Monthly Archives: May 2017

Constituency Profile: East Antrim

<!– –> THE quest to reclaim both family honour and East Antrim from the DUP’s Sammy Wilson by Roy Beggs Jr is officially over, with the UUP man declining another attempt at wrenching back the Westminster seat that once belonged to his father. In this snap election, the job of taking on the current MP’s huge lead instead falls to John Stewart, who clinched a surprise victory just two months ago when he bagged the Ulster Unionists a second assembly seat in the constituency on a night the UUP would otherwise rather forget – one that famously claimed the scalp of Mike Nesbitt. For as has traditionally been the case in East Antrim, the MP post-June 8 will be a unionist, that much you can bet your house on. And barring a spectacular DUP implosion, Mr Wilson will be returning to claim that unionist seat in a new-look Westminster where … Continue reading

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Ulster Unionist leader finally backs equal marriage in Northern Ireland… after quitting his job

The departing leader of Northern Ireland’s Ulster Unionist Party has finally backed equal marriage for the first time, two weeks after quitting his job. The ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) previously used a procedure known as a ‘petition of concern’ to block same-sex marriage – but after this month’s elections, no longer has enough assembly seats to do so. Conservative unionists may still be able to continue to block equality if MLAs from the Ulster Unionist Party lend their support to a petition of concern, but today departing UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has come out in favour of same-sex marriage. Mr Nesbitt, who is set to be replaced as party leader next month, finally spoke out on the issue on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show. The leader had previously opposed equality but suggested he was “evolving” on the issue. Speaking to Stephan Nolan, he confirmed he had “finished the journey”. Asked if … Continue reading

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Stop criminal feuding in Larne ‘before lives are lost’: MLA

Criminal feuding in Larne must come to an end “before lives are lost” Roy Beggs has said. The Ulster Unionist MLA made his plea after an arson attack at a house in the Killyglen Road area of the town on Sunday. Mr Beggs said the latest incident had all the hallmarks of the tit-for-tat incidents that have been taking place in recent weeks. “Another car has been set on fire and, with the risk of an exploding petrol tank, homes have been endangered along with the lives of local residents,” he said. “I have a meeting arranged with the PSNI and will be urging that extra resources are used to target the well known criminal protagonists and help bring this feuding to an end before lives are lost,” Mr Beggs added. Three men have been arrested by police investigating the Killyglen incident. Two of the men, aged 23 and 32, … Continue reading

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Monkstown centre closure ‘concerning’

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has expressed concern over plans to close the only remaining Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) provision in Monkstown. This Educational Guidance Centre is the only remaining EOTAS service provided within Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey. Mr. Beggs is actively involved in trying to address educational under-achievement and has visited the service. He said: “Closing the local EOTAS provision is a retrograde step. Pupils can fall out of post-primary school for complex reasons and EOTAS can play an important role in assisting them with continuing their education. “I am concerned with the plans to close the Monkstown EOTAS service and instead relay on a service provided in Ballymena. “EOTAS plays an important role in assisting alternative education and sometimes the return of pupils to main stream schooling. “Young people from Carrick, Newtownabbey and parts of Larne will have to travel the considerable additional distance … Continue reading

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Beggs calls for urgent DAERA investigation into fish kill

Roy Beggs MLA has contacted the Department of Agriculture, Environment & the Rural Affairs seeking an urgent investigation to establish the cause of the fish kill at the Woodburn reservoirs.   Roy Beggs said, “The Woodburn Dams are the water source for most of East Antrim, from Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and parts of Larne.  An urgent investigation is required by DAERA to identify the cause of the fish kill and to confirm whether or not it was caused by the re-stocking process, to re-assure the public about their water source. Drinking water must be protected and lessons need to be learned from this incident”. DAERA are responsible for both re-stocking fish at the Woodburn reservoirs and for investigating fish kills and the potential of water pollution.   Recently there was concern at the exploratory drilling within the water catchment area of the dams.

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