Other News In Brief | Northern Ireland News, 17/12/2019

Christmas Presents Stolen In West Belfast Burglary

Police have called for vigilance after Christmas presents were stolen during a burglary in west Belfast.

It’s understood a thief entered a property via an unlocked door in recent days, resulting in the loss of gifts bought for the festive season.

A PSNI spokesperson warned: “As we approach Christmas the criminals are often out there to steal your presents.

“Always lock your doors and keep presents out of sight!”

Only Hours Remain To Prevent Health Strike- UUP

The Ulster Unionist Party has demanded action as just hours remain to reach a settlement with healthcare unions and prevent looming strike action.

Party Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs issued an appeal ahead of planned industrial action on Wednesday 18 December, with hospitals and Emergency Departments to come under significant pressure.

Health unions and staff are fighting for pay parity and safe staffing levels. The action comes amid a fresh round of negotiations to restore devolved government at Stormont.

Mr Beggs MLA said: “The Northern Ireland health service is in the midst of spiralling crisis. Never before have so many people been waiting, and waiting for such unacceptably long periods of time. The delays are only being exacerbated by the debilitating shortages in the local workforce.

“Under any normal democratic circumstances, the final hours before unparalleled strike action would present a major crisis for a Health Minister. They would have been locked in intensive discussions with the unions and the Department of Finance, and they would have been expected to produce a deal that resolved the pressures in pay. Yet it now appears unless there is a last-minute reprieve, strike action and all the associated disruption to healthcare that it will bring is virtually inevitable.

“With the ongoing absence of a local Executive, and the shameful refusal of our Secretary of State to intervene directly, once again it will be ordinary health workers and patients left to suffer.

“We simply cannot afford to wait until next year to see if the current political talks do or do not succeed – the crisis in our health service needs attention now and that can only be achieved through the direct intervention of the new UK Government.”

£1.6m Investment Boosts Leisure Facilities In Antrim

A series of upgrades have been delivered at leisure facilities across Antrim and Newtownabbey thanks to a £1.6 million Council investment.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth visited Antrim Forum, Sixmile Leisure Centre and Valley Leisure Centre to unveil the latest upgrades.

Approximately £400k of the investment was put towards installing self-service kiosks at the centres, as well as other technologies to greatly improve the customer journey, offering fast access and reducing any queuing times.

New changing facilities, costing roughly £150k, were also delivered at Antrim Forum and Valley Leisure Centre to boost accessibility for those with specific needs.

The £500k investment in the new Spa at the Valley Leisure has created an ultra-modern facility. Featuring a new Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, the newly extended Spa now boasts heated loungers and monsoon showers.

The new state-of-the-art extended fitness suite at Sixmile Leisure Centre now boasts the newest, innovative Technogym equipment following £575k investment. Also included in this major investment has been the refurbishment and updated design of the Spin Studio, and installation of advanced digital and sound technology.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth commented: “This major investment shows a commitment by Council, to develop and enhance the leisure facilities we provide to the residents of our Borough, encouraging them to be MORE active MORE often. The Council has a fantastic value for money family membership package for just £39 per month and I am delighted that we are able to invest in our leisure facilities, keeping them up to date and more appealing for our leisure centre users.”


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