All posts by Melissa Morton

Unionist’s left unhappy with council’s decision to put Irish first on its signage.

The first of April saw the rise of the new council structure in Northern Ireland as local councils were given more power in their community. However many unionists are unhappy with the new changes which include putting Irish first of council signage as well as a ban on poppy selling within some local councils.

The councils in Northern Ireland have a big say in running our local community. They carry out necessary tasks that many of us take for granted such as environmental health, rubbish collection and marriages. However the council system has changed dramatically over the last few months.

On the first of April of this year the government decided to decrease the number of councils in Northern Ireland, this was done to make our councils run more efficiently and to save money in the long run. Before the change was implemented there were twenty six councils in Northern Ireland, now there are only eleven. Although the number of councils has decreased the role of these councils has dramatically increased as the ‘super councils’ now have more responsibilities which include planning and parking.

The Eleven New Super Councils within Northern Ireland

 

Although these changes are for the better many are not happy with the changes their councils have made to the area. In some of the more nationalist areas of the country such as the Newry, Mourne and Down have decided to make Irish their primary language on their signage, letterheads and vehicles. The Mid Ulster Council have also stopped the selling of poppies within their council buildings. These decisions have resulted in what some refer to as a ‘cold house’ for unionist members of the community.

Within the Newry, Mourne and Down Council Sinn Fein Cllr Barra O’Muiri proposed that the Irish Language should come before the English Language and when placed side by side it should be on the left. This would occur on any council signage and letterheads. This vote was passed with fourteen votes to five. As members of the council and its community are mainly nationalist this vote was not surprising for locals.

Barra O’Muiri commented on his proposal. He said that this was, ‘a lasting and meaningful contribution towards building a strong and united community. It will not in any way threaten or displace the English Language but sit alongside it as a living and vibrant language.”

Many unionist members of the community are annoyed and disheartened by this vote. DUP Nelson McCausland is angry at the proposal and its result. He said, “This is another attempt by nationalists and republicans to assert their dominance in that area, whilst some would like to present this as a petty argument over a letterheads it is actually a deeper issue about a council and whether it values all its citizens equally or whether it will use the Promotion of the Irish language as a tool to exclude others. He continues to say that ‘The English is the language of proper communication on Northern Ireland and should remain first on the signage.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s new signage

Members of the DUP are not the only party to take this stance of the issue. Brendan Curran an independent Newry Cllr said, “They are using it as a political football as I know they are not too active in organising and supporting Irish language classes in the area. The introduction of the Irish language has to be done in a sensitive way, it shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats.”

Mark Murphy (24) from Ballyward lives within the Newry, Mourne and Down Council. He does not agree with the change. He said, “I am annoyed at the new change as I do not think it reflects the district, within Newry City Centre people communicate using many languages. As Irish is the fourth most popular in the city I do believe that it should be first.”

He continues, “I do not mind it being on the signage but I think the English language should come first, as it is the most widely spoken and understood language throughout the world, therefore it can be understood by everyone who lives here and people who come to visit from other countries. I myself live in this country and cannot read or pronounce Irish, so how can we expect tourists to understand it.”

Judging by these comments many people are hurt and angry at the change, as many unionist members of the community cannot speak Irish nor do they want their language to be considered second best to others. Everyone recognises that Northern Ireland is trying to move on from its past. To some this decision means equality but to others it means that their heritage and language is being considered second best.

Mid Ulster signage

It comes as no surprise that Sinn Fein and the SDLP back these plans for the Irish Language and this could see the emergence of three other nationalist super councils. These include Mid Ulster, Derry and Strabane and Fermanagh and Omagh. As the Vote has been cast and passed in Newry, Mourne and Down these other councils are starting to follow suit as Mid Ulster has also changed their signage in which Irish is situated before English.

