Other News In Brief

DUP's David Simpson Not Standing As MP

DUP MP David Simpson has announced he will not contest the upcoming election to retain his seat in Westminster.

The outgoing Upper Bann MP won the seat in 2005 and referenced his well-documented extramarital affair when announcing he will not stand again.

Mr Simpson said he was "sorry" for his mistakes and that his family had given him a "precious second chance".

He said: "It has been the privilege of my life, and deeply humbling to represent the people of Upper Bann in the House of Commons for the last 14 years. During that time, I have always endeavoured to ensure that the priorities of people within the constituency were well understood at Westminster.

"As a consequence of the strong vote in 2017, we have been able to deliver on broadband, health and education within the area.

"In recent times it has been well publicised that I made a mistake that brought hurt to my wife and family as well as bringing heartache to another family.

"These were my mistakes and for them I am truly sorry. I have learned from my failings and my wife and children have given me a precious second chance and together we intend to look to the future together."

DUP Leader Arlene Foster thanked Mr Simpson for his service to both the community and the party.

Shared Space Opens Opposite Ulster Hospital

A new shared space has been completed across from the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, offering people a place to relax.

The Garden of Reflection has been established in Moat Park by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

Elected representatives, local community groups, staff from the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and the PSNI all turned out to mark the official opening of the facility.

Speaking at the opening, Alderman James Tinsley, Chairman of the council's Leisure & Community Development Committee, said: "The council is delighted to see the Garden of Reflection completed and it looks fantastic. The Ulster Hospital is just across the road and we wanted to provide a dedicated area for hospital staff and patients' families to take some time out of their busy day or stressful situation.
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"Those who visit the Garden of Reflection from the hospital will be looking for some respite and this shared space with reflective quotes, wildflowers and seating can provide it. Or perhaps they want to take their loved one out of the hospital for some fresh air and as this garden is wheelchair accessible this would be possible. As a council we are committed to improving the quality of life of our residents, and we hope that our Dundonald residents use this area when in Moat Park."

The project was funded by the council and the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council PEACE IV Partnership under the Shared Space & Services theme.

Councillor Jonathan Craig, Chair of the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council PEACE IV Partnership added: "Shared spaces are very important in today's society and this new Garden of Reflection provides a dedicated area for everyone to enjoy peace and tranquillity. It is a safe and welcoming place located in Moat Park in the vicinity of the local PSNI station and the main Newtownards Road. I hope everyone enjoys and respects it."

Reopening Of Dungannon Leisure Centre Delayed

Contractors working on the refurbishment of Dungannon Leisure Centre have uncovered more serious issues which will see the project face a delay.

The Mid Ulster District Council construction workers found further problems in the swimming pool substructures, as well as additional plumbing and electrical requirements.

These works will see the reopening of the centre pushed back to January 2020.

Councillor Trevor Wilson, Chair of the Council's Development Committee, said: "In a building as old as Dungannon Leisure Centre which dates from the early 1970s, there is always a risk that, when you begin to strip it back, you will uncover problems that hadn't previously been anticipated.

"While this moves our re-opening from the autumn of this year to the early part of 2020, the important issue is that we take the time needed to ensure the building is fit for purpose and ready to offer high quality health and leisure activities to the people of Dungannon and the surrounding area.

"We know that many of our customers have been waiting patiently for the centre to open again and we apologise for asking for their continued patience while we manage this additional work."

The newly refurbished leisure space will feature upgrades to the swimming pools, fitness suite, changing facilities and reception area. Renovations to the pool include new tiling, pool linings, surrounds, filters and structural work, while the gym will be fitted out with a completely new range of fitness equipment and the centre's squash court will also be revamped.


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