It is to the credit of the Lisburn community that, excepting the attack on Trevor Lunn’s office, we have largely avoided the civil disturbances which blighted 2013 in many parts of Northern Ireland. Tolerance and respect for others has improved but we need to progress further if we are to be a peaceful society at ease with itself. We need, in 2014, to have the confidence to try new approaches to resolve the differences over flags and parades in particular.
The challenges in health are also enormous. We as a community, and the SE Trust, need to work closely together shaping services which can enable people to have as much care as possible at home or close to home. In making changes care must be taken to protect the interests of those who use services which face change, such as residents of care homes. We must also protect valued local services such as A&E at Lagan Valley Hospital.
Levels of prosperity and employment are not what we would wish despite some signs of improvement. The business community and the Council must continue to work together to create in Lisburn a city attractive for business. The upgrading of public areas in the City Centre is one measure which should encourage people to come to Lisburn for shopping and leisure.
Let us all work together to ensure a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.