The Lord Mayor congratulated Councillor Pankhurst and his wife on their recent marriage and wished them the best for the future.
Councillor Smyth congratulated the East Belfast Camogs, who had reached the Down county final, and he praised the fantastic strides they had made in the past 18 months, since their formation, and the huge impact they had on sport in east Belfast.
Councillor Flynn welcomed the first Irish language school in east Belfast, situated on the Belmont road. He congratulated the pupils and parents and wished them the best for the term ahead.
Councillor Ferguson highlighted the recent death, in Poland, of a 30-year-old woman, who had recently lost her life due to anti-abortion legislation. She stated that it was a timely reminder of the Council’s role to lobby the Executive, which had been debating a bill similar to the legislation in Poland, and she expressed her solidarity with the Polish community in Belfast.
Councillor O’Hara referred to the opening of COP26 and reported that a number of Members, along with a delegation from the Assembly and the Executive, had been due to attend. He stated that he hoped that the Members would be attending the rallies and events which supported COP26, in order to maintain pressure for immediate, urgent and substantial climate change action.
Alderman Kingston offered congratulations to those involved in the undernoted award nominations. He stated that it recognised the work being done by the city to create a liveable, inclusive city, building a reputation as a unique destination for investment, tourism and supporting inclusive economic growth:
· Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Awards – Belfast nominated for Council of the Year;
· Estate Gazette Awards – Belfast shortlisted for City of the Year Award; and
· Belfast Chamber Business Awards – GLL, Better Belfast – finalist for Social Enterprise Award.
He requested that the Lord Mayor would, on behalf of the Council, write to GLL and the Better Belfast team, to pass on her appreciation.
The Lord Mayor acceded to the request and offered further congratulations that Belfast had been honoured with a UNESCO Learning City Award for 2021, in recognition for its work promoting lifelong learning across the city.
Violence Against Public Servants
Councillor Matt Collins expressed his concern regarding the news that a bus driver had been intimidated off his bus my masked men who subsequently burned the bus. He offered solidarity with the Translink employee and stated that no one should be forced to deal with intimidation while undertaking their job to provide a service to the city. He stated that, the violent behaviour had to stop before someone was hospitalised or seriously hurt and that the Council should stand in solidarity with the employee.
The Lord Mayor concurred and conveyed her best wishes to the driver.
Letter from Hanna and Lucas McMullan
The Lord Mayor read out a letter from Hanna and Lucas McMullan, aged ten and seven years old, who had moved to Belfast in 2020. They expressed how they loved the city, however, they felt that a few improvements should be considered to help the environment. They suggested more electric cars in the city, that people should pick up the litter they drop and put it in a bin and, that people would buy and sell more non-plastic items.