme will change that for the better and open up more Belfast venues to dogs and their owners.

    "It's also fitting this project is set to go live as we look towards implementing measures to regenerate Belfast city centre following the devastating fire at Primark last month. This scheme is not about forcing dogs into areas and venues where the owners aren't yet in a position to take this step, but about letting them know the option is there.

    "This scheme has already been endorsed by Hospitality Ulster, and I welcome all input and further suggestions over how we can enhance the project further. Dog owners bring companionship and comfort and joy to many, together we can make it easier for owners to enjoy everything Belfast has to offer."
  • Andy McMurray
    6 October

    Alliance Councillor Andrew McMurray has appealed to those behind a series of attacks on a memorial at Narrow Water to stop.

    Councillor McMurray as speaking after poppy wreaths at the site were damaged again. It follows an two attacks over the previous three weeks, including one only days ago. The Co Down memorial commemorates 18 soldiers killed in two IRA bomb attacks there in August 1979.

    "This vandalism is achieving nothing except causing hurt and suffering to the loved ones of the deceased," said Councillor McMurray.

    "After the last attack, I said it was a despicable act and I reiterate that. I am appealing directly to those behind these now continuous destruction to stop. Your actions have no support in the wider community.

    "I urge anyone with information on this attack or the previous ones to contact police about them immediately."

  • 5 October
    Antrim and Newtownabbey Council is set to reduce its use of single use plastics across the Council thanks to work by Alliance Councillors.

    Following a report into the issue brought forward by Councillor Billy Webb, the Council will report on costings for the action, before coming back to Councillors. Councillor Neil Kelly, who proposed the accepting of the report's recommendations and for them to be taken forward, said he was confident the Council will soon roll out the practice.

    "The Council currently carries out its responsibilities in line with the appropriate waste management legislation. However, there is always more we can do to help protect the environment," said Councillor Kelly.

    "The Council has a chance to lead by example on this issue. I am pleased the recommendations of the report have been accepted and I look forward to the Council taking forward the matter."

    "Single use plastics can include bottles, cutlery and straws, which are often thrown away and has a subsequent negative impact on the environment," added Councillor Webb.

    "This follows similar motions by my Alliance colleagues in other Councils across Northern Ireland. Managing our use of plastics is a simple move but one which can have a massive impact. Antrim and Newtownabbey can show how responsible we are, while positively improving the world we live in."
  • Lauren Gray
    5 October

    Alliance Carrick Castle candidate Lauren Gray has pledged to help the regeneration of Carrickferus town centre if elected in the upcoming by-election.

    Lauren said while outstanding work had been carried out by the recently formed Carrickfergus Town Centre Partnership (CTCP) and a number of other organisations in relation to giving the town a boost, more could be done by the Council to help grow the area.

  • Andy McMurray
    4 October
    Alliance Councillor Andrew McMurray has said the second attack in three weeks on poppy wreaths at Narrow Water was "a despicable act".

    Councillor McMurray was speaking after the Co Down memorial was damaged again, the latest in a number of attacks over the past year. Poppy crosses, wreaths and flowers were destroyed. The memorial commemorates 18 soldiers killed in two IRA bomb attacks at the site in August 1979.

    "This was a despicable act, which sadly is the latest attack on the site, and something which is happening with regularity," said Newry, Mourne and Down District Councillor McMurray.

    "It is a particular low for someone to attack a memorial to those who have lost their lives and the vast majority of the local community will agree with me. These attacks are achieving absolutely nothing except causing further pain and suffering to the loved ones of the deceased, and I would appeal to those behind them to stop.

    "I urge anyone with information on this to contact police with it immediately."
  • Karen Douglas
    4 October

    Alliance Councillor Karen Douglas has said she is shocked and disgusted after a property was targeted in a racist attack in Bangor.

    The windows of the house in Primacy Park were smashed and racist graffiti sprayed on the walls on Tuesday (October 2) around 8.50pm.

    "This is a disgusting incident and the vast majority of people will rightly condemn it," said Councillor Douglas.

    "I am relieved to hear no-one was at home at the time of this attack, but this still must have been a distressing incident for the residents of the property. I have reported it to Council officers, who will be urgently removing the graffiti.

    "There can be no tolerance in our society for such blatant intimidation and racist views. Bangor is a welcoming place where the population deplore this sort of behaviour, so this is not truly reflective of the town.

