A Taiwanese American who was the victim of a violent rape in Colin Glen Forest Park in 2008 has launched her second novel exploring the aftermath of sexual violence. Winnie M Li, who worked in the film industry at the time of her assault, had been in Belfast for an event marking ten years of the Good Friday Agreement and had decided to go for a walk in the park when she was attacked. In the years after her assault, Li has written about the issue of sexual violence and this latest book is the first known novel to explore the #MeToo movement within the film industry.
“HE was, in the very best sense of the word, a simple person. He didn’t have angles to him, he was without guile, he was good humoured, he loved a good game of Scrabble and spent hours doing jigsaws. He loved to listen to Classic FM and he loved nothing more than to be with his friends as he was a very social man.”
CARE home campaigner Julieann McNally has announced her intention to run as an independent candidate in the Colin area in May’s local elections. Ms McNally, whose grandmother died in the former Dunmurry Manor Care Home, established Care Home Advice and Support NI (CHASNI) to aid and support families going through similar situations. Speaking about her decision to stand, Julieann said: “Over this last year or so in a follow on from my work with CHASNI and supporting families with loved ones in care homes I began to get deeply involved in community issues. “I used the skills and practices that I picked up from my time In CHASNI, CRJ and my own small personal business to begin to help people within the greater Colin area. “I have been helping people around issues such as housing, pest infestations, home repairs, local anti-community behaviour, mental health support, addiction issues and providing drug and alcohol awareness and how it impacts on individuals, young people, families, and our community. “I am doing all of the above because of my absolute love and pride of the people of West Belfast and in particular the Colin area.”
THE 26th Annual Aisling Awards took place on Friday night past with a glitzy ceremony in the Europa Hotel. The event, which recognises the community, education, arts, sport and business leaders across Belfast who have gone above and beyond over the last year, was hosted by the BBC’s Barra Best and Lynette Fay. Attendees heard key-note speeches from our headline sponsor Open University’s John D’Arcy, guest speaker Naomi Long MLA and Belfast Mayor, Cllr Tina Black before the awards began.
THE Department for Infrastructure have introduced double yellow lines and amended waiting restrictions on a large stretch of the Hannahstown Hill following road safety concerns.
THE families of those killed in the Springhill/Westrock Massacre returned to court on Wednesday for the second pre-inquest review hearing ahead of their inquest commencing on 20 February. The inquests into the deaths of Margaret Gargan (13), John Dougal (16), David McCafferty (15), father-of-six Patrick Butler (38), and local parish priest Fr Noel Fitzpatrick (42) were directed by the then Attorney General John Larkin back in 2014. However, the case has been beset by delays ever since. The court heard that as well as civilian witnesses, a total of 63 potential military witnesses were initially identified. Nineteen of those are deceased and 11 were eliminated. Twenty-four of the remaining 33 had engaged with proceedings while nine had failed to engage.
CHRISTMAS comes just once a year and the festive season got underway this weekend as the Lyric Theatre’s Christmas musical The Snow Queen took to the stage for their first performances. The smell of fresh popcorn and the sugar induced excitement of children filled the theatre, creating the perfect atmosphere for this enthralling show. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's much-loved tale of courage, adventure, and friendship, The Snow Queen invites audiences of all ages to join Gerda on her quest as she works in her grandmother's (Christina Nelson) busy flower shop in the centre of town where, for as long as she can remember, the roses are delivered every morning by her friend, one of the town's young men, Kai (Ben McGarvey). One night an unexpected cold wind blows across the land, and when the windows of the town begin to freeze over grandmother fears the worst – the Snow Queen (Ruby Campbell) has returned. When Kai disappears, Gerda sets off on a long journey to find him. In search of a palace that sits amongst the snowy, frozen peaks of Finnmark, she meets lots of colourful characters along the way including Oakie (Christopher Finn), Captain Crow (Darren Franklin) and The Prince (Aaron Halliwell).
