Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:41 PM

Police are appealing for information following the report of a burglary at residential premises in the Rathview Park area of Crossmaglen, yesterday, Friday, 6 January.

Sometime between 3.10pm and 5.45pm the house was broken into and the house ransacked.

It is unclear at this time if anything has been stolen.

Constable Jason McMullen would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area to contact police at Crossmaglen on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 960 06/01/17. Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:34 PM

Happy New Year from the Ring of Gullion Team.  If you haven't picked up one of the Ring of Gullion 2017 calendars yet, there are still some available from Crossmaglen Community centre.  2016 was such a busy and exciting year for us here in beautiful South Armagh.  Here are just some of the Highlights. 

2016 Highlights

StreamScapes Gullion Project
The Ring of Gullion team and local schools launched the ‘StreamScapes Gullion’ Project in February, which was supported by NIEA’s Challenge Fund.  The project raised awareness of the streams and rivers flowing from Slieve Gullion, with the participating students engaging in related ‘Eco-Art’ projects to share with the wider community.
Woodland and Hedgerow Creation
Over 14km of hedgerows and 11,000 saplings were given away at Slieve Gullion in February, to farmers, householders and community groups.  The crisp winter’s day saw the culmination of the Gullion’s Green Woodland Scheme, which was run by Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership together with the Million Trees in a Day project and the Woodland Trust.
Launch of Bessbrook Model Village Project
In April the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership received £55,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘The Model Village Living History Archive’, in Bessbrook. The project focuses on Bessbrook’s heritage and will allow people to be proud of their village again. It aims to do this by creating innovative interpretation, developing local skills, knowledge base and networks and engaging with the local community in a fun way and hosting inter-generational and cross community workshops.
Archaeological Dig
May saw excavation into the site of a ringfort at Cornahove. This provided an exciting opportunity for archaeologists to explore the hidden history of south Armagh. The programme was undertaken by the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University Belfast on behalf of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme. 330 local school children were key to the success of the excavation.
Ring of Gullion Ambassadors Training
The Ring of Gullion Ambassadors course continued to grow and nine brand new Ambassadors graduated from this accredited course in September.
Youth Rangers Programme
During the last two weeks of July we had a fantastic group of ten young people from in and around the Ring of Gullion, working with us as part of the Volunteer Youth Ranger Programme.  The programme provided the Youth Rangers with the skills and confidence to explore our wonderful AONB.
Townland Education Programme
The Townland project was delivered to 27 schools from Kingsmill to Clonalig and Newtownhamilton to Killeen.  Over 800 children now know their townland, the neighbouring townlands, the civil parish, poor law union and barony in which they live.  They have examined the historical information of Griffith’s valuation, locating their families in their townlands living on two or three acres of land controlled by landlords. 
ROGHA Shop Launch
Local arts group ROGHA (Ring of Gullion Handcrafts and Art) launched an online retail shop in partnership with the Ring of Gullion Partnership. Their offline shop was also launched in the Tí Chullain centre and a Christmas pop up shop in the Quay Shopping Centre, Newry. You can also view some of the fantastic work at .
Trace Your Family Tree workshop
The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, with Pauline Loughran, ran two workshops in February for sixteen enthusiastic participants to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in how to trace family trees and find out who our ancestors are. Participants examined a Crossmaglen family from the 1790’s and used this to see how to join the dots with any family
Lúnasa Festival 2016
Lúnasa Festival 2016 ran from 30th July to 29th August.  This fantastic community-led festival opened with the revived Flagstaff Fiesta and included Guided Bus Tours & Walks, Arts & Crafts and the first Footsteps in the Forest event.  It was enjoyed by many locals and visitors.
How to be a Hollywood Producer
In July and August young people from south Armagh took their first steps onto the red carpet as part in an innovative new summer scheme “How to become a Hollywood Producer”. The project provided opportunities for young people to experience professional script writing techniques, learn how to design a story board and discover the world behind the camera from experienced producers, directors and camera operators.
Winter Solstice Festival 2016
We completed 2016 with another highly successful Winter solstice festival.  The Ring of Gullion team and local community groups hosted a series of events this year in December to celebrate the arrival of the shortest day and the turn in the year.  The unpredictable weather had an impact on the ever popular walks to the Slieve Gullion Cairn, however some lucky hikers experience the breathtaking lighting of the passage tomb.

