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Command Paper 498 may well go down in history as demonstrating the day that Boris Johnston showed what taking back control actually meant.
THE saddest news that could have been relayed was confirmed on Saturday night as it was confirmed Anto Finnegan passed away.
Clothing recycling bins which have become a magnet for fly-tippers in the Colin area have been removed – with another set to go too. Two bins in Lagmore Avenue have already been taken away with another bin at the site of the former Brook Activity Centre to be removed by the end of this week. Welcoming the move, local Sinn Féin Councillor Danny Baker said that he hopes to see a more joined-up approach between the bin operators and Belfast City Council so that they are placed in areas that aren't as attractive to fly-tippers. “Across the city we are seeing serious issues with clothing banks being dropped on communities, whether that is at the end of streets or in car parks which are becoming hot spots for fly tipping. “This is becoming a massive issue for the communities and homes living close to them as fly tipping brings rats and all of the problems associated with that. “For example, the bins in Lagmore took a lot of work to get removed and it wasn’t an easy process. When people were fly tipping or it wasn’t being emptied quickly enough, items were being kicked across the road and in more recent times a fire at the bins could have easily spread to people's back gardens.” Cllr Baker added that this is not an issue that is unique to the Colin area and is something being seen by representatives from across all political parties across the city. “Going forward, the people who install these bins need to be more responsible," he said. "They should be looking at locations which are safe and we need to see more joined-up thinking by working with the Council to have them installed in areas such as recycling centres or the Brook Leisure Centre car park where we are less likely to see fly tipping. “You can’t just drop these into communities and not take responsibility for their upkeep. When we lost access to the recycling centre at the Cutts we saw an increase in fly-tipping across the Colin area and I was having to get the clothing bins in Lagmore cleaned up on an almost daily basis. This put an additional pressure on Council staff who were already stretched due to Covid. “I think having these bins removed will be the first step in seeing better maintenance of them. I want to see more people recycling and donating to charity but that needs to be done properly and responsibly.” Clothing and textiles can still be recycled at the Belfast City Council facilities at Blackstaff Way and Springfield Avenue.
MARTIN McGuinness had a great saying. Well, he had lots of great sayings. This one has to do with hindsight. “Hindsight,” Martin would say, “is a great man to have at a meeting.” I thought of this as I was watching the All Ireland Football Final as Tyrone swept Mayo to one side to bring Sam Maguire back to the Lamh Dearg county. In the run into the game I thought there was little to choose between the teams. I might not have made Mayo favourites, although like most Gaels I would not begrudge them a win given that they have been nearly there so often. But now with the benefit of hindsight it is clear to me that Tyrone should have been the favourites. They are, after all, the Ulster Champions. I am not being parochial here. Being the provincial champions in any of our provinces is no mean feat and a great achievement for the teams involved, but coming out of Ulster is a much tougher challenge than coming out of Connaught. So Mayo’s woes have little to do with a curse. It has all to do with meeting a team which was tried and tested in the playing fields of Ulster and well prepared to create and take every chance which came their way in Croke Park. I have a great grá for Mayo. I have many friends there and in the USA where Mayo people are the backbone of Irish America. I have hiked, walked, camped, listened to music and made politics in Mayo for many years. And I have supported their footballers, especially when Ulster teams were uninvolved. So too with Tyrone. It also is one of our historic, unbroken, proud Irish counties. It too has kept the faith and I have many friends there also and in the USA where Tyrone exiles have played and continue to play a historic leadership role in the cause of Ireland. So I am delighted that they succeeded.
BELFAST man Fra McCartney’s new book is a rip-roaring blast through a time in Belfast’s history which has largely been forgotten and overlooked, mostly due to the all consuming conflict which raged across the North shortly after.
AS a survey published by the Department for Infrastructure outlines the benefits of the concessionary fares scheme in increasing mobility for the over-60s, there are no plans yet to roll it out to Belfast’s Black taxis despite their decades of community service.
WEST Belfast People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll is set to host an online meeting to discuss the lack of cycling infrastructure in the constituency. The meeting will take place on September 22 on Car-Free Day – when the public are asked to leave their car at home and take public transport, walk or cycle. Mr Carroll said: “People who cycle are keenly aware of the lack of investment in cycling support and infrastructure generally, which is more acute in the West of the city."
