Other News In Brief

Van Morrisson To Play Live Botanic Gardens Gig

Belfast musician Van Morrison is set to play a live show in the city this summer.

Live At Botanic Gardens will see a series of concerts held in the picturesque gardens.

Van, whose music spans generations, will play his gig on Sunday 23 June. Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Monday 08 April.

The singer-songwriter has released multiple albums in the past few years with the most recent, 'The Prophet Speaks' available since December.

Alliance Voice Concerns Over Controversial Gas Storage Plans

Alliance have expressed concerns regarding plans for underground gas storage caverns in East Antrim, penning a letter to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

MLAs wrote to the Department, stating the proposals for Islandmagee could have 'a disastrous effect' on local marine ecology and the resulting saline brine created would have a 'severe impact on the local environment'.

The party has also called for a public consultation to take place before a full licence is granted for the process.

"One of the main issues raised on the doors with us while canvassing has been opposition to this proposal for underground gas storage caverns," said Alliance Larne Lough candidate Danny Donnelly. 
"The key problem for many is the discharged saline brine created by the process will have a huge impact on the local environment, particularly the marine wildlife of the area. Scientific research has shown the negative effects of desalination projects. Once again, this shows the need for an independent environmental protection agency in Northern Ireland.
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"The recent news the sea surrounding Islandmagee has become a special area of conservation is also welcome, as it will also have an impact on the granting of any licence.

"However, many local people still feel their voices are not being heard on this matter. Therefore Alliance has requested a licence is not granted for this process without first holding a public consultation. This will allow residents to express their concerns about the project and the potential environmental impact it may cause."

SDLP Express Concern Over Moy Park Factory Closure

An SDLP representative has spoke of his concern after Moy Park announced plans to halt production at its Ballymena factory until 2020.

Up to 400 jobs are believed to be in crisis as the 'kill-line' of the Antrim facility is suspended.

The SDLP candidate for Mid & East Antrim, Eugene Reid commented: "Whilst it was first understood that no job losses were imminent and that staff affected were to be redeployed to other sites, it has now been revealed that a number of employees of Moy Park have been told around 400 jobs are under threat.

"I will be contacting the management of Moy Park to ask for reassurances that all staff are redeployed fairly and reasonably and that no staff member will be financially worse off by having to be redeployed elsewhere. I will also be asking for urgent clarification that no member of staff will be laid off, whether that be now or in the near future.

"Moy Park is one of the area's largest employers, providing jobs for many constituents. It is important that Moy Park and other large employers are supported by a manufacturing strategy sooner rather than later. However, this will frustratingly remain an aspiration rather than a reality whilst the DUP/Sinn Féin impasse rolls on."


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