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Newry and Mourne and Down District Councils to Continue with Reform

Councillors from both Newry and Mourne and Down District Councils have re-affirmed their commitment to continuing with reform despite the Executive’s recent decision that their proposed merger will now not go ahead next year.

At a recent meeting of the Voluntary Transition Committee, Councillors from both Councils expressed their determination to continue with efforts that would identify possible opportunities for collaboration which could ultimately result in efficiencies and improvement in services for local businesses and local ratepayers.

Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Eamonn O Neill who chaired the meeting said, “Councillors are convinced that the significant work that has been undertaken to-date in preparing for the new Council should not be wasted and should be re-directed towards improving local services and providing better value for money”.

The Mayor of Newry & Mourne District Council, Councillor Mick Murphy echoed these comments and advised, “Work will now be undertaken to identify possible areas where both Councils can cooperate with each other and also where they can cooperate with other Councils and other government agencies across Northern Ireland”.

Councillors attending the Voluntary Transition Committee meeting on Tuesday 29 June 2010 also expressed concerns that the recent Executive decision has created more uncertainty for ratepayers and staff in both Council areas, and called on the Executive to provide as a matter of urgency, clarification as to whether both Councils will be merged at a future date.

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Mr Brian McCann, Mullaghbawn was the winner of the Recycler of the Month competition for the Month of June. A £50 cheque was presented to Brian by the competition sponsor’s ReGen. Brian’s blue bin was full of all the correct recyclable material. Brain and his two sons are keen recyclers and their blue bin was full to the top with the correct materials, all washed and squashed.

Therese Hamill (NMDC) and  Brian McCann  (Winner)This month, Officers were delighted to find that the majority of bins set out, contained all the right materials. The blue bins are collected by the Council and taken to ReGen’s Materials Recycling Facility at Carnbane Industrial Estate, were the materials are sorted and sent to the relevant facilities for recycling. For example the plastic bottles collected in the blue bins are made into clothes or back into bottles.

Householders are reminded that no plastic bags or packaging, apart from plastic bottles, should go into the blue bin. Drinks cartons also cannot be placed into the blue recycling bin. Plastic packaging should be placed in the black bin and plastic bags can be reused.

If residents would like to recycle their drinks cartons, they can bring them to any of the Council’s 7 Household Recycling Centres.

To help boost our targets, we would encourage householders to continue to use our Household Recycling Centres for the disposal of other recyclable materials such as green waste, glass, waste oil, scrap metal, fluorescent tubes/energy saving light bulbs, timber, televisions and computer monitors, car batteries, household batteries and fridges/freezers.

Anyone who uses his or her blue bin correctly is eligible to win. This means that the blue bin is not contaminated, all material is clean, dry and loose, and where appropriate lids are removed and containers are washed and squashed. For more information about recycling or the competition, please contact Therese Hamill on (028) 30313233 or email recycling@newryandmourne.gov.uk.

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As part of the city’s efforts to become the regions leading eco-city, over 100 delegates gathered in Newry for a milestone conference on Sustainability. The conference was opened by Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy MP MLA and delegates from across Ireland engaged with the worlds stars of sustainability from Whistler, Canada; Helsingborg, Sweden and Morbegno in Italy.

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On Friday 13th August 2010 PIPS Newry & Mourne is hosting a golf classic tournament at the renowned Warrenpoint Championship golf course. Please join us for an exciting 18-hole scramble PIPS Golf Classicand support the very needed work of PIPS Newry & Mourne (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm) The funds raised from this event will go towards supporting the ongoing inhouse and outreach services provided by our charity for Suicide prevention , intervention & postvention Helping us provide free counselling, alternative therapies, one to one and group support and education & training workshops for those that are vulnerable and living in our community PIPS Newry & Mourne is an independent suicide prevention charity ( XR96724 )that focuses on improving the health care of those that are in a distressed emotional state and are in need of support or professional help.

The Golf Classic will commence at 7am, Players will compete in teams of 4, and I have attached a poster and a program and a registration for the day. The registration form can also be downloaded on our website (www.pipsnewryandmourne.org)

At this time we are looking for major sponsors, hole sponsors, prizes for the day and teams We would very much appreciate if you would please download and display the attached information for your members

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US Ambassador to Ireland Mr Dan Rooney and Mrs Patricia Rooney presented the prestigious Rooney Fellowship Prize for 2009-10 to Lisa Meegan a full-time Higher National Diploma in Business Studies student at the Southern Regional College, Newry Campus.

This is the 18th year of this prestigious Scholarship which will enable Lisa to spend the next year studying and undertaking work placements in Pittsburgh USA.

The announcement was made at the annual Rooney Fellowship Award dinner held recently in the Graduate Restaurant at the College’s East Campus. A splendid meal was served from an award winning menu created by SRC students for the recent International Food Exhibition (IFEX) competition.

Brian Doran, Chief Executive of the Southern Rooney Fellow for 2010 Lisa Meegan is pictured receiving her Certificate from Ambassador and Mrs Patricia Rooney.  Also pictured is Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College and Arnold Hatch, Governing Body Chairman. Regional College welcomed Ambassador and Mrs Rooney and thanked them for taking time from their busy schedule to come to the College to present the Annual Rooney Fellowship Award. He paid tribute to Dan and Patricia Rooney for making the Rooney Fellowship possible and assured them that the Southern Regional was deeply committed to carrying on and developing this work. Mr Doran paid a special tribute to the work of the Ireland Institute and welcomed Executive Director of the Ireland Institute Teresa Stayduhar who travelled from Pittsburgh to the dinner.

