Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is encouraging the public to participate in its Newry City Centre Regeneration (NCCR) public consultation survey. An online questionnaire opened Monday 8 March 2021 and is due to close on Monday 31 May 2021.
Speaking on behalf of the Newry City Centre Regeneration (NCCR) Board, Co-Chairpersons, Councillors Roisin Mulgrew and Pete Byrne noted the transformative benefit the Newry City Centre Regeneration project would deliver for the City, district and wider Belfast Region City Deal area. Encouraging people to express their views, they stated, “The ongoing public consultation is a critical process around the Council’s commitment to lead on the regeneration of the City and wider district. There has been a huge level of participation in the consultation process to date and we are keen to receive everyone’s views on the proposals to regenerate Newry City as we emerge from these challenging times.”
The NCCR proposals are a range of projects which aim to invest directly within the historic core of the City, aiming to increase vibrancy and footfall, and stimulating further investment and regeneration for the benefit of the entire district.
The ongoing consultation process is linked to the Belfast Region City Deal (BCRD) projects also currently in progress. The Council has committed £26m to these projects, and a further £8m has been secured from the Department for Communities via BRCD. The Theatre/Conference Centre and Civic and Regional hub facilities are the cornerstones of the regeneration investment, with BRCD funding delivering public realm around the Council’s projects. An office fund will enable the private sector to respond flexibly in provision of office accommodation to suit workplace changes due to the impact of COVID-19.
The 15-acre Albert Basin Park is also a NCCR project and was subject to public consultation in 2020. A project team, including external consultants, has been engaged to develop a concept design and high level budget costs for the Albert Basin Park based upon the feedback from the public consultation in 2020. The concept layout is expected this coming summer.
The online public consultation can be accessed via the Council’s website.
The consultation process also includes the opportunity to register for consultation workshops via zoom, which can be found here.
Praises as Pupils Send Powerful Message on Domestic Violence
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.”
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.”