Tesco fuel prices - Holywood people getting a raw deal

I checked the price of fuel being sold at Tesco Springhill, Bangor and Tesco Knocknagoney on Friday 23 July 2010 morning and discovered that Unleaded cost 113.9p per litre at Tesco Springhill whilst Unleaded was 117.9p per litre at Tesco Knocknagoney.

Since then the gap has today narrowed to 2p. Regardless, people living in Holywood and East Belfast are still getting a raw deal by being charged 2p more per litre by Tesco compared to those in Bangor.

All people across North Down should be able to buy fuel from Tesco at the same price rather than those living in Holywood being forced to pay more for their fuel compared to those in Bangor. This is especially important when money is tight and people still need to be able to use their car to go from A to B.

This price differential hits families and people on lower incomes the hardest and should be rectified. Tesco's Motto is "Every Little Helps", in this instance a 2p price cut at Tesco Knocknagoney's petrol pumps would help enormously.

29 July 2010

First Council Meeting

Following my appointment as a Councillor on North Down Borough Council on 8 July 2010 I attended my first Council meeting tonight at the Town Hall, Bangor.

I was given an extremely warm welcome by all Aldermen, Councillors and Officers and was impressed by the spirit of co-operation that prevailed throughout the meeting.

After being welcomed by The Mayor Councillor John Montgomery I had the opportunity to make a few remarks.

I thanked Mr Mayor for such a warm welcome and paid tribute to my predecessor Dr David Alderice who I have the utmost respect for as someone with strong track record of public service.

I stated that I look forward to working in partnership with all members and Council officers and, later in the meeting, stated that I will genuinely appreciate any advice and tips members and officers may wish to offer.

In closing I recalled my School Motto. Lex Dei in Corde Meo is the motto of St Columbanus' College. I stated that it would guide me over the next few months, and hopefully years, as a Councillor.

For readers who are unaware, as a pupil of St Columbanus' College l was told my School Motto translates as "God's Law in my Heart" meaning;

"love one another as I have loved you" as per New Testament

Respect for others

Respect for yourself

Always do your best

Do what is right, not what is easy

Do nothing which causes hurt to other people

These principals will guide me as a Councillor

27 July 2010

Seven Days

I appeared on Seven Days today, presented by David Dunseith and broadcast by BBC Radio Ulster noon on Sunday 25 July 2010.

The programme covered The Big Society, National Service for Young People, Emigration, portrayal of gay people in the media and what you wanted to be when you grew up.

You can listen to the broadcast again at 

25 July 2010

Survey illustrates need for new politics

The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey for 2009 has recently been published and includes many interesting facts and figures.

Within the survey a number of questions were asked in relation to politics. The overwhelming message is that we urgently need more politicians to show leadership and deliver a new type of politics which inspires and delivers for the people.

The survey proves that people are now less concerned about old tribal politics with 43% considering themselves neither Unionist or Nationalist. 

As the recent election proved, with a substantial increase the number of people voting for the Alliance Party, more and more people are prioritising a Shared Future and bread and butter issues over the old constitutional question. 

Firm evidence is also provided by the survey that politicians need to make devolution work with 71% of people feeling that the Northern Ireland Assembly has achieved little or nothing at all. Alliance is now working hard following the recent appointment of David Ford as Justice Minister to ensure that devolution works, reshaping our Justice system to build a safer Northern Ireland, with lower levels of crime plus safer, shared communities and justice for all.

As was proven by the election of Naomi Long, Alliance MP for East Belfast, the people want delivery and a new Shared Future rather than the old dysfunctional tribal politics. 

With 53% of people fairly or very dissatisfied with the way Northern Ireland MLAs are doing their job it's clear that politicians need to abandon tribal politics, end their petty squabbles and make devolution and politics work in the interests of everyone.

Following my recent selection as Councillor on North Down Borough Council for Holywood area I am eager to start delivering a new type of politics which inspires, empowers and delivers. I look forward to serving all the people of Holywood with integrity, listening to and articulating their concerns whilst delivering my vision with a sense of leadership.

