McNulty’s campaign to bring Newry (belatedly) into a 21C railway service…

So, £9 Million, no questions asked. Unsurprising the Perm Sec at Economy was a little concerned at the lack of accountability of the deal. We should not, of course, exaggerate what £9 million over three years can buy in terms of government spend. Lack of good, shovel ready and affordable ideas is one problem faced by politicians in power. Getting it past their Perm Secs is another. In this case the downsizing of government to just two parties has at … Read more

Maybe SDLP leadership “got in wrong” Alban?

The SDLP is in a bit of a pickle at the moment with its council members in Newry and Mourne appearing to have refused the party whip over the naming of a park after local man and IRA Hunger Striker Raymond McCreesh. The history of the park, the SDLP’s original support for its naming and the reaction to it has been well-documented elsewhere and I do not intend to revisit those issues in this column. What is interesting in this … Read more

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 … Read more

“in order to ensure the safety of the community and the officers responding…”

The BBC reports that the PSNI have defended the delay of over an hour before officers arrived at the scene of a car bomb alert in Newry on Saturday night.  Unlike the security alert on Friday in the Newry area, this one was eventually declared a hoax.  From the BBC report A hijacked taxi, containing a suspect device, was abandoned close to houses on Martins Lane on Saturday night. Residents used their own cars to block the road and tried … Read more

#CATJRF: Ownership of assets is tempered by the extent to which you have control…

Ballybot House is one of the earliest examples of Community Asset Transfer in Northern Ireland. It’s an old warehouse type building in the centre of Newry in an area that was once called Poor Town… the name is an anglicisation from the historic dialect of the Irish spoken in the south Armagh area of Baille Bocht… Having an asset changes your relationship with the wider community. The responsibilities that come with it, not least in the case of Ballybot the … Read more

“Sinn Féin controls our area…”

Here’s an interesting report from the Sunday World, transcribed on Newshound.  It starts by noting complaints from some parents in the Derrybeg Estate, Newry, that they were misled by Sinn Féin into sending their children on a PSNI sponsored trip.  A mother-of-two told Sunday World: “Sinn Féin members knocked doors asking if we wanted to send our kids on a two-day trip to Co Tyrone. They didn’t tell us the PSNI was helping fund it. “I was suspicious and refused but other parents … Read more

Bombscare: public in danger as PSNI deploy cones and withdraw to safety

Covering a bomb scare in Newry, Good Morning Ulster’s Conor MacAuley reported what he found at the scene:   There are road closed signs up, there are cones, some signs and lights, but I can’t see any police presence at the moment” “I have seen dozens of cars driving past this morning, some of them with small children in the back of their cars doing the school run. People obviously don’t realise the potential danger they are in [added emphasis … Read more