Call for one motivated young speaker to take to the red spot at TEDxStormont – Application deadline fast approaching

Talk like TED Pic 1:  (From left to Right): Siobhan Broderick, Urban Villages Initiative, Beth Vance, Urban Villages Participant, Eva Grosman, TEDxStormont Curator, Clare Bailey, MLA, Selina Wallace, Smarts

Talk like TED Pic 1: (From left to Right): Siobhan Broderick, Urban Villages Initiative, Beth Vance, Urban Villages Participant, Eva Grosman, TEDxStormont Curator, Clare Bailey, MLA, Selina Wallace, Smarts

An exciting initiative has been launched for young people aged 16-24 in the designated Urban Villages areas in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in the run up to TEDxStormont taking place at the end of August.

The unique ‘Talk like TED’ experience, brought by the Executive Office’s Urban Villages Initiative, is an opportunity for a number of young people to learn the skills and qualities of delivering a persuasive presentation, and the ability to influence through communication. The deadline for applications has now been extended to 19 June due to demand.

Supported by the global PR and Content agency, Smarts, the programme is a series of training workshops, delivered by former broadcaster Sarah Travers and Camilla Long taking place at Ulster University’s Belfast Campus throughout July and August.

Participants will then have the chance to showcase their ideas to a panel on 8 August at the Long Gallery, Stormont where one young speaker will be selected to deliver their TEDx talk during the main TEDxStormont event on 31 August.

Applications will only be accepted from the Urban Villages Initiative designated areas in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. Participants can apply through Survey Monkey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y2FVD9V.

This programme by the Executive Office’s Urban Villages Initiative will challenge those taking part to create ideas around one of the initiatives three key aims: Fostering Positive Community Identity; Building Community Capacity and Improving the Physical Environment.

Mark Browne, Director of Strategic Policy, Equality and Good Relations, The Executive Office, said:

“This is a really exciting programme that will allow the young people from across the Urban Village areas to show off their talents and ideas. One participant will be selected to have the chance to amplify their voice on the bigger TEDxStormont stage on 31 August to an audience of over 200 guests on the day, with many thousands online.”

“The purpose of the Urban Villages Initiative is to improve good relations and help develop thriving places in designated areas where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.”

“Through this unique opportunity we are asking participants in the 16-24 age bracket how they can use the core aims of the programme to shape a talk which captures the imagination of the panel of judges, following a series of media training workshops with the young people across the summer.”

“Without doubt, this programme of activity will allow the participants to build their confidence and hone what they really have to say to a whole new audience.”

Selina Wallace, Brand Director at global PR and content agency Smarts added:

“As a big supporter of TEDxStormont we are thrilled to be taking part, not just at the event on the day, but as part of the wider youth programme led by Urban Villages.”

“We are really looking forward to seeing what the selected participants have to offer and how our team can use our professional skills and expertise to help them shape their message and delivery.”

“We’ll be creating a few surprises along the way to help inspire the students and will also offer the winning speaker the chance to come to Smarts and be part of our mentorship programme so that they have the opportunity to develop their talents even further at one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful agencies.”

TEDxStormont set to return to Parliament Buildings

Launching TEDxStormont 2019:  Naomi Majury, Allstate, Conor Aiken, Herbert Smith Freehills, Siobhan Broderick, Urban Villages NI, Eva Grosman, TEDxStormont Curator, Clare Bailey MLA, Selina Wallace, Smarts and Mark Whyte, Belfast Live.

Launching TEDxStormont 2019: Naomi Majury, Allstate, Conor Aiken, Herbert Smith Freehills, Siobhan Broderick, Urban Villages NI, Eva Grosman, TEDxStormont Curator, Clare Bailey MLA, Selina Wallace, Smarts and Mark Whyte, Belfast Live.

TEDxStormont is set to return to Parliament Buildings on 31st August with a stellar line up of 18 speakers from varied backgrounds such as journalism, music, business and the arts.

