Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



New Mayor hits the ground running

The new Mayor of Lisburn Councillor Ronnie Crawford and the Mayoress Mrs. Jean Crawford. Photo John Harrison.LISBURN'S new Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford was in office just a few hours when he wrote to the First Minister about the future of the Maze Stadium plan.

But then Mr Crawford had made it clear he would be starting as he meant to go on.

He said he was pleased to have the job as Lisburn's first citizen and that, having taken early retirement a few years ago, intended to be a "full time mayor", adding that his door was always open to anyone who needed his help.

The new mayor wrote to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister requesting a meeting with them and the new deputy Mayor, Alderman Edwin Poots to discuss the Maze Stadium plan. He has also contacted the Equality Commission seeking a meeting to discuss the equality of investment in sports stadia in Northern Ireland.

In addition to the Maze project, Mr Crawford has made bringing John Lewis to Sprucefield a priority for his year in office, as well as bringing further investment into the city.

"I would like to see the regeneration of Market Square," continued Mr Crawford. "The square is a big problem and businesses there need some sort of boost.

"We have talked about pedestrianising the area and creating a piazza. I would also like to get some sort of rates relief for businesses in Market Square.

"I also look forward to work beginning in Wallace Park. It has taken three years to get a concept plan. We are moving at the pace of an alpine glacier and we need work to begin as soon as possible."

Mr Crawford concluded by saying how much he was looking forward to the year ahead.

"I look forward to seeing what is going on in the inner workings of the city' he said.

The new Mayor or Lisburn Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Photo John Harrison.
The new Mayor or Lisburn Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Photo John Harrison.

Diabetes UK
is new mayor's charity

LISBURN'S new Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford has chosen Diabetes UK as his Charity for the coming year. During the year Mr Crawford hopes to raise vital funds for the group, as well as raising awareness about diabetes, particularly in local schools.

"A very good friend of mine, George Cantley, died last year," explained Mr Crawford. "He had diabetes for 55 years and it affected his heart, he lost toes, it affected his kidneys and he had to have dialysis. There are also a number of councillors in Lisburn who have diabetes.

"As well as fundraising I hope to raise awareness about diabetes, particularly in local schools, and encourage fitness regimes and healthy eating," he continued.

Mr Crawford also hopes to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the organ donor register.

A spokesperson for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland commented: "Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is absolutely delighted that the newly

appointed Mayor Ronnie Crawford has chosen us as his charity of the year. We look forward to working with the Mayor and the Lisburn city council.

"Given that Diabetes is so prevalent in Northern Ireland this partnership is an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness about the seriousness of the condition and the work that the charity does locally."

Words of thanks from
outgoing First Citizen

OUTGOING Mayor, Councillor James Tinsley has thanked everyone who supported him during his term in office, including his wife, Mayoress Margaret Tinsley.

Speaking as he handed over his chain of office to Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Mr Tinsley said he had many highlights throughout the year. and particularly enjoyed meeting the young people of the city.

Amongst the high spots, Mr Tinsley noted the opening of Castle Gardens and the Bridge Community Centre, the laying of the foundations for a new hotel on the Hillsborough Road and the Grand Prix. He also said he looked forward to work beginning on the regeneration of Wallace Park.

Mr Tinsley also thanked all of the Council staff for their support during the year, and singled out his drivers for special words of appreciation.

He concluded by saying: "Our city is growing and its fantastic to see."

New chairman vows to continue hospital campaign

THE new Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Corporate Services Committee has vowed the fight to retain vital services at Lagan Valley Hospital will continue during his term as Chairman.

Councillor Paul Givan said the Corporate Services Committee, which has been co-ordinating the Council's campaign to secure the Hospital's future and to prevent it from becoming 'little more than an overspill facility' for the Belfast Hospitals, will continue and intensify its efforts to make sure that this does not happen.

"The Council is determined that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust proposals will not go through and I will do everything I can to play my part to ensure that these ludicrous plans are abandoned", said Mr Givan.

The people of Lisburn deserve better. The potential consequences of the demise of Lagan Valley Hospital are devastating.

"Only this week a young mother in England spoke in the media of being turned away from two hospitals and eventually giving birth on the reception floor of a third.

" Given the well documented maternity meltdown that has been predicated by leading health care professionals should the current maternity services close here in Lisburn, how long will it be before we have similar experiences in Lisburn," asked Mr Givan.

Lisburn's new Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford (right) and Deputy Mayor Alderman Edwin Poots after the City Council's AGM at Lagan Valley Island. Photo John Harrison.
Lisburn's new Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford (right) and Deputy Mayor Alderman Edwin Poots after the City Council's AGM at Lagan Valley Island. Photo John Harrison.

Poots follows in his father's footsteps
to become Deputy Mayor

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of his father, former Culture Minister Edwin Poots has been elected as Lisburn's Deputy Mayor.

Mr Poots had said recently he would regard it as a great honour to become Lisburn's first citizen -a post his father never held - and this week that dream came a step closer as he became the city's Deputy Mayor, a position which should see him become Mayor next year.

DUP colleague Paul Porter nominated Mr Poots for the post, with the nomination being seconded by Ulster Unionist Alderman Ivan Davis. Thanking the council for his nomination, Mr Poots, taking up his chain of office, said: "This is not the first time a Poots has held this position and I hope I will carry out the role with the same dignity as my father.

"It is my privilege to be elected to this position. There is a lot of hard work to be done and we will seek to make Lisburn a better place, a place with greater investment and a place where something is done for people on all sides of the community. The citizens of Lisburn can be assured they will be treated fairly, equitably and we will seek to make this the best possible place for any citizen to live."

`No new beginning' for Lisburn Council

SINN Fein Councillor, Paul Butler, nominating party colleague Charlene O'Hara for the position of Mayor, said it was "unfortunate" there would be no new beginning for Lisburn City Council.

Mr Butler pointed out that over the course of the council's history there has been no nationalist mayor who represents "the Poleglass area".

He went on to say: "The largest unionist party here can sit with nationalists in a power sharing government in Stormont yet they exclude Sinn Fein from positions in this council."

The nomination of Ms O'Hara for the position of Mayor was seconded by Councillor Angela Nelson. However, with only two votes, she failed to be elected to the post of First Citizen.

Ulster Star