Other News In Brief

Anger As County Down Electoral Office Faces Closure

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd has expressed his anger at the closure of the Electoral Office in Banbridge.

The facility will close on Friday 21 December, in a decision taken by the Electoral authority to centralise all of their services to Belfast.

The Upper Bann MLA expressed his "grave concerns" over the closure of local facilities.

"Electoral offices play a key role in ensuring people can exercise their democratic right by enabling them to register to vote, obtain an ID card and access Postal or Proxy votes," he said.

"These closures will impact on all of that. This does not represent good planning or practice and could have a negative impact on the democratic process in several constituencies."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar To Publish Irish Govt Strategy For Hard Brexit

Irish Prime Minster Leo Varadkar has announced that he will publish his Government's plans for the possible eventuality of a hard-Brexit, following criticism from the opposition party.

It follows the news that a Brexit stakeholders' forum will receive the briefing papers on the legislative details, which will include provisions for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin had accused the Taoiseach of dismissing the Irish Parliament's need to view the legislation.
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The Fianna Gael leader said he will publish his party's strategy, once the European Commission published its notices for a no-deal scenario.

"It's reasonable to say that Brexit is a major threat for Ireland and a major threat to our economy and to our rights and freedoms as citizens and could have major implications for peace and security on our island," Mr Varadkar explained.

"In terms of preparing for Brexit this is a work in progress, it's a work in progress this week, it will still be in January.

"This evening, cabinet will be given a copy of a document on our plans which follow on from that. Tomorrow (Thursday 20 December) there will be a briefing with Brexit stakeholders and the opposition parties."

Dundonald Ice Bowl To Feature On ITV Christmas Programme

Dundonald Ice Bowl is to feature in an ITV programme on Christmas Day, Tuesday 25 December.

The location was used to film the Torvill & Dean show, which explores the early years of ice dancing stars Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Ackley Bridge star Poppy Lee Friar and Game of Thrones actor Will Tudor take on the lead roles in the special which is set to be watched by millions.

Acclaimed film, TV and theatre writer, William Ivory, wrote the one-off programme which explores the life of the dancers and their determined journey to become Olympic champions and ice skating royalty.

The duo won Gold at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984 with their performance to Maurice Ravel's Boléro.


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