X marks the spot
With just four days to go until polls close on another election — and the fourth time we’ve called out the voters in just over a year — it’s time for that final push to the finishing line.
Criss-crossing South Belfast over the past five weeks, I’ve been amazed again at both the size and scale of this constituency – stretching from Finaghy to Carryduff and from Four Winds to the Village — and at its diversity and genius. I doubt if there’s a constituency in these islands which can combine the wondrous beauty of the Lagan and the sophistication of the tech businesses around the city centre; the inner-city energy of the Market and Sandy Row with the grandeur of Upper Malone and Royal Lodge.
But ultimately it’s all about people and their hopes for the future.
And I sense change in the air; a desire to maintain the momentum for a brighter future which has been building since the EU referendum of June 2016. (A referendum in which fully 70 per cent of the people of South Belfast voted to Remain.)
I have no doubt the push for progress will continue on Thursday and that, when the ballots are counted and candidates returned as MP, that those who believe in a better Belfast will emerge stronger than ever.
To whet your appetite for Thursday’s poll, here’s a video of the Sinn Féin election launch in South Belfast’s Ivanhoe Inn in Carryduff and all the action from BBC The View programme this week which came from St George’s Market and featured the main South Belfast contenders.
Focal comhbhróin. Táimid uilig briste ar maidin cluinstin go bhfuair Paddy Johnston, scoláire físiúil, ceannaire cróga, trodaí in aghaidh ailse, agus Gaeilgeoir bródúil bás ag deireadh na seachtaine. Bhí Paddy ina leas-seansailéir ag Ollscoil na Ríona agus sa ról sin rinne sé gach iarracht an chathair agus an ollscoil a snaidhmú le chéile. Leoga, labhair sé ar an ábhar sin Dé Máirt seo chuaigh thart ag Halla na Cathrach os comhair ceannairí na cathrach. Ar dhéis láimh Dé go raibh sé.
On Tuesday last, I heard QUB Vice-Chancellor Paddy Johnston give an inspiring address at Belfast City Hall on how best to link town and gown to lift both the university and the city. I was shocked and saddened yesterday, as was all of South Belfast, to hear of his untimely death in Co Donegal. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.