Archive for February, 2009
“Following my own visit to Ravara, I was very keen that Michael McGimpsey, the Minister who will be making the ultimate decision about the future of Home, should come and see it for himself. So, I invited him to make a private visit at his earliest opportunity. I was delighted that Alex Easton was also able to join us for the short visit last Friday.
Not only did the Minister have the chance to talk to the residents themselves, but he also took time to have a good look at the building itself. While he stressed that no decisions had been made or could be made until the proper procedures had run their course, Michael McGimpsey certainly left Ravara with a much clearer appreciation of the overwhelming opposition to the closure of this much-loved Residential Home.”
February 25th, 2009
“I was absolutely furious when Mark Gordon told me about the death threats made against him and against others. How dare any gangsters try to intimidate or frighten good law-abiding people like Mark!
I utterly condemn such outrageous tactics being used to intimidate my constituents. The police, with whom I am liaising closely on this issue, will I am quite sure track down and bring these criminals before the courts.”
February 25th, 2009
“Since the public meeting to discuss the proposed closure of Ravara had taken place on the evening immediately after Sir Jack’s memorial service, most regrettably I wasn’t able to attend the meeting as I would have wished.
So, I was delighted to have the opportunity last Thursday to meet the residents of Ravara to hear at first-hand their views about the local Trust’s proposal.
Craig Allen, the Chairman of the Ravara Residents and Relatives Group, was also most helpful in providing detailed arguments, opposing the closure.
The residents are undoubtedly a remarkable group of people, and the meeting with them is one I’ll never forget. Despite their years – ranging from the oldest at 102 to the ‘baby’ at 70 – they were well able to articulate their opposition to being compelled by the Trust to leave their ‘home’, because ‘home’ is what Ravara has become for each of them.
They were entirely persuasive. I came away form Ravara determined it would not only remain ‘home’ for its residents but it would also be improved. Neither the Trust nor the Minister will be left in any doubt about my resolve to save Ravara from closure.”
February 18th, 2009
“As a Presbyterian myself, I must say I was utterly dismayed and extremely angry as more and more details of the PMS fiasco unfolded. Hundreds of Presbyterians throughout North Down trusted the Presbyterian Mutual Society to invest their savings wisely and have been seriously let down by the Society.
Amongst those who feel extremely aggrieved by the activities of the PMS are members of Shore Street Presbyterian Church. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with a representative group of them on Monday to discuss what further action I could take to assist in the recovery of the money invested with PMS.
As well as writing immediately to the Financial Services Authority calling for a comprehensive and transparent investigation into PMS, I’ve also asked the local Trade & Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, to respond to specific enquiries. These included a request for the disclosure of any bonuses or salaries paid to the Directors of the Society in the months immediately preceding it going into administration last November.
Given the seriousness of this matter for thousands of Presbyterians across Northern Ireland, I shall certainly be striving to work together with public representatives from other political parties, including the DUP, to ensure we get the very best outcome for savers and investors with PMS. We really have to ensure that lessons are learned from this debacle and what happened within PMS never happens again.”
February 11th, 2009