Sunday, 28 September 2014

National Trust - B57 Causeway Car-Park FREE Pass 2

"You may have a BT57 pass but you can't come in," 
said the National Trust gatekeeper, 
grinning broadly, as he waved me in.

If you have a local BT57 address then you can obtain a FREE car-park pass 
by taking a domestic bill to the Visitor Centre reception 
and completing the application form.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Causeway Coast Marathon 2014 - Saturday, September 27

The 2014 Causeway Coast Marathon will take place on 27th September 2014. Having established itself as one of the most scenic marathons in the world the 2014 event is set to attract participants from across the globe that will come to compete alongside fellow runners on this fantastic route.

With the addition of the Ultra Marathon distance (60km) in 2010 there is now an event for everyone from the serious Ultra Runner to the 10k specialists on the day of the event. In addition to the Ultra and 10km distances there are also Marathon and Half Marathon options. There is also a Challenge Walk along the 26 mile route of the Causeway Coast Marathon for those avid walkers out there, which is being hosted by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Association.

All Causeway Coast events will be fully way-marked and will follow the paths, tracks, beaches and coastline of the Causeway Coast Way - probably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the whole world. The entire route passes through magnificent coastline scenery with fine views of wide bays, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and offshore rocks, all of which characterise the Causeway Coast, making its beauty and uniqueness world famous. All events will run through the world famous Giants Causeway with the Ultra and Marathon events passing close to the actual Giants Causeway stones.

As with all 26 Extreme events, there will be a high level of support and feed stations en route. Participants in all events will be chipped timed by our timing partner Champion Chip Ireland and we will provide split times and finish times for all participants after the event.

Marathon start Portballintrae - 9:30 am
Challenge walk - marathon route - 7:30 am
Half start in Ballintoy - 12:30 pm
 10k between Dunseverick and the Causeway - 14:30 pm

Most scenic marathon in the UK or Ireland.

First 13 miles of the ultra marathon - Portstewart to Portballintrae
Start 7:15 am

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Portrush and an esplanade built on sand

10th Sep 2014: Closure of steps at East Strand, Portrush

Closure: Coleraine Borough Council is advising residents and visitors that both sets of steps at East Strand in Portrush will be closed for up to five weeks for repair and reinforcement work. Council apologises for any inconvenience this may cause. Council will keep residents informed as to when the steps will reopen again.

I thought, perhaps, that the sea had wrought havoc once again on the new esplanade at Portrush's East Strand but I'm told that the current works are a pre-emptive measure.

Extra layer of breeze blocks being added to the wall supporting the steps

This shambles poses serious questions about the quality of the public procurement process.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Northern Ireland Audit Office Reports - Not User Friendly 3

Northern Ireland Audit Office Reports - Not User Friendly

Back in 2011 the Northern Ireland Audit Office said:

NIAO does permit, free of charge, the re-use of our information.

The NIAO and others are bound by regulations introduced on 1 July 2005:

The aim of the Regulations is to encourage the re-use of public sector information by removing obstacles that stand in the way of re-use. The main themes are improving transparency, fairness and consistency.

The Comptroller and Auditor General at the Northern Ireland Audit Office has recently qualified the 2013-2014 accounts of the Department of Culture and Leisure

NIAO conclusion [pdf file]: 

2.6 As Business Plans have not received the required approval, there was no authority for this expenditure. I have therefore concluded that the expenditure is not in conformity with the authorities which govern it and qualified my audit opinion on regularity in this respect. 

2.7 The Department of Finance and Personnel also indicated that if a department pays a cash grant to a North/South Body without the prior approval of the Department of Finance and Personnel then the department will have breached the provisions of the legislation and the expenditure is thus unlawful. However, there is conflicting legal advice on whether Department of Finance and Personnel approval has been provided in this regard. This is an issue which affects a number of departments and I would encourage this Department and others affected to further engage with the Department of Finance and Personnel to resolve this matter. I intend to keep this matter under review.

This file is word searchable but I was unable to do a simple copy and paste of these two paragraphs. If there is a question mark about the expenditure of public funds surely it is in the public interest that such information should be readily accessible as well as being an obligation.