SO, Jeffrey Donaldson is going to the ditches over the Brexit Protocol. An interesting if unsurprising approach from the new(ish) leader of the DUP to convince us all that the DUP are the 'real' leaders of unionism, and still have the necessary backbone to satiate their critics. This positioning by the DUP is of course framed by the disproportionate attention the small cabal of anti-Protocol voices have received in recent months. The combined threat of loyalist violence and unionist chassis appears to be much more interesting to the mainstream media than the more boring stability and getting on with things that is the real world to most of us. Of course, all of this positioning both by unionism and by some in the media is an exercise in avoidance, when the real issues at play here are the shrinking of the pro-union population and the growth of the pro-united Ireland position. However, this avoidance is as familiar as it is ineffective.
Queen's University Belfast (QUB) has said it is "unlikely" to offer accommodation to students living less than 40 miles from its campus.
Picture this scenario: you’re walking down the Falls Road and in the distance you see an old friend from the past approach. You continue to get closer and then, when you are face-to-face, your friend walks by without acknowledging you.
THE Colin Neighbourhood Partnership are planning to host an historical coach tour of the Colin area, led by renowned historian Dr Éamon Phoenix. The tour will span a thousand years in Irish history and will include visits to key heritage sites including Teeling’s Mill, Derriaghy Chapel, Castle Robin, Tullyrusk ancient graveyard, Hannahstown and its links with Penal times and the 1798 Rebellion and Drumbeg Churchyard – the site of the grave of United Irishman William Gouldie. The tour will focus on famous people from Colin such as Bartholomew Teeling, who was executed for his part in the 1798 Rebellion; Belle Steel, who protected Catholics in Penal times; Professor Frank Pantridge, inventor of the portable defibrillator, Beatrice Grimshaw, writer and explorer who was born at Cloona House and Rev Henry Montgomery of Dunmurry, a supporter of Catholic Emancipation. The tour will conclude at Cloona House, the childhood home of Beatrice Grimshaw, journalist and adventurer. The house was taken over by the Ministry of Defence in 1930, and served as the home of the General Officer Commanding of the British Army in Northern Ireland. Annie Armstrong, Manager of Colin Neighbourhood Partnership, said: “This tour forms part of Good Relations Week and also part of an exciting new History and Tourism initiative soon to be underway in Colin. “We have such a wealth of rich and diverse heritage in Colin and we are keen to conserve and showcase this unique history. A series of history trails are currently being developed alongside a Colin Heritage website and series of heritage podcasts.” The Colin Heritage Project with Ulster University is funded by the Urban Villages Initiative and the Department for Communities.
SDLP representative Paul Doherty has said that the DUP’s threat to devolution could cause efforts to tackle the climate crisis to falter if Stormont falls.
SOUTH Belfast school Fleming Fulton is amongst the winners of the first ever virtual boccia league. Since the partnership with Progressive and Disability Sport commenced in 2019, over 27,000 participant opportunities have been established to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities and throughout the pandemic, the team were determined that the programme would continue to support the physical and mental health of the most vulnerable in society. The virtual boccia league involved a series of online challenges enabling individuals to compete at home, or in a school/sports hall, with whatever equipment they had available to them. Having achieved first place in the school league, Fleming Fulton has been awarded a boccia set for the school, with participants each receiving medals and water bottles. Paula Vance, PE teacher at Fleming Fulton, said the NI virtual boccia league offered pupils a fun challenge at a time when sports activity was severely restricted by the pandemic. “While school sport was on pause as a whole due to the pandemic, boccia was one of the few sports that could be played safely in a controlled environment with smaller numbers of pupils," said Paul. “Adapted sports are essential for our pupils' emotional and mental health and taking part in the league gave them an opportunity within their class bubble to socialise in an activity that provided a fun challenge.” Terry Conroy, boccia performance pathway officer at Disability Sport NI, added: “The virtual boccia league, sponsored by Progressive, was our first venture into running an online boccia competition, and it was a great success. “We had 110 individuals entered from across Northern Ireland, including eight club teams and 10 school teams. The competition was a great opportunity for both experienced and new boccia players to take part and stay active at home when lockdown restrictions meant that our regular club activity and competitions weren’t able to happen.” Progressive’s Chief Executive Darina Armstrong said: “We are passionate about supporting Disability Sport NI in their vision for an inclusive society. “This year’s inaugural virtual boccia league was a great success, and just one example of the very significant impact that Disability Sport NI is having on the health and well-being of those living with a disability.”
THIS week we were joined by well-known commentator and former Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross on a visit to the Kennedy Centre to hear what you have to say about Sinn Féin Uachtarán, Mary Lou McDonald. As Sinn Féin continue to lead the polls on both sides of the border, having topped the Red C poll in the South for the first time last weekend, it is now possible that Ms McDonald will be the next Taoiseach. Meanwhile, after the May 2022 Assembly election, we could see a Sinn Féin First Minister in the North.