The daylong event, compered by Presenter and Broadcaster William Crawley, is expected to see 200 guests fill the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings with a larger than ever online following.

In a fitting tribute to murdered journalist and former TEDxStormont 2017 speaker, Lyra McKee, her sister Nichola Corner and friend Stephen Lusty will take to the red spot.

Since its inception, the TEDxStormont series of talks have been viewed over 5 million times with Lyra McKee’s talk on religious and social intolerance viewed almost 150,000 times alone.

Started as a four-day conference in California in 1984, TED and the TEDx programme has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives such as TEDxStormont which has now run eight live events in the series.

The overall theme of TEDxStormont 2019 is “Imagine” – with speakers looking forward and imagining the kind of future we could have together as a society, here in Northern Ireland and beyond.

TEDxStormont 2019 speakers being announced today include:

Session 1:

  1. Laura Banks - Lawyer, Mum, Social Justice Advocate

  2. Connor Kerr - Creative Activist and Campaigner. Co-Founder Another World Belfast. 

  3. Duncan Morrow - Academic and Community Activist

  4. Orla McKeating - Entrepreneur, Podcaster, Collaborator

  5. Amanda Campbell - VP, Founder and Strategist

  6. Joe Nawaz - Thoughtful, reckless, contradictory

Session 2:

  1. Jess Dornan Lynas - Storyteller, Tech-Founder, Creative

  2. Stephen Lusty - Technologist, Entrepreneur, Samaritan

  3. Fergal McFerran - Activist, Uncle, Optimist

  4. Siobhan O’Neill - Scientist, Mental Health Advocate and Mother

  5. Nichola Corner - Spiritualist, Courageous and Loyal

  6. Alice McCullough - Writer, Performer, Artist

Session 3:

  1. Tim Brundle - Director of Research and Impact

  2. Una Jennings - Copper, mummy and multitasker

  3. Colin Davidson - Contemporary Artist

  4. Deepa Mann - Kler - Artist, Technologist and Author

  5. Saul Betmead - Creative strategist. Part-time behavioural scientist. Test & learner

Launching the speakers today, Eva Grosman, Curator of TEDxStormont 2019 said:

“TEDxStormont 2019 has really captured the imagination and we can certainly feel the excitement building ahead of the event at the end of August.” 

“The backdrop of the Great Hall in Parliament Buildings is apt after a long period of political paralysis. The speakers lined up will help us to imagine that a new way forward is possible.”

“This year, as part of the speaker event, we will be working with The Executive Office Urban Villages Initiative and running a ‘Talk like TED’ youth training programme. The young participants from five Urban Villages areas will take part in a series of workshops in the weeks leading into TEDxStormont at the end of August. One finalist will be selected to take to the stage at Stormont and deliver their TEDx talk.”

“This is a really exciting element and shows that this is not just a one-off event but acts as a catalyst for other projects and programmes that are community based and allows for young people with great ideas to have those ideas amplified to a huge audience.”

She added in relation to TEDxStormont 2019 as a tribute to Lyra McKee:

“We were truly shocked when we heard of Lyra’s untimely passing. The response that we got from her striking talk in 2017 was phenomenal. Her passion and desire for creating a better Northern Ireland shone through and her talk on religious and social intolerance has stayed with us all to this day.”

“We are humbled that Lyra’s sister Nichola and close friend Stephen will take to the red spot and deliver their individual talks. This will be emotional for us all, but we want to make sure we can provide the platform to help carry forward Lyra’s message.”

TEDxStormont 2019 has been backed by The Executive Office Urban Villages Initiative; global PR and Content Agency, Smarts; international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, Ulster University, Allstate and Belfast Live.

Tickets can be purchased at https://getinvited.to/cdpb/tedxstormont19/ with further updates on Twitter @TEDxStormont and www.tedxstormont.com/

Conservative Party Leadership Contest: Key Dates

Theresa May will resign as leader of the Conservative Party today, and the competition to replace her will officially begin next week.

Eleven Conservative MPs have so far put their names forward. The Conservative Parliamentary party will vote to whittle the candidates down to a final two and the winner will be chosen by a vote of the Conservative Party membership.

A new Prime Minister is expected to be selected by the week beginning 22 July.

Below are some key dates and information on the contest:

  • Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown has been chosen as the contest’s accounting officer.

  • Monday 10 June: MPs who want to stand must submit their nomination papers to the 1922 Committee between 10am and 5pm. Each candidate must have a proposer, a seconder and the backing of six other MPs. The full list of candidates will be announced at 5.30pm.

  • Thursday 13 June: The first ballot will be held between 10am and 12pm. Candidates will need to win 5% of the vote (17 MPs). MPs who don’t meet the minimum requirement will be eliminated. If all MPs meet the minimum requirement the one with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated.

  • Tuesday 18 June: The second ballot will be held, candidates will need to win 10% of the vote (33 MPs). Candidates who don’t receive the backing of the minimum number will be eliminated. MPs who don’t meet the minimum requirement will be eliminated. If all MPs meet the minimum requirement the one with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated.

  • Tuesday 18 June: First televised debate on BBC 1 at 8pm. Channel 4, Sky News and ITV are also in talks with the candidates to arrange televised debates.

  • 19 and 20 June: Further ballots will be held as necessary to eliminate candidates until only two candidates are left.

  • Week beginning 22 July: Conservative party members are expected to be required to submit their votes by 5pm on 22 July. The new leader of the Conservative Party will be announced and Theresa May is expected to go to the Queen and recommend the winner be asked to form a government.

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Hospitality Ulster reacts to latest tourism statistics

Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster

Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster

Reacting to the latest tourism statistics Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster commented:

“We welcome the news today that tourism in Northern Ireland has continued to grow with 5 million trips from all markets, including a record breaking 591,000 trips from the Republic of Ireland, creating £968 million revenue for the NI economy.”

“The tourism industry is vitally important to the Northern Irish economy and the hospitality sector is the cornerstone of our tourism offer. People travel here to enjoy our culture and our craic in our world class pubs and restaurants.”

“These figures show that the potential for tourism in Northern Ireland is huge, but to achieve that potential our industry needs support including, to begin with, common sense reform of our outdated licensing laws, reform of business rates and VAT. Our hospitality sector has helped drive record levels of tourism in Northern Ireland with one hand effectively tied behind its back, imagine what we could achieve if we were given the tools to do the job properly.”

Wendy and Oisin team up for Inspire’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards

Broadcaster Wendy Austin teams up with Inspire’s Director of Professional Services John Conaghan, and former GAA star Oisin McConville       to launch Inspire’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards. The awards celebrate employers who champion resilience and wellbeing at work and will take place on Thursday 20 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Broadcaster Wendy Austin teams up with Inspire’s Director of Professional Services John Conaghan, and former GAA star Oisin McConville to launch Inspire’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards. The awards celebrate employers who champion resilience and wellbeing at work and will take place on Thursday 20 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Former GAA star and mental health champion Oisin McConville will team up with broadcaster Wendy Austin for the second annual Inspire Workplace Wellbeing Awards.

The event champions innovation and commitment to wellbeing at work, by employers who believe in protecting and nurturing the mental health and wellbeing of employees.

The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 20 June in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

Hosted by broadcaster Wendy Austin, it will celebrate excellence in teamwork, wellbeing and support in workplaces across Northern Ireland, and will feature a special live interview with former GAA star Oisin McConville, about his footballing career and his own personal battle with a gambling addiction.

Speaking today, Oisin McConville said:

“Looking after the emotional wellbeing of employees is something that all employers need to be aware of, especially at a time where we are trying to encourage more openness about mental health and wellbeing.

“My own mental health battle left me feeling very isolated because I felt like I could not discuss it openly and kept it very much hidden from my team mates and colleagues. Today thankfully, things are changing.

“For employers to place an emphasis on the wellbeing of their team is something to celebrate and champion so that it might inspire similar action in other organisations. Building and supporting resilience in teams should be a combined effort.

“It’s an honour for me to be able to participate in Inspire’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards this year.”

Broadcaster Wendy Austin said:

“As a business broadcaster, I talk to so many people about their businesses and organisations and what makes them successful.

“One emerging theme we see now is increasing talk about resilience and mental wellbeing in the workplace.

“In today’s very competitive business world, employers understand that the wellbeing of their workforce will have an impact on the wellbeing of their business and that means supporting employees and their mental health.

“It’s so encouraging to see Inspire recognise those employers who are already doing this, and I hope it encourages similar action by others.”

John Conaghan, Director of Professional Services at Inspire, added:

 “These awards, now in their second year, are an important public celebration of employers’ commitment to employee resilience and wellbeing.

 “We launched our first ever awards in 2018 and the response this year when we opened nominations was phenomenal. So many organisations are putting the wellbeing of their employees at the heart of what they do, and it is encouraging to see the transformative effect that this is having in various workplaces.

 “At Inspire Workplaces we have over 20 years’ experience in working with companies from across Ireland who have shown the value they place on their staff by investing in wellbeing, and we see the change that makes every day.

 “The awards give us the opportunity to recognise employers that are going above and beyond the call of duty or doing something really innovative to improve and support a positive and resilient workforce. The more we celebrate approaches like this, the more they will become the norm.” 

 Eight awards categories will pay tribute to those organisations who have gone above and beyond in supporting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Those nominated in each category are listed below:

Excellence in Public Sector Workplace Wellbeing:

  • Belfast Met

  • Northern Health and Social Care Trust

  • North West Regional College

  • PSNI

  • SERC

  • NI Social Care Council

  • Education Authority

 Excellence in Private Sector Workplace Wellbeing – large organisation:

  • Allstate

  • Hughes Insurance

  • Lagan Specialist Contracting Group

 Excellence in Voluntary, Community or Social Enterprise Workplace Wellbeing:

  • Clanrye

  • Job Assist Centre West Belfast

  • Ulster Supported Employment Ltd.

 Excellence in Local Government Workplace Wellbeing:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey

  • PSNI

 Promoting a Positive Wellbeing Culture:

  • Ashton Community Trust

  • HMRC

  • HNH

  • NI Water

  • NIMDTA

  • NI Blood Transfusion Service

  • PFNI

  • Queen’s University

  • Seaview Primary School

  • SERC

  • Hughes Insurance

  • My Pizza Slice Ltd

  • JMG Systems

 Outstanding Employee Led Initiative:

  • HMRC

  • Queen’s University Belfast

  • SERC

 Workplace Wellbeing Innovation Award:

  • Leckey

  • Musgrave

  • Northern Health and Social Care Trust

  • NI Water

  • PSNI

  • Queen’s University

  • SERC

  • Vital Nutrition

  • Education Authority

Inspire will also award a Lifetime Achievement Award which will be chosen by the Inspire Workplaces Board.

Airporter reaches 1.5 million passenger milestone

Directors Niall and Jennifer McKeever at Airporter’s £1million transport hub in Derry.

Directors Niall and Jennifer McKeever at Airporter’s £1million transport hub in Derry.

Derry-based transport company Airporter has passed a major milestone by serving more than 1.5million passengers since it first opened.

The company, which provides a direct service from Derry-Londonderry to both Belfast airports, today announced it reached the incredible milestone over a busy Easter period. This means the company has provided almost 100,000 journeys in their trademark coaches.

Opening in 1996 with just two drivers and around 5,000 customers a year, the company now serves over 155,000 customers annually and the number of employees has trebled in the last four years. Airporter now employs more than 30 drivers and operates a fleet of 21 vehicles.

The demand for Airporter’s services has increased sharply in recent years, driven by increased tourism and commuters travelling to and from the North West for work.

This steep increase saw the company invest £1million in a new, purpose-built facility and hub in October 2018. At the same time, it moved its pickup point to the city centre in a strategic partnership with Foyleside Shopping Centre.

The company has also invested heavily in digital technology which allows passengers to book tickets 24 hours a day from anywhere and almost 100% of its bookings are online.

Jennifer McKeever, Director of Airporter said:

“Reaching this milestone of 1.5 million customers is an incredible achievement and something that we’re very proud of. It is testament to the hard work, professionalism and excellent customer service from our staff that Airporter has become first choice for so many people travelling to and from the North West.

“We’ve seen rapid growth in the last few years and a big part of this is due to an increase in tourism as more people than ever are visiting our city and region. The Derry Girls phenomenon has been a great addition to the tourism offering this year and it’s exciting to see how screen tourism is starting bring in new visitors from new markets.

“We carry passengers travelling to and from the North West for any number of reasons, not just holiday-makers. We’re popular amongst students who are studying in England, Scotland or Wales and who want a quick and easy way to get themselves home over the holidays.

“Over the years we have seen a huge increase in the percentage of passengers who travel for work and business. That increased connectivity is good for the whole region, because when companies are looking to invest in a location, one of the first things they look for is how well connected it is to the rest of the world. Our service means that people can live in Derry and work in Manchester, London or beyond.

“We’ve always been really proud of our willingness to innovate and do more. We opened the year after the first Easyjet flight in direct response to that model of quick and easy transport and we were the first coach company in Northern Ireland to invest in an online booking system, so while this growth is an incredible achievement, we’re already thinking about how we can be better.”

Forward Look from Brown O'Connor Communications - Week Commencing 27 May 2019

Forward Look

  • The votes for the European Parliamentary Elections in Northern Ireland will be counted from 8am on Monday 27 May.

  • The Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, has said that he expects the Stormont Talks process to intensify over the next 2 weeks. He added that the Prime Minister and Taoiseach will receive recommendations on how the negotiations should proceed at the end of next week.

  • Mel Stride MP has been appointed as the new Leader of the House of Commons following the resignation of Andrea Leadsom. He was previously the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

  • The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill will not be brought to the House of Commons in the first week of June. Instead, a timeline for the introduction of the Bill is due to be set out after the House of Commons returns from Recess on 4 June.

  • Maria Caulfield MP and Mark Pritchard MP have officially been nominated as candidates to become the new Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. Maria Caulfield is currently on the Committee and Mark Pritchard served on the Committee between November 2016 and May 2017.

  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has advertised for a new Chief Executive. The closing date for applications is 3 June.

  • The Lord Chancellor is seeking to appoint lay members to the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission.

  • The Attorney General for Northern Ireland is hosting a Constitutional Law Summer School in Belfast from 7 – 9 August.

  • EE will launch its 5G network in Belfast on 30 May.

  • The White House confirmed that US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland on 5 June following his three-day state visit to the UK.

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Other Stories This Week

  • Former Sinn Féin MLA, Michaela Boyle, who left the position to become a Councillor, has been appointed as the new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

  • Northern Ireland’s economy was the slowest growing of any UK region in the first quarter of 2019. Figures from the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence put year-on-year growth at 0.7%, compared to an average UK growth rate of 1.5%.

  • Sinn Féin launched a new policy paper on ‘Towards a New Employment Model: Strengthening Workers’ Rights.’

