Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

BangorDonaghadeeGroomsport

Welcome

Peter MartinI'm very privileged to have been elected by the good people of Bangor East & Donaghadee to serve them for the next few years in our new Borough. We live in a wonderful and very beautiful part of Northern Ireland.

Thanks for visiting my website and if I can help you in any way please get in touch – that is what I was elected to do!

Peter J. Martin Signature

Recent Updates

 

Dog poo at unacceptable levels

January
2017

In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of constituents concerned about the amount of dog poo on our streets. Interestingly and every credit to them every single one was a dog owner themselves.

 

Dog poo at unacceptable levels

Whilst the vast majority of dog owners are completely responsible in this area it is clear a small minority our not. I drove around Ballycrochan, Towerview Ashbury and Ballymacormick and in some cases found up to seven deposits on a single street. This is unacceptable. Whilst the nature of dog poo is unpleasant Doctors are clear that it provides a clear an increased risk to babies and toddlers. The illness is called Toxocariasis which is very serious and even cause blindness in young children. Any of us with young children in buggies or prams will know the danger of unwittingly pushing the pram through some dog poo and then bringing the buggy into the house. Any inquisitive toddler who is investigating around the house could come in contact with it and fall seriously ill. 

Whilst I was out pushing my son Zach last Saturday morning I saw a lady with three dogs and three bags of poo – I shouted across the road at her “Well done for picking up your dog poo” she simply smiled and replied – if you have dogs that’s what you need to do” This demonstrates the attitude of most dog owners but again there are the a minority of exceptions. People with scant through of others. 

I welcome the fact that in the next few weeks Council will be employing staff up to 100 hours a week with the sole intent of catching people who fail to pick up their dog poo. I also welcome the fact that we as a Council is the second best at fining people who are intent on ignoring the law. But we all have our role to play If you see someone not picking up their dog poo a simple call or email to our Neighbourhood Environment Team on 0300 013 3333thiswill provide useful intelligence and we will task staff to your area to catch the culprit. The people of our Borough have simply said enough is enough

 

 

We need to unite to save Portavo Reservoir

January
2017

A local property developer last week won a High Court battle with Northern Ireland Water in his wider bid to buy lands at a much beloved North Down beauty spot. Portavo Estates Ltd was held to have a ‘right of preemption’ to a major stretch of the Portavo Reservoir. This judgment of course is subject to Appeal. But this judgment could mean that if Portavo Estates Ltd acquired the land they could decide to completely ban public access from this local beauty spot.

 

We need to unite to save Portavo Reservoir

This would impact on walkers, fishermen, environmentalists, photographers and dog walkers. I should point out this is not in any way Northern Ireland Waters fault – they fought the case at the High Court as hard as they could. Nor is it Ards/North Down Councils as they had expressed interest in purchasing the land for the benefit of all residents.

I have worked on this issue for a number of years now and over the years we have managed to see Portavo both protected and retained in public ownership. This recent High Court decision means that Portavo could fall into private ownership and this could mean the public possibly being banned from enjoying it forever. I am in discussion with both NIW and Council Officers to find a suitable resolution to this matter so that all the people of North Down can continue to enjoy this beauty spot and natural wild life sanctuary for generations. Whilst some politicians seem to have given up on the fight I intend to dig in on this issue on behalf of all my constituents

 

 

We must tackle Educational Underachievement

October
2016

Did you realise that reading to your child for just ten minutes a night from two years old can put them a full academic year ahead by the time they actually reach Primary School? That a child’s experiences [positive or negative] from birth to three years old will have a lifelong effect on them?

 

We must tackle Educational Underachievement
L–R Julie Thomas – Principal Clandeboye PS; Rebecca Dowie – Principal Bloomfield PS; Cllr Peter Martin; Matthew Pitts – Principal Bangor Academy; Peter Weir MLA; Gary Greer – VP Bangor Grammar School; Pauline Brown – Principal Kilcooley PS. All Principals and Vice Principals support the report.