    "I urge anyone with any information on this attack to contact police with it immediately."

  • Lauren Gray with Gerardine Mulvenna and Philip Burnside
    21 September
    Alliance has selected Lauren Gray to contest the Carrickfergus Castle by-election next month.

    The Carrickfergus native said she was looking forward to engaging with local people over the next few weeks, adding it was an important opportunity for the people of Carrick to have their say on a number of local issues.

    A former journalist who has worked across East Antrim, Lauren is a local Girl Guide Leader and young mum, who said she was motivated to step forward by the Alliance Party's message of diversity and inclusivity - the kind of society she envisioned for her daughter's generation.

    "The last few years have seen a number of scandals involving the DUP and Sinn Féin, as well as the ongoing political impasse caused and exacerbated by those same two parties. I want to let the people of Carrick Castle have their say and show them enough is enough.

    "I come from a Carrickfergus family - my Dad grew up here and my grandmother worked in the mills, so I know about the town's glorious past. But I want to make sure it has a great future too. We've seen businesses and regeneration opportunities disappear, and services diverted elsewhere across the borough.

    "Now I'm raising my family here and I'm committed to standing up and fighting for the town I believe Carrick can be, being a voice for openness and transparency while others get embroiled in political scandals and against the devastating impact Brexit will bring.

    "Voters in the Carrick Castle area can have their say on October 18 by voting Alliance and Gray 1. Not only will it send a message to the biggest two parties but they will be electing a representative who will work hard for each and every one of them."
  • 18 September
    Alliance South Belfast Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown has sought a meeting with the Council Chief Executive to raise residents' concerns over students returning to the Holyland.

    With the start of the new university term approaching, locals have aired worries about on-street drinking and other anti-social behaviour issues. Councillor McDonough-Brown said the experiences of many residents were disgraceful and called on people to enjoy themselves responsibly.

    "The issues in the Holyland are well known and have affected the area for many years - but the lack of action from statutory agencies is deeply disappointing," he said.

    "With hundreds of students drinking on-street this past weekend already, residents have already rightly complained and expressed their fears. I have therefore sought an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of Belfast City Council to discuss the issue and what can be done to resolve the matter.

    "Belfast City Council can intervene in relation to on-street drinking and I will be urging the organisation to do just that. With the correct intervention now, we can turn the tide in the Holyland and help locals restore the area to the long-term residential area it once was."
  • Kate Nicholl
    3 September

    Alliance Belfast Councillor Kate Nicholl has called for a People's Vote on Brexit, as she revealed she will be urging all parties to back a motion on the issue at Monday's Council meeting.

    Following the initial meeting of the Council's Brexit Committee in August, the motion is part of a larger push by Alliance to address the impact of Brexit on citizens across Northern Ireland. Leading on the issue in Belfast, Councillor Nicholl joins her colleague Councillor Gavin Walker in Ards and North Down, who has tabled a similar motion which has been referred for further discussion at Committee level.

    The People's Vote can allow the electorate of the UK to have a voice in deciding to accept any deal negotiated with the UK or to stay in the EU, or in the event of no deal to decide between leaving and remaining in the EU.

    "Brexit is a huge act of self-harm for the UK, with significant damage facing Northern Ireland. Across the UK, there is considerable evidence of people demanding the right to have their say on what now happens. We were sold false promises and fed lies in the referendum and since then, the risks, dangers and implications of Brexit - especially a no deal - have become even clearer. People didn't vote to wreck the economy or to have a crisis in the health service," said Councillor Nicholl.

    "There is support across the political spectrum for a People's Vote. It would be a tragedy if the UK was now dragged over the cliff edge if that is not what the electorate wish. People must have their say before any deal is finalised.

    "Belfast now has the opportunity to join with many Councils across the UK in passing a resolution in favour of the People's Vote. This is a campaign that is gaining real momentum."

    Councillor Gavin Walker added: "Given the strong Remain vote in Northern Ireland, and all of the complexities and ambiguities posed to this region by Brexit, it is important local Councils are seen to be taking a stand and representing local people, particularly in the absence of the Assembly.

    "In the event of Brexit, Alliance continues to advocate and support a special deal for Northern Ireland. But any special measures will bring their own challenges, and a People's Vote offers the prospect of a simpler and stronger solution."

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