Mid Ulster District Council Procedures for Bonfires

Mid Ulster District Council Procedures for Bonfires

The Mid Ulster District Council discussed procedures pertaining to local bonfire events on Council property at last week’s Environment Committee. The decision is set to be ratified by the full council on Thursday night.


The options agreed on are twofold. Firstly, the council will provide specific focus for bonfire events in the district identified as having the highest level of risk, and are therefore most likely to cause damage to property and potentially good relations within the community. Secondly, the Council will develop a strategy which will provide an accountable application process for use of Council facilities and property meaning organisers will have to ensure a safe, legal and respectful event takes place.


Speaking after the meeting, Sinn Féin’s Ronan McGinley commented;


“This is the right action to be taken by Mid Ulster District Council. Agreement around bonfires is difficult to achieve, however as a Council we have a responsibility to ensure that events taking place on our facilities and property are both within legislation and safe.
“Events over the years have proven to flaunt the law. There has been the breaking of numerous environmental legislations, including the burning of tyres and dumping of toxic waste. Health and safety guidelines have simply been ignored with the size and location of some of these structures. At times, these events have been extremely damaging to good relations in our area. There have been events with hate crime and sectarianism, and we simply cannot allow this to continue on Council property without being challenged.


“Some of these breaches of legislation have also been underpinned by claims of intimidation, threats of violence and paramilitary involvement.


“The decision taken by the Mid Ulster District Council’s Environment committee will ensure that future events on our property remove all these negative behaviours, and ensure that event organsiers are accountable, operating within the law and providing a safe, respectful event for all.”


Commenting on an anonymous letter received by local media, Cllr McGinley stated;


“Proposed actions by an anonymous bonfire building group are simply not enough. There is no accountability, their actions from the past have built little trust and anonymous groups cannot to dictate to Council how we should manage our property.


“However, I will engage with legitimate Community Groups who wish to use council property for events in a safe and friendly manner. The rules are there to enhance the opportunities for legitmate applicants, and remove the ‘self-entitlement’ of those who disregard their accountability.”


Sinn Féin condemns attack on Fishing Co-Operative patrol boat at Lough Neagh

Sinn Féin condemns attack on Fishing Co-Operative patrol boat at Lough Neagh

Francie Molloy, MP for Mid Ulster, has echoed the comments from his party colleague Cllr Ronan McGinley in condemning the arson attack on a patrol boat belonging to the Lough Neagh Fishing Co-operative this weekend.

Speaking on the matter, Cllr McGinley mentioned the distress that this has caused to the entire community of the loughshore. ‘Obviously, fishing is a massive livelihood right along the Loughshore, and those directly involved in the Co-Operative are at the forefront of everyone’s minds- the wider community has been enraged by this.

‘Fishing has always been a livelihood full of fluctuation, and fishermen have many obstacles to contend with that are beyond human control. Added to this in recent times are the pressures of Brexit, and the uncertainties that have arisen as a result of the decision to leave the EU. Bearing all this in mind, to see such a callous act of vandalism carried out against people just trying to make an honest living is a real shame.’

‘The council have been working closely with the Fishing Co-Operative in recent times to try and create more opportunities for those working in this industry, and this cowardly crime is very disheartening.

Francie Molloy echoed Cllr McGinley’s sentiments and urged anyone in the local community with knowledge of what happened to come forward. ‘The landscape of this area has meant that fishing has been a livelihood for most families for generation after generation, and against the backdrop of a range of issues, this is a resilient and hard working community.

‘I would ask anyone with information about this disgusting crime to report it, in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.’

Sinn Féin meeting with Lough Neagh Fishermen.

Sinn Féin meeting with Lough Neagh Fishermen.

Mid-Ulster Sinn Féin public representatives met with a number of Lough Neagh fishermen in Toomebridge last Friday.

The meeting focused on the sustainability and needs of the eel and scale fishing industries to the lough shore area.

The meeting heard concerns from the fishermen in terms of possible impacts of Brexit to eel exports, the loss of EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Status and the EU interpretation of the eel becoming an endangered species all of which presently contributes to the uncertainty around the long term sustainability of the industry at present.

Commenting Sinn Féin Loughshore Councillor Ronan Mc Ginley said;

“The meeting was very informative in terms of obtaining an understanding of the major challenges being faced by the fishermen along the lough. The implications around the north`s withdrawal from the European Union present this local  industry with many uncertainties and problems at present”.

Cllr McGinley continued;

“Fishing families have proven their resilience down through the generations within the lough shore area. The present generation are determined to overcome these challenges, one of which is being able to build family homes and reside within the lough shore countryside. The fishermen are seeking the adoption of rural planning policies of a similar nature to that which currently exists for farmers who wish to reside in the countryside.

Fishing families in the lough shore area should have similar opportunities to that of rural farmers to apply for planning permissions. Sinn Féin have committed to having Mid-Ulster District Council along with other councils along the lough shore, explore the possibilities to create new planning policies for family fishing businesses allowing them to sustain their businesses”

Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy said;

“I support the principle within planning that fishermen should have the same rights to building a home in the rural area as farmers, which is currently one house every ten years.

‘Fishermen make a great contribution to the rural community and it is important that they have the right to build a home to continue the line of fishermen and women.

