Sinn Fein call for engagement with ‘hugely important’ consultation of the Mid Ulster Council Bonfire Policy

Sinn Fein call for engagement with ‘hugely important’ consultation of the  Mid Ulster Council Bonfire Policy

Ronan McGinley, Council Group Leader for Sinn Féin in Mid Ulster, is urging constituents to respond to the hugely important public consultation regarding the ‘Mid Ulster Council’s Bonfire Policy’.

The consultation process is currently active and will close on 6th September at 12 noon. The consultation can be accessed on the Mid Ulster District Council’s website –

Speaking on the matter, Cllr McGinley said;

“It’s important we get a wide range of responses so the Council can make the best decision possible.

The Council needs to meet its statutory responsibility, and its important for people to be able to celebrate their culture.

We want to see safe bonfires events that can be enjoyed by all citizens of the Mid Ulster area.

Therefore, the views and opinions of all those concerned are needed so that the Council can continue to provide for what local people want. We need to be able to do this in a safe, responsible and acceptable manner”.

Commenting on the fact that the MU policy will not be in place for this years bonfire season, Cllr McGinley said;

“I want people to be able to celebrate their culture in what ever way they feel appropriate, as long as it’s safe, respectful and within an agreed framework.”



Footpath in Ardboe Welcomed

Footpath in Ardboe Welcomed

Transport NI have confirmed that works are to commence in July 18 to bring about an extension of a footpath in Ardboe which will increase safety of local children and families walking to and from the local Primary School and Chapel.

Local Councillor Ronan McGinley, who brought the idea to Transport NI 2014, and has been lobbying for it’s delivery ever since, commented;

“I am delighted to confirm that Transport NI have scheduled the extension of the Mullinahoe Road footpath in their Programme of Works. The work is due to commence in July 18, with the result of an extended footpath across the front of the chapel car park. This means our kids and families will be able to enjoy a safer walk to and from the school and chapel.

I have to thank our local Parish Priest Fr Sean McCartan, who has been involved from the beginning. Through successful negotiations, we were able to secure the necessary details to make this project possible.

Of course, any works will cause some slight disruption. However, Transport NI are aiming to complete this work over the summer holidays, minimising impact to the local areas.

I want to thank Transport NI for confirming this work. I know there is a lot to be improved with our local road infrastructure, and Sinn Féin will continue to lobby for this to happen. However, it’s important to recognise the significant investment in the Loughshore area over the past several years.

I will continue to lobby for more investment to bring our infrastructure up to an acceptable standard”.

Sinn Fein delighted to select new Mid Ulster District Council Chair

Sinn Fein delighted to select new Mid Ulster District Council Chair

Sinn Féin’s Group Leader Ronan McGinley has said his Party is delighted to see Cllr Sean McPeake take on the role of Chair of Mid Ulster District Council.

Cllr McPeake was selected for the role at the Councils AGM on Monday night and will represent the District for the next year. Cllr Francis Burton of the DUP was selected as vice chair also.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr McGinley said :

“Sinn Féin is delighted to see Cllr McPeake take on this role. His wealth of experience and his leadership will be a great benefit for the entire district. Sean is a great leader and will be a brilliant ambassador for the Mid Ulster District.

Sean has hit the ground running by outlining a number of areas he wants to see the council focus on. This will only build upon the successful service delivery the council has produced to date. We wish him and Cllr Burton every success for the incoming year”.

Sinn Fein has taken on a number of other key roles for this year. This includes three committee chairs and a vice chair.

Cllr McGinley said:

“Sinn Fein has continued to be a driving force behind the Mid Ulster District Council moving positively forward. Taking on key positions within the committee structures will ensure this success continues. We will work in partnership with other parties, and with the brilliant council staff to make sure Mid Ulster continues to perform to the highest standards.

“I am personally proud to have been selected again by the Sinn Féin team to be Group Leader. I have had the honour to hold this position from 2014 and will continue to carry out this role to the best of my ability. Our council team is experienced, highly skilled and very competent, and it’s a privilege to work along side them to represent the people of Mid Ulster”.


McGinley “Disappointed” as book of condolence for Gaza refused

McGinley “Disappointed” as book of condolence for Gaza refused

Sinn Féin’s group leader on Mid Ulster District Council, Ronan McGinley, has expressed his disappointment following the decision taken to refuse opening books of condolence in the main council buildings.


Cllr McGinley stated;


“Local people are outraged at the massacre which occurred in Gaza. They wish to express their solidarity to the Palestinian people, and to show their sympathy to the families of the victims.


I requested to the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council that books of condolence be opened in order to facilitate this, however, I am extremely disappointed to say this has been refused.


On behalf of Sinn Féin, I also lodged a motion to council which would have allowed a discussion to take place where the views of residents of Mid Ulster could be taken into account. However, again I am disappointed to say this was ruled out.

Not only did I lodge a motion, I am aware of a Councilor from another Party who lodged a similar motion. This was denied also.


The fact these proposals, which have majority support of council, have been refused is hugely disappointing bearing in mind the scale of this massacre.


The Mid Ulster area has a proud track record of supporting people in the Middle East. Through solidarity, providing aid, and lobbying ministers in Ireland, the UK and at European level. The council should have opened the books of condolence for its residents. The council should have also been afforded the right to discuss the proposed motions.


The brutal nature of the Israeli Army should be challenged. The people of Mid Ulster should have been afforded the right through council to show their solidarity and express their sympathies to the people of Palestine.”

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.’