Keep on running
Thanks to Conrad Atkinson for his best wishes for Thursday’s Assembly election.
It’s not every day an artist who used to be on the banned list at the Ulster Museum (it’s okay, I was banned from RTÉ and BBC myself for a time) dedicates a new work to an election hopeful so I will take it as a good omen.
According to the bookies, I am a cert for a seat in South Belfast. These are the same bookies, of course, who were so certain Leicester City wouldn’t win the Barclay’s Premiership that they offered odds of 5,000 to one against that eventuality — as opposed, for example, to odds of 2,000 to one that Justin Bieber would be the next US President.
Forgive me, therefore, for taking nothing for granted and staying on the campaign trail until polls close at 10pm on Thursday.
But if the results fall in our favour, courtesy of the burgeoning Sinn Féin support base in South Belfast, we will return to the work of building a robust economy, empowering our young people with a world-class education, and lifting more of our people out of poverty.
I got to preach some of the gospel of radical change on the Politics Show today and in between times managed to post on YouTube my address to last week’s ard fheis.
That should be enough to keep you busy while I take to the streets tomorrow (Monday) to run the Belfast marathon for Mencap NI, the pioneering charity for young people with a learning disability. We are £200 off our target but I am confident we will close that gap before I cross the finish line. If you’re along the 26.2 mile route across Belfast, I’ll be the guy with the yellow hair — Mencap’s colours — and a Gaeilge Mencap vest. You can donate via my EveryDayHero web page.
Mind you, I’m not the only one to have caught the activity bug. Paul Pelan, Belfast native relocated to Boston where he works with the Irish International Immigration Center, is coming back to Ireland for a seven-day cycle at the start of August. He has room for company. Or if you prefer a leisurely read, check out Teenage Kicks the new memoir of his days as a punk rock star by Mickey Bradley of the Undertones — he launched his new book on Saturday as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.