31/07/2009

Other NI News In Brief

Lord Mayor 'Rubbish'

Belfast's First Citizen, Lord Mayor Naomi Long, is pictured this week at Falls Leisure Centre for the Captain Cleanup roadshow. The roadshow, which is part of Belfast City Council's 'Litter - get a grip!' anti-litter campaign, is visiting kids attending council summer schemes across the city.

PSNI Criticised And Praised

The call handling system used by the PSNI has been criticised by the official inspectorate that overlooks policing. However, they have also been praised for the way they have tackled common crime over the last three years. The Criminal Justice Inspectorate (CJI) examined how police dealt with offences like assault, burglary and theft. It found that there had been an improvement, particularly in investigative skills and forensics. However, it said it was concerned about the PSNI's call management system. The CJI said an efficient system was needed to effectively manage resources, but noted that the police are currently piloting a new call handling system to overcome problems.

Vacant Maze Site A 'Disgrace'

Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has branded the Government's failure to maximise the potential of the Maze site a "disgrace". The Alliance assemblyman said that current speculation about stadium sites shows Long Kesh was the best option for a shared stadium: "We are going to get 'lost in a maze' of consultancy reports over potential stadium sites. It's a pity that the Maze site cannot be revisited. Spending money upgrading existing facilities which are already past their sell by date means we won't have a shared stadium or have the massive economic driver that the Maze stadium would have provided." He said the DUP "need to get real and see that the Maze is the best option", even though they have already dismissed it for the "wrong reasons".

Upgrade For Popular Museum
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Ballymoney Museum has reopened following a £400,000 gallery re-fit, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The museum offers a wide range of displays, with the museum's archaeological collection which is now recognised as 'of national importance'. Visitors can now also discover the story behind more recent events, such as the troubled years of the 1790s and the uprising of the United Irishmen. Life in the 20th century is not overlooked with exhibits from the Corfield factory, which produced the only cameras ever made in Ireland, and the fondly remembered narrow gauge railway that ran from Ballymoney, through Dervock, Stranocum and Gracehill, to the coastal town of Ballycastle. The museum also boasts a motorcycle road racing display and has received contributions from the Dunlop family, and other local heroes.

Housing Bulletin Shows 'Crisis Point'

A Northern Ireland assemblyman has warned that the latest Quarterly Housing Bulletin once again highlights the serious problems faced in the provision of social housing. Sinn Féin's Fra McCann said the bulletin shows a serious lack of social housing being built and the large amounts of people still declaring themselves as being homeless. "Alongside this there is a huge increase in those having mortgage possession actions taken against them," said the west Belfast MLA. He suggested the state of housing provision, and responses to deal with those people who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn, is at "crisis point". "Homelessness figures show that the numbers of people declaring themselves homeless in the first three months of this year remains high at 4,991, just a decrease in 2% from the same period last year. On top of this, actions for mortgage possessions, which sits at 1,020 for the first three months of this year, represents a 35.3% increase over last year," said Mr McCann.

'Dee Community Centre Opened

A new £1.5m community centre in Donaghadee has been officially opened by the Mayor of Ards. The building houses a series of seminar and meetings rooms, as well as a main hall and a minor hall for smaller events, which also has safety surfacing suitable for children's play. Its design also allows for the minor hall to be fitted out with a children's soft play area at a later stage, while space for a gym has also been included which means a community fitness facility could also be added in the future. "The new centre is a contemporary community space, finished to a very high standard, with modern facilities and ample space," said Mayor Billy Montgomery.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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