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Councillor News

    11:36 AM

    Belfast will light up with multilingual signage this Christmas, Councillor Michael Long has revealed, after his proposals received unanimous backing at today's Strategic, Policy and Resources Committee meeting.

    The move will see signs on the front of City Hall in English, Irish and Ulster Scots over the festive period, a positive approach secured by Alliance in the wake of negative rows around language.

  • ANTRIM: ANTRIM TOWN: Cllr Neil Kelly
    11:12 AM

    Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly has condemned an attack on a house in Antrim, which police have suggested could be linked to paramilitarism.

    The incident occurred in Ardnaglass Gardens in the early hours of Friday morning.

    "I must condemn the thugs behind this attack overnight," Councillor Neil Kelly said.

  • Stephen Donnelly
    last Tuesday

    Alliance West Tyrone representative Stephen Donnelly has said a viable device thrown into a house in Strabane had the potential to kill.

    The device was thrown into the window of a property in Melmount Villas shortly before 9pm yesterday (Monday). A person in the house threw it into a nearby field, where it was subsequently made safe by army technical officers.

    "Those behind this viable device clearly had no regard for the lives of those people in the house," said Mr Donnelly.

    "Someone could have easily been seriously injured or killed by this incident. Despicable acts like these have no place in our society. This is now twice in the past month there have been incidents involving viable devices in Strabane and local people are sick of it.

    "If anyone has any information on those behind this, I would urge them to contact the police immediately."
  • Emmet20174
    last Monday

    Alliance Councillor Emmet McDonough Brown has condemned those behind a series of vandalism attacks in the Markets area as "thugs who have no place in the community".

    The South Belfast Councillor was speaking after a number of cars were targeted on Monday afternoon, with at least two being set on fire.

    He added: "There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and I would appeal for calm in the local area as we head into this evening.

    "Anti-social behaviour of any kind is never acceptable and those behind this latest attack on the people of Belfast must recognise their actions will only serve to make the local community stronger, as they stand in the face of those attempting to bring fear and intimidation back onto the streets.

    "Belfast is a thriving, cosmopolitan city and we cannot allow the thugs behind these recent attacks to detract from the positive image of Belfast that attracts investors and tourists alike."

  • Alliance Women's Group
    4 August

    Local women are being excluded from an international treaty designed to improve the representation of females in public life due to the lack of an Executive, an Alliance Councillor has said.

    Councillor Kate Nicholl described the current deadlock at Stormont effectively meant Northern Ireland women continue to be omitted from the UK's response to a consultation on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

    Councillor Nicholl, Convener of Alliance's Women's Group, has now written to Women and Equalities Minister Justine Greening to call on the involvement of all regions of the UK in the response.

    "The CEDAW Committee has previously recommended further engagement with women in Northern Ireland. As it stands, no consultation was held in Northern Ireland and therefore local women's voices will be excluded from the UK submission to the Committee, which is extremely disappointing.

    "Then Foreign Secretary William Hague stated in 2010 "No lasting peace can be achieved after conflict unless the needs of women are met". Women here are not having an active involvement in having their needs articulated and therefore our voices are not being heard in a wider context.

    "Alliance Women's Group wants to make sure the issue of women, peace and security is a priority, with an action plan to ensure women across the whole of the UK are included, as well as ensuring women's contributions to the peace are recognised and their needs met.

    "Without an Executive, those voices are not being articulated. We need a functioning Government to represent us on a national level and ensure women here are not excluded from the important benefits available to them."

    Picture shows members of Alliance's Women's Group - Sorcha Eastwood, Patricia O'Lynn, Councillor Kate Nicholl and Kellie Armstrong MLA

    3 August
    Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said he is disappointed the DUP has challenged Belfast City Council's decision to tackle dangerous bonfires.

    The 'call-in' by the DUP means an independent legal position is likely to be sought on the successful motion, brought yesterday (Wednesday). The motion was designed to give the Council powers to remove those bonfires threatening lives or property.

    "This is a disappointing move by the DUP," said Councillor Long.

