Wednesday 15 December 2010

Shop Local, Buy Local

Now that the seasonal shopping period is underway the Green Party in Lagan Valley is urging shoppers to choose local products from local outlets.
Campaign coordinator and Lisburn South spokesperson, Dr Luke Robinson said “With the Christmas spending season in full swing, it’s more important than ever to support your local shops and businesses.
Local shopping can be good for your health, wallet, time, and for the environment. Most of us don’t take into consideration the effects our car-centric lifestyles have on the environment.”
The Greens point out that using the stores in the local community often doesn’t require car travel and provides other benefits, such as:
1. It’s far more pleasant to catch up with a local retailer you know personally, rather than dealing with a stranger. And you’ll probably find a better suited product when the seller knows you.
2. It saves time and money. You won’t be driving great distances, and you’ll probably be spending less time waiting in queues, and without having to find parking. You save money by saving petrol, too.
3. Local purchases have a lower impact on the local environment. When you buy a local product, you reduce your petrol emissions by driving less. And by using stores that require a shorter distance to deliver those products to them, you reduce emissions from delivery vehicles.
4. Friendship and trust. You are more likely to trust a familiar person who lives in your neighbourhood, and who understands what your consumer needs are better than a stranger would.
Luke continues “I understand that the big chains often provide a good variety of products, but I still feel like giving my local community shop a chance. From my personal experience, I prefer to go to the local market for a few reasons. Firstly, I can walk there, which provides me with some exercise and fresh air. Secondly, I feel welcomed, instead of being overwhelmed by a long queue and a tired cashier. Lastly, I get to know my community. For those last couple of weeks of Christmas purchases, think about shopping local!”

Lisburn Man Quinn as Lagan Valley's Stormont Candidate

Conor Quinn, Green Party candidate for Lagan Valley
The Green Party in Northern Ireland has selected Lisburn man Conor Quinn as their candidate for Lagan Valley in the forthcoming Assembly elections. The selection was ratified by the party’s Northern Ireland executive committee following a recent selection convention.
Commenting on his selection, Mr Quinn said “It is a genuine privilege for me to be selected by my party as their candidate for Lagan Valley. I find that many people are disillusioned with politics. My candidacy will give the people of Lagan Valley a truly progressive alternative to the established party blocs in Northern Ireland. The Green Party will be campaigning to ensure that Northern Ireland’s economic recovery is sustainable and that the local political system becomes effective.
“I joined the party over my concerns for climate change and the need to develop a sustainable economy in Northern Ireland. Green Party thinking is based around four key ‘pillars’: a fair society, strong local democracy, non-violence and environmental sustainability. If elected to the Assembly I will continue to fight against the proposed chicken waste incinerator at Glenavy and to ensure that Lisburn gets the best solution for the proposed John Lewis store. As a party, we also want to restructure the local food chain so more of the economic benefit goes to farmers and primary producers. We will look to retain Lisburn City Council and put in place mechanisms to ensure citizens’ concerns are raised effectively at local government.
“Of course, it goes without saying that we are a cross-community party. We are the only truly ‘post-conflict’ political party in Northern Ireland and believe in fully celebrating the identities and cultures in Northern Ireland.  We work North-South and East-West with our sister parties throughout Europe.
“Having made history in 2007 by electing Brian Wilson, the first Green MLA, we are confident that we will increase Green representation in the Assembly. We will then put our political energy into making Stormont work and to reducing the worst effects of the budgetary cuts. The Lagan Valley Greens will also be putting forward a number of candidates for Lisburn City Council and we will be asking the people of Lisburn to make their own bit of history by electing Lisburn’s first Green councillors. We look forward to meeting as many people as possible on the campaign trail.”
A chartered engineer by profession, Mr. Quinn graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a first-class degree and completed a Master’s in Business Administration at Trinity College Dublin. He is currently Chair of the Green Party in Northern Ireland and sits on the party’s all-island policy Council. He lives in the Harmony Hill area of Lisburn and is married with two children.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Local Green Elected Chair of NI Executive

Conor Quinn, Chair of NI Green Party
Lisburn man and convenor of the Lagan Valley Green Party, Conor Quinn, has been elected chairperson of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. The election took place at the party conference which took place last weekend at Ballydugan Mill, Downpatrick.

Ballydugan Mill
The annual conference debated a range of issues, including a call to lift the veil on political donations and to ban corporate donations to political parties. Key note speakers at the conference included the Green Party MLA Brian Wilson and the Minister for the Environment in the Republic, Mr John Gormley.

