Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review of 2010

2010 was the year I got to meet Oscar the Grouch (and puppeteer Caroll Spinney) along with his new friends at the local Sesame Tree. After their community open days, I returned to Belfast City Airport to look behind the scenes at how the airport operates.

It was also the year our church celebrated its 130th anniversary and hosted the premiere of Dan Gordon's play The Boat Factory about the East Belfast shipyard. He came back in December to stage an Ulster Scots Nativity.

Architecture got a look in, with the major public art installation on Broadway Roundabout "Rise" (locally referred to as "Balls on the Falls"), European Heritage Open Days and Prof Ruth Morrow's inaugural lecture at QUB.

Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition at the Waterfront Hall

Belfast Culture Night was a great success along with Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition and giveaway in the Waterfront. Most of the Ulster Museum Treasure Hunt produced for this year's PCI Tech Camp is still valid.

Catherine Roberts at the launch of Budgie ButlinsAnd let's not forget Budgie Butlins!

The blog followed the review of Belfast library provision that resulted in some closures - more have now been announced outside Belfast.

Politically, back at the beginning of the year, the Lock Keeper's Cottage, Castlereagh council and the Robinson family dominated headlines in the mainstream media as well as blogs. It was also a full year of local party conferences - Alliance, a trip down the Sinn Fein's Ard Fheis in Dublin, SDLP (twice), DUP and UUP. Both the SDLP and UUP elected new leaders - I interviewed both Tom Elliott and Basil McCrea in the run up to the vote.

To get a different perspective on May's Westminster election, I followed some of the Lagan Valley candidates as they went out canvassing. (Most of the political posts migrated across to Slugger O'Toole and are no longer cluttering up Alan in Belfast!)


Colin said...

Thank you so much as always for supporting us mate. Always appreciated! Very best to you for 2011. Viva free speech.

Anonymous said...

Christmas squatter is jailed for six months A homeless man who squatted in a Belfast apartment over Christmas to escape the freezing weather has been jailed for six months.

Robert Lewandowski, 29, used keys he had stolen weeks earlier to move into the south Belfast flat once a woman who lived there left for the holidays.

The Polish national was said to have taken nothing during a four-day stay.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the woman who lived in the flat and the police were sympathetic to his plight.

He used a stove, watched television and cleaned up after himself.

Lewandowski pleaded guilty to theft and wrongfully taking possession of the property at Tates Avenue between December 24 and 28.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard on Wednesday that he had been sleeping in apartment block communal areas after losing his home and job earlier this year.

'Stole keys'

He stole the keys after spotting the door to the flat lying open and went in after a party on 5 December.

A lawyer for Lewandowski, of no fixed address, said he had left the property exactly as he found it.

He told the court that when the woman and her partner returned to find him there the defendant did not try to leave.

The solicitor said his client was apologetic, but had only gone in on Christmas Eve when temperatures were down to -10C.

"He let himself in to keep out of the cold. For four days he used the TV and stove to heat some food," he said.

"He didn't take anything, and he had four days and ample opportunity to effectively clean the place out," the solicitor added.

But after Lewandowski waived his right to a pre-sentence report, the district judge said his theft and wrongful entry was without justification.

He was jailed for two terms of six months each to run cocurrently.

He also agreed to fix bail pending a planned appeal, although Lewandowski was not released as he had no suitable address.

Welcome to Belfast!!

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Unfortunately, the justice system in Belfast - just like most of the rest of the world - discourages people from stealing keys (and using someone else's electricity ... even if they are kept and only used for well-meaning purposes.

A good question would be which parts of the state and community sector were looking out for a homeless Polish man in NI who was out of work and had no job, no income, and no roof.