The Lord Mayor, on behalf of the Council, congratulated the Chief Executive on her recent appointment as the Chief Executive of the Jersey Civil Service. It was noted that the Chief Executive would be leaving the Council at the end of January 2022 to take up the post.
Letter from an Unaccompanied Child Refugee
The Lord Mayor read out a letter from a Children’s Law Centre client who had arrived in Belfast eighteen months ago. He had expressed his love for the City and how he felt it was clean, well designed and safe, and that the people were friendly.
She explained that she had recently met with him and what a pleasure it had been to do so. She advised the Council that he was incredibly optimistic and that it was a real testament to what we all had to be grateful for in Belfast. She added that there was a lot that Members could do in order to support newcomers to the city, especially through supporting the Children’s Law Centre and in terms of seeking to reform immigration laws.
Expressions of Sympathy
Councillors McCabe and Lyons paid tribute to Mr. Anto Finnegan, the former Antrim Captain, who had passed away at the age of 48 following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Councillor McCabe asked that the Lord Mayor, on behalf of the Council, would write to extend her condolences to his wife, Alison, and his children, Conall and Ava.
Councillor Garrett paid tribute to his friend, Mr. Sean McGuinness, the former Antrim and Down hurling manager who had unfortunately passed away. At Councillor Garrett’s request, the Lord Mayor agreed to send her condolence to his wife, Eileen, and their children Eileen, Colm, Orla, Sean Og, Clar Rois, Niall, Aisling and Emer.
Councillor McCabe requested that the Lord Mayor would pass on her congratulations to the Antrim Ladies Football Team, who had reached the All Ireland Final in Croke Park last month, and also to the Antrim Camogie Team, who had won the All Ireland Intermediate Title in Croke Park and had also won the Tesco All Ireland Cup. At her request, the Lord Mayor agreed to invite the teams to attend City Hall.
Spórtlann na hÉireann
Councillor Beattie advised the Council that the sporting facility on the Falls Road, on the site of the former Beechmount Leisure Centre, was at imminent risk of closure. He stated that an Irish Medium school had bought the site and had invested £7million into the facility. He advised the Council that, at that time, the Council had entered into a contract with Spórtlann to provide community use, which they had been doing since it opened. He added that the Council had, in 2009, agreed to provide a financial contribution to assist the facility but that the funding had not materialised. He requested that the Chief Executive would look into the situation urgently.
Alderman Kingston thanked the Belfast City Marathon organisers and all of the volunteers for their hard work leading up to and on the day itself. He requested that the Lord Mayor would, on behalf of the Council, write to the Marathon Organising Committee to pass on her appreciation.
Violence Against Women and Girls
Councillor Mulholland referenced the recent sentencing of the murderer of Sarah Everard in England. She explained that the issue of violence against women and girls had been brought to the fore and that it had great ramifications at all levels of society. She stated that it was crucial for the Council to assess what progress had been made in order to make them feel safer within our city and that there were tangible actions which everyone could take. She particularly encouraged the male Members to undertake the upcoming “Bystander Training”, facilitated by Women’s Aid, on Wednesday, 6th October.