A UNIQUE concept is delivering delicious drinks and much more to functions and events and everything in between.
SITUATED in Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast, The Beechlawn Hotel has recently completed a £3 million extensive refurbishment program and the outcome is a stylish and contemporary hotel. With 42 spacious bedrooms, a bar and restaurant and several function rooms, it is your one-stop shop for all things hospitality. The team at the Beechlawn Hotel have worked hard to establish their strong reputation for superb hotel facilities coupled with the finest cuisine. This, combined with their trade mark of warm and friendly hospitality makes a day to remember at the Beechlawn Hotel. The Beechlawn Hotel is now starting to reap the rewards, scooping multiple awards recently, including City Budget Hotel of the Year in the Northern Ireland Hospitality Awards 2022, City Hotel of the Year Runner Up, Wedding Venue of the Year Regional Winner 2023, Wedding Co-Ordinator of the Year Runner Up and Northern Ireland Prestige Awards 2022/23 Hotel of the Year winner. Following the Covid hiatus, the Beechlawn Hotel has come back fighting and is now holding a massive recruitment drive to help cope with the demand.
AT Tilemarket Tiles and Bathrooms, we want you to achieve the look you are after within the budget you have.
AQUAFORCE are your local experts when it comes to building services.
Not by chance have West and North Belfast been left behind when it comes to the cycling revolution transforming the city.
It is incredible that Argentina won, again, the World Cup, as on previous occasions in 1978 and 1986. We are all pleased about this. Today there are massive celebrations all around the country. Football is the main sport in Argentina.
SOUTH Belfast Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has warned struggling people against using paramilitary money lenders and loan sharks to help them through Christmas and the cost of living crisis.
THE weekend Sinn Féin Ard Fheis was a museum-quality example of the task facing those of us who are intent on moving forward from the most recent phase of conflict here.
THERE are many people who, a week after the death of the English queen, quite rightly feel alienated and angry. They feel alienated because their antipathy towards the preposterous notion of unelected and unearned wealth and power that is the monarchy has been utterly ignored in the unseemly rush to pretend that we all are gripped by sadness and grief. And they feel angry that their lives have been turned upside down to facilitate a period of mourning and a funeral dripping with comical military posturing, to which they feel not one iota of connection or empathy. Where empathy does come in is in the very simple idea that an elderly woman has died and her family have been left grieving. That is something which we can all understand, regardless of what we feel about that family or its background. And that feeling of basic human empathy is strengthened by the knowledge that, whatever we know and abhor about the British royal family’s centrality to the shameful history of British imperialism and colonialism, she ultimately played an important role in bringing about the circumstances that made our current incomplete and imperfect peace a possibility. That is why those of us to whom the very idea of monarchy is anathema have either held our counsel or gone one step further to put on record our appreciation of what she did on her visit to Ireland in 2011.
THE Shankill Road was completely closed on Saturday afternoon to facilitate a parade paying tribute to a ruthless sectarian killer. No-one disputes that Brian Robinson shot Ardoyne man Paddy McKenna to death for no other reason than his religion. And yet over 50 bands and thousands of spectators joined in what can only be described as a joyous celebration of the UVF killer’s life and legacy. Listening to the sound of the shrill pipes and thudding drums drift across the Crumlin Road were Paddy McKenna’s family, friends and neighbours. Let us say first of all that we have no objection if the Shankill wants to remember Brian Robinson. There are enough politicians determined to lay down the law about who wore the white hat and who wore the black hat in the vicious and grubby conflict from which we’re still struggling to emerge. And let’s not forget the most vocal of those claiming the high ground are people who wore not white hats but red berets. These same people, who whipped off the red berets and stuck them in the bottom drawer when it was politically convenient to do so, were loudest in their condemnation of the Wolfe Tones at Féile. Added to their faux outrage about young people singing rebel sings were demands that funding for the festival be withdrawn by public and private organisations. And the same people represent loyalism both in council chambers and at Stormont (when they bother to turn up). But not a single man or woman was able to utter a word of rebuke for such a large and public demonstration of support for sectarian murder; doubtless their moral indignation had been exhausted by a week of shrieking about a poll in which nationalists expressed their opinion about the inevitability or otherwise of violence erupting in... 1969. As for funding, we reveal today that 16 of the bands taking part in Saturday’s parade were in receipt of funding from the Ulster-Scots Agency’s resilience fund to help them make it through the Covid crisis. In their helpful list of awards made, the agency describes the 16 bands as “Ulster-Scots groups”. Quite how marching to celebrate the life of a UVF Catholic-killer is advancing the Ulster-Scots cause is not entirely clear. Throw in the fact that these bands have been marching in this parade for years – a fact which is revealed in a simple Google search – and one then wonders what diligence was applied in the consideration of funding disbursement. Can we be surprised that unionists display such Homeric levels of sanctimony when it comes to expressions of outrage when the same representatives quite literally sit down with Brian Robinson’s colleagues in the UVF to discuss political developments? Emerging from a meeting with the murderous narco-gangs of the UVF and the UDA to feign disgust at teenagers in a park brings new depths of meaning to the word hypocrisy. Against that background, the double standards at play can be seen not simply as bad faith and dissembling, but as necessary cover for the legitimisation of continuing loyalist violence.
