Sunday, 3 January 2010

Áthbhliain faoi mháise

A chairde,

The blog has been somewhat quiet for the past number of weeks, not least due to the onset of the Christmas and New Year's Festivities.

As well as that, during December I lost my Grandmother, May. She passed on the 18th of December at the age of 80, surrounded by her family. It was a truly difficult thing for our family to go through and while I am not yet sure that I wish to write about that day and the previous weeks and months, what I do know is this, I'm very glad I was there that afternoon.

A particular thanks to everyone who called to the house, sent their best etc.

But as we enter 2010 we enter into a period of heavy lifting, the parties have ended for another while and the shoulders will be returning to the wheel.

For us in East Belfast there are various issues that need continued attention and some that need immediate action.

As has been the case for some time now, the major developments at Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays will bleep loudly on the radar of communities within this part of the city.

Just a short while ago we saw why there is very real concern at any planned extension to the runway at Belfast City Airport, there must be a full public inquiry into any planned extension, the people affected in South and East Belfast, as well as North Down, deserve no less!

More broadly speaking crime and anti-social behaviour, the scourge of drugs and the safety of our elderly and vulnerable citizens is a massive issue of concern. Individualy and collectively, our community can only do and should do as much as they can to make their areas safe and friendly places, but the onus remains firmly on the PSNI to act accordingly in response to needs of our varied communities. They have some way to go in the time ahead to ensure that communities feel safe and free to go about their daily business; there is an onus on us however to make sure we proactively hold the PSNI to account at every step of the way. All of our people deserve the highest standard of policing and I firmly believe that by working together as political, community, Church and Statutory representatives we can continue in the process of achieving that highest standard.

The economic downturn is hitting homes right across Ireland; every day I see and hear of the effects on people here in my own community in the Short Strand, as I mentioned earlier, the potential for multi million pound investment on our doorsteps in the form of Titanic and Sirocco as well as others, must not be squandered, it must not be allowed to divert away from the very communities who surround them.

Housing provision is a massive issue in this part of Belfast, as it is in other parts of Belfast. Communities across the East are crying out for decent, social and family homes to sustain our long established communities well into the future, keeping families and neighbours together. While housing will be a major feature of the bigger developments, and will hopefully be of benefit to all of Belfast, we in the East cannot pin all our hopes on this. The Minister has made housing a major priority during her tenure, we need to see some of that focus put on this constituency. Margaret Ritchie could start by heeding the calls from the Short Strand community to acquire the land at the now redundant Mountpottinger Barracks and utilise it for social, family homes.

For Sinn Féin the New Year brings with it a Westminster election, on the ground our party continues to remain active and relevant, we are continuing to strive in terms of breaking down barriers and meeting with and working on behalf of people we never have before. The people in this constituency share many common problems and issues, things that Sinn Féin have been proactive in trying to tackle. In a constituency like this (which correct me if I'm wrong, is considered the most Unionist of all the constituencies) I believe we are punching well above our weight in terms of helping citizens and working on their behalf, not just in our traditional, core area of the Short Strand but increasingly beyond that.

As much as that is welcome political reality, we can always do more and I am certainly committed to the task of doing what I can to improve the conditions, environment, interaction and well-being of communities right across this part of our city.

Go néirí linn agus áthbhliain faoi mháise daoibh go léir!


  1. Brón a chloisteáil faoi do sheanmháthar. Dia lena hanam

  2. Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I will get that interview typed up and finished "real soon" ... doubt either the UUP or DUP will give an interview after their shenanigans over Christmas and the New Year.