Ballymoney and District SDLP has said 2013 must be a year focused on building a society based on values of mutual respect, reconciliation, social justice and providing opportunities for everyone .
Cllr Harry Connolly and Local Representative Daniel Hendrie said: “In 2013 your local SDLP team will be fiercely lobbying for the much-vaunted and much-needed Ballymoney town centre redevelopment plan to be realised. Promises from the DUP Social Development Minister are not enough – the people of Ballymoney and its district demand action and we shall be leading the charge.
“We will also be campaigning vigorously on youth unemployment and emigration, seeking to find ways of creating local job creation and training opportunities that will not only stimulate our local economy but also give our young people hope for the future in their home area. Emigration should be a choice or a last resort – never the norm.
“There will be a real focus on bringing new investment and importantly new jobs for local people to the area, later this year we will be starting a consultation on a redevelopment plan for the middle of Ballymoney.
“In 2013 the SDLP will continue to defend the people who have been left marginalised and without opportunity in our society, we will continue to fight for those people who will be left disadvantaged by the savage attack on welfare.
“We will continue to press for an education system which allows our young people to pursue their aims and ambitions.
“We will continue to argue for a youth guarantee for our young people which would get thousands of young people back into work, especially those young people who have been hit so hard by the downturn in the construction industry, allowing them to retrain into other industries.
“The Patton crisis has hit some local business very hard and there must be action taken to ensure that subcontractors are protected from events beyond their control.
“There must be a renewed reconciliation effort in the area, particularly given the events of December and January, there must be new talks around parading with an emphasis on mutual respect and cooperation. In particular 2013 must be the year that there is a solution reached on the parading issue in Rasharkin, The SDLP will work with all sides to ensure that there is a respectful agreement on parading. Respect for difference must be at the heart of all policies on emblems and identity, there is no place left in society for those who seek to use identity, any identity, as a form of intimidation or provocation.
“Small business must be given the support and guidance they need in these difficult times, with a great emphasis on more local targeting of investment.
“There must be reassurances that the council merger over the coming two years will not affect the rate payers.
“There must also be answers concerning the dismantling of the housing executive and the minister must provide answers on how this will affect local tenants and housing executive employees, there must be clarity on the future of the housing executive office in Ballymoney and the service it provides to local people.
“None of these aspirations are achievable without action, we will not rest in our efforts to make Ballymoney and its surrounding area a place where we can all live in comfort, prosperity and mutual respect. Our doors are always open so do get in touch.”