Post Date : Wed 07 Sep 2016 09:01 AM

 Independent Newry City Councillor Kevin McAteer has slammed the current mental health system in the North of Ireland calling it “poor and unsatisfactory” which has resulted in a lack of confidence from the public in relation to mental health services.

Speaking on the issue the Independent Councillor stated:

“There’s no point sugar coating this, mental health services in the North of Ireland are terrible. The political parties and politicians can claim that services are improving and claim that they are making mental health a priority but the reality is mental health services are so bad that our mental health system is broken and we need a complete overhaul of that system.”

Councillor McAteer who recently revealed this year about his own battle with depression and attempted suicide has stated that his own experiences have shown him that improvement is needed before it is too late.

“I currently live with depression myself following a suicide attempt in 2008 so I’ve been through the system and I can categorically state right now , if I was suffering from a mental health problem today...I would not ask our current health service for help I would feel more comfortable going to one of the local charities such as PIPS.

I always hear politicians stating how they are putting mental health first and supporting mental health awareness but those politicians seem to disappear afterwards and nothing is ever done. I understand it’s their job to show support for mental health awareness but this is the point at which mental health becomes forgotten, it’s swept under the carpet for another’s time for the parties to develop some sort of action plan to tackle the state of our mental health services. Either they are going to make changes or they’re not.

For example we need more investment in our mental health services. We need more awareness amongst the public, we need to stop the cuts on our mental health services and we also need a proper mental health facility in the Newry area. Newry is home to a hospital and a soon to be £30 million health hub, we need a proper world class mental health facility in Newry instead of sending people all the way to bluestone in Craigavon.  We need massive changes in our mental health service, now is the time to act.”

Post Date : Wed 07 Sep 2016 08:34 AM

 Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has slammed those behind a hate crime attack at the Islamic Centre in Belfast. 

Mr Ó Muilleoir said: 

“I have spoken to representatives in the centre and wish to put on the record my utter condemnation of this hate crime.

 “These attacks are despicable and I appeal for anyone with information to contact the police.” 

Post Date : Wed 07 Sep 2016 08:29 AM

 As thousands of chocoholics and foodies gear up for the highly-anticipated return of the biennial Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, outstanding chefs from Northern Ireland and further afield are joining up with festival organisers to ensure that the three-day festival offers a foodie experience not to be missed.  With the addition of Downpatrick’s Finnebrogue Artisan this year as the festival’s overall sponsor, Finnebrogue consultant development chef Chris Burt will lead the charge with an innovative line-up of chocolate and locally-focused food activities to span the entire weekend. 

Kicking off with the Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball on Friday 23rd September, Chef Burt will join up with legendary Northern Ireland chef Simon Dougan of Yellow Door to present a meal that will have guests buzzing for years to come.  Utilising the finest of hyper-local produce including Finnebrogue venison and sausages, locally farmed vegetables, eggs and butter, and even reindeer moss foraged personally by Chef Burt from the Finnebrogue Estate, this dinner will highlight the wide range of world-class ingredients available from across Northern Ireland.

“As Finnebrogue’s consultant development chef, I have the pleasure of working with locally-produced Northern Ireland ingredients every day, and am delighted to be able to develop and serve an innovative, forward-thinking menu for guests at this year’s Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball utilising these outstanding ingredients,” said Chef Burt.  “I’m delighted to be teaming up with Simon Dougan to create a menu that will encourage guests to think outside the box and approach these local ingredients in a new way.”

As a dramatic end to the evening, Chefs Burt and Dougan are brainstorming a show-stopping dessert which will act as homage to Sir Hans Sloane – the Killyleagh-born physician, naturalist and collector credited with bringing the recipe for drinking chocolate back to Europe –and turn heads as the extraordinary chocolate dessert is unveiled to guests.

The festival will continue on Saturday and Sunday, 24th and 25th September. Guests at Killyleagh Castle can enjoy live cooking demos led by Chef Burt alongside leading local chefs including Chefs Danny Millar, Balloo Inns; Roy Abraham, The Smuggler’s Table; and Fernando Correa, Quails at the Gallery, among others hosted by Food NI.  Incorporating locally-grown and sourced produce paired with chocolate elements and even a chocolate stout from local Mourne Mountains Brewery, these chefs will bring home the theme of local cooking with a touch of chocolate in honour of Sir Hans. 

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s live cooking demos, which have been supported by Food NI as part of Tourism Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink,” said Meave Davison of the festival’s organising committee.  “Finnebrogue Artisan Chef Chris Burt will show off his knowledge of foraging local produce and his unique approach to creating dishes with a wow-factor, while some of the area’s most popular chefs, hosted by Food NI, will support the ‘local’ element of the festival by incorporating chocolate into popular savoury and sweet which will be shared with guests.” 

“In addition to the live kitchen demos on Saturday and Sunday, 24th and 25th September, guests will also enjoy tasting freshly-made dishes and treats from over 30 local artisan producers including Great Taste Award winners S.D. Bells, Deli Muru, Abernethy, La Coquine, Glastry Farm Ice Cream, Finnebrogue, Krazi Baker and Mash Direct, among many others,” added Meave. 

