Other News In Brief

St George's Market Named Best Slow Food Market In NI

Belfast's St George's Market has been named the Best Slow Food Market in NI.

Presented by Slow Food NI representative and well-known chef and cookery presenter, Paula McIntyre, this prestigious award, decided by public vote, acknowledges St George's Market's commitment to promoting the value of slow food instead of fast food, and to platforming the considerable range of talent, innovation and pure great taste in local food production in Belfast and the surrounding region. It also reflects St George's Market's ethos of supporting the local economy through local food and craft production.

Deputy Chair of Belfast City Council's City Growth and Regeneration Committee Alderman George Dorrian said: "We're delighted that St George's Market has been named Best Slow Food Market in NI. This accolade is especially meaningful because it's been voted for by the public who support our traders every week of the year. It gives recognition to the world class sustainable produce sold at St George's and to the market's commitment both to the community and our environment.

"Taking time to buy, prepare and eat fresh, local produce is a much better, much healthier way to eat. As well as giving us better knowledge of where our food comes from, it cuts down carbon emissions, raises quality and supports local small-scale producers and jobs. It's fantastic to see St George's Market celebrated by the slow food movement in this way."

St George's Friday market dates back to 1604 and currently brings together around 200 market stalls selling fruit, vegetables, antiques, books, clothes, hot food, cakes and buns, crafts and a large selection of fresh fish. The Saturday market offers local, continental and specialty foods including meat and fish, cheese, coffee beans, tapas and organic products from around the world. And the Sunday market is a mix of the Friday and Saturday markets with an emphasis on local arts and crafts.

Alliance Call For NI To Follow UK On Lifting Restrictions In Care Homes

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has called for a "swift response" in NI after the news that Covid restrictions on adult social care are to be eased in England from Monday.

Limits on visits will be removed, with changes made to isolation periods and outbreak management rules. The South Belfast MLA said she hoped Northern Ireland would be able to follow soon.

The South Belfast MLA said: "People in Northern Ireland will be expecting a swift response from the Health Minister so that people here can also visit their loved ones.

"Cautious progress will be welcomed and the removal of similar restrictions will mean so much to families who have been impacted by the pandemic. Many people have missed valuable time that could have been spent with those they care about the most.

"I have already pushed for evidence around the balance between the risk of Covid to fully vaccinated people and the ongoing trauma caused by extended periods of separation. It is time people here are given the same opportunity to safely reconnect, and they must be supported as they do so.

"I urge the Health Minister to bring forward the next scheduled review of this matter so people can reconnect together sooner."

Green Party NI Calls For More Diversity In Public Appointments

The Green Party NI has called for more diversity in public appointments, after new figures have revealed that of the 163 public appointments made in 2018-19, just 36% were awarded to women.

Party leader and South Belfast MLA Clare Bailey said: "These statistics demonstrate the scale of longstanding female underrepresentation in public life in Northern Ireland. It's clear that much more work still needs to remove gender bias from the appointments process, and to encourage women to put themselves forward for public appointments.

"It is also concerning that just 4% of public appointments were of people who declared they were disabled. As 25% of the Northern Ireland population are disabled, this demonstrates that this group is significantly underrepresented as well, and more needs to be done to make appointments welcoming and accessible to all.

"The office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments offers excellent training to all underrepresented demographic groups, including young people and people from ethnic minorities. I would encourage as many people as possible to avail of this.

"I have previously raised concerns about the process by which public appointments are currently being made, as the office of Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland has been vacant since May 2021. It's vital that this vacancy is filled soon, so that the public has confidence that all appointments are being made fairly and impartially."

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