Coming Up in 2017

2017 is set to be another fantastic year and we are busy putting plans in place.  There will be lots happening in Slieve Gullion Forest Park so keep an eye out for updates on social media and . The Ambassador training and Youth Rangers programme will run again this year and the Townland project will be completed. 

We look forward to seeing you all at our events though out the year.

Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:24 PM

The Southern Trust Fit 4 U Project recently co-ordinated an Archery Competition for people with physical/sensory disabilities from across the Trust area.

The event was organised in partnership with Sport NI funded, Everybody Active Coaches from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. 

People with disabilities from across Armagh, Dungannon, Craigavon, Banbridge, Newry and Mourne participated in a competition at Banbridge Leisure Centre on December 8 2016. 

Following several rounds of competition, the results were:

Group 1: 1st place Eric Flowers, 2nd place John McKenna, 3rd place David Wylie

Group 2: 1st place Beverley Jory, 2nd place Michelle Keenan, 3rd place Catherine Kowalska

Group 3: 1st place Joanne Thompson, 2nd place David Magee, 3rd place Ann Chesney

Highest Individual Score: Jacqueline Gee 

The event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Garath Keating, who presented the awards at the competition.  

Rhonda Richardson, Fit 4 U Co-ordinator said:  

“There are many health benefits to be gained from participation in the sport of archery; it promotes co-ordination, concentration and provides an opportunity for achievement and fun with other people.” 

Joanne Thompson, prize winner said:

“I was delighted to participate in the archery competition; I was very pleased with my scoring and to be the winner of my group.  I am amazed how well I did in the competition and the coach was so good.  It was very exciting and thank you to everyone involved.  Archery is a sport that can be played by everyone and it was really good to see people with different disabilities taking part.”

Matthew McNicholl, Everybody Active Archery Coach added:

“It was great to see such a good turnout for the competition and some really competitive scoring.  Well done to all the participants who took part, some of whom had only taken up archery in the last month.  I would also like to thank Ballyvalley Archery Club for the use of their equipment and assistance in organising the event."   

The Fit 4 U Project is funded by the Public Health Agency and led by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in partnership with other organisations. It aims to empower people with physical/sensory disabilities to improve their health through participation in a range of physical activity and leisure opportunities. 

If you would like to find out more about the Fit 4 U Project and other activities available, please contact Rhonda Richardson, Fit 4 U Co-ordinator, Tel. 028 3741 2129 or email 

Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:17 PM

John & Philomena McIntyre from Lurgan recently donated £4,000 to the Glenanne Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The money was raised at a recent fundraising event in St. Peter’s Club in Lurgan. 

The McIntyre’s would like to thank everyone who helped, donated and supported them on the night to make this donation possible.

Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:13 PM

 Janice makes donation to the Mandeville Unit 

Janice Martin from Lurgan recently donated £4,442 to the Mandeville Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The money was raised at a recent sponsored walk in Tullymore Forest.  

Janice would like to thank everyone who took part and supported her to make this donation to the Unit possible, especially her father Desmond and Peter McVeigh. 

Post Date : Mon 09 Jan 2017 12:10 PM

 Fiona donates to Ear, Nose & Throat Theatres at Craigavon Hospital

Fiona Smyth originally from Lurgan, now living in Belfast has very kindly donated £1,757 to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Theatres at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Fiona raised the money via sponsorship from friends and family after cutting off inches of her hair and donating it to the Princess Trust charity. 

The ENT Team would like to thank Fiona for this very generous and thoughtful donation.

Post Date : Tue 20 Dec 2016 09:45 AM

Members of Kilkeel Golf Club have recently donated £1,335 to the Diabetes Fund, Craigavon Area Hospital.

The members raised the funds at a recent ‘Captain’s Day’.   

Diabetic services staff would like to thank David Niblock and everyone who contributed towards this very kind and thoughtful donation to the Diabetes Fund. 

Post Date : Tue 20 Dec 2016 09:42 AM

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust recently hosted a Christmas event for children and young people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person understands the world and communicates with others, and figures show that more than 300 children in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with Autism every year. 

Children and young people enjoyed a range of activities including face painting, balloon modelling, sensory play and a visit to Santa Claus.   