The conference heard opposition to the proposed increase in student fees and a call for increased investment in railway infrastructure. Mr. Quinn moved a motion condemning the decision by Minister for the Environment Edwin Poots to approve the proposed chicken waste incinerator in Glenavy.  The conference also discussed the party’s position towards the Alternative Vote referendum and adopted a position to oppose the introduction of AV on the basis that the proposed changes do not go far enough in delivering proportional representation at Westminster.

Commenting on his election, Mr Quinn said, “I am absolutely delighted to have received the endorsement of my party colleagues as Chair for the crucial election period that lies ahead. The Green Party in Northern Ireland is looking to build on its current MLA seat at next year’s Assembly elections and to grow our team of councillors. While this new responsibility will be a challenge, I am confident that I can contribute to electoral success next year. My responsibilities as party Chair will, however, not distract me from also working with our Lagan Valley constituency team in running both Assembly and Lisburn City Council election campaigns.”

Friday 15 October 2010

Shop local to support your local economy and environment

Lagan Valley Green Party is pointing out the many benefits of local shopping and are calling on the people of Lisburn and the surrounding area to “Shop local, buy local”.
Using local shops has a huge number of benefits. Supporting local businesses can help create jobs in the area. Local shops often stock local items, for example fruit and veg, meat and fish, unlike the equivalents often seen in the supermarkets, and this helps support local businesses further.
Cutting the number of car journeys can also mean fewer emissions and lower fuel costs.
Conor Quinn, spokesman for Lagan Valley Greens said “What we have witnessed over recent years has been Lisburn City Council supporting large scale businesses. This is evidenced by the unequivocal support for the Westfield development at Sprucefield and the expansion of the Tesco store at Bentrim Road. While a small scale farmers’ market in Castle Gardens has been supported by Council in the past it is disappointing to learn that it has removed further support. Such projects must be significantly larger to replicate the success of St George’s Market in Belfast and to offer shoppers a competitive alternative to the large multiples. We need to shorten the supply
chain and to deliver high quality local produce to the consumer. This cannot be achieved by token projects such as the Castle Gardens experiment. We can build on Lisburn’s Tuesday morning market and look at a weekend time and location, such as the Leisureplex, to develop a larger scale sustainable market model that benefits local businesses”.

Friday 17 September 2010

Lagan Valley Greens in Towpath Cleanup

Members of the Lagan Valley Green Party recently completed a litter collection in Lagan Valley Regional Park. Working from Warren Gardens to Union Bridge along the towpath the team collected a range of litter including one shopping trolley. The collected material was segregated to allow the recycling of cans and plastic material.
Chair of the Lagan Valley branch, Mr Conor Quinn, explained, “The Green Party is a party of principles and policies. However we must also be a party of practical local action.  Our regular litter collections reflect our commitment to improving the local environment for all residents of Lisburn”.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Lagan Valley Greens condemn incinerator decision

The Lagan Valley Green Party has condemned the decision by Environment Minister Edwin Poots to recommend the planning application for a chicken waste incinerator on the shores of Lough Neagh.
Mr Conor Quinn, Chair of the Lagan Valley Greens, stated, “The refusal of the Minister to grant a public inquiry into this industrial complex in an Area of High Scenic Value beggars belief. This project has raised complex questions regarding location, technology and economics that require open investigation through a public inquiry. Portraying biomass incinerators as renewable energy does not reflect the uncertainty of the sustainability of the feedstock or fuel.  Having visited the site, I cannot think of a more unsuitable location for such an industrial complex. There are major questions over the impact the proposed facility will have on Lough Neagh through water abstraction. That such a project is not deemed viable without significant public subsidy should raise real concerns”.
Mr Quinn continued, “This decision would seem to have more to do with internal DUP politics than the concerns of residents. Having granted a public inquiry into the extension of the runway at Belfast City Airport, in Peter Robinson’s constituency, it appears that Mr Poots has felt compelled to expedite this project to compensate. Quite simply, this is the wrong technology, in the wrong location and with the wrong economics. Rather than listen to the voices of the 7,000 people that objected to the project, the Minister has bowed to powerful industrial and agricultural lobbies and adopted a ‘sweep under the carpet’ approach to the issue of poultry litter through large scale burning. The Green Party believes that innovative, smaller scale, sustainable solutions to the issue of poultry litter are available. Quite simply, this planning application should have been refused.”

Friday 16 July 2010

Lagan Valley Greens have chosen to use the Co-operative Bank for their general banking needs.
“The Co-op’s social and environmental policies are second to none”, said LVG treasurer Steven Wise, “and it has the best range of ethical investment products on the market.”
For more information on the Co-op Bank, visit .

