Lord Mayor of Belfast: “I would not stand for an assembly that is not functioning”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nuala McAllister visited an A level Politics class last week to ask students how they viewed Belfast and, in line with her theme for her year as Lord Mayor of ‘Global Belfast’, how the city could be more welcoming. The Alliance Party politician expressed her dismay at the rise of hate crime in Belfast and explained to the students that she believed that sectarian attitudes were still prevalent in Northern Ireland. She drew a contrast between … Read more

Lord Mayor’s dinner: but who was graceless?

Disclosure:  I’m a member of the Alliance Party.  I am also a born-again evangelical Christian. The first I heard was Naomi Long citing Matthew 6:5-6 on Facebook, concerning not praying in a manner to be seen by others.  It was later that day that I heard the full story:  Nuala McAllister had decided not to invite someone to say grace before the Lord Mayor’s dinner last Saturday night, and great was the gnashing of teeth over this break in tradition … Read more

“We, Too, Sing Belfast” … perhaps subtitled “We, Too, Snap @NewBelfast!”

364 days, an estimated 2,000 engagements, thousands of handshakes, around 25,000 tweets, and goodness knows how many selfies … that was a year in the life of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir as Lord Mayor of Belfast. I’m sure many people rolled their eyes or tutted when they heard that the Lord Mayor had agreed to allow a professional photographer to follow him around. From August 2013 through to June 2014, Donal McCann captured images wherever Máirtín Ó Muilleoir went, including travelling … Read more

Looking back on an eventful year with Niall Ó Donnghaile at the unveiling of his portrait by muralist Danny Devenny

It’s unimaginable that even ten years ago a DUP Lord Mayor could have spoken warmly about his Sinn Féin predecessor on the occasion of the public hanging of the mayoral portrait. But this afternoon the Lord Mayor, Alderman Gavin Robinson was warm and gracious in his comments about Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile at the unveiling of Danny Devenny’s painting. Normally a muralist more used to thick brushes on gable walls – the Bobby Sands mural on the side of Sinn … Read more

The misunderstood Lord Mayor shuffle – timing, facts & Sinn Féin tying themselves in knots over friendship

May 2012 front page An Phoblacht

Once a month, the postie delivers a bulging A5 envelope. Stuffed inside is a twice-folded copy of An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin’s 32 page monthly newspaper. The May edition’s back page is devoted to a story that broke in the Belfast Telegraph last Monday. Niall Ó Donnghaile is “leaving his post a few days early to allow a DUP Mayor to take up office in time for the Jubilee celebrations”. The newspaper story explained that the new mayor would be “elected … Read more

Late night stroll with Niall Ó Donnghaile around Short Strand

Niall Ó Donnghaile

To get a different perspective on the Eleventh Night and the Twelfth Day, I went for a late night walk with Niall Ó Donnghaile around Short Strand about half an hour before midnight. While some young folk were congregating around the Mountpottinger/Albertbridge Road junction, the area was largely deserted – the only noise being the PA belting out music in Pitt Park, about a hundred yards away over the wall. Now a Sinn Féin councillor, and this year Belfast’s Lord … Read more

POTD – Thumbs up from the Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile

pictured yesterday in the grounds of City Hall after his parade which was organised for the first time by the award winning Ethnic Arts organisation ‘Arts Ecta’. The decision by the Council to award the running of the parade was a surprise to the rest of the arts community (and dare i say it, a slap on the wrist) to the Beat Initiative who have been the incumbent organisers for a number of years. Judging by yesterdays parade and party … Read more

Mayor Ó Donnghaile: Sinn Fein’s breath of fresh air?

Nuala McKeever welcomes Sinn Fein’s new Lord Mayor of Belfast, not least because of his youth and lack of baggage: Niall O Donnghaile’s year in office is a fantastic opportunity for Belfast to tackle in a meaningful way the problem of suicide among young people. He has spoken already about his desire to work in this area to give young people a sense of hope and optimism that life is worth living. Shame on the old fogies who profess a … Read more

Did Ruth Patterson not get Peter’s memo?

cropped DUP logo

The general opinion on Slugger – never mind media commentators and conversations in pubs and livings rooms – has been that the DUP have been edging towards the centre ground. Throughout the election campaign, Peter Robinson avoided criticising the deputy First Minister and generally avoided needling Sinn Fein – and Martin McGuinness reciprocated with his frequent references to “Peter and I”. While pockets remain in the DUP that still articulate their distrust and discomfort at working so closely with Sinn … Read more

Sinn Féin select 25 year old Niall Ó Donnghaile to be Lord Mayor

Niall Ó Donnghaile

Niall Ó Donnghaile was only elected to Belfast City Council three weeks ago, but tonight was confirmed as Sinn Féin’s choice for Lord Mayor. He turns 26 at the weekend and is the city’s youngest ever first citizen. Under the d’Hondt rotation, Sinn Féin will get three two Lord Mayors during the next four years. The DUP’s Ruth Patterson will be deputy Lord Mayor. Niall is a press officer with Sinn Féin up at the Assembly, and councillor for Pottinger. … Read more

Convery for Lord Mayor? Kyle as Deputy?

So it is coming round to our eighth birthday with the annual race for Lord Mayor of Belfast (we came in when the first Sinn Fein councillor was successfully elected), it seems Pat Convery is hotly tipped for the top post. There are whispers that one prominent UUP councillor is canvassing for the support of Dr John Kyle of the PUP as Deputy Mayor. It remains to be seen how much political capital Kyle can realistically call in given the … Read more