Seamus Close (1947-2019)

Growing up in Lisburn, with James Molyneaux’s victory a certainty in any General Election race, the interesting number to find was how well runner-up Alliance candidate Seamus Close polled this time. He was first elected to Lisburn Borough Council back in 1973, becoming the first non-unionist mayor in 1993 …

Day 1 in Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council: already a leap forward in transparency #lccclive

Something wasn’t quite right when I sat down in the council chamber in Lagan Valley Island Centre this morning. In fact, plural: somethings plural weren’t right. The first change was that the laminated cards saying no mobile phones or electronic equipment were no longer sitting on top of every chair in the public gallery. It was okay to take photographs before the council session began but strictly no photos, videos or audio recording once the council was in session. But …

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Traffic Today, Gondola Tomorrow – A proposal for a ski lift between Belfast and Lisburn

Anthony McNamee is proposing  this radical transport idea to ease congestion and make life easier for commuters. The idea is not as crazy as it sounds. There is a 1km Gondola system over the river Thames in London.  For over 10 years I drove the road from Newry to Belfast and back, a daily commute of anything up to two hours in each direction. I was there in 2006 and 2007 for the full pain of the M1-widening project, and …

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Could new councils be more transparent from the start? Pickles, Castlereagh & a journalist ejected for tweeting

In England … Local government secretary Eric Pickles issued a guide in June to remind English local authorities that under The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 they must allow the public to film and record meetings. He said: Every decision a council takes has a major impact on the lives of local people so it is crucial that whenever it takes a significant decision about local budgets that affect local communities whether it …

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Basil McCrea: we are increasingly looking at a policing response that does more than just contain the situation

Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea was interviewed on his local community radio station Lisburn’s 98FM today. Presenters of the weekly On The Record politics show – David McCann and Kerri Dunn – quizzed the whip-less politician about his previous statements on flag, the state of his party and his political future. listen to ‘Lagan Valley MLA @BasilMcCrea speaking to @dmcbfs & @KerriDunn on @lisburns98 radio’ on Audioboo You can listen to the entire 23 minute interview – with permission from …

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Plotting school attendance rates in Lisburn and Newry

Lisburn and Newry school attendance - using data gathered by The Detail

Over the weekend, The Detail published details about school attendance in Northern Ireland using 2010/11 attendance data for every primary and post-primary school that was released by the Department of Education in response to their Freedom of Information request. Quoting some of The Detail’s findings: The average pupil attendance across all schools in Northern Ireland in the last school year was 94%. However, our analysis of the department’s figures shows that the attendance levels for at least 20,914 pupils fell …

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“the overall sense within the party remains one of drift and confusion”

Lisburn South - UUP councillor Alan Carlisle defecting to join the DUP and pretending to sigin a blank membership form

Five months after the local government elections, and a few weeks before his party conference, a Lisburn councillor has today jumped from one shade of unionism to another. The leaving remarks by defecting councillors are often curious pieces of prose. There are some essential elements. Firstly, there’s a restatement of your sense of purpose to serve the people who elected you despite switching party colours – to help them understand why you didn’t simply resign and allow someone else from …

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Lough Neagh Incinerator – update on the process

(c) Michael High - image of proposed RoseEngery plant accurately superimposed on Parliament Buildings at Stormont

The main event at last night’s meeting of Lisburn City Council’s planning meeting was a briefing by Communities Against the Lough Neagh Incinerator (CALNI) to update council on progress since their previous visit 12 months ago in October 2009. Over twenty CALNI supporters – some wearing distinctive yellow T-shirts – sat in the public gallery. Councillor Ronnie Crawford, the chairman of the planning committee, explained that the council had run out of process on the issue of the chicken litter …

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Allister fears Maze will become a new Poleglass…

I remember the building of Poleglass, mostly because I was working at NIE at the time the first residents were moving in and the plans for the new developments passed through the offices I was working in. The plans for it were subject to a huge political push back, particularly from Unionist politicians in Lisburn who feared (rightly as it happened) that its proximity to West Belfast would bring in a huge influx of nationalists into the then Borough. So …

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