AS we head into an autumn and winter that look set to present us with the greatest economic shock seen in decades, Stormont remains moribund thanks to the DUP, and desperate people and frightened families look around them for direction and support as the coming storm gathers. In recent days the DUP Economy Minister has been spinning himself dizzy trying to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is his party’s attitude to the £400 payment towards energy bills promised to consumers here. The truth is that Gordon Lyons has no more idea of when the money will be paid than the rest of us. His party’s decision to collapse the political institutions in the midst of a spiralling economic crisis means that the delivery system has been trashed and he is flailing around in a comically vain attempt to convince people that he has a plan. He doesn’t. Otherwise he wouldn’t bandy about words like “could” and “believe” and “hope” about a November date for possible payment that he unilaterally plucked out of the air.
THAT the foundations of partition are beginning to rock has been clear to anyone with eyes to see for some time and this past fortnight has provided a stark illustration of how the coming change has rattled those most invested in the retention of a bleak and failed status quo. The IRA departed the stage some quarter of a century ago, and while there is zero recognition of it in unionist political and media circles, the Republican Movement has delivered in spades in its commitment to moving away from armed struggle. Unfortunately and inevitably, the complete removal of the IRA from the scene has left those whose careers and whose politics relied on the republican bogey man floundering in a sea of ill-concealed disappointment, confusion and spite. Rather than deal with reality, they have created an alternative universe wherein the singing of songs and the expression of opinions is equated with the firing of bullets and the detonating of bombs.
AT the end of what is widely believed to have been the best Féile yet, we’re proud today to provide you with page after page of pictures, reports and reviews of some of the hundreds of events which made those 10 days in August a time that will linger long in the memory. More will follow next week, both in print and online, but were we to keep going until the end of the year we wouldn’t come close to doing justice to the sheer depth and breadth of talent, energy and diversity that Féile treated us to in 2022. With clanging inevitability, media outlets who again ignored the vast panoply of Féile activities waited for kids to sing along with the Wolfe Tones on the last night so they could revive their stories and columns from last year. But such people are talking to themselves. They never had the ear of this community to begin with and – just as we have in the 34 years since this magnificent project was first dreamed of – we will continue on the journey of change and improvement while they snipe from the sidelines.
FÉILE roared back this year with a incredible line-up which proves in spades that the Covid hiatus has done nothing to dampen the vision and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers – or the appetite of the public for the annual feast of culture, art, entertainment and education. And it’s still not over. The events are being comprehensively covered in this paper, both in print and online, but what is equally deserving of our appreciation is something that, paradoxically, is little spoken of thanks entirely to the success of the project.
THE advice for the DUP, as they continue to insist that the leadership of the Conservative Party is a matter for the Tories alone and that they have no position on it, is not to take up the game of poker any time soon. Their hand can be seen a mile away and it is clear to all and sundry that they are pantingly anxious for a Liz Truss victory. The similarities with their brief and ill-starred love affair with Boris Johnson – when they cheered him to the rafters, swooned like teenagers on his every word and queued up to be pictured beside him – are startling. The world and its mother knew then that Johnson was a egocentric charlatan who lies as easily and naturally as he draws breath, yet the largest unionist party was willing to set aside the compelling and comprehensive evidence of his bad character and utter unreliability because he told them – as he has told everyone he has ever met – what they wanted to hear. Liz Truss is no more a Leaver than Boris Johnson is. While he famously wrote two columns on the eve of the referendum, choosing the Leave one when it became apparent which way the Tory wind was blowing, so Truss was an enthusiastic Remainer, a former Liberal Democrat whose views on Europe in the days leading up to the referendum were in perfect sync with those she now shrilly denounces as Remoaners and losers. True, she did admit in a famous radio interview with Eddie Mair that she had been a keen Remainer, but that’s alright, she said, because she changed her mind in the right direction. Her political career in recent years has been an increasingly desperate and obvious attempt to woo the controlling right wing of the party with ever more extreme rhetoric. She was viewed with deep suspicion by the swivel-eyed Europe-hating loons of the ERG – and why would she not be? A Remainer ex-Lib-Dem in the Tory Party is their worst nightmare and it is testament to the efficacy of her race to the bottom in relation to hot-button hard-right issues that she enjoys a significant lead in the leadership contest. It is the case, however, that a Remainer ex-Lib-Dem can be a passionate advocate for the union, but any suggestion that Ms Truss would be a committed and careful guardian of the United Kingdom was blown out of the water this week with her extraordinary and incendiary attack on Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon, she said, is an “attention seeker” who she plans to “ignore”. Ms Truss was speaking to an audience of the Tory faithful, and they obediently laughed and cheered at the outburst, but it was an immensely telling moment. In order to garner short-term benefit with a small cohort of the small cohort which will decide the election, she said something that is of incalculable benefit to the SNP not only in its surge towards a second referendum, but in its ability to win it. In other words, her career comes before the union. Just as it did with a certain other Tory, who also had certain other early admirers.