Other News In Brief

Two People Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

Two people have been convicted for claiming benefits they were not entitled to at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Stephen Sloss claimed Jobseeker's Allowance totalling £3,557 while failing to declare employment. He was given 150 hours Community Service.

John Crumley claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £6,525 while failing to declare employment. He was given 80 hours Community Service.

They are also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Department for Communities.

Leisure Centre Redevelopment Plans Unveiled In East Belfast

Residents in east Belfast are being urged to give their opinions over redevelopment plans for Avoniel Leisure Centre.

The proposals, which also include the restoration and extension of Templemore Baths, are part of Belfast City Council's £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme.

The redevelopment of both sites represents a major part of a £40m investment in east Belfast's leisure facilities.

A public consultation has opened and will continue until Sunday, 14 January.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is contributing £5m towards the £17m investment at Templemore Baths where the focus will be on heritage preservation, spa provision and increased swimming provision.
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Chair of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: "I would urge everyone to get involved in the public consultation – these are major investments and we want to ensure that they accurately reflect the needs and wants of the people of the area.

"The facilities that will be available at Avoniel and Templemore, once work is complete, along with those on offer at the new Robinson Centre when it opens its doors in 2019, will bring a wide leisure choice to the people of east Belfast.

"In total we're developing seven new centres across the city through our Leisure Transformation Programme. Each centre will provide state of the art leisure facilities while also offering their own unique facilities."

Call for EU to Talk Trade

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has called on EU leaders to move on to discussing the future UK - EU trading relationship in Brexit talks, following reports that the UK has agreed in principle to a financial settlement with the EU.

Mr Nicholson said: "While negotiators on all sides will likely stick to the principle of 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed', if it is the case that the financial settlement has been agreed between the UK and the EU, this marks a significant step in progress in talks.

"It is in the best interests of all parties that we now move to discussing the future UK-EU trading relationship. This is also key to finding a solution to the border difficulties. If we can agree a bespoke tariff-free free trade agreement, and a new customs arrangement between the UK and the European Union, we can solve a number of problems."


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