Denise Carroll, Southern Trust Autism Services Co-ordinator said:

“Visits to see Santa can be overwhelming for children with autism and can trigger sensory problems because the event isn't part of a normal routine” 

“That’s why it’s important to help make this an enjoyable occasion by giving these children the opportunity to have fun, socialise and use their creative skills.” 

“I would like to thank all of our staff for organising what has been an entertaining morning for everyone.  Massive efforts have been made to help each of these children enjoy the festive season with us here at the Southern Trust.” 

One parent who attended the party with their child said:

“We have had the most wonderful Christmas party.  Thank you so much for your kindness, your input and ideas, your refreshments and just the whole experience.  My child has never chatted so much in his whole life.” 

For further information on the autism services provided at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust please call 028 3836 6777 or email:  

Post Date : Tue 20 Dec 2016 09:32 AM
Pride of place this week lies with our juvenile members and their achievements at school level. First up is St Louis Grammar student and the youngest member of our senior ladies team Socha McCarten. Socha has this week received an Ulster schools all star, this is is a massive achievement for Socha, she is selected at an U20 level at the age of 15, it is not the first Ulster all star to enter the McCarten household and we hope it wont be the last. Congratulations Sorcha from everyone at the club.
Congratulations also to our club members Shane Kearney, Daragh Tumilty, Daire McViegh and Cian Rice who areUlster champions. The boys were pivotal in helping St Malachys Castlewellan lift the U16 Rafferty cup. In a game against highly rated St Pauls Bessbrooke at the Dub playing fields in Belfast St Malachys were very impressive throughout the game and were able to take the Rafferty cup to the town for the first time. 
On Saturday night the club was turned into a court room. The night started with everyone in attendance unsure of what was in store for the 3 defendants.
First up was Rory “Buba” Burns. Even with the lack of evidence i don't think any defence lawyer in the world would have saved Rory from being found innocent, Rorys punishment for bringing the club into distribute was a 30 second stomach punch from his superior midfield partner Fintan McGreevy. 
Defendant 2 was Kathleen McCarten, Kathleen was also found guilty, this time it was or offences of faking injury whilst playing for the ladies. Kathleen partner Fergal is now free from house work for the next 3 months. 
The final defendant was the Brian McAlinden, Brian was charged with gross malpractice while assisting the Senior mens team this year, thankfully Brian was the only one who was found innocent, thanks mainly to insufficient evidence that 4 of the clients didn't actually play senior football last year. Brian's defence Jason was happy with the outcome and believes Brian should never be brought to trail. 
Thanks to everyone who organised and helped out on the night,  a good night was had by all, be on the look out for the next sitting of the honourable Judge Maguires court hearings.
Post Date : Mon 19 Dec 2016 09:50 AM

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has announced tonight that his party will be bringing a proposal to the Assembly tomorrow for the First Minister Arlene Foster to stand aside to facilitate an independent investigation into the RHI scandal. 

He commented, 

"The current crisis is not about party politics.  

“It is not an orange or green issue. It is about restoring the credibility of the power-sharing institutions and dealing with incompetence and allegations of corruption and abuse. 

"That is my sole focus and the sole focus of Sinn Féin. 

"It is my firm belief the only way to establish the truth of what has occurred and to begin to restore public faith in the institutions is for an independent, time-framed and robust investigation to take place. 

"The First Minister should stand aside to allow this. There is also an urgent need to minimise the cost of the scheme to the public purse.  

"Given the First Minister’s failure thus far to accept this Sinn Féin will bring forward a proposal to the Assembly which calls on the First Minister to stand aside until this independent investigation brings forward a preliminary report.   

“We are calling on all parties and MLAs to support this. 

“The statement which Arlene Foster plans to make to the Assembly tomorrow does not have my authority or approval as deputy First Minister. We have told the DUP this.  

“If she speaks this will be in a personal capacity and not in her role as First Minister.  

“There is no credibility in an inquiry established solely by the DUP or in the selective release of some documents by DUP departments.

“If the DUP does take a unilateral approach, disregarding the authority and joint nature of the Executive Office on an issue which is cross-cutting, with massive budgetary implications and which is undermining public confidence in the political institutions this will have grave consequences.”  

“Sinn Féin’s commitment is to making the institutions work for citizens. This has to be on the basis of transparency and equality and putting the people and their interests first.”