Upcoming Key Political and Business Events

  • 28 May, NILGA Elected Member Planning Training

  • 29 May, Belfast Chamber Meeting the Supplier Seminar

  • 30 May, NI Chamber Developing Your Growth Potential – High Performance Networking

  • 30 May, Northern Ireland Tourism Awards 2019

  • 30 May, Think People Consulting and Eversheds Sutherland, Managing Sensitive Issues in the Workplace

  • 3 June, Economic Briefing with CBI Chief Economist

  • 4 June, CBI Conference Series: Post-Brexit Economic Growth

Consultations

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Young Athletes Receive Almost £80,000 In Better Bursaries And Cash Awards

Lady Mary Peters, and GLL Regional Community Sports Manager Ronan McKenna with the GLL Sport Foundation Awards winners at Belfast City Hall last night.

Lady Mary Peters, and GLL Regional Community Sports Manager Ronan McKenna with the GLL Sport Foundation Awards winners at Belfast City Hall last night.

Social enterprise GLL awarded 129 gifted young athletes from Belfast with sporting bursaries, at an awards gala in Belfast City Hall on Tuesday 21 May.

GLL runs 14 Belfast City Council leisure centres (Better Belfast) and is distributing financial grants and Better training memberships worth almost £80,000 amongst some of Northern Ireland’s most talented young sport stars.

Many of these stars receive no other sports funding and rely on the bursaries to help them compete at national and international levels.

GLL’s Sport Foundation (GSF) is the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK. The annual awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines, ensuring that athletes at a multitude of levels and abilities are supported on their sporting journeys.

Athletes supported by GSF will receive award packages that include financial grants up to £2000, free training memberships with access to 300 GLL and partner operated sporting venues and gyms, along with access to sports science, medical support and employment opportunities.

Lady Mary Peters, Rachel McCune, Jack McMillan, GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk and Jack Agnew at the GLL Sport Foundation Awards at Belfast City Hall last night.

Lady Mary Peters, Rachel McCune, Jack McMillan, GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk and Jack Agnew at the GLL Sport Foundation Awards at Belfast City Hall last night.

Ronan McKenna, Regional Community Sports Manager at GLL, paid tribute to the athletes:

“Every one of the athletes honoured this year has shown unbelievable commitment, drive and willingness to sacrifice to reach their potential.”

“GSF provides a fantastic support for some of our most promising young athletes and it’s an honour to be able to help them as they compete at the highest levels in their chosen sport.”

“I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for supporting the programme. Belfast City Council, Mary Peters Trust and Rebound Physio provide the direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways, whilst our corporate sponsors headlined by GLL and Technogym, numerous local authorities, university and physiotherapy partners directly encourage these sporting dreams so that they can become a reality.”

Lady Mary Peters, explained why the Mary Peters Trust is one of the GSF Awards sponsors:

“It’s crucial that talented young athletes are supported early on. The passion that drives athletes to compete at the highest level is instilled in us when we’re young. Nurturing that talent and passion can create a legacy in Belfast of sporting excellence to inspire future generations.”

“The GSF is a lifeline to young athletes who dream of competing in their chosen sports at national level and representing their country at international championships and tournaments.”

“Young athletes starting out face serious challenges, especially when it comes to accessing training facilities and equipment and paying to travel to competitions. For many, the costs of competing are too high and can put them off getting involved.”

“The incredible training facilities in GLL’s Better Leisure Centres are perfect for young athletes to drive themselves on and fulfil their potential.”

Lady Mary Peters, Zeke Wilson, Lauren Strange, Carrie Carmichael and GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk at the GLL Sport Foundation Awards at Belfast City Hall last night.

Lady Mary Peters, Zeke Wilson, Lauren Strange, Carrie Carmichael and GLL Regional Director Gareth Kirk at the GLL Sport Foundation Awards at Belfast City Hall last night.

Jack McMillan is a swimmer and a GSF Supported Athlete:

“I love swimming and am lucky that I’m able to pursue my passion in this way. I know that if it wasn’t for the support I’ve received from GSF I wouldn’t have been able to pursue it as successfully as I have so far.”

