ANDREW Steenson is standing for the first time in the local council election for Downpatrick for the DUP. He is one of the new candidates in the Down District Council election hoping to make his mark on the political landscape.
For a number of years he has been a community worker in Ballynahinch based on the Langley Estate. He has been instrumental in setting up a new community group recently on the estate to help address the many issues that the residents are facing. As committee chairman, Andrew is working closely with Rowallene Councillor Billy Walker in working to make life better for the Langley residents.
He said, “Already I have been engaged with the NIHE, the police, Down District Council and other statutory agencies in trying to improve life on the estate. Things seem to have drifted away a bit and now there is a push to improve the situation there. I am involved in the local bonfire comittee and this is quite a big responsibility ensuring that everything is kept clean and tidy, and that it does not get set alight before hand.
“This ties in with other key matters such as anti-social behaviour which I am assisting with, and in simple issues such as proper street lighting, adequate footpaths, and generally ensuring all the public services for the area are working well. It is important to work with other groups in partnerships and if elected in the Downpatrick area I will endeavour to continue this work and encourage groups to work together and with the agencies.
“One of the key issues in all communities is the provision of a good library service, and I am committed in Ballynahinch to ensuring the service does not erode and is in fact developed through Libraries NI.”
Andrew explained that the new residents’ community association has been set up and is working well with different agencies, and that this experience can be replicated in Downpatrick. What we plan to do is invite MLA’s and the DSD Minister down to see first hand what the problems are in Ballynahinch. For example, on the Langley Estate there is only one playpark and this is just not sufficient for the needs of the estate. We can do the same for Downpatrick.
“The DUP is concerned with fighting the bread and butter issues and simple issues such as ensuring people’s doors are fixed, or getting a salt box located in a key point means a lot to the people concerned. And that is what we will be doing in Downpatrick. In the Langley Estate many homes still have single glazing and we will be pushing to get this rectified as soon as possible.
“I used to work with Micwall’s as a sprayer in a kitchen fabrication unit but was laid off because of the recession at the start of the economic downturn in the building trade. I know what it is first hand to experience this challenge in life. I have four children and know the pressures this puts on families across the area. We have got to provide all the support we can.
“But certainly in the Downpatrick area one of the key issues is the matter of the services at the Downe Hospital. The DUP supports the campaign retention of a 24-hour consultant-led Accident and Emergency service. And also in this area, there is a crucial need for more social housing. There are some areas in Downpatrick that seem to have been forgotten about such as the Mount Crescent and Quoile Park areas, and it will be my priority to ensure that these residents are fully represented. They just feel like like the forgotten ones.
“The DUP can deliver and this is proven. In Ballynahinch we have been successfull in moving the progress on with the roads bypass scheme through the work of Jim Shannon MP and the MLA’s, and we are totally committed to helping communities. Downpatrick also has a need to sort out its traffic problems. We are results focused and will try and improve life in the Downpatrick area for everyone and to this end we will be seeking full cross-party support.
“There is so much that needs to be done. The work of the new body that will emerge from the Policing Partnership and the Community Safety Partnership must continue to be supported. And as our population grows older, there is a need for more residential homes and care for the elderly. That is something we should never ignore.
“We will work 100% for the people of Downpatrick. They can be assured of our total commitment to serving all of the constituents in the area. There has not been a Unionist councillor in Downpatrick area for six years when the UUP were not elected at the last council election. We believe they should have stood down this time round and given us a clear run at this seat in Downpatrick.”
Some Things You May Want To Know About Andrew Steenson
* Andrew enjoys angling in the lakes around Ballynahinch for coarse fish.
* Has an interest in local history.
* Is a Man Utd Supporter.
* Is married and has four children aged from 3-13 years of age.
* Is chairman of the Langley Road Community Association.
* Enjoys community work.
* Is prepared to work with all sides of the community.