Whilst as a amateur athlete I may be adapt at running I don’t intend to run away from the challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Now is the time to build a new Shared Future with sustainable knowledge based economic growth, protecting and enhancing the environment with safe, healthy and creative communities.

I realise I have a tough challenge ahead of me with trust in politicians very low - 85% of people questioned in the Life & Time Survey stated they don't trust politicians very much or not at all. I am however determined to work hard to rebuild the electorates trust in politics, re-engaging with the disengaged and proving the politics can make a difference. Following the election of Naomi Long as MP for East Belfast it's clear that change is possible. 

If you want to work with me to build a new Shared Future for all please contact me, telephone 07813 945411 click www.andrewmuir.net or email mail@andrewmuir.net Together we can deliver real change that works for you.

15 July 2010

Meeting President of Ireland at Áras an Uachtaráin

On Monday 12 July 2010 I was invited to meet the President of Ireland Mary McAleese and Dr Martin McAleese in a personal capacity at Áras an Uachtaráin along with my partner Alan.

It was an extremely enjoyable event to mark the 12th July celebrating a Shared Past and looking forwards to a Shared Future with fantastic music and entertainment. I was particuarly impressed by the singer Jackie Boyce.

Details concerning the event have been provided by at 
www.president.ie and are provided below for ease of reference;

President hosts 12th July Garden Party
President McAleese has hosted the annual Twelfth of July garden party at Áras an Uachtaráin. This year’s event celebrated the cultural diversity of the island of Ireland, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland who died on 12th July 1949.
Speaking to 400 guests from all parts of the island, the President said,
‘Hyde was, to some minds but not to his own, a paradox, a contradiction; a Protestant and an Irish nationalist, a son of the Anglo-Irish manse, he made the personal choice to champion Irish language and culture out of the deep love he acquired for them in the welcoming little homesteads of Roscommon. He was a man of peace, a man of intellectual curiosity and a man who believed passionately in this island’s potential if it could escape the agonising raw wounds bestowed on us by history. ’
President McAleese continued,
‘He once said “Hatred is a negative passion; it is powerful - a very powerful destroyer; but it is useless for building up. Love, on the other hand, is like faith; it can move mountains, and faith, we have mountains to move.” We are the generation which has seen those mountains move from the darkness of a culture of conflict to the opening chapters of a culture of consensus. Within Northern Ireland the two traditions are working together in government. Within the island of Ireland the two jurisdictions are cooperating in a fresh new spirit of partnership. At political and community level many people are giving courageous example of how to build good neighbourly and mutually respectful relations. It is still very much a work in progress - a noble and humanly uplifting work, not achievable overnight but achievable by increments. I hope that on this day, in this house we are quietly nudging that work forward together. ’
Singers Iarla Ó Lionáird and Jackie Boyce performed songs from the Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions. Other performers included Belfast flautists, Marcas Ó Murchú and Michael Clarkson, and the 1st Old Boys Association Band, BBL Band of the Year 2009.

Muir welcomes redevelopment of West Green area, Loughview, Holywood

As Alliance Party Councillor (designate) for the Holywood area I welcome the £6m investment which will fund demolition and redevelopment of housing in the West Green Area, Loughview Estate, Holywood.

Following the recent announcement by Social Development Minister Alex Attwood I welcome his decision to approve the Housing Executive's proposal for the West Green Area is long overdue it is to be warmly welcomed. Substantial lobbying over a long period of time by local Councillors, community organisations and residents has at last paid dividends. I commend all those who worked hard over many years to secure this announcement.

Whilst providing new homes the demolition and redevelopment will also hopefully eradicate the problems associated with the current buildings which have been a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Following the announcement and my recent selection as Councillor for the Holywood area I will now be working to ensure work starts as soon as possible with the views and opinions of local people accommodated in the Implementation Plan to be devised the Housing Executive.

5 July 2010