Festive wishes from MLAs

LOCAL MLAs and the area’s MP have issued their seasonal messages to constituents - wishing all a happy and peaceful Christmas

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said: “As 2011 draws to an end I think of family, of friends that I shan’t see again in this life and of the challenges and uncertainties of the year ahead.

“As 2012 approaches rapidly I am conscious that just as much has been achieved in delivering much greater political stability to Northern Ireland so now there is the need to deliver greater prosperity and better relationships throughout society.

He said 2011 had been a momentous year in international events and a difficult one economically: “While many of our brave young people are still putting their own lives at risk on our behalf in far off fields.

“Here at home there will always be people who would major on those things that have the potential to keep communities divided, but what is needed at this time in our history is to move forward for the betterment of society as a whole.”

“In wishing all of the readers of the ‘MAIL’ a very happy Christmas and peaceful new year I know that there is hard work ahead for all of society. We are all of us enlisted in the task of bringing about that safer, more prosperous and more stable future – for the elderly, the infirm, the sick, the unemployed and the young. It is my hope that we shall all give ourselves to it in order to deliver for us all.”

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd said: “The last few days before Christmas are a busy and often a rushed time for many, especially the parents of young children and I would ask everyone to bear this in mind and exercise that bit of extra care when out and about on the roads.”

He added: “The Christmas holiday gives us all a chance to spend time with our families and close friends and I hope that everyone enjoys the break and I wish them a happy Christmas and New Year.”

Upper Bann DUP MLA Stephen Moutray pointed to the difficult year that has passed but added: “I believe that if we work together to try and rebalance the economy and deliver for the rate payers and business owners throughout Upper Bann we will navigate our way out of the economic downturn and will rebuild a strong, and vibrant economy.”

Jo-Anne Dobson, the Upper Bann Ulster Unionist MLA, said “At this time we turn our thoughts to family members, both past and present and especially remember those who are going through a difficult or troubling time in their lives. Let us also remember those members of Her Majesty’s Forces serving both at home and overseas as they continue to uphold freedom and democracy across the globe.

“May I again take this opportunity to extend, from myself and my Ulster Unionist Party Colleagues, Christmas and New Year Wishes to you all.”

The SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said: “Christmas is a time when families come together to enjoy each other’s company, to exchange gifts and, forget about the problems that may have beset them throughout the year.

“But we know that, for some, not even the bright lights and carols will be able to mask the fact this year has brought great difficulties, whether within families or because of the treacherous economic climate we are now in.

“However, I would like to take the opportunity of reassuring all of you that I am committed to working hard to ensure that the best deal is achieved for all the people of Upper Bann so that 2012 can be the bright and prosperous year that we are all hoping and praying for.”

She concluded: “On behalf of myself, my family and Upper Bann SDLP, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an even happier New Year.”