“I’m driven and I want to compete at the very highest level. The support I receive from GSF has been absolutely invaluable to supporting me in chasing that dream.”

“Being able to use the first-class Better facilities for free has had a fantastic impact on my training and preparation, and the physiotherapy sessions have been priceless. The GSF Bursary has really helped me and I know that the athletes receiving the bursaries this year will see the same positive effect on their training.”

Since launching in Belfast in 2015, the GSF has provided over 375 athlete awards at a total support value of over £230,000 across the city.

Previous GSF supported athletes have included boxer Anthony Joshua, Paralympian Michael McKillop and Irish Hockey International, Shirley McCay.

Forward Look; Forthcoming Political and Business Events; and Live Consultations

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Forward Look

  • The Belfast City Council Annual General Meeting takes place on Tuesday 21 May. Newly elected Sinn Fein Councillor John Finucane will be the next Lord Mayor of Belfast.

  • The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will hear oral evidence from CEO of Hospitality Ulster Colin Neill as part of their inquiry into tourism in Northern Ireland.

  • The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and Work and Pensions Committee have launched a joint inquiry into welfare policy in Northern Ireland. The deadline for written submissions is Friday 24 May.

  • Elections to the EU Parliament take place across Europe from 23-26 May. Polling day in Northern Ireland is 23 May and votes will be counted from 8am on Monday 27 May.

  • Parliament will be in recess from 24 May to 3 June.

  • A special EU summit will be held on 28 May to begin the process of nominating the next leaders of the EU institutions.

  • Prime Minister Theresa May will bring the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Parliament on the week commencing 3 June. She will set out the timetable for her departure after the vote.

  • The ballot to replace Dr Andrew Murrison as Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will take place between 10am and 1.30pm on Wednesday 12 June in Committee Room 16. Only members of the Conservative Party can be nominated for the post.

  • The Belfast Chamber of Commerce is seeking a new Chief Executive.

Upcoming Key Political and Business Events

  • 21 May, NI Chamber Customs Declarations Training

  • 21 May, Bertie Ahern Lecture at Queen’s ‘Peace Process – In light of Brexit Issues’

  • 22 May, Meet Belfast Chamber Event

  • 22 May, Queen’s University, Working with teams under pressure

  • 23 May, CBI Annual Dinner Northern Ireland

  • 23 May, NI Chamber Business Lunch with Department for International Trade

  • 23 May, IoD NI New and Renew Member Lunch

  • 23 May, Women in Business: Influence the Decision Makers

  • 23 May, European Parliament elections in the UK

  • 24 May, European Parliament and local government elections in the Republic of Ireland

  • 24 May, Referendum on Divorce in the Republic of Ireland

  • 24 May, Referendum on directly elected Mayors in Cork, Limerick and Waterford

  • 28 May, University of Ulster Northern Ireland Graduate Recruitment Fair

  • 28 May, NILGA Elected Member Planning Training

Consultations

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Oscar-Winning Director Alex Gibney to attend new all-Ireland documentary festival in Belfast next month

The Oscar-winning director of Loughinisland documentary, No Stone Unturned, Alex Gibney, will take part in an event on the opening night of the new all-Ireland documentary film festival, DOCS IRELAND.

Oscar winning director, Alex Gibney will attend the new DOCS IRELAND festival which takes place in Belfast from 12-16 June 2019.

Oscar winning director, Alex Gibney will attend the new DOCS IRELAND festival which takes place in Belfast from 12-16 June 2019.

Gibney will participate in an ‘In Conversation’ event with Brian Henry Martin and will also be presented with the “Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Film Award”.

The event marks the opening night of the first ever all-Ireland, industry focused, documentary festival, showcasing the hottest new films from award-winning documentarians. 

The new festival will also host a series of industry events, master-classes and pitching sessions for new and emerging filmmakers and give them the chance to meet with the most influential people in the sector to pitch ideas and learn about the business side of filmmaking, from expert filmmakers.