    "Following their decision on the injunction last month, the DUP have attempted to deflect from that by ever more ridiculous actions. This latest stunt adds to that list in what appears another attempt to exacerbate the situation.

    "Alliance supports respectful and safe expressions of culture, but these powers are in relation to dangerous bonfires, no other ones. It is poor form from some parties to say they are opposed to the motion purely to prevent them having to show some leadership in the community."

    2 August
    Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said he hopes the decision by Belfast City Councillors to back a motion allowing for the removal of hazardous bonfire materials allows for "safer and more respectful" expressions of culture in future.

    The Alliance Belfast City Council Group Leader was speaking following the decision of the majority of Belfast City Councillors to vote in favour of a motion allowing the body to remove materials from certain sites where life or property are threatened.

    "Alliance supports positive, respectful and safe expressions of culture, however, bonfires which damage property, threaten the environment or people, or facilitate hate crimes are not that," said Councillor Long.

    "I have worked on this issue for many years and recognise the good examples many bonfires set. We welcome the move by Sinn Fein to alter their motion prior to tonight's vote and clarify this was not a move against all bonfires, which Alliance would not have supported.

    "It is disappointing we had to have this meeting tonight, as the motion restated the previous Belfast City Council position, but it was needed because unionist Councillors were opposed to the continuation of that policy. This whole episode is an attempt by some parties to deflect from their decision last month to support the Council's injunction against a number of bonfire sites in private and then refuse to admit that in public. For them to then go on to state this was an attempt to stop all bonfires is nothing other than a deliberate lie.

    "I understand the anxiety felt by some bonfire builders in relation to this issue. If I had been told the lies they have been fed by some parties, I would be worried too. But I want to reassure them this motion was not about removing all bonfires and Alliance extends an invitation to meet with them to ensure an inclusive solution to this situation.

    "Many people have worked hard to prevent damaging bonfires from taking place and I hope tonight's decision allows the issue to be addressed further, whether in relation to unionist or nationalist bonfires. The buck-passing and blame game needs to stop, and a positive way forward agreed which builds on the progress made, so we don't have this matter raising its head continually."

  • John Doherty 1
    1 August
    Alliance Foyle representative John Doherty has condemned those behind a shooting at a house in Derry-Londonderry.

    The attack took place at the Racecourse Drive area of the city yesterday (Monday) around 9.40pm. Four children and a man at the property escaped injury in the incident.

    "This was an extremely concerning incident and I utterly condemn those behind it. To fire a gun in a residential area shows the callous nature of those behind this attack," said Mr Doherty.

    "It is difficult to understand the mindset of someone who clearly has no regard for the lives of others, as people could have easily been killed here last night. Those responsible need to be apprehended urgently.

    "If anyone has any information on this incident, I urge them to contact the police immediately."

  • Patricia OLynn1
    18 July
    Alliance North Antrim representative Patricia O'Lynn has said a hoax object found in Ballymena did nothing but bring disruption to local people.

    Ms O'Lynn was speaking after the discovery of the suspicious object in the Cushendall Road area of the town this afternoon. The area was sealed off between the roundabout and Dunclug Park. The object was declared a hoax by army technical officers before the road was reopened.

    "Hoax alerts such as these do nothing but cause disruption to local people, who are subject to disturbance thanks to the actions of those behind them," she said.

    "They are also a serious drain on the resources of the authorities who have to respond. The people behind this incident must be caught and I would urge anyone with information to give it to police immediately."

  • Stephen Donnelly
    18 July

    Alliance West Tyrone representative Stephen Donnelly has condemned those behind a viable device discovered in Strabane this past weekend.

    The object was found in a car parked near homes in the Drumrallagh estate, with residents having to be evacuated as a result. The pipe bomb was removed before locals were allowed to return.

    "Someone could have been seriously injured or even killed by this device," said Mr Donnelly.

    "Those who left it there clearly have no regard for the lives of others in the local community. People here do not want to see this sort of incident taking place and I utterly condemn those behind it.

    "If anyone has information in relation to this, I urge them to contact police immediately."

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