POLICE are investigating several reports of arson across the city during the early hours of Thursday and Friday – most of them in the West of the city. The PSNI received reports of multiple reports across West Belfast where phone masts and electric boxes had been set alight during the early hours of the morning. Inspector Hamilton said: "We received five reports between 11.15pm on Thursday and 3.45am on Friday of phone masts and an electric box on fire. Colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended each report and extinguished the fires. "We first received a report at around 11.15pm on Thursday evening that a phone mast in the Donegall Road area had been set alight.
WEST Belfast DJ Tommy Twin is flying high off the back of his viral ‘Jota on the Wing’ remix as he jets off to Spain as part of a headline act. Tommy flew out last week to the Balearic Island of Majorca and has found himself the headline slot at Green Hills nightclub in Santa Ponsa. The club is known for its party atmosphere and is one of the go-to spots in the party destination. Ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup Final, which he will be keeping one eye on – Tommy spoke about how this gig has been a long-time coming.
TWELVE scholarships are up for grabs across three Gaeltachts for children this summer as part of a Sinn Féin scholarship scheme. West Belfast MLA Aisling Reilly is encouraging people to apply for the scholarship programme to help young people to study at the Gaeltacht without the cost burden for parents. “Following the success of last year’s scholarship programme to help young people to study at the Gaeltacht over the summer, applications are opening for the 2023 programme," said the Sinn Féin MLA. “We want to see as many of our young people right across the island embrace the language and boost their speaking skills in the language, and spending time in the Gaeltacht is a valuable experience in helping to do this.” The West Belfast MLA added that the Gaeltacht regions are important for young people to learn about their Irish heritage. “Our Gaeltacht regions are key to helping our young people discover and explore their heritage. Gaeltacht summer colleges have seen young people fall in love with the language and culture for generations. If you are interested in applying for these scholarships, please send your child’s name, age, address, and course preference to email@example.com before 5pm on Friday 2 June and information on successful applicants will be announced in due course.
THE Collin DEA saw an incredible clean sweep for Sinn Féin as they added a fifth councillor to their team in the area after a very successful election count that was the last to declare in the early hours of Sunday morning. Sinn Féin claimed five out of the six seats in the area as all of their candidates emerged victorious in strengthening the party’s popularity in the Collin area and gaining a seat off the SDLP. All the while Michael Collins retained his seat after a long battle with SDLP candidate Gerard McDonald. With a DEA quota of 1,996 it was Councillor Joe Duffy who would top the poll in Collin after being elected with a first preference vote count of 2,559. Duffy was elected alongside fellow Sinn Féin councillor Caoimhín McCann after his 2,350-vote count saw him prevail as the second Sinn Féin candidate elected in the opening round of the count at City Hall. Councillor Duffy was grateful to the people of Collin for electing him and promised to be committed to working hard for the area. “I am honoured to have been elected to Belfast City Council by the people of the Colin. I want to thank every person who gave me their vote. Sinn Féin went into this campaign with a commitment to work for all, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to represent the people of this area and deliver first-class council services," he said.
SOUTH Belfast Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw says the Department for Infrastructure has been left in a "difficult position" in relation to secondary legislation that is required to create new accessible parking bays.
TRIBUTES have been pouring in in memory of GAA stalwart and former St Gall's chairman and club president Liam Stewart Liam passed away on Sunday evening after a long-term battle with illness. Liam was chairman of the club for many years and oversaw countless Antrim championships during his tenure. However, the club’s famous All-Ireland victory, during their centenary year over Clare side Killmurry-Ibrickane on St Patrick’s Day 2010, will be one that will live long in the memory. Antrim GAA released a statement with a tribute to Liam after his passing. “Sad news to bring the loss of Naomh Gall former Chairman and Club Vice-President Liam Stewart. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and wider club community at this sad time. Our Lady Queen of the Gael pray for him. “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam” In a club statement Naomh Gall remembered Liam and thanked his dedication to the club. “It is with a deep sense of loss that we have just learned of the death of our former Chairman and Club Vice-President Liam Stewart. Liam was a stalwart member of Naomh Gall and dedicated a huge part of his life to every aspect of club life. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife Jean, his children Mairead and Karl, their partners and young families and all of the extended Stewart family. Our Lady Queen of the Gael pray for him.” Former Naomh Gall player Conor McGourty touched on Liam’s status within the club. “A proper St Gall's legend. A gentleman that was pivotal in running the club for years. Thinking of his family. Rip Liam”.
Dan Murphy will be standing in tomorrow's Belfast City Council election for the IRSP.
SOUTH Belfast is in the vanguard of a broadband revolution which it's hoped will vastly increase patchy internet reception.