Monday 7 June 2010

Lagan Valley Greens walk in support of Belfast Hills

Local Greens supported The Belfast Hills Partnership by “voting with their feet”, taking part in the Save the Belfast Hills 10 mile challenge walk on Saturday 5th June.
The Belfast Hills Partnership is facing serious funding cuts and £30,000 is needed to ensure that the work of the Partnership continues. Members of the local Green Party groups helped the Save The Belfast Hills campaign by hiking from Divis and the Black Mountain to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park and raised sponsorship to ensure that the hills are looked after for future generations to enjoy.
The Divis to Dixon Link is a new hilltop pass that connects the heathland summits of Divis and Black Mountain in west Belfast with Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in the south of the city.
Click here for more information.

Thursday 3 June 2010


Conor Quinn, spokesperson for Lagan Valley Greens

Conor Quinn said: “While canvassing during the past Westminster election I found there was total confusion as to the future of local government. It was clear that the vast majority of people are unaware that Lisburn and Castlereagh were to be partners in a shotgun marriage, in order to create an oddly shaped council stretching from Moira to Dundonald. This council would be 33 percent larger than the Lagan Valley constituency.”
The Lagan Valley spokesperson said: “The Green Party believes in strong local representation with decisions being taken at the lowest effective level and have opposed the so called super councils from the outset. There is also considerable concern amongst existing staff as to the future of their jobs, and where they may be based in the new council area. I believe that these issues must be clarified immediately and call on Minister Poots to stop dithering and make a decision.”

Tuesday 1 June 2010

John Lewis Enquiry to Begin

John Lewis finds decisions in Northern Ireland never knowingly rushed

The public enquiry into the John Lewis development at Sprucefield is due to begin on Monday (7th June 2010).
It means a decision on the controversial £150m Sprucefield Park expansion could be made within 6-8 weeks, once the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) makes its recommendations following the long-awaited enquiry.
Although the scheme and the associated jobs would provide a boost to the local economy, the Green Party argue that any new store should be located within Lisburn City Centre, rather than on the out-of-town Sprucefield Park site.
Conor Quinn of Lagan Valley Greens said “We are not objecting to John Lewis, who are a very responsible employer, but to the Westfield development as a whole. Nineteen extra retail units at Sprucefield can only have a seriously detrimental effect on the shops and businesses located within Lisburn itself.”
The public enquiry was due to go ahead in November, but was called off at the last minute after it emerged that a key document was submitted after the deadline.
If the enquiry finds in favour of the new store, it would make a recommendation to the Department of the Environment, which would make the final decision.
The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) is also opposed to the Sprucefield plan. Spokesperson Glyn Roberts said “We’re happy to abide by whatever comes out of the public enquiry.”
He added “The impact of the John Lewis development is different from an out-of-town Tesco store and needs a different approach. However, I think we still would much rather see John Lewis in a town centre.”
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson is backing the scheme.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Plans to reduce the number of local council areas in Northern Ireland from 26 to 11 have been delayed until 2015 at the earliest, it was announced today by Edwin Poots, Environment Minister in the Stormont Assembly.
The changes would have meant a merger of Lisburn and Castlereagh councils, to create a strange horseshoe-shaped council area around Belfast.
The Green Party welcomes the delay. The Greens will always be in favour of doing things as locally as possible, and on one level this means smaller council areas. In addition to this, some viewed the move as a plan by the Nationalist and Unionist majorities at Stormont to divide up the council areas to their own advantage, with smaller parties less likely to gain any ground in such large local councils.
The plans to re-align the council areas have already cost £90M.

Friday 14 May 2010

The Green party is organising a pub quiz to take place on Friday 14th May 2010 in Malone Rugby Club, starting 8 pm.  malone rugby club is in Gibson Park Avenue, off the Cregagh Road (South Belfast) just beside the TESCO store on the cregagh road.
There is plenty of parking at the club.  The entrance will be £5 per person to include a supper (all the sandwiches you can eat!) and a free ballot.  We hope you will be able to come along and support us.

Barbara Haig, South Down Green Party.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Inaugural General Meeting

Lagan Valley Green Party was established on 24th March 2010 with an inaugural meeting at the Bridge Community Centre in Lisburn.
The items discussed included: assigning various roles and responsibilities, the forthcoming General Election, the proposed Westfield shopping development at Sprucefield, the Glenavy incinerator and the proposed restructuring of the Northern Ireland local government areas.
The Lagan Valley Green Party will operate as a local group within the Northern Ireland region of the Green Party Ireland. The five inaugural members were: Conor Quinn, Luke Robinson, Steven Wise, Veronica Browne, Nuala McAuley.
Conor Quinn was elected Convenor and Secretary. Luke Robinson was elected treasurer.