THE FAMILY of a victim of institutional abuse in Muckamore Abbey Hospital are calling for her and other residents of a Glen Road supported living complex to have access to a courtyard at the side of the property reinstated. Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Laura Sharp's father Mark explained that his daughter was in Muckamore Abbey for 16 years and was abused there. “She moved into the Mews Supported Living in March 2018," he said. "The first 18 months were brilliant. She had this outdoor space but in November 2019 the management changed and that space was taken off them and is now being used as a car park. “We have been fighting with the Health Trust and the Cedar Foundation for over a year now. Our daughter was basically locked in her apartment for 23 and a half hours a day because they don’t have access to this space.” Consisting of 12 homes, the Mews is sited in the grounds of the former Dympna House and was commissioned to resettle adults with serious learning disabilities and mental health issues from Muckamore Abbey, some of whom had been institutionalised for over 30 years. The local family say that they have been given numerous reasons as to why the residents no longer have access to the area, including a claim that it is used for service vehicles and bin lorries. “We were eventually told that there weren't enough parking spaces. When we were told this, we spoke to the Parish Priest at nearby St Teresa’s Parish who said the staff could park there for a small fee which we as a family offered to cover,” Mark said. Laura's mother Marjorie added: “This didn’t help over Covid. It’s not even to do with social distancing as all the residents could not use the space at the same time anyhow. “For the likes of birthday parties they have a big room and they can only have a couple of residents together at a time for various reasons.” Laura returned to the family home on Christmas Eve where she has been living since.
Come hear the story of Ian and Van,An East Belfast singer and a North Antrim fan.It’s a saga of courage of faith and of hope,A lesson in living and learning to cope. Though he gained global fame with a mike and a sax,In his spare time Van Morrison studied the vax.He went on to night school and learned all the scienceAnd he pondered the benefits of lockdown compliance. Then he scorned all the experts, the W.H.O.,Stuff all their data, sure what would they know?So he took to his study and wrote all day longAnd emerged late at night with a shite lockdown song. He’d worked out the truth and he wanted to say it,But at the end of the day he’d nowhere to play it.For the pig fascist cops had closed the place downAnd a deep deadly silence draped city and town. And who was to blame for this horrible crime,What evil destroyer, what sick human slime?And the name of the demon, Beelzebub’s pawn,Was the Ballymena man-beast, Wee Robin Swann.
BORN in what is now Nigeria, Olaudah Equiano was sold into slavery in 1756 at the age of 11. After spells in Barbados and Virginia he spent a decade travelling the world as a slave to a British Royal Navy officer. In turn he was sold to a merchant in Montserrat, a British island in the Carribean. By now he was self-educated and was permitted to buy his freedom for £40 which was then the equivalent of a professional annual salary. He then travelled as an explorer and eventually settled in England in 1760. With encouragement from slavery abolitionists he began writing his memoirs and had them published in 1789. This was one of the first books published by a black African writer and it was an immediate success. By 1790 a fourth edition was published and Equiano came over to Ireland to promote the book. He spent several months in the south, visiting Dublin and Cork before coming north to Belfast where he spent three months. He visited all the local bookshops and travelled to fairs and markets throughout the north.
VAUXHALL has revealed the new significantly revised Grandland SUV which, amongst other changes, offers drivers a different cockpit experience with two widescreen displays. Vauxhall’s SUV flagship also features additional technologies and assistance systems that until now were reserved for premium segments of the market, including Night Vision, now available on the New Grandland. The system detects pedestrians and animals in darkness at up to 100 metres and alerts the driver. Another new technology is the semi-adaptive Highway Integration Assist which keeps the New Grandland in the middle of its lane and maintains the distance to the vehicle in front, it also allows for ‘Stop & Go’ progress in traffic.
THE annual Pride celebrations are coming to Colin for the first time as the Lagmore Youth Project are gearing up to host their first ever Pride Colour Run. The run, which will see participants doused in paint powder as they make their way around the area, will take place on Friday 25 June from 5pm with all proceeds going to the Youth Project, which is funded by EU Peace Funding and Cooperation Ireland. Speaking as they launched the run, Arón Hughes from the Lagmore Youth Project said: “This Colour Run came about as our Senior Youth Network for Peace programme had to deliver a social action project as part of their programme. "They sat down to discuss what would be the best way as a group to deliver a project that is Covid safe and that can actually have the most impact. They identified three issues which were social isolation, poor mental health and homophobia. “We decided that a Colour Run would be perfect as it is full of colour, full of energy and outdoors which is the best way to keep it Covid safe. “As it is Pride month, we decided to use it as a celebration and an opportunity to bring Pride to the streets of Lagmore.”
INDIVIDUALS often feel powerless when it comes to global issues like climate change. Will sharing a car to work really make any difference when coal-burning factories on the other side of the world continue to pump clouds of carbon into the atmosphere?
A NUMBER of years ago I stepped out of Institutional Church. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Church and that many people of faith have found a spiritual home in their chosen place of worship. This is something to be cherished. I grew up in a Protestant Evangelical church, and when I started to study theology I was encouraged to think outside the box. As I stepped into ministry life a few of us often questioned the limitations of the Church regarding peace and reconciliation, particularly in our context where Churches generally remain one or the other: Catholic/Protestant.
IT’S funny, the line Dominic Raab takes on the Protocol. Mind you, most things Dominic Raab takes a line on are funny. In a twisted way. In November 2018, he conceded that he didn’t really know how important Dover-Calais was for the shipment of British goods. In 2019 he admitted he hadn’t read the Good Friday Agreement: “I haven't sat down and gone from... I've used it as a reference tool to make sure that I understood and could satisfy and reassure myself that, in relation to a the commitments that are made on both sides in relation to the joint report in December which was the basis on what we were going to do with the backstop, that we are not impinging on anything required by the Belfast Agreement and also to make sure more broadly in the positive sense that what we are doing can promote peace, stability, and not withstanding what I recognise is a difficult set of questions for the people of Northern Ireland.” Tell me that’s not a mind at war with itself.
THERE is a huge emotional support for Palestine and Israel, depending on who you talk to about the regional conflict there. Here in Belfast, there are some people who articulate their desire for peace no matter what are the consequences. Is it because of their experience of pre- and post-conflict Northern Ireland?
THE New Decade New Approach (NDNA) deal was sprung onto the local parties in January 2020 by Simon Coveney and erstwhile British Secretary of State Julian Smith. Within just a week its significance was critically damaged when Boris Johnson arrived to endorse it with no additional resources for its wide-ranging commitments. A couple of weeks later Julian Smith was sacked and replaced by Brandon Lewis. By March the NDNA was all but torn up by the British government when Lewis announced that the commitment to implement the legacy structures of the Stormont House Agreement within 100 days would in fact not happen, and instead the British government was thinking about amnesty for British soldiers.
The trade union NIPSA has vowed that workers at Queen's University Belfast's (QUB) in-house creche will continue industrial action "as long as necessary" to achieve a settlement to an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions.