Putting our best foot forward
Stepping out lightly for Belfast: Loughgiel dancers close the Homecoming celebrations in City Hall. (Pics by Thomas McMullan)
Sometimes a picture says it best.
Certainly this trad tap-dancing trio capture the vivacity and verve which permeated the fourth Belfast International Homecoming in Belfast.
For, in what was a tough week for the city, the true spirit of Belfast shone through — helped by the presence of international allies and the backing of our global family.
Kudos to all those who made the journey ‘home’ — with a special nod to Brendan Finn, chief of staff to the Council in Portland, Oregon, who clocked up the most miles to be with us — to share their experiences and sample the craic with the leaders of the reborn Belfast.
As Homecoming honorary chair Colin Anderson (pictured below) aptly put it to our sold-out gala finale on Friday evening: your endorsement gives us the confidence to push ever-forward.
A tough week?
Yes because four Catholic families in south-east Belfast were intimidated from their homes by the rabble of the East Belfast UVF. But even that setback was ameliorated by the welcome statement of the PSNI Chief Constable who called out the paramilitary crime lords by week’s end. The Chief Constable can be sure of the support of the people of Belfast if he now follows up those strong words with robust action to rid us of what he correctly brands “a scourge”.
It’s unlikely that those trying to turn back the clock on Belfast will heed the words of New York Assemblyman and LGBT champion Daniel O’Donnell — a great name and that’s only for starters — but heed them they should for they speak to the future.
“You can’t have peace without justice,” he told the Homecoming conference in the inspirational surrounds of the new Titanic Hotel. “And you can’t have justice without equality. Belfast doesn’t want to be at the back end of change when it comes to equality because if you are it will hurt you in the end.”
We hear you!