Aine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events Tourism NI commented, “Tourism Northern Ireland is a proud sponsor of the Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, in line with the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink initiative, the festival is showcasing our unique chocolate offering.

“The festival schedule has something for everyone from the Chocolate Ball to the family fun days and we hope this will encourage thousands of foodies from Northern Ireland and beyond to enjoy some of our great indigenous foods.”

Founded in 2010 to celebrate Killyleagh’s most famous son, Sir Hans Sloane, who was born in the village in 1660 and later credited for bringing the recipe for drinking chocolate to Europe from Jamaica, the biennial festival has grown from strength to strength and is now regarded as one of the leading events of its type in the UK and Ireland and a highlight of the summer calendar for food lovers across the country. 

The Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival kindly acknowledges the support of Tourism Northern Ireland, Newry Mourne & Down District Council, and Food NI in the staging of this year’s event as well as the support of sponsors Bryan Somers Travel, Jeep, Killyleagh Development Association, Mash Direct, Roskyle, and S.D. Bell’s. 

Ticket prices vary, based on events running throughout the Festival. For further information on all events taking place and to book tickets visit or follow the Killyleagh Chocolate Festival on Twitter @KillyleaghChoc or

DATE OF EVENT Fri, 23 Sep, 2016
LOCATION Killyleagh Castle
Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 03:08 PM

We're here to support parents. We give them accurate, impartial information so that they can decide what’s best for their family, and we introduce them to a network of local parents to gain practical and emotional support.

In person, online or on the phone: we provide support for parents through our antenatal and postnatal courses, website, local branches and community infrastructure, helpline... and much more.

Courses for parents

Our courses support over 100,000 parents each year.

We know how important it is for parents to find the information they need to prepare for their new life. That’s why we offer a range of courses to support you through your transition.

NCT Signature antenatal courses help mums- and dads-to-be work out how to approach labour, practice birthing positions and breathing, as well as parenting skills. All our courses provide lots of emotional support, from both the teacher and from the other parents to be in the class. Our Newry teacher, Aine Fegan, is a fully qualified NCT Antenatal Teacher as well as being a practising midwife.

NCT Baby First Aid courses are facilitated by British Red Cross trainers and provide first aid training for parents of babies under one, and older children up to 12 years old. These interactive, confidence-building courses are held locally, and will provide plenty of opportunity to practise techniques and ask questions.

Local branch support

We currently have over 300 branches with 15,000 volunteers on hand to help with local branch and community support. Your local branch covers Tyrone, Armagh and Down

Our nationwide network of local branches has evolved to reach and support all parents and parents-to-be during their First 1,000 Days - a time of major change in their lives. This is made possible thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, who organise a wide range of social activities and events to enable local parents to meet and access support. Your local branch has a facebook page 


Our website and digital support reaches over 3 million parents and parents-to-be each year.

Every new parent faces a steep learning curve. That's why we provide evidence-based information in easy-to-understand formats, via our website and social media, covering pregnancybirth and parenting. Our helplines, courses, branch newsletters, members' e-newsletter and magazine also prove to be a valuable resource for parents. 


Our national helpline offers convenient access to specialist information and support on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding from our highly-trained, specialist breastfeeding counsellors and antenatal teachers. Our helpline also offers postnatal support with issues such as crying, sleep and depression in the weeks after birth.

We also have a Shared Experiences Helpline for those who have had a challenging experience during their pregnancy, birth or early parenthood which enables callers to talk to a volunteer who has had a similar experience.

Nearly New Sales

The cost of kitting out a child for the first five years can run into thousands of pounds. NCT Nearly New Sales are the perfect solution. You’ll find high-quality baby and children’s clothes, toys and equipment at bargain prices, straight from their loving owners. Find your nearest sale in your area.

Bumps and Babies groups

These small, friendly, local groups give new parents and parents to be the chance to meet regularly, make new friends and grow in confidence. Find your nearest group now. rnrnrn


Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 12:46 PM

 Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has expressed his condolences after a death of a person on the Derry railway line. 

The Foyle MLA said; 

"News that a person has died following an incident on the railway line in Derry close to Caw Park has shocked the local community. 

"The line is expected to remain closed while the scene is investigated. 

"My thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased at this sad time." 

Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 11:39 AM

 Independent Newry City Councillor Kevin McAteer has condemned the recent attack on 5 members of Newry Rainbow Community and has called it an attack on the entire community.

Speaking on the issue the Independent Councillor stated:
“I fully condemn this attack on members of Newry Rainbow Community , this is without a doubt an attack on the entire community. The incident occurred following the gay pride ball at the end of such a successful pride week. Pride week was extremely successful and the NRC organised a wonderful event and this attack is nothing short of disgraceful. I hope those attacked make a full recovery and I call on anyone with any information to come forward.”

Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 11:33 AM

Sinn Féin MLA Michaela Boyle has encouraged disability support groups to help shape legislation at the Assembly.  

