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Newry, Mourne and Down

Annual Call for Ring of Gullion AONB Partnership New Members

The Ring of Gullion Partnership is a stakeholder group of representatives working to conserve and protect our natural, built and cultural heritage in the Ring of Gullion AONB. The Partnership is seeking new members and is open to any organisation or individual with an interest in the AONB’s biodiversity, heritage, recreation, or sustainable tourism.

Annual Call for Ring of Gullion AONB Partnership New Members

Are you committed to conserving and enhancing the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)? Do you represent a local interest group or organisation? Or are you an individual passionate about protecting the AONB?

Ring of Gullion Partnership

The Ring of Gullion Partnership is a stakeholder group of representatives working to conserve and protect our natural, built and cultural heritage in the Ring of Gullion AONB. The Partnership is seeking new members and is open to any organisation or individual with an interest in the AONB’s biodiversity, heritage, recreation, or sustainable tourism. The Partnership’s aim is to have representation of all groups and interests across the AONB communities.

The members of the AONB Partnership work collaboratively sharing knowledge, expertise and examples of best practice; contributing to the preparation of the AONB Management Action Plan; identifying new funding opportunities; running shared campaigns relevant to issues impacting the AONB; developing and identifying opportunities for shared learning; helping inform and communicate with local government and central government, environmental NGOs, funders, politicians and the media; and supporting the involvement of the community in the management of the AONB.

Outstanding Natural Beauty

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “The Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is alive with history, awash in scenic beauty and bursting with culture. This unique geological landform is unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. It is vital that our local communities and stakeholders work together to protect and conserve this heritage for future generations, and I look forward to working with the Ring of Gullion Partnership in this”

Chairperson of the Ring of Gullion Partnership, Des Murphy said, “This is an exciting opportunity for local people and organisations to get involved in the management of their AONB, to play a part in protecting and conserving our heritage. If you feel as passionately about this as we do, then we need you to get involved. If you would like to join the Partnership, please get in touch!”

Apply Today!

All new members will complete an induction course covering the management and governance of the Ring of Gullion AONB and code of conduct provided by The Partnership. All members will also be required to present an annual statement documenting their activities undertaken to contribute to the coordination and facilitation of the management of the Ring of Gullion AONB, and any activities carried out to conserve and enhance the AONB.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity to play a part in the management of the Ring of Gullion AONB, please forward a completed application form to susan.mcclay@nmandd.org.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Ring of Gullion website.

Newry, Mourne and Down

Praises as Pupils Send Powerful Message on Domestic Violence

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill pictured with pupils from St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick, who have been raising awareness of domestic violence and the issues faced by women and girls in today’s society.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has praised pupils from St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick for their efforts to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The school has been working with Women’s Aid on a special project to shine a light on the many issues faced by women and girls in today’s society.Their efforts include the release of a song and video, which is not only raising awareness, but is raising funds to support those affected by domestic abuse.

Speaking after a visit to the school, Michelle O’Neill said: “I was delighted to meet with the girls from St Mary’s in Downpatrick today to hear about their efforts to help tackle the abuse faced by so many women and girls across the community. They are a talented group of young people and their work to raise awareness of these crucial issues is very moving and incredibly powerful.

“The abuse, inequality and misogyny faced by women and girls of all ages is a brutal reality of our society. And, sadly, very many experience violence in their everyday lives. It is a problem that requires everyone’s urgent attention and action.

“As an Executive, we have committed to working together on a strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. But everyone has a responsibility to do all they can to help change attitudes and behaviours. The inspirational pupils at St Mary’s have done just that and I applaud them for the impactful and sensitive way they have dealt with this issue.

“I also commend the school for bringing this subject to the fore and supporting the students to tell the story.”

Given the ongoing Covid-19 measures in place across the schools community, the song was produced by recording individual voices and layering them to create the final version.

The deputy First Minister said: “Our schools and young people have had such a tough time throughout the pandemic. But they have innovated and adapted to do great things.  It is wonderful to see how St Mary’s have used a creative approach to deliver this important message.”

St Mary’s Principal, Rosemary McLaughlin, said: “The Board of Governors and staff of St Mary’s High School are very proud of the girls who have used their talents in a positive way to highlight injustice in our society. The efforts they have made will really make a difference to Women’s Aid.

“We are an all girls’ school; and we recognise the need to empower our young women. We want to ensure that the girls know there are organisations out there that can help the victim and the perpetrator.  As a school, we discussed the impact that the national lockdown had on women when the message was to stay at home. During lockdown, the increase in domestic abuse and violence against women was well documented by the media. Women’s Aid will now be able to use the much needed resources from this project to support families in the locality.”

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Newry, Mourne and Down

Please Give Our Fire Crews Space to do Their Job

The Health Minister Robin Swann has paid tribute to firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) who are currently tackling a serious blaze in the Mourne Mountains.

NIFRS has declared a major incident and is escalating its operations in the area to bring the fire under control. A large number of resources will be in attendance and NIFRS has appealed to the public not to travel to the area, in particular Trassey Road, Bloody Bridge, Tollymore Forest and Donard Car Park.

The Minister said: “I’ve been shocked and deeply concerned to see the pictures of this devastating fire spreading across the Mournes. I have spoken to NIFRS Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Michael Graham to pay tribute to the crews. 

“Our firefighters are working hard in extremely challenging circumstances and I want to thank them on behalf of the community for their bravery and commitment. They are taking huge risks to bring the fire under control and make the area safe.

“I would appeal to the public to help NIFRS in their vital work by avoiding Newcastle and the Mournes and allowing the crews to do their job safely and effectively. They must be able to get fire appliances, equipment and firefighters there as quickly as possible, so please do not drive to the area unnecessarily. The public should also avoid gathering or walking in the area. The ongoing incident in the Mournes is not a tourist attraction nor a photo opportunity. Spending long, tiring hours away from family is part of the sacrifice of our emergency services, who work to keep us all safe. Please help by giving our fire crews the space to do their job.”

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