Big thank you from

New Year message from Mayor

Lisburn Mayor Ronnie Crawford.THE Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Ronnie Crawford, has a special message for all Ulster Star readers.

"2009 has the potential to be a very bleak year for us all, with the prospect of increasing job losses and repossession of homes. "While many factors of this recession are borne from circumstances outside our control, were it not for the deliberate discrimination by the N.I. Executive against investment in this city, the impact of the recession would have been greatly lessened by thousands of jobs at the Maze and Sprucefield.

2009 is also the 400th anniversary of the Foundation of Lisburn and I hope that the entire community will join in celebrating that event. Our forebearers overcame many adversities through all those years and I am confident that just as Lisburn rose again From the ravages of fire on two occasions, we shall also emerge stronger, better and wiser from the present crisis.

"The proposed changes in council boundaries are a matter of great concern with the prospect of Lisburn becoming one of the smallest players in local government. We

need to resist those who are engineering this development, which, once again seeks to advantage our capital city.

"We are currently benefiting from an influx of shoppers from the Irish Republic and we must ensure that they increasingly choose Lisburn as their prime retail destination and I would urge you all, wherever possible, to restrict your spending to local businesses and thus help them through these tough times. The retail landscape is changing by the day and the need to support our local traders has never been greater.

In the spring, many of our friends currently based in Thiepval will see service in the hostile environment of Afghanistan. We need to pray regularly for their protection and safe return.

"In my six months as Mayor I have been greatly encouraged, by so much good work that goes on within this city and we have much for which we can be thankful.

"These dark days are an opportunity for us to create an indominatable community spirit where we all watch out for each other and I wish each of you every success and happiness in the coming year."