BUDGET cuts to schools could see many important school projects cancelled in the coming months, a West Belfast teacher has warned. Dara McCaughey has been a teacher at Bunscoil Phobail Feirste for over two decades and last year was appointed ‘Forest Schools Leader’ at the Shaws Road Irish medium primary. The project allows children to experience outdoor learning with real-life skills being developed outside of the general schooling curriculum. “It all started over a year ago when I attended a course in Armagh to get an understanding for what was involved with the course and straight away it lit a fire under my belly, and I was determined to get the school involved in anyway possible," said Dara. "But when I found out the investment that the school would have to make to implement the project with the time, money, resources and of course teachers, it made me a little hesitant to ask Seamus (principal) at the beginning. But without any scepticism he went ahead and green-lit the project, he was fully supportive of the project alongside the board of governors.” Dara firmly believes that the life skills that are developed through the programme are overlooked, yet nonetheless essential for children to learn.
DESPITE a late penalty from Eugene Gallagher, Donegal Celtic held on to book themselves a place in the Crawford Cup final after defeating rivals St James’ Swifts on Saturday afternoon.
LUKE McCann has been campaigning in the Colin DEA in a bid to win a Council seat for Aontú next week. May’s election will be his first time standing in West Belfast having previously run for an Assembly seat in South Belfast. “I am an ordinary Belfast guy, I love sport, music, art, and for years I lived in Dublin, and South Africa and worked as an accountant," he said. "I came home during Covid and had a reflection on myself and for years I struggled to really find any affiliation with any party and would waste votes come election time and I really felt no one represented me – until Aontú in their first election back in 2019.” The Aontú candidate said anti-social behaviour and funding cuts are the issues that he wants to tackle. He also wants more services to be made available for mental health services and education. “More and more kids have autism these days, but they go undiagnosed for long periods of time, it is a real burden on parents because they could be receiving support and because of the waiting list issue for a diagnosis it is causing a delay in this support,” he added. Luke made the switch from finance to teaching and has been a classroom assistant in St John the Baptist Primary School for over a year now. He believes this has helped him in gaining a perspective on the real threat funding cuts has for pupils, teachers and parents. “Funding is a real issue that since I moved into the teaching world I have begun to understand on a genuine level. We are relying on block government grants to fund school projects, we have autism friendly centres in our school just like the Butterfly Room, which helps children learn in an environment which is a safe space, however if these grants keep getting cut how can we help everyone learn?” He added: “We need to become independent from Westminster, we rely on our Tory masters to give us the scraps available for grants, the funding issue affects everyone – teachers, nurses, doctors. If we build our own economy, we can become less reliant on block government grants and we can do that by reducing corporation tax to bring in more businesses. By growing the private sector, we can help improve the public sector.”
A GLIDER and a car collided on the Andersonstown Road this morning.
SOCIAL Security offices could close their doors one day a week, as the Department of Communities faces up to cuts to its budget.
WITH less than a month to go, Specsavers Park Centre have their eyes truly fixed on this year’s ‘Best of the West’ awards. This year we’re celebrating the best that West Belfast has to offer across multiple categories based on your nomination and your votes. The 2023 ‘Best of the West’ ceremony will be hosted at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast on June 9th for the eight edition of the prestigious awards. The optician and audiologist experts have been a staple of the West Belfast community since they opened their doors at the Park Centre in 2012. The company has expanded from just 12 staff members to 32 over the past decade and once again are sponsors of this Summer’s ‘Best of the West’ campaign. Specsavers have continued their long-standing sponsorship of the award with the store's Optometry Director Matthew McKinney believing the prestige that local businesses and individuals can achieve from the awards are fantastic. The store director also believed that the awards are the perfect example of appreciation for special businesses and people that West Belfast has to offer. “We have been on board with the Best of the West for many years, it is such a great awards event that shows gratitude and supports the hard work that goes on in the local community,” said Matthew.
IT'S not every day that you get the opportunity to attend the semi-final of the Champions League, but a few lucky football fans from Belfast will be heading to the San Siro – for next week’s Milan derby. Ian Kerr and Mark McDermott will both be cheering on the Italian giants Inter Milan in the second leg of European football's premier club competition, where the two Milan giants are going head-to-head to reach the coveted final. But that's only half the story. Did you know that Belfast has its very own Inter Milan supporters' club?Ian Kerr is the President of Inter Club Belfast and Mark McDermott is Inter Club Belfast Secretary. Ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg against their fiercest rivals AC Milan, both spoke to the Andersonstown News about how the club was formed and its growing membership. “I had initially been a member of Inter Club London for two years, but I wanted an Inter Club in my own city," said Ian.