Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Muir thanks Alliance voters for support at General Election

Team Alliance at Election Count
Whilst concerned to see the further polarisation of politics I was delighted to see Alliance Party vote locally in North Down increase both in percentage terms and votes cast, compared to the last Westminster General Election.

The continued support from everyone who placed their trust in me and voted Alliance is greatly appreciated as we continue to strive for reconciliation in a shared, inclusive, open, welcoming society.

I would also like to congratulate Lady Sylvia Hermon upon her re-election as MP for North Down and wish her well as she works in the new Parliament as the only MP from Northern Ireland not aligned to the government and taking her seat whilst UK faces extremely challenging decisions ahead in relation to Brexit and other matters.

Congratulating Lady Sylvia Hermon upon
re-election as MP
My passion for positive, progressive and pro-European politics remains alongside Alliance desire for urgent restoration of devolved Assembly. We hope other parties join us in getting the devolved institutions up and running again without delay. Northern Ireland deserves better than current stalemate and party political bickering.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Use your vote positively

Councillor Muir and Alliance Party Leader
Naomi Long MLA
This election will be one of the most important for generations. The next government will have the vital task of ensuring the Brexit negotiations deliver the best possible deal for Northern Ireland and the UK generally

It is important voters recognise, and reject, the attempts by the DUP to bring the issue of a border poll into this election. This scaremongering is yet another desperate attempt to distract from the real issues, whether they be restoring devolution, creating jobs and protecting our Public Services.

As the Alliance candidate for North Down I offer a strong pro-EU view on what is best for Northern Ireland. We benefit greatly from our membership of the EU and there is real fear many businesses and farmers will be badly affected following Brexit.

On other issues, I strongly support an open, welcoming and inclusive society which treats all citizens equally and values contributions made by people from other countries who choose to live and work in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Royal Mail delivering Second Class service - Muir

I have hit out at Royal Mail for delivering a second class service for the people of Holywood after the removal of two Post Boxes in the area.

The Post Box at Station Road, Craigavad was removed in 2016 and has yet to be replaced with Royal Mail refusing to even meet to discuss the issue. A recent complaint raised by myself to the Postal Review Panel watchdog has also now been refused.

The Victorian Post Box at Seafront Road, Cultra was also decommissioned just before the Easter Holidays and is now painted black with the aperture closed and local people still waiting for a new box to the installed nearby.

Despite the strong support expressed by local people across Craigavad for the Post Box to be replaced via Petition Signatures and letters of support I am dumbfounded to learn that the Postal Review Panel are unwilling to intervene.

Their refusal to consider locating the box at the new location kindly offered by a local resident on the basis that any future owner may ask it to be moved lacks any logic with thousands of Post Boxes across the UK already on private land. Idea that people should travel back in time and visit the Folk Museum as the nearest location to post a letter is ludicrous.

Whilst profoundly disappointed I remain undeterred and will continue the campaign for the people of Craigavad to receive the First Class service they deserve. A reply is now awaited from Royal Mail after Ards and North Down Borough Council unanimously agreed to call upon the company to reinstate the box.

With regards to the Post Box at Seafront Road, Cultra, the front door of the historic Victorian Post Box at Seafront Road was removed shortly before the Easter Holidays by Royal Mail citing corrosion.

Sadly the corrosion is now considered beyond repair and, as a result, it has proven necessary to decommission the box, paint it black and close the aperture to prevent further usage. Whilst I am disappointed about the decision to abandon the traditional bright red look I can understand the decision taken.

I cannot however comprehend the length of delays being encountered to provide a replacement nearby. I will continue to lobby for speedy replacement in advance of the quoted timeline of 8 to 12 weeks and will not rest until a red box reappears.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

In the running for election as Alliance North Down General Election Candidate

I am absolutely delighted to be selected to stand for Alliance in North Down in the upcoming Westminster election on June 8.

In little under six weeks, people across the United Kingdom face one of the most important elections of our time.

We must choose whether to continue along the road the Conservative Government, aided by the DUP, is determined to take us on, delivering the hardest of Brexits, with closed borders, polarised politics and economic uncertainty on the horizon.

I am seeking election in an effort to give the people of North Down the opportunity to signal a desire to change direction away from this destination by choosing an Alliance Party candidate firmly committed to an open, inclusive, prosperous and ambitious future within Europe.

