Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that Rathlin Island is to get Northern Ireland’s first community e-transport scheme.
The Minister made the announcement as she visited the island and met with the Rathlin Development and Community Association.
The Minister said: “Rathlin Island is a unique and special place. It has the ambition to be a carbon neutral island and wants to continue to develop its blue green infrastructure. I am fully supportive of the strategic aim of the Executive’s Rathlin Island Policy to advance a sustainable island community and I am delighted to announce the development of a community led e-transport scheme for the island which is a major step forward for islanders and visitors alike.
“This community e-car scheme will benefit the wider community, especially the younger and older populations on the island and the e-bike scheme of 20 bikes will initially be available to all islanders and visitors working on the island. In the future the Development Association would like to see it extended for visitors coming to sample the island’s natural beauty.
“This is an exciting development for the people of Rathlin and I am very pleased to be providing this investment through my Blue/Green Fund to help bring about lasting change for people here. This initiative will support sustainable living; protect the environment; and also promote active travel as an everyday form of transport and in doing so, will improve physical and mental health and our local environment.”
Michael Cecil, Chair of the Rathlin Development and Community Association said: “I welcome Minister Mallon’s visit to the island today. We share her vision of a sustainable living and working environment and are delighted to hear of her support for a community e-transport scheme for the island.”
The Minister also visited the East Lighthouse and met staff from NI Water’s Treatment works on the island. This award-winning facility has just had a £1million upgrade. The project involved the construction of a new improved water treatment facility to enhance the water treatment system on the island.
The upgraded treatment process, which is the first solution of its kind across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, consists of a ‘mini’ Magnetic Ion Exchange (MIEX) system which uses a combination of resins to effectively treat the water with no chemical waste produced. This innovative solution secured second place in this year’s Institute of Water (IoW) NI Innovation Awards. The Minister congratulated NI Water on their success.
Positive Impact of Good Relations Projects
The Executive’s commitment towards the delivery of good relations projects in 2021/22 is another key step towards building a united and shared society, Ministers have said.
First Minister Paul Givan and Education Minister Michelle McIlveen were speaking in Limavady during a visit to a T:BUC Camp being delivered by Roe Valley Residents Association. There they saw first-hand how the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy is actively bringing young people from different backgrounds and traditions together.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “The amazing work of initiatives such as the T:BUC Camp delivered by Roe Valley Residents Association is an example of how T:BUC funding is helping to engender real and lasting societal change.
“The T:BUC Camps Programme is inspiring. It is a great example of the incredible good relations work that is helping to bring about positive change across so many communities here.
“The Camps Programme is a key headline action of the T:BUC Strategy and reflects the Executive’s ongoing commitment to ending division and improving community relations. The camps bring people of different backgrounds and traditions together for shared activities. This not only breaks down barriers in the present, but has a profound and lasting impact in creating a better future.
“This effort plays a key role in helping us continue the journey towards creating a more united and shared society.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “The amazing work being carried out through the T:BUC Camps programme and across the wider T:BUC Strategy is helping to bring people from different cultural traditions together and engender real and lasting societal change.
“The Executive is committed to the good relations journey and to continuing to support projects working towards our goal of creating a truly equal and shared society where everyone can live together, free from intolerance, discrimination and prejudice.”
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen added: “The T:BUC Camps programme is an important initiative which demonstrates what can be achieved through a joined up approach involving The Executive Office, the Department of Education and the Education Authority, bringing together young people from different community backgrounds.
“For some young people a T:BUC Camp can be the first opportunity to come together on a cross-community basis to meet people they may not otherwise do. It is an opportunity to take part in an exciting programme as well as making new friends.
“I hope there are some young people here today who will want to build on the experience gained in their involvement in the T:BUC camps programme and I would encourage that very much.”
Council and PSNI Make Joint Appeal Over Removal of River Bann Lifesaving Aids
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and the PSNI have issued a joint appeal following the sustained deliberate removal of lifesaving equipment along the River Bann.
The situation came to a head last week, when 11 individual lifelines were taken, leaving no emergency aids in place from the Old Bridge at Christie Park to the Cutts at Castleroe.
Throwlines and buoyancy aids can make the difference between life and death, and there is a growing concern that a tragedy will occur if this type of mindless behaviour continues.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “This vital equipment is provided for the simple purpose of keeping people safe, and it is beyond belief that it would be removed or destroyed.
“To take all 11 lifelines, leaving a long stretch of riverbank without emergency equipment, is a disgrace and we cannot allow this to continue.
“To those behind this – it must stop before it’s too late. An emergency can arise at any time. It could be your friend or family member in need and this equipment could save their live.
“To anyone who witnesses such irresponsible behaviour please make sure to report it immediately and help us address this grave situation.”
Supporting the Mayor’s comments, Sergeant Clare Sweeney said: “It defies belief that people are willing to put the lives of others at risk through such reckless action.
We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the lines being taken or saw anything suspicious in the area earlier this week to contact us on 101 quoting reference 537 of June 25th. A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport. Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.