NEWLY elected US Congressman Mike Lawler has written to President Joe Biden urging him to fill the vacant US Special Envoy role amid concerns around the “increasingly volatile situation in Northern Ireland” arising from the post-Brexit Protocol. The US Special Envoy role has been vacant since January 2021. Senator George Mitchell was the first to hold the role, having been appointed in 1995 and went on to chair the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. Subsequent holders of the post include Richard Hass and President Trump’s former acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. The Republican Congressman was elected to New York’s 17th Congressional district in November. His victory was one of the shock results of the election when he defeated the Democratic incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney who is chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee charged with ensuring the re-election of Democratic representatives.
AN internationally acclaimed art experience has arrived in the city.
A cross-community carol service will return to the Northumberland Street as residents from the Falls and Shankill roads come together to create some festive cheer.
THE family of the late Rosie McKee have handed over a cheque to Macmillan for £2,550 following a fundraiser held in her memory. Rosie passed away in February 2021 after battling cancer and as she passed away during Covid, restrictions meant that her family were unable to give her the send-off she deserved. At the time of her funeral, those watching the service online and gathered outside the church heard of how big a character Rosie was including the time that she and her lifelong friend Maud Bell starred in Mark Cousins’ documentary film ‘I Am Belfast’ where they recounted their lives growing up on opposite sides of the political divide in the city.
HANNAHSTOWN was filled with festive cheer as the annual Christmas Market returned to Lámh Dhearg at the weekend. Organised by the Hannahstown Community Association alongside partners Lámh Dhearg CLG, the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council, the market saw over 20 stalls take up residence for the afternoon in a big marquee selling Christmas crafts, gifts and delicacies, while the rickety wheel proved a big hit with plenty of prizes on offer. Speaking after the event, Paul Buchanan from Lámh Dhearg said: “The Hannahstown Christmas Market organised by the Hannahstown Community Association at Lámh Dhearg was a huge success with a great attendance and generated a very festive atmosphere.
On this episode of Over The Wire, James is joined by Rector at Clonard Monastery, Fr Peter Burns to discuss the history of the Clonard Novena, the importance of the Redemptorist Monastery to the people of Belfast and the role of the likes of the late Fr Alec Reid and Fr Gerry Reynolds in bringing about peace in the North.
COUNCILLOR Stevie Corr has welcomed the installation of new motion-sensor street lighting at Bog Meadows. The new lighting, which was installed along a new footpath at the nature reserve, will increase personal safety in the area and has been designed to have minimal impact on the wildlife population. “The new pathway and lights through the Bog Meadows are the last major section of the overall greenway project,” he said. “The new lights are in and the new pathway and lights in the Falls Park will make this an attractive walking route in West Belfast the whole year round. “The lack of lights was always an issue and people didn’t feel safe coming down here at night time. “We are still working with St Gall’s GAA club on opening times, but this path will run from the Falls Road, right down to Milltown and on to the bottom of the Donegall Road, which will open up access to St James’ Community Farm for most of the year.” Cllr Corr said that the path represents a major investment in that part of West Belfast and will link it up to the new Transport Hub which is under construction at the bottom of the Grosvenor Road. “These small spokes which connect to that are important in attracting investment into the city and make a major infrastructure investment accessible to West Belfast,” he continued. “It is amazing to see this being a week away from completion after years of planning. “This makes our open spaces accessible and the impact this will have on people’s mental health to be able to get out, walk around a green area and get a bit of fresh area will be fantastic.”
WEST Belfast actress Tara Lynne O’Neill became a household name when she burst onto our screens as Ma Mary in Derry Girls back in 2018. Now she is preparing to entertain audiences as she brings her show On The Shelf to the MAC this Christmas. Joined on stage by Chris Robinson, whom Tara has been performing with since her teenage years, On the Shelf will explore what Christmas really means and what it is like to be alone over the festive period. Taking time out of rehearsal to chat to the Andersonstown News, Tara said she cannot wait to return to the theatre. “On The Shelf is an adult show which is amazing and there are so many fantastic ones on this Christmas with Dionna Doherty in the Waterfront, Grimes and McKee in the Lyric, The Shop at the Top of the Town up in the Theatre at the Mill – we have some brilliant adult shows out there. “Our show is right in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter. It lasts an hour specifically so that you can come before your Christmas dinner and go out after or even go out for your dinner then come and see us. We can deal with you sober or drunk!”