Martin McGrath, the outgoing Rooney Fellow, gave a brief overview of his time in Pittsburgh describing his trip as a once in a lifetime experience and thanked all invol ved in establishing the internship. In his address Ambassador Rooney paid tribute to the outgoing fellow and gave a warm welcome and congratulated the 2010 Rooney Fellow, Lisa Meegan. Ambassador Rooney expressed his pride in all the past Rooney Fellows who he said were tremendous ambassadors for Newry City. He also paid tribute to the Rooney Alumni Group for their work in relation to the Sister Michele O’Leary Bursary in recognition of her unequivocal support of the Rooney Fellowship internship and help and guidance provided to the Fellows during their time in Pittsburgh. The Sr Michele O’Leary Bursary winner for 2010 was announced by Brian Larkin, Chair of the Rooney Alumni Group. The recipient was Eamon Keenan a HND Business Studies student at the College and the presentation was made by Aine Thompson, Vice Chair of Rooney Alumni Group. Feargal McCormack reflected on the establishment of the Newry Pittsburgh Partnership and acknowledged the contribution of key individuals such as Dan Rooney, Seamus Mallon, Tony O’Reilly, Jack O’Hare, Dr Raymond Mullan and Sister Michele O’Leary who he thanked for their vision in establishing and sustaining the Rooney Fellowship over the past 18 years.

Mayor John Feehan spoke of Newry City’s long and proud association with the Rooney Family and thanked the Ambassador and Mrs Rooney, on behalf of Newry and Mourne District Council, for their continued support of initiatives in the greater Newry area. Lisa will leave in August 2009 to commence her internship at the University of Pittsburgh and work placements with Heinz Corporation and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Fiddlers Green Folk Festival is on this week in Rostrevor with artists like Tom Paxton, Matt Molloy and Eleanor Shanley putting in an appearance. Latvia's favourite folk group Ilgi played an open air gig courtesy of Dr Gerard O'Hare on Tuesday night followed by a session in the Kilbroney Bar. Check out some of the photographs

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The 2010 Mr Gay Newry competition was held at Passion at the Brass Monkey at the weekend and was won by Newry man Padraig Lynch.

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Transport Minister Conor Murphy on Thursday officially opened the 12 km A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue dual carriageway five months ahead of schedule with the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister Robin Newton. The Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen TD also took part in the event. At long last a quality road links Irelands top two cities.

The scheme extends around the northern and western outskirts of the city of Newry to complete the upgrading of the A1 Sprucefield to the border route to dual carriageway standard.

Junior Minister, Robin Newton, Taoiseach Brian Cowan; Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Development; Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister and Cllr Mick Murphy, Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council at the completion of the A1Conor Murphy said: "This project is the final link on the key strategic route between Belfast and Dublin on Ireland's Eastern Seaboard and makes a substantial positive contribution to the social and economic well-being of our communities both north and south. The completion of this 12km stretch of new road from Beech Hill to Cloghogue, at a cost of just over £150million, marks the achievement of the Department's commitment to upgrade the remaining section of this road to full dual carriageway standard.

"The A1 also provides access, via Newry, to the port of Warrenpoint, one of our strategically important regional gateways and convenient road connections to the cities of Lisburn and Newry and the towns of Dromore, Banbridge, Dundalk and Drogheda.

"This project has been successfully completed five months ahead of schedule and it will significantly improve journey times and safety for all. I am sure, like me, many of you have watched with interest and anticipation this new stretch of dual carriageway take shape and are now looking forward to actually travelling on it and experiencing the important benefits that it will provide. "

The scheme involved substantial rock cuttings with 1.2 million tonnes of rock excavated to make way for the new dual carriageway. In line with current good construction practice all of this material was processed on site and used in the construction of the new road. Over two million man hours were successfully worked on the project, which employed 500 people at the peak of the scheme.

The new road opens at SheepbridgeThe scheme includes five flyover-type junctions and 17 new bridges including a 190m long viaduct carrying the new dual carriageway over the Newry River, the canal and the Tandragee Road.

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: "Investments in road improvements, such as this key project, meet the Executive's strategic objectives in terms of promoting economic growth and competitiveness and balanced regional development. Transportation infrastructure is a key factor in sustainable economic growth. This stretch of road is an essential element of the development of dual carriageways and motorways along the Eastern Seaboard, connecting Larne through Belfast to Dublin and on to Rosslare. This will not only reduce transport times and costs, but create opportunities along the seaboard, linking the major ports and our economies. As we all face the outworking of the recession now is the time to build the economy, to take advantage of the opportunities and to deliver jobs and investment."

Junior Minister, Robin Newton said: "Completion of this scheme demonstrates the Executive's commitment to improving this key route the importance of which has been reflected in its inclusion as part of the Trans European Transport Network. In the Programme for Government, the Executive sets out its vision to develop a modern and efficient highway network. This vision recognises the importance of our road network in facilitating the efficient movement of people, goods and services and assisting in growing a dynamic and innovative economy. "

Environmental considerations have been an important aspect of this project, not least because of its location on the outskirts of the city of Newry and on the boundary of the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The scheme includes mitigating measures relating to noise, landscaping, water quality and the protection of vulnerable animals. Motorists now have new views across this attractive landscape, including views of the impressive 18-arch Craigmore Viaduct on the nearby Belfast - Dublin railway line.

Minister Murphy thanked Roads Service, Amey Lagan Roads, Lagan Construction and Ferrovial Agroman Ltd for their work completing the scheme ahead of schedule and also the local community for their assistance during the development and construction of the scheme. This project was part funded by the European Union, TEN-T (Trans-European Network Transport) Programme.

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