With seemingly endless elections and on-going deadlock at Stormont I entirely understand the real sense of frustration felt by many. Never before have we seen such unprecedented events, casting aside the old certainties and norms.

I am however passionate in my belief that we can and must change direction to ensure the extremes don’t dictate our future. Only by voting for the positive progressive vision offered by Alliance can we strengthen the liberal centre ground and deliver a positive alternative to the divisive agenda of others.

I love North Down, am proud to call the place home and really looking forward to the campaign ahead.

North Down Alliance Councillor since 2010, previous North Down Westminster Candidate in 2015 and Mayor of North Down 2013/14 when undertook over 700 engagements under theme ‘Working as One’. Previously Alliance Party Chairperson and President, currently leader of Alliance Party group on Ards and North Down Borough Council. Outside politics, Andrew works as a Project Manager with Translink and is a keen runner, competing for North Down Athletics Club for a range of events including Belfast City Marathon on Monday 1 May 2017.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Muir slams news another Post Box lost in the mail

I am working hard to resolve yet another Post Box debacle Royal Mail after learning that yet another Post Box in the Holywood area has been removed but with promises it will be replaced nearby.

The front door of the historic Post Box at Seafront Road, Cultra was removed shortly before the Easter Holidays by Royal Mail citing corrosion with replacement plans rather unclear until local residents and Councillor Muir intervened.

Following on from the ongoing debacle concerning the removal of Post Box at Station Road, Craigavad I was appalled to learn from local residents just before the Easter break that yet another Post Box had been removed.

With the Post Box at Seafront Road a unique Victorian box which regularly attracts attention of passers-by, forming part of a listed building and also enjoying a good level of usage I have been working hard to resolve the situation.

Investigations have unearthed news that the door was removed due to corrosion and since it is now found to be beyond repair for continued usage a new plan secured.

The historic box will be restored to its original beauty but decommissioned for use and, in order to avoid any confusion, painted black as per arrangement which has already received stamp of approval from English Heritage.

A new post box for public use will also be located nearby, following receipt of necessary approvals from Transport NI.

With local people exasperated following recent events at Station Road I intend to monitor this issue carefully to ensure these commitments are fulfilled and Holywood gets the First Class service it deserves from Royal Mail.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Refurbished Cultra Station House timetabled to arrive on time

Cllr Muir and Larry Thompson RIBA at
refurbished Cultra Station House
I gained a sneak preview of the refurbishment work underway at old Cultra Station House last Friday 7 April 2017 visiting the building along with retired Alliance Councillor, Conservation Architect and Chair of Holywood Conservation Group Larry Thompson RIBA and am able to report significant progress with refurbishment works timetabled to complete by Summer 2017.

Dating back to 1897, Cultra Station House was listed in 2007 when threated with demolition but remained in an awful state of disrepair until recently. A Condition Survey commissioned in 2012 stated ‘it would likely prove more economically viable to demolish and rebuild the property’

After years of relentless lobbying I was delighted to see the building restored to its full glory. Whilst the campaign nearly hit the buffers on a number of occasions, whether due to bureaucratic officialdom from the Planning Service or attitude of the previous owners (Ireland’s bad bank NAMA) both Larry and I kept the project on track and are delighted to see the project come to fruition.

Careful restoration work undertaken has helped bring the building back to life with traditional exterior contrasted by impressive interiors to deliver two spacious units within the old Station House sensitively complimented by three additional units within the site. It will be fantastic to see people living in a building previously on the brink of demolition.

I am particularly grateful to NI Environment Agency, Holywood Conservation Group, Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, former TD Dominic Hannigan and the many other interested people and groups who helped ensure it was full steam ahead for the Save Cultra Station House campaign. Once complete it will be fantastic testament to fact that hard work and determination delivers.

Cultra Station House was built in 1897 assumed to be designed by G.P. Culverwell. The property was built in typical decorative red brick late Victorian fashion.

The property consists of a listed building partially two storey and partially single storey positioned to the side of the railway tracks at Cultra. The two storey portion of the property was originally living accommodation for the station master and the single storey portion was the area for waiting, ticket collection and other areas associated with a railway station.

Property has been a private dwelling since at least 1937 and in private ownership since 1957, vacated 1970s when it fell into disrepair, vandalised and used for anti-social behaviour.