Over ten years ago I made South Belfast my home because I was struck by the warmth, diversity and generosity of the people who lived here.

Balmoral is Belfast at its best and a model for the future of Northern Ireland. It is at ease with itself, peaceful and prosperous. I promise to do all I can to ensure that Balmoral continues to stand as this example.

As a social democrat I believe in the value and virtue of working together for the common good. I think we see the best of this on a day to day basis in the volunteers who organise football teams or charity raffles, parish events or community gardens.

I believe that my role on Belfast City Council, is to ensure that everyone has the highest possible quality of life. From good public services such as bin collections, to keeping the public realm in good order, and allowing a vibrant and creative community to grow and prosper.


Our green spaces like the Mary Peters track, Malone House and its grounds, our city parks such as Drumglass Park, Strangford Avenue Playing Fields or Musgrave Park, are all hugely important for our health and wellbeing. I promise to do all I can to ensure the provision of age appropriate and mixed use facilities in our parks so we call all get the most from them.

The Lagan too, is a wonderful resource and we should make more use of this waterway that runs through our part of the city. It is a river fed by many streams and we have to do all we can to preserve our natural environment and by doing so protect our built environment. I’ll do what I can to ensure the river and watercourses are protected, maintained and cleared to prevent flooding in our homes.


When I speak about building a shared future, it is one rooted in good relations between neighbours. We live in a diverse and shared community and issues like flags flying on lampposts can cause needless tensions and anxieties.

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, I believe that politics and reconciliation start “In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.” I believe that if we cannot deliver in those small places, we cannot hope to deliver anywhere.

But it’s not just the divisions of the past we must overcome. We need to ensure that Balmoral is shared by all who live and work there, regardless of age, health or mobility. When I campaign for nothing less than excellence in public services, it is to guarantee that no one is denied support or their dignity. By insisting on value for rate payers, we are ensuring the highest possible quality of life.


Like all parents I want nothing short of the very best for my two young children. I want to see a Balmoral that is safe and where people feel safe. There are a multitude of projects and groups that can assist us in Balmoral and I promise to work closely with the PSNI, the Policing Community and Safety Partnership and all other agencies to do what I can so that no person is fearful in their homes or on the streets.

There are a wide number of ways of going about this and they include ensuring that broken street lights and graffiti are dealt with quickly, that lanes and roads are kept clean and orderly and by preventing properties from falling into dereliction or being misused.

I have little interest in grandstanding or rabble rousing politics and no interest in causing division or dragging up the arguments of the past. I wish to see Belfast City Council be a service, not a circus.

I hope this has given you an idea of the ideas and values I have and if you have any comments or questions or want to contact me for any other reason, please do not hesitate for a moment.

I look forward to hearing from you.



    Donal Lyons is 33, a Dublin native and a UCD Science graduate who has lived in South Belfast since 2006.

    Donal replaced Claire Hanna as Councillor for Balmoral in July 2015 after Claire took up her new role in the Assembly.

    Donal is a member of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee and the People and Communities Committee of Belfast City Council.

    Donal is also on the board of the South Belfast Partnership Board, is a member of Amnesty International, the National Union of Journalists, the Drumglass Wind Energy Co-operative and the Boundary Brewing Cooperative.

    Donal was previously employed by the Irish Labour Party and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and has worked in the field of public policy and law reform and as an SDLP activist since moving to Belfast.

    Donal is married to Claire Hanna MLA and they have two young children.