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

 

‘Hope For Every Child’ Report

November
2018

In March this year I decided to conduct some policy research on children’s mental health, focusing specifically on why some young people get involved so early with the Youth Justice System and how we can prevent that. This subject was something I had felt very passionately about for some time.

 

‘Hope For Every Child’ Report

During the course of the next number of months, along with significant bench research, I interviewed about 35 people from a wide range of Statutory and Voluntary organisations.

The eventual result of this work was the report my party launched on the 6th November called ‘Hope for Every Child’. One of the key findings was that the mental health of babies, children and adolescents is incredibly important as it establishes the biological and value based map of the individual for the rest of their life. The key factor in a child’s mental health is the environment they grow up in; if a child faces a range of Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs (abuse, neglect etc) it will make their own personal development extremely challenging. I cannot stress enough how critical the ‘early years’ are in establishing the map for a child’s future.

The costs, both economic and societal, of not properly addressing ACEs are simply staggering. I have made 17 recommendations in the report, all of which are what economists call ‘invest to save’ and the research I have reviewed has clearly suggested that such investment should result in significant long term savings in the NI budget. There is also the clear moral imperative to simply value every child, born and unborn and to give them the best start they can have in life. As Churchill put it, 

“You can measure the degree of civilisation in a society by how it treats its weakest members”

In 2016 BBC NI reported this appalling story from the High Court in Northern Ireland, 

“Three young brothers were so neglected by their parents that their overgrown toe–nails curled around their toes. The boys, aged seven, nine and ten, lived in filthy homes covered in dog faeces, and two of them were sent to school in nappies. Two of the boys were unable to use a knife and fork and appeared to lack full appreciation of going to the toilet. The children were soiling themselves in school and struggling to make friends because of their personal hygiene”

Most of us have had the benefit of loving, caring and nurturing parents. They gave us boundaries, disciplined us when appropriate, read us books at night, fed us proper meals, told us we were amazing and demonstrated to us they loved us deeply. Literally thousands of children in NI at the moment are not benefiting from such an upbringing. There are nearly 3,000 children in care, another 2,000 on the Child Protection Register and over 20,000 in need of addition support in their lives. Some being born into families where drug and alcohol abuse is common place, others where they are not fed proper meals. They are subjected to physical violence. They are going to school in dirty clothes and being stigmatised by society. These children did not make this choice, rather it was made for them. They are then left to deal with the consequences. As a Christian, as a father and as a politician I have a deep burden to try to help these children make the absolute best of their lives, despite the circumstances they face.

This is the largest piece of policy research into children’s mental health and justice issues that any political party has ever produced in Northern Ireland, I hope it starts a positive political debate around this important area.  I would finally reflect that the difficulties we face in positively transforming the future for all of Northern Ireland’s children are in no ways insurmountable if we manage to intervene early and with the right levels of support and intervention. The positive outcomes that we will achieve include more stable family units, reduced children’s mental health problems and a budgetary saving which are surely worth the effort.

Download a copy of the report here.

 

 

All our Fallen must be remembered

October
2018

This month I made a proposal to Council that the main Poppy which had been placed, in the past, on the front of Bangor Town Hall should be reinstated and properly illuminated at night. It is my understanding that it had been damaged through strong winds in past years. I was delighted that our Officers had already repaired it and it was indeed ready to go back up in time for this year’s period of Remembrance.

 

All our Fallen must be remembered

The Poppy is of course wholly non political and recognises the sacrifice of all our Service Personnel regardless of colour, creed and religion. During the debate I emphaised the importance of parents explaining to their children what the Poppy was and what symbolism stood behind it. In fact I told the story of when my daughter Lucy (who was 5 at the time) noticed my Poppy going to work one morning. She asked me what it was and I told her the following ‘It remembers soldiers who died so that we could all be safe’, she looked at me for a moment and then said ‘Daddy, can I have one?’ so I gave her mine and she wore it to school for the rest of the period of Remembrance. 