 

Restaurant Review – Fx Buckley Steakhouse

Crow Street, TempleBar, Dublin

Two mains and two drinks – 70 Euro

When walking round the bustling streets of the Templebar FX Buckley’s Steakhouse can be easily missed. This treasure of an eatery is tucked down a cobbled street that lies just off Dame Street. The only way to know its there is the simple sign that hangs on a lamp post pointing its direction to the reader. Although the quiet side street feels like a world away from the busy street that it intersects with, FX Buckley steakhouse is anything but quiet.  Inside the small restaurant comes alive with the chattering and laughing of its guests, which are mostly groups and couples in their twenties and thirties. The walls surrounding them are filled with black and white pictures of the restaurants first owners. As well as pictures the walls also detail the cuts of meat that can be ordered acting as information for the reader.

An example of the type of steak available

The menu itself mainly consists of prime cuts of steak that range from rump to fillet and come from the butchers that is owned by the company and has the same name. As well as the array of cuts there are many weights that the diner can choose from. Whilst choosing what to order the staff came around the tables and showed off the different cuts of meat that one could choose from and explained about each one in excellent detail as well as answering any questions the customer may have.  For me and my partner, we chose the porterhouse steak, which was a meal for two people. It consisted of a rib-eye steak that was on the bone as well as six sides which were chips, champ, fried onions, mushrooms, broccoli and green beans. Also included were four delightful sauces; peppercorn, red wine jus, garlic butter and béarnaise. As you can imagine this dish was so big the staff had to rearrange our table to enable all the plates to fit.

The dish was cooked beautifully and could not be faulted, the portion size was excellent as it ensured both members has plenty to eat and did not leave hungry. One thing in particular I loved about this dish was the variety and I could taste many different sauces and sides, hence one did not want for anything. Another stand out point were the staff, as they were so polite and knowledgable about their products and it was easy to see that they were proud of the establishment.

One thing I would say however is there is not much on the menu if you or your group do not want red meat, but being an up-market steakhouse this was to be expected. As the restaurant was busy it is essential to book when visiting as many couples had to be turned away as there simply was not enough seats. All together this is an exceptional restaurant that is well worth its price range.

Frampton beats Avalos in five rounds.

Carl Frampton wins after only five rounds at Belfast Odyssey

Belfast born Carl Frampton defended his IBF super bantamweight title against American rival Chris Avalos in an impressive fifth round stoppage on the 28th April.

The fight was held in Belfast’s odyssey arena which was packed to the rafters with people supporting their champion.  They were not afraid to roar and produced a deafening taunt of ‘Who are ya’ as the opponent entered the ring. Avalos is a worthy competitor with twenty five wins from twenty eight fights.

The lad from Belfast’s Tiger Bay is managed by Northern Irish boxing legend Barry McGuiggan and trained by his son entered the ring with an expected cheer from his audience.

The fight began with both fighters confident to be in the centre on the ring and Frampton managed a short left hook on his opponent.  This did not sit well with Avalos as he was warned by the referee after a tap on the break. Overall the first round was an even one.

Avalos used  his extra six inches of arm length to his advantage in the first moments of round two as he managed some quick jabs against Frampton. However this was soon to stop when he appeared to injure his shoulder, although he did make it to the bell.

The turning point of this match came in round three as Frampton managed to land a storm of left hooks upon his opponent. Avalos did not respond well to this and some may say he lost his composure as he refused to listen to his corner’s instructions when they told him to box from a distance. This worked to Frampton’s advantage as Avalos was left looking tired by the end of the third round. Frampton continued to dominate in round four, although Avalos did secure a hit with Frampton’s chin as the target.

The final round began with Frampton securing a strong right cross which Avalos did not recover from. The Belfast boy continued to batter his opponent and he fell on the ropes. It was only until the referee stepped in did Frampton stop. The round was over within 1 minute and fifty three seconds.

This was a strong win for him as he managed a five round stoppage.  This is not the last we will see from Frampton, who is nicknamed ‘The Jackal’ as he hopes to have a re-match against Englishman Scott Quigg and says, “That is a score I got to settle.”

This match leaves Frampton undefeated in twenty fights with fourteen knockouts.

Follow Carl Frampton on Twitter.