The festival has attracted the biggest names in the industry including Dogwoof, BBC Storyville, TG4, Channel 4, CAT&Docs, USA PBS, RTÉ, Northern Ireland Screen and Screen Ireland and a host of other investors who will be in Belfast to engage with filmmakers and develop new opportunities.

DOCS IRELAND will showcase the best new documentary films, presenting Irish and international feature length and short documentaries from 12-16 June in Belfast.

The full programme for the festival will be unveiled at noon on Wednesday 12 May at Belfast City Hall.

The festival includes screenings, talks and special events. Awards will also be presented for:

  • Best International Documentary

  • Best Irish Feature Documentary (The Pull Focus Award)

  • Best Irish Short Documentary

  • Best Observational Documentary (Maysles Brothers Award)

Co-Chair of DOCS IRELAND, filmmaker Brian Henry Martin, said:

“It’s a coup to have Alex come and join us for the opening night of DOCS IRELAND and we’re honoured to be able to present him with the Outstanding Contribution to Documentary Film Award.”

“The importance of documentary films today cannot be understated. It’s more important than ever that we celebrate those brave and creative voices who seek out the truth no matter what it is or where it takes them.”

“The launch of this festival is another sign of just how exciting and energetic the film industry is here. We’ve just celebrated our best-ever Belfast Film Festival with special guest, the megastar Aamir Khan. Now the fact that Alex is joining us shows that Belfast is not just punching above its weight when it comes to the film industry, it is knocking out the competition.”

Mark Cousins and Michele Devlin launch the programme for DOCS IRELAND, the brand new all-Ireland documentary film festival taking place in Belfast from 12-16 June 2019.

Mark Cousins and Michele Devlin launch the programme for DOCS IRELAND, the brand new all-Ireland documentary film festival taking place in Belfast from 12-16 June 2019.

Michele Devlin, Director of DOCS IRELAND said:

“This is a fantastic time for the film industry in Ireland, there’s a real sense of excitement and opportunity.  We are a nation of storytellers, and it seems year on year our indigenous talent becomes more and more confident and assured in their work.”

“Documentaries are more popular than ever and there is a huge appetite for them worldwide. The rise of streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix, and the growth of theatrical releases for documentaries, show that there is a hunger for real-life, compelling and beautifully told stories. By showing people here the very best work from around the world we can light a spark and inspire the next generation of documentarians.”

“The fact that Belfast is hosting the first ever all-Ireland industry focused documentary festival is an illustration of how vital we are to the sector.  We are looking forward to hosting over 30 national and international guests, all of whom are key decision makers in the documentary world.” 

 

Other highlights from the festival’s programme include:

 Diego Maradona: Thursday 13 June 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast Directed by one of the world’s hottest documentary filmmakers today, Asif Kapadia, this documentary focuses on the much-loved but controversial footballer. It includes never seen before footage from Maradona’s personal archive.

The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash - Thursday 13 June 8.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the film explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash’s life.

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch – Thursday 13 June, 6.30pm, The Strand Cinema This documentary delves deep into the mud and blood to reveal the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in the very real studios, fields and carparks of Northern Ireland.

Framing John DeLorean – Friday 14 June, 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast A deep portrait of the controversial businessman with Alec Baldwin playing John DeLorean in re-enactments of key scenes in his life.

Firing Line with William F Buckley: Bernadette Devlin – Friday 14 June, 4.30pm, Queen’s Film Theatre An hour-long conversation between the respected American journalist and the Irish civil rights activist filmed in 1972.  Bernadette McAliskey will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Shellshock Rock – Sunday 16 June, 3pm, Ulster Museum A seminal documentary on the Northern Irish 1970’s punk rock scene.

Closing Night Gala: Gaza – Sunday 16 June, 6.45pm, Odeon Cinema Belfast This elegantly shot, and masterfully crafted portrait of Palestinian life offers a rare chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza.