WE look back at the stories that were making the headlines in the Andersonstown News this week in 1983

Council ads are banned

IN a hard-hitting statement, the Andersonstown News has made it clear that it will continue to voice the views of the Nationalist people, despite a decision by Belfast City Council to block adverts from local leisure centres.

The Council motion was proposed by DUP Councillor George Seawright, a mourner at the funeral of 'Shankill Butcher' Lenny Murphy, and was carried by 18 votes to 16. The Andersonstown News Editorial Board issued the following statement in response to the attack:

"The Andersonstown News regrets the latest attempt by bigoted Loyalist politicians within the Belfast City Council to hinder the expression of a legitimate point of view. Following as it does the recent decision by Lisburn Council to ban all advertising in the Andersonstown News, this latest decision suggests the existence of a Loyalist campaign to deny any public funding to groups professing a Nationalist point of view. The Andersonstown News has always supported the Leisure Centres as an essential part of the local community and our prime concern has never been with advertising revenue. We shall continue to promote and cover Leisure Centre activities. The Andersonstown News is determined to resist this latest attempt to suppress the views of the Nationalist people, who, we would remind these narrow-minded councillors, are also ratepayers.”
Seconding Mr Seawright's call, Independent Unionist Frank Millar said he fully supported his colleague’s sentiments. "I oppose any money going to support ardent, vile, vicious Republicanism."

Opposing the motion, Alliance Councillor and Belfast High Sheriff Donal Deeny, noted that the Andersonstown News was widely circulated and read in West Belfast. It was, he felt, the natural and most economical place for local leisure centres to advertise. Councillor Deeny also revealed that at the February meeting of the Leisure Services Committee, Mr Seawright had described himself as "an honest bigot" because he was in favour of describing the Andersonstown News as a Republican rag.

At this point, DUP Councillor Billy Dickson rose to add his support to the motion.
He was followed by SDLP Councillor Brian Feeney who spoke against the proposal. The North Belfast representative said that he hoped the Andersonstown News would take legal action against the Council if it ceased all advertising.


THE decision by right-wing Unionist councillors on Belfast City Council to ban advertisements in this newspaper comes as no surprise to us. 

We have over the years, highlighted their fanatical religious bigotry and fascist tendencies, and it therefore was inevitable that they would attempt to prevent us exposing their inadequacies when the opportunity arose. Unfortunately, these "Neanderthal" beings who are also campaigning to close the leisure centres on Sunday, and who used to chain up the swings to prevent children from enjoying themselves, are still in a position to dictate the spending of public funds. 
This must surely call into question the whole basis of City Council funding. Although the most contentious issues like housing and industry have already been removed from their grips, the fact that these councillors can't suppress their bigotry in handling even mundane issues like cleansing and leisure centres, would suggest that Belfast City Council should be suspended as Derry Council was ten years ago and a commission appointed to run its affairs until these extreme Unionists can be convinced that the bad old days of Protestant supremacy are over and that the expression of constructive criticism or pro-Irish views can no longer be prevented. Needless to say, the Andersonstown News will continue to expose the antics of the backwoodsmen on the City Council and report on leisure centre activities whether we get paid for it or not.