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on disabilities said;  

"People with disabilities face many issues and it is important their views are listened to and taken into account.  

"As Sinn Féin spokesperson on disability issues I have written to a range of disability groups offering to meet them to listen to their ideas and discuss their concerns.  

"It is important the views of those involved in the disability sector are considered when legislation is being shaped.  

"I have arranged meetings with several groups already and I\'m looking forward to meeting them and others in the coming weeks and months to discuss their views."  

Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 11:30 AM

It was a fantastic parade and colourful day. Tony spoke to some of those attending and soaked up the amazing atmosphere.
The day finished in McClelland Park in Newry with a big concert event.
To find out more, please visit: |

Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 11:24 AM

 The summer season and Lúnasa festival may have come to an end, but there are still lots of great activities and ways to get involved here at the Ring of Gullion. Here is the line up for the coming month. 

Events and Training

Historical Coach Tours in the Ring of Gullion 2016
Every Saturday up to 24th Sept, 10.30am - 4.30pm
Bagenal\'s Castle, Castle Street, Newry.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to take a tour with our local guide Una Walsh, now is your chance, as this fantastic coach tours continue through September.  Place are booking up fast, so book your place now.
Get Active Outdoors Extravaganza in the Ring of Gullion
Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September, 10.30am – 4.00pm
Slieve Gullion Forest Park
Climbing tower, archery, hill walking…it’s all happening at Slieve Gullion for our fantastic #GetActive Outdoors Extravaganza as part of European Week of Sport! There will be plenty to keep the kids amused as well as a cycle ride for mum and dad to enjoy around the Ring of Gullion area.
Volunteer Opportunity – Revitalise the Dorsey Embankment
Saturday 17th September, 11.00am - 3.00pm.
Dorsey Embankment, Tullynavall Road, Cullyhanna
Can you spare a few hours to help us revitalise the Dorsey Embankment; an Iron Age defensive structure?  We need to clear a few small trees and generally tidy up the profile of the Embankment so that it is more clearly defined.  
Training in Hedge Laying Techniques
Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Glassdrumman Wood, 73 Glassdrumman Road
Join our experienced hedge layer for a free two-day practical training course in hedge management and hedge laying techniques.  Hedge laying is a useful technique to learn as it keeps your hedge in good health and can be used to turn your hedge into a more formidable barrier as it closes over gaps; resulting from grazing or individual trees failing, keeping hedges stock proof.  Booking essential as places are limited.
Training in coppicing techniques
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Jonesborough Forest

Join our experienced tutor for a free two-day practical training course in tree coppicing.  Coppicing is a useful way of maximising the productivity of a wooded area in a sustainable way.  Booking essential as places are limited.

Latest News

Thousands of New Footsteps in the Forest
Slieve Gullion Forest Park was the host venue for lots magical creatures from across the district last week as Trolls, fawns, the Birdman of Slieve Donard, Finn McCool, the Fairy Queen and the legendary witch Cailleach Bheara, as they descended on the mountain on the 26th and 27th of August for Footsteps in the Forest – their Annual Magical Meeting.

Communities invited to spruce up the landscape, with the gift of free trees
Children and adults throughout the country made their mark earlier this year by planting 13,000 trees as part of a Woodland Trust scheme.  And it’s not too late to get involved, as free tree packs are now available for planting this November.

Woodland Grants – Undecided? Try a farm woodland walk
The Forest Service invites you along to a woodland walk and open day being held at Andrew Cunningham’s Farm, Crookedstone. If you are still undecided about whether to plant your own woodland, would like a bit more information about woodland grants or existing woodland management and would like to talk to representatives from Forest Service and other like-minded landowners, this is a perfect opportunity.

Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme NOW OPEN!
The Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme is funded under the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme. The key aim of this Programme is to assist in tackling poverty and social isolation within rural communities across Northern Ireland.

New Tourism Strategy Needs You!
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is working on the development of a 5-year Tourism Strategy for the District. Considerable work has gone into assessing the current situation, understanding where the destination wants to be in five years, and identifying broad strategic directions to assist industry and local government in moving toward a longer-term vision.

The Big Lottery Fund Celebrates Northern Ireland
The Big Lottery Fund is offering grants of between £500 and £5,000  for groups to hold one off events or activities which celebrate their local community.

One Million Trees in a Day
This overwhelming successful campaign to plant one million trees in one day is open again. If you would like to take part get in touch. 

DATE OF EVENT Thu, 01 Sep, 2016
LOCATION Ring of Gullion
Post Date : Tue 06 Sep 2016 11:18 AM

 Tony Mulvenna and his father Joe recently visited the Bluestone Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital to present their donation to the patient comfort fund. 

Tony’s father spent some time in the Willow ward at Bluestone and as a way to say thank you to the staff for their exceptional care Tony, who recently had knee replacement surgery, took part in the ABC Sportive 100k cycle and raised a total of £700.

The staff at the Bluestone Unit would like to thank Tony and his father for their very kind donation and to everyone who got involved with the fundraising.