Other News In Brief

Offensive Graffiti Appears In Orangefield Park

Graffiti described as being "homophobic and racist" has appeared at Orangefield Park in east Belfast.

The slurs appeared in the children's play park area, an SDLP Councillor for the area has said.

Lisnasharragh representative Séamas de Faoite strongly condemned the graffiti, saying: "I was appalled when residents contacted me about the homophobic and racist graffiti that appeared in the new playground over the weekend. Belfast is an increasingly diverse and welcoming city and this graffiti goes totally against the wishes of our local community.

"Children should be able to play and enjoy the facilities without being subject to racist and homophobic slurs.

"I have reported the graffiti to the Belfast City Council cleansing team, who I understand have sorted it urgently. I will be contacting the local PSNI to ensure investigations take place and local patrols are stepped up in the area."

Retail Call To Political Parties As Talks Begin

As the talks to restore devolution at Stormont begin, Retail NI has urged the political parties and facilitating governments to show leadership and secure a deal.

Glyn Roberts, Retail NI Chief Executive said: "The political parties need to strike a deal and get back to work - that was the clear message of the voters in last week's election. No more excuses.

"Northern Ireland's political leaders need to lead the way with big bold solutions and to take the difficult decisions. Real leaders do not see problems; they seek solutions.

"A restored Assembly and Executive cannot be business as usual. Devolution needs to be radically rebooted and become less about process and more about real delivery for our economy, health service and our education system.

"With much-needed decisions not being made on reform of business rates and infrastructure investment, not addressing an ever-growing skills gap and modernisation of our town centres, Northern Ireland is not just lagging behind the rest of the UK and Ireland, it is in real danger of being left behind internationally."

New Visitor Centre Opens At Lough Neagh

A new visitor centre has opened at Lough Neagh in an effort to attract more tourists to the area.

Located in the Antrim Loughshore area, The Gateway centre will now be home to Lough Neagh Rescue as well as The Boathouse restaurant, with an outdoor terrace offering views across the Lough.

A 150 sq m ground floor room overlooking the Loughshore will host conferences and exhibitions whilst the public conveniences, showers, changing facilities and activity space will support lough based activities.

The Boathouse Restaurant will open its doors tomorrow, Tuesday 17 December.

The development is also expected to welcome a sculpture erected at the water's edge by summer 2020. Called 'The Protector of The Lough', this silhouette will cut clear against the horizon and Finn McCool will be instantly recognisable from far across the water celebrating the Lough, the land, the folklore and the heritage.

This £2.3 million project is part funded by DAERA and Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth commented: "Lough Neagh is recognised as one of our Borough's under-utilised assets and the purpose of this development is to attract more visitors and residents to the Lough. I am delighted to see the progress that has been made."


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