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Funding to transform ‘offensive’ Belfast murals

The money will be used to re-paint 'offensive' murals with other imagery. Credit: Press Eye

Belfast City Council has launched a new scheme to help community groups remove or replace paramilitary murals.

A total of £25,000 in grants will be made available, with a focus on projects linked to centenaries of local relevance.

It’s hoped the money can help transform murals which “may be seen as offensive” or “aggressive” in content.

“This includes murals which contain paramilitary imagery, perceived threatening slogans, weaponry or organisation initials,” the council explained.

Application forms are available on Belfast City Council’s website.

Controversial gates to go in bid to secure funding

Credit: Press Eye

A row has erupted over plans by a GAA club in Co Antrim to remove the gates bearing the names of two IRA volunteers in a bid to secure funding for the club. The controversial funding proposal is expected to be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday evening.

The entrance of Glenarriffe Oisin GAA club, deep in the Glens of Antrim, bears the names of two IRA men - Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh - who were killed in 1922 during a gun battle with the B Specials.

These gates are causing controversy for the club which is seeking a £180,000 pound grant from the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough council.

The funding proposal to transform the club into a cross-community facility was first agreed at a council committee meeting earlier this year, but it wasn't until full council that the DUP raised concerns.

Legal advice was sought and that has delayed the funding process.

It's now emerged the club has voted to move the gates to another part of the grounds in order to secure the funding.

In a letter seen by UTV, members were invited to a special meeting at a local primary school. They were asked in a secret ballot whether they wanted to keep the gates at the main entrance or relocate them to the entrance of the hurling field. The decision to remove the gates has divided the club and led to the resignation of three senior members including the chairman Eddie Haughey.