I’ve worked on this issue of Educational Underachievement for quite some time now and feel passionately about solving it. In fact it was the key theme of my Mayoral year in 2014–15. As many of us know this problem is particularly prevalent in the demographic of Protestant [Free School Meals] Boys, but not exclusively so. This year I decided to write a report which I called ‘No Child Left Behind’ based on my research into this issue. The roots of this problem are many and varied. Part of the process of dealing with them involves recognising the facts that there is neither a magic money tree to produce endless intervention funds nor a single silver bullet with which to eradicate the issue.

From the moment of conception, it is clear that some children face significantly greater obstacles which need to be met and overcome before they are in a position to realise their full potential. Some manage to overcome these barriers and others do not. The report suggests that clearly teachers and parents are the two key factors that directly affect whether a child will succeed or fail. Leadership in schools, especially in deprived socio–economic areas, is also crucial to challenging both teaching and parental aspirations for the child. It is very important that parents are fully aware that the years 0–3 are incredibly important in a young child’s development and that stimulation, lots of positive affirmation and parental attachment are the building blocks for success in the future. For boys in particular a stable and supportive male role model is vitally important. We also need to instill self–confidence and a sense of motivation into our children. When these are not present in the home environment the emotional development of boys in particular will be negatively effected. Therefore any strategy to tackle educational underachievement must be both comprehensive in its scope and demonstrate an understanding of all the conditions which perpetuate underachievement

My report makes nine recommendations to the Government in Northern Ireland – their adoption could have a real impact on the issue. My report ‘No Child Left Behind’ is available here.

 

 

Dog attacks in the Borough

September
2016

I am very concerned about a report from a constituent whose Border Terrier [Herbie] was savaged by a large long haired black dog on The Commons in Donaghadee. The attack happened on Sunday [25th] shortly after 5pm. Herbie was on a lead and the other dog was seemingly uncontrolled.

 

The information that I have been given suggests that its owner did little to prevent or stop the attack. Its owner was remains unidentified but was described to me as a young woman in her late teens to early twenties. Clearly Herbies owner was very shaken by the attack and wanted to personally thank a couple who stopped to help her. Herbies owner is an elderly lady was who deeply shocked by the incident but thankfully her dog survived without major life threatening injuries. I would appeal for anyone who witnessed the attack to come forward and contact the Councils Neighborhood Environment Team with any information.

Simply legislating to have all dogs on leads at all times is also inappropriate as the majority of owners are both considerate of others and do have sound control over their dogs. I have already spoken to our Council staff to ensure the incident is fully investigated. I will also be asking for more dog patrols especially on the Commons in Donaghadee to make sure that both dogs and members of the public are safe from attack. Unfortunately these incidents are on the rise and the irresponsible behaviour of a small number of dog owners is unrepresentative of the vast majority.

 

 

Ballymacormick Rifle Range

August
2016

Over the last number of weeks a large number of constituents have contacted me regarding the proposed rifle range on the Ballymacormick Road. A number have even called to my house to personally express their strong, but honestly held, feelings on the positioning of this proposed range.

 

What has struck me about this particular issue is that practically everyone who has spoken to me is generally supportive, as I am, of the sport of shooting but do not believe that the proposed location, at the end of a residential road, is suitable for a target range. Some of these constituents are concerned about noise and the safety issues, others about the encroachment onto the green belt.

I remain fully supportive of the club and of the sport of target shooting in Northern Ireland. It should be noted that in the past Northern Ireland has produced a number of successful Commonwealth competitors in these disciplines and target shooting within Northern Ireland has a world renown safety record. 

I take my role as a local politician very seriously and I feel that I have to clearly and unambiguously represent the feelings and wishes of those within the Council area I represent. I have now formally objected by writing to our Planning Department outlining my concerns regarding the proposed location. I believe that this is the wrong location for such a range and would respectfully ask the club to reconsider their current planning application.