Author Archives: GoogleNews

Inside the Belfast college that moulded peace-makers and Brexiteers

Methodist College, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, has left its imprint on Belfast and Northern Ireland in terms of the arts, sciences, business, sport and indeed on politics and pushing forward the peace process. Commonly known as Methody, it is located at the bottom of the Malone Road close to Queen’s University in Belfast. Hundreds of students in their dark blazers, ties and white shirts streaming in and out of its gates is a familiar sight in the city. It was founded in 1865 and opened in 1868 to educate the sons of Methodist ministers. It ended up co-educational and open to all faiths and those of no faith, as described by Alan Frame who has written the official history of the college, Floreat Collegium, to mark its sesquicentennial. Its first enrolment was 140 pupils. It now has 1,810 second level students and 500 pupils in its … Continue reading

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Edwin Poots: Health service changes difficult but necessary

A former Northern Ireland health minister has warned the “structural changes” necessary to resolve the crisis in the health service are unlikely to prove popular. DUP MLA Edwin Poots was speaking after the civil servant at the head of the Department of Health at Stormont, Richard Pengelly, warned that the health service in Northern Ireland is “heading over the cliff” without radical change. Mr Poots said the necessary changes will prove “difficult for people”. Speaking to the News Letter, the former health minister said: “A lot of people don’t accept that structural change is necessary, but it is necessary. There are also people who believe this is a wonderful idea until it is a unit near them that is closing. “Ultimately, there is a limited pot of money and if you don’t rationalise these things, we will end up losing more. “It is going to be difficult for people, but … Continue reading

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NI paper review: Wrightbus near miss and border poll Brexit warning

Image copyright PAcemaker Image caption The Belfast Telegraph reports a dispute over rent scuppered a potential deal to save Wrightbus A mix of stories make the front of Friday’s papers after a week dominated by Wrightbus and Brexit. The lead in the Belfast Telegraph follows on from the collapse of the Ballymena bus builder and the near miss to secure a deal to save the company. It reports negotiations with a Chinese company, believed to be Weichai, came close to completion – but were scuppered by annual rent of around £1m. It says a separate company owned by the Wright family owns the site, and would have received the rent. Wrightbus collapsed on Wednesday, resulting in about 1,200 employees being made redundant. ‘Nothing out of the ordinary’ Inside, the paper has a heart-warming story about a supermarket worker who went above and beyond the call of duty. David Vance, a … Continue reading

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Delays in treatment for new Northern Ireland cancer patients on the rise

‘Ministerial targets state that 95% of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer should start their treatment within 62 days’ (stock photo) More patients are waiting longer than they should to start urgent cancer treatment in Northern Ireland. Just over 55% of those diagnosed (180 out of 325 cases) had their first treatment within 62 days between April and June this year following an urgent referral. This was a drop of around 15% from the same period last year (70.8%), official figures show. Ministerial targets state that 95% of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer should start their treatment within 62 days. This target, set in 2009, has never been met by any health trust in Northern Ireland. Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said: “Once again these figures confirm that the situation in our health service is still getting worse. “We have by far the worst waiting times in the UK … Continue reading

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Campaign on paramilitary activity ‘a bit tame’ – MLA

An awareness campaign aimed at tackling paramilitarism in Northern Ireland is too tame and shies away from the violent crimes of the gunmen, an MLA has claimed. Roy Beggs raised concerns that the End the Harm ad drive would not have the desired impact. He was one of a number of Assembly members on the Justice Committee that questioned Department of Justice officials on the Executive’s efforts to stamp out paramilitaries and organised crime gangs. The new £530,000 advertising campaign was launched by Justice Minister Claire Sugden earlier this week. A TV and cinema advert highlights the dangers of buying counterfeit goods by showing how money spent on fake items lines the pockets of organised criminals. Ulster Unionist Mr Beggs said it did not address the violent acts committed by paramilitaries. He compared the ad to hard-hitting road safety adverts in Northern Ireland. “I have to say I thought the … Continue reading

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