‘There are a number of issues which are as relevant to fishing as they are to farming- for example, compensation for disasters such as flooding- I feel that the department need to consider this.’

Mid Ulster District Council discuss Bonfires at recent Environment Committee 

Mid Ulster District Council discuss Bonfires at recent Environment Committee 

The meeting of the Mid Ulster District Council Environment Committee met during the week to discuss bonfires.

The meeting was attended by all parties, and was focussed on bonfires that take place on Mid Ulster Council property. 

Chair of the committee, Sinn Féin’s Ronan McGinley, said after the meeting;
“I believe the meeting went well. There is always the potential for disagreement on issues like this, but I am glad councillors approached it in a mature and respectful manner. We have a unanimous agreement on how to move positively forward, and I look forward to the outcomes produced by the Bonfire Working Group over the next few months”.

Cllr McGinley cont;
“This was never an attack on culture. The council has a responsibility when events take place on its property to ensure a safe place for all, accountability and respect. Burning illegal materials, lack of insurance, hate crimes etc are examples where this council needs to step up and ensure risk is reduced. The approach agreed by all parties on Thursday night will lay the foundations for accountable, safe and respectful use of council property”.

Mid Ulster District Council to discuss ‘Rogue Bonfires’

Mid Ulster District Council to discuss ‘Rogue Bonfires’

The Mid Ulster District Council is set to hold a special meeting of the Environment Committee to discuss ‘Rogue Bonfires’ across the district. 
Concerns have been raised by Sinn Féin Councillor Brian McGuigan who said;
“We have been liaising with all public bodies through a cross Party bonfire working group. Despite our best efforts to mitigate the problems associated with a number of them, illegal practices continue and are having serious detrimental impacts to the quality of life of many residents within our district. As Sinn Féin Councillors, we feel this is unacceptable”.
Cllr McGuigan continued;
“I have requested a special meeting of the Council’s Environment Committee to ensure everything is being done to reduce risk to rate payers as a result of illegal activity”.
Chair of the Mid Ulster Environment Committee, Cllr Ronan McGinley said;
“After receiving corresponded from Cllr McGuigan, I feel it’s appropriate to hold a meeting to discuss a number of issues he has raised. We need to explore a number of areas, including the need to investigate the financial costs incurred, clarification of risk assessments and public liability, and also to ensure that, as a council, we are reducing risk in line with our responsibilities”.
The special meeting of the Environment Committee is due to take place in Cookstown Council offices on 17th August.

Sinn Féin ready for a big year ahead for Mid Ulster District Council

Sinn Féin ready for a big year ahead for Mid Ulster District Council

Sinn Féin’s Group Leader Ronan McGinley has said his party is prepared and ready for a big year ahead for the Mid Ulster District Council.
The council is due to hold its AGM on the 1st of June in Dungannon.
Cllr McGinley said :
“Sinn Féin has continued to be the driving force behind the Mid Ulster District Council moving positively forward. The council achieved a great deal in its first three years, and Sinn Féin has been critical to this success. By working in positive partnership with council staff, we have ensured a high standard of service delivery for the people of Mid Ulster”.
Sinn Féin has not disclosed who will be taking positions of responsibility for the incoming year, however it has been confirmed that Cllr McGinley will continue as the parties Group Leader in Mid Ulster.

Speaking after an internal Sinn Féin meeting, Cllr McGinley said;
“I’m proud to have been selected again by the Sinn Féin Council team to lead the group into the 2017/18 term. I will continue to fulfil the role to the best of my ability, and have no doubt Sinn Féin will continue to deliver for the people of Mid Ulster. Our council team is very strong and experienced, and it’s a privilege to work along side them to represent the people of Mid Ulster”.
Sinn Féin are expected to nominate a number of positions of responsibility within the council on the 1st June.

Councillor McGinley calls for drivers to slow down on Loughshore Roads

Councillor McGinley calls for drivers to slow down on Loughshore Roads

Mid Ulster Councillor Ronan McGinley has called on people to slow down on local roads. This comes after a number of complaints were made during meetings and local engagements by the Sinn Féin team around the Loughshore area.

The Councillor has called on both local people, and those passing through the area, to be mindful of others, to remember their personal responsibility when in charge of vehicles and to ‘simply slow down’.

Cllr McGinley stated,

“The roads around the Loughshore can be dangerous for a number of reasons. We have seen a significant increase in usage of our local road network, with bigger and heavier vehicles in operation. This has in turn led to a higher rate of disrepair. These points have been raised to Transport NI and I will continue to lobby for investment in this area, an area which I believe has been underinvested for far to long.

However, this particular campaign is about speed. The simple fact is that if people do not slow down, someone is going to get killed on our roads.

There is a large volume of traffic passing through this area, and local residents have continuously raised the fact that speed is becoming a higher risk every day. Despite many speed restricted areas, cars, vans, lorries continue to break the limits.

We can call for measures to be put in place to slow vehicles down, and in some areas, this may be appropriate. But the most effective way that we will increase safety on the roads is for people to take responsibility themselves, and simply slow down.

I would call on all drivers to take responsibility and be mindful of others before something irreversible happens”.