Love it or hate it, we can’t avoid it! Its Eurosong 2009 and Ulster has three out of six entries….

Northern writer and performer Laura-Jayne Hunter from Coleraine has been selected as one of six finalists to represent Ireland in Eurovision 2009. The other two Ulster flag-flyers are Johnny Brady from Belfast and Derry City girl Shauna Kavanagh who sings with band M.N.A. Laura will be performing “Out of Control” written by Derry O’Donovan on Friday night’s ‘Late Late Show’ (20th February) and will compete against the five other finalists for the chance to represent Ireland in Moscow in May. …

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Minister Slams the Door Shut on Billy Caldwell and Other Children in Exile

The Billy Caldwell Foundation (www.billycaldwellfoundation.com) – set up to help children with severe, intractable epilepsy who have had to travel to the US for life-saving diagnosis, treatment and therapies – met Michael McGimpsey yesterday to discuss the options for bringing the children home to Northern Ireland. The discussion focused on the services which must be in place locally – without which the families believe the children would face possible death if they were to return to Northern Ireland. The meeting …

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And now for something completely different – Irish, British or Northern Irish?

The Newsletter reported yesterday that almost a quarter of Catholics consider themselves Northern Irish (http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/YOUR-VIEWS-Would-you-describe.4751380.jp). This throws up an interesting question as to how NI is changing (and for the better). I have no doubt that it is and the rapidity of that change is more acute when the Executive meets than when it doesn’t. The GFA’s brilliance was it reconciled the right to be Irish, British and Northern Irish within an agreed constitutional settlement for at least a generation. …

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A quick update as part of the charity blog series focusing on The Billy Caldwell Foundation………

The Billy Caldwell Foundation (www.billycaldwellfoundation.com) is offering promoters a free house raffle ticket for every five they sell (£100 each). For every individual, club, business, voluntary group, church, school, etc, that raises £500 they also get a free house raffle ticket and a chance to win the brand new three, bedroom house for their organisation. So calling all sales people, people with generous or rich friends, folk who need an idea for a Christmas present, or anyone who just wants …

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Billy Caldwell Neurological International Centre of Excellence to be Located in Omagh

Further to yesterdays post things are moving at the speed of light. International investors represented by GML Estates, Belfast, have announced through the Billy Caldwell Foundation www.billycaldwellfoundation.com that the building and funding has been secured for an International Neurological Centre of Excellence to be located in Omagh as part of the £350 million ‘Opportunity Omagh’ initiative. The Billy Caldwell Centre of Excellence will diagnose and treat more than epilepsy, through the use of the most advanced technology. See UTV News …

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Does the NHS work?

Having just returned from a week in Chicago, which was spent with a number of families from Northern Ireland who live in exile there with their sick children I posed myself a more fundamental question. That is in relation to the standard and levels of care provided by health service. I approached the trip with a measure of scepticism, believing that few fall through the cracks. Having been approached in the Autumn to provide professional services to the Billy Caldwell …

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