It is crucial that we explain what the Poppy means to our children and our grandchild so they realise that the democracy and safety which we enjoy today was not attained cheaply

 

 

Fighting to preserve our military history

September
2018

Grey Point Fort is undoubtedly one of our best pieces of local military history in the Borough but it has been underutilised and under resourced over a number of years.

 

Fighting to preserve our military history

 I wish to pay tribute to Andy Glenfield one of our local military historians and alsothe Grey Point Amateur Radio Society who have worked on and lobbied for more funding and recognition for this important local landmark. I am aware that a cross border project (in conjunction with the Rural Partnership) is examining the future potential of the Fort but for various reasons the progress has been extremely slow. We have brought this matter before Council to get an update on progress so far and also arrange a briefing for all stakeholders who wish to engage in the project. If there are local military historians in the Borough who wish to get involved in the project please contact me and I will pass your details on”
Councillor Stephen Dunne

“Grey Point Fort in Helen’s Bay is an historic local landmark dating back to 1907 right in the heart of our Borough. I feel we should consider ways of actively developing this site to both preserve its rich heritage but also to develop it further as a tourist attraction. The Fort has a very interesting story and enjoys wonderful views right across the Lough and I feel there is real potential for it to be further developed and as a member of the local Rural Partnership I very much welcome plans being worked upon by the Partnership which operates in conjunction with Ards& North Down Borough Council

 

 

Martin calls for new pavements for Ballymacormick

September
2018

Last week, having been approached by a number of local residents,I arranged a site meeting with representatives from the Department of Infrastructure to appeal to them to replace the current paving stones with Bitumen pavements throughout this area.

 

Martin calls for new pavements for Ballymacormick

We walked along Plantation Road, Heatherstone Road and Woodland Avenue demonstrating to the Officials where we felt the issues were. There were a number of broken slabs, uneven slabs and dips in the footpath. I would be particularly concerned that if we have a cold spell in winter and these pools of water freeze they could be significant hazards, especially for the elderly. 

It was encouraging that Department Officials accepted there were specific issues with broken slabs and ridges but they also intimated to us that unfortunately Ballymacormick is not yet on the repair/refurbish list for Ards and North Down capital projects. We did however identify a number of specific points where trips could occur and some pavement ridges which were more than 20mm which they promised will be repaired. Officials also found a range of issues with recent Virgin Media work which will need further repair and they will be following up on these with the company. I will continue to lobby on behalf of constituents to ensure that Ballymacormick is not forgotten about as these major repair programmes roll out throughout the Borough

 

 

Finally it’s time to play in Ashbury, Kilmaine & Ballymagee

August
2018

For literally years now we have waited for a play park that will serve the residents of Ashbury, Kilmaine and Ballymagee. A few years ago I secured significant capital expenditure for the project in Council and a promise that Council would deliver on this issue.

 

Finally it’s time to play in Ashbury, Kilmaine & Ballymagee

I have kept this project alive in Council, reminding both Officers and Councillors of the commitment that was made to my constituents to have a play park in this area. In fact just before the summer I asked for another update on this project at the relevant Council committee. This area is one of the worse served in terms of play provision(for the number of children living there) in the whole Borough. We have all waited long enough. 

Over the next two or so months a full public consultation will be carried out in the area by Officers, probably in one of the local churches or schools. This will be advertised in the local press. Everyone who wishes to express a view is very welcome to attend. Council Officers will be present to answer any questions people might have and hear the thoughts and views of local residents about what they would like to see. I have also designed a short survey which you can find on my facebook page or you can just visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/pjmartin and share your views. It is just seven questions and will take less than a minute to complete. I will past the results onto our Officers, it is completely anonymous. It is important that Council hears your voice on this issue.

Play provision a critical part of a child’s development, it benefits them physically, develops motor skills and also aids social development. It is about time that this was delivered for the people of this area, I intend to see it through to the end.