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A NUMBER of major planning applications in the city centre have been given the green light this month following Belfast City Council’s Planning Committee’s meetings in June.
Stacked Gourmet Sandwich Bar opened on the Glen Road in April this year to great fanfare as locals and visitors alike rushed to try their delicious selection of freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads. With a wide range of items on offer from breakfast items including fries and omelettes to juicy beef burgers and chips at lunchtime, it is clear to see just why they have quickly become a hit. Some of their most popular items on their menu include their Buffalo Chicken wraps and Cajun wraps with people travelling from far and wide just to try them. The staff at Stacked say they are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted and would like to thank those who have nominated and voted for them.
Real Life Gym is a newcomer on the local scene and it has wasted no time in making its mark. Based on the Stewartstown Road, owners Sean Hitch and Zoe Burton, opened the doors around 14 months ago with the aim of creating a welcoming environment where all are welcome. During the period of lockdown, they had been training people outdoors and, with very solid numbers, decided to take the plunge and open their own facility, having gained experience from working in gyms before and with a large number of clients happy to follow. Sean felt that his past experiences led him to feel that gyms could sometimes be revolving doors with some people filtering in and out, so his aim is to ensure Real Life Gym is something of a private facility with members always having a coach there to assist, giving a personal experience to its 150 members who have all gained something of a team ethic and made this a small community of people.
When choosing new electrical goods it’s best to be on the lookout for great service, great advice and great prices. And as one prominent promo once proclaimed, you can “Get it from Grimley’s”. Based on the Andersonstown Road, Noel Grimley Electrics are purveyors of a wide range of electrical items, from the latest TV and audio equipment to accessories, home appliances and more. Whether shopping online, by telephone, or in-store, their expert team are always on hand to guide you through that all-important purchase. Noel Grimley Electrics have gone above and beyond for customers for 59 years, but have also been known for giving back to the wider community. Their efforts put them firmly in the running for Best of the West.
Nicky's Bistro is a newcomer to the area, but they have wasted no time in making themselves well known. Nicky's Bistro opened in Dunmurry in February 2021. Nicky's Bistro serves everything from a hot breakfast to loaded sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, and desserts, as well as ice cream. Carl Frampton, the legendary boxer, is a huge fan of their breakfast menu and has visited multiple times. Commenting on making the finals of the Best of the West 2022 Awards, owner Nicola McAuley said: "We are honoured to have reached the finals of the Best of the West 2022 Awards. "It's been a momentous year for us with the hard work of all the staff and the continued support from all our valued customers."
Brooke Taxis have been operating in West Belfast for over 40 years, covering Lenadoon, Ladybrook, Poleglass, Twinbrook and the city at large. Wherever you need to get to, Brooke Taxis can take you there. The staff and drivers at Brooke Taxis were instrumental in keeping our community going during the worst days of the pandemic, prioritising their service to frontline workers getting to work in our local hospitals and elsewhere. After a difficult period, the community thanked them for their service when Brooke Taxis received the gong for ‘Best Taxi Firm’ in last year’s Best of the West competition. John Daye from Brooke Taxis thanked customers for nominating them again this year as they look to pick up a second award.
Applejacks Café on Glen Road, which first opened in 2016, is still going strong.The café has remained popular under new ownership since last year. They have an outside terrace with a magnificent spectacular view of Belfast, as well as great coffee and great meals in a stunning setting at Caffrey Hill close to a number of schools. "When I took over just over a year ago, I kept the same name, the same staff, and essentially everything the same," said owner Marty McGuinness. "We're delighted to be a finalist in the Best of the West Awards this year.
AFTERGLOW in the Kennedy Centre offer a number of sunbeds and beauty treatments including a halogen sunbed which is good for people with arthritis. In the coming weeks they will also be adding a registered NHS nurse to their team who will be providing aesthetic treatments including Botox, fillers, Dermaplaning and B12 injections. The salon are also exploring the possibility of adding hair extensions to their services in the coming months. Their sunbeds include an Ergoline laydown, a MegaSun stand-up and a Hybrid stand-up – all of which have proven to be hits with customers since opening. Owner Packy McDonnell said that customers are coming in every day and that they are happy with the services on offer. Thanking everyone for voting, he encouraged people to keep checking their social media pages for new treatments and offers.
