13/08/2009

Other NI News In Brief

Jobs For Redundant

The majority of staff paid off last week at an east Belfast engineering firm are to be re-employed. Around 35 of the 50 workers made redundant when the Central Group Services business went bust have won new jobs. Contract Services NI which carries out electrical, mechanical and maintenance work from its base in Dundonald outside east Belfast has taken on the workers and is hopeful of taking on the rest soon.

O'Loan Not 'Left Alone'

The home of the former police ombudsman Dame Nuala O'Loan and her SDLP MLA husband Declan has been targeted in a sectarian attack. Paint was thrown on their house in the Oldpark Avenue area of Ballymena at about 4am on Wednesday. Declan O'Loan responded to the paint attack on his home and said: "This was a regrettable incident which the police are actively investigating. No immediate motive is known but I understand it will be classed as a hate crime. The mess will be cleared up and life will go on."

Another School Attacked

A north Belfast school has again been the target of a petrol bomb attack. The latest such incident happened at St Patrick's College on the Antrim Road on Tuesday morning with a window smashed and petrol bombs thrown inside the building. Paint was also daubed on the property and minor damage was caused. North Belfast schools have seen a series of paint bomb and fire attacks in recent months. One primary school, in Whitehouse, Newtownabbey - just outside the Belfast boundary - was completely destroyed.

Mural Celebrates Citizens

Work has been completed on replacing a paramilitary mural in the Ardoyne area, as part of a joint Arts Council and Belfast City Council initiative. As part of the ongoing 'Re-imaging Communities' programme, the old mural – on a wall at the junction of Alliance Parade and Alliance Road – was removed and replaced with a new one, celebrating citizens of note from both north Belfast and the city as a whole, as well as a number of local landmarks. The mural is the work of renowned Italian artist, Daniela Balmaverde, who worked closely with the community in the Glenbryn estate, with the residents choosing the subjects featured on the mural.

SF Gives Up London Flats
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It will be hotel accommodation for Sinn Féin politicians when in London from now on as the party has said it will not be renewing leases on two flats it rents in the UK capital. MP Conor Murphy said he and his fellow SF MPs would use hotels while on future constituency business.

Antrim Gardens Works Progress

A major restoration and development scheme at Antrim Castle Gardens has come a step closer. The £6m plans have been furthered with the recent temporary closure of Clotworthy Arts Centre, which together with some of the buildings surrounding the original farmyard is scheduled for major refurbishment. Mayor of Antrim Adrian Cochrane-Watson said the council is excited about the multi-million pound investment, which represents the largest historic garden restoration project ever undertaken in Northern Ireland: "In addition, the refurbishment of Clotworthy will also help sustain arts and heritage programmes in the borough for many years to come," he said. "Another notable development next year will be the completion of the £2m redevelopment of the old Courthouse in Antrim."

Software Success In North West

Cúnamh ICT in Londonderry has launched its innovative software for social enterprises in Great Britain with help from Invest Northern Ireland. Based at Derry's Bishop Street, the firm is currently following up new business leads for its innovative software from its participation at the Voice ’09 exhibition, the UK's landmark event for social enterprises, and the inaugural 'Outcomes Monitoring and IT' event, both in London. The company has developed a range of software for community and voluntary organisations. Invest NI has assisted the company to explore business opportunities outside NI through its Growth Accelerator Programme. Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI's North West Regional Office, said: "Our support is geared to help Cúnamh ICT achieve its vision to provide high quality, affordable database solutions for community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations."

Shares Nosedive As Carroll Empire Crumbles

Bank shares have tumbled as a court ruling removed protection from the Irish Republic's leading property developer, Liam Carroll. Bank of Ireland and AIB values both fell on Wednesday morning following the Supreme Court ruling that ended court protection for six of developer Liam Carroll's companies. Mr Carroll's reported multi-billion euro empire is now in jeopardy, with his Zoe Group of companies facing debts of more than €1.2 billion.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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