ACE Taxis has been proudly serving the local community in West Belfast for around 40 years. The firm provides a regular service to its many loyal and regular customers from the heart of Andersonstown. ACE Taxis also runs a service from the Kennedy Centre and Sainsbury’s and is used frequently by generations from the Andersonstown area. Most drivers are local and have formed great relationships with customers, often on a name-to-name basis over the years. Firm owner, Cathy Fitzsimons said: “As a longstanding taxi company it’s great to be nominated for Best of the West. “We offer a very personalised service and our customers have a great relationship with our drivers, many of whom are local to the community. “We’d like to thank each and every one of our customers for their support and ask them all to vote for us.”
CLIFTONVILLE'S 2010’s returned to action winning the recent Crumlin United Festival of Football.
DESPITE all that has been lost, there are a number of impressive buildings and historical sites still visible today on Clifton Street, which continue to serve the local community of North Belfast and beyond. This includes Clifton House, Clifton Street Cemetery, the Belfast Orange Hall and the Indian Community Centre, all of whom are members of the North Belfast Heritage Cluster. Clifton House, at the entrance to Clifton Street, was opened in 1774 as a Poor House and infirmary. It is a Grade A Listed building, and one of the finest surviving pieces of Georgian architecture in Belfast. Still in use as the home of the Belfast Charitable Society and care of the elderly, it is one of the oldest working buildings here. Visitors can experience the rich history of Clifton House, and listen to the stories surrounding the hundreds of people who sought sanctuary within its walls, on their guided tours every Saturday and Sunday at 11am.
SQUINTER’S been talking to a senior DUP figure about the party’s decision not to nominate anyone to sit on the Derry and Strabane Council’s Bonfire Working Group. It’s the second year in a row that Donaldson’s Defenders have snubbed a body which aims to lessen tensions in the city in the bonfire season. – Good morning.– No surrender!– What?– Come on, it’s nearly July. Join in the craic.– Um, okay. Now what’s this about you not getting involved in sorting out this bonfire issue?– We’ve sorted out the bonfire issue.– Really? In what way?– We’ve told our ones to build away till their hearts’ content.– Says here that the DUP is “annoyed” about a number of issues.– More than a number, mate, we’re annoyed about so many things I can’t even remember most of them.– Well, specifically, you say you are annoyed about the Protocol…– Annoyed? Bloody flaming, more like.– And about policing.– You betcha.– What is it about policing that annoys you exactly?– Pretty much everything.– And you’re annoyed about the snubbing of the Centenary celebrations.– Disgraceful. The Centenary was a celebration for everyone.– Except Catholics.– Whaddya mean?– The big parade earlier this month was organised by the Orange Order.– Your point being?– The Orange Order excludes Catholics.– Up to a point, yes. They can’t, like, join in the celebrations, but they can come and watch if they like.– Very good of them.– I think so. And of course the Centenary celebration was a perfect example of inclusion and community spirit.– Except for the Michaela McAreavey song.– Unfortunate lapse. The exception that proved the rule.– Of course it was. Anyway, the bonfires. How is letting people set fire to things without any restrictions going to help you with the Protocol, policing or the Centenary?– It will send a powerful signal to those in power that we are not going to be pushed around.– A smoke signal?– Cheap shot.– I know. So burning old sofas and pishy mattresses and sending cancer fumes into the air is a powerful message to London, Brussels, Dublin, the Chief Constable and Catholics?– It most certainly is.– I see here that there’s a massive pile of tyres at a bonfire on the Waterside.– I know. Magic, isn’t it?– And you’re going to do nothing about it?– On the contrary, I personally am going to help put them in the middle of the boney.– And in the process polluting the Derry air?– ’Scuse me, Londonderry air.– That’s Danny Boy.– What on Earth are you talking about?– Never mind.– So how do you expect the various bodies you’re annoyed with to react to this?– Well, we know for a fact that Maros Sefcovic watches the Londonderry bonfire scene very closely.– He does?– Oh, yes. And we have it on good authority that the mattresses and the sofas and the tyres have the health and safety Nazis in Brussels worried.– I’m sure they have. Are you excited about the live coverage of the Twelfth by GB News?– Over the moon. Arlene Foster’s going to be a brilliant presenter. We asked her to come on the Eleventh Night and put the torch to our boney, but she refused.– Prior engagement?– No, actually. Bit reluctant to be pictured burning stuff after the RHI thing.– Did you know that the GB News slot the live coverage is going to be on regularly has an audience that is too small to be counted?– So?– Probably be more people looking after their bees than watching.– It’s the thought that counts.– I read that you applied to the Conservative Friends of Loyal Ulster for funding from their Securing the Union Fighting Fund.– We did.– And?– Let me just read this here... Oh, yes. ‘Funds Not Available in Northern Ireland.’– Any plans for Protocol protests on the Twelfth?– Oh, yes. We ordered some cracking ‘Ditch the Protocol’ banners from GB’s leading supplier.– How do they look?– We don’t know yet – they’re held up at the border.
ALBUM news, government support and more excellent releases serve as the backdrop for this week in Irish music as our acts take the stage at the biggest festival in the world. It’s been a year of returns, few more anticipated than that of the hallowed festival Glastonbury. We were well represented in its return too, with several Irish artists populating the various stages of the globe's favourite festival. With Dublin post-punks Fontaines D.C. leading the charge as the most popular names on the board, home-town duo BICEP were also in attendance alongside Northern Winds favourites NewDad, Orla Gartland, Sprints and more. A good day for the parish to see a contingent of over 27 Irish acts representing the creative community in Somerset this year. Back home, we received news from Culture Minister Catherine Martin that €2.6 million would be made available for projects celebrating Irish entertainment and talent during off-peak times. Venues and organisations will be able to avail of €10,000 in grants for events in the late evening or nighttime that will increase footfall around Irish city and town centres.
A FEW weeks ago, MG announced that it would be attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed and at the event it would offer visitors the chance to be among the first to see the new MG5 EV all-electric estate car. That first official viewing happened on Goodwood’s Electric Avenue last Thursday, with the award-winning estate car taking centre stage at Goodwood’s dedicated Electric Vehicle (EV) section. I have not until now been much of a fan of the new MG motor company, I have always thought that their car design lacked imagination. But the MG5 has changed that for me as this is one good-looking car. Revisions to the exterior of the car include new front and rear bumpers, LED head and rear lights, and new wheels. The MG5 EV also comes equipped with the capability to power other electric devices such as e-bikes, portable heaters, camping equipment etc. The new vehicle has also received interior design and technology upgrades, including a 10.25’’ widescreen infotainment system with upgraded software, complete with connected car functionality through the company’s dedicated smartphone app. The MG5 remains the only pure electric estate car in its sector and should, I believe, prove extremely popular for both private and business customers. It has already secured wins at the prestigious WhatCar? Awards, in addition to victories at the Auto Trader and WhichEV? The awards were due entirely to its practical design, efficiency, and affordability. This version of the car will be a strongly competitive option for customers looking for a full battery electric estate vehicle, and it goes a long way to reinforce MG’s reputation for value for money. The MG5 EV has quickly established a strong following as a practical, affordable, and efficient estate car and MG are seeking to build upon that success by offering customers this attractive new design complete with a generous range of technology upgrades. The MG ‘Get More’ philosophy is a key part of their approach, believing that customers should get more as standard, and MG are confident that the new MG5 EV strongly reflects this. Prices will start at just over £27,000.
SOME truths are hard to admit but must be faced. The DUP did surprisingly well in the recent election. In the months before, the party seemed doomed. At one point they were positioned third – or was it fourth? – in the opinion polls. This low rating surprised no-one. The party appeared intent on beheading itself in full public view, with no less than three party leaders in the year leading up to the election. And yet, despite all that and despite Sinn Féin winning 29 per cent of first preference votes compared to the DUP’s 21 per cent, the DUP ended up just two seats behind Sinn Féin: 27 to 25. For a party that had been galloping off in six directions at once, the DUP did okay. Now they’re having to manage some of the hardline stuff they came out with during the election campaign. Remember when Jeffrey Donaldson couldn’t bring himself to say he’d have a DUP deputy minister serving with a Sinn Féin First Minister? That’s over now. On View from Stormont (UTV), Paul Givan told the programme that if the DUP got all they wanted in terms of the Protocol “We will appoint a deputy First Minister to take on that role.” (Yes, Virginia, how very kind of them to accept the democratic outcome.) But a bit like Saint Augustine, the DUP are not yet ready to be fully democratic. Jeffrey Donaldson continues to insist on deeds, not words, before his party will resurrect the Executive. Despite that democratic short-fall, we shouldn’t be too hard on the DUP. Last time out, Boris Johnson took the DUP to the cleaners by promising that over his dead body there’d be a border in the Irish Sea. Some weeks later, still in rude good health, Johnson established just that – a border in the Irish Sea. So naturally the DUP this time are on red alert with the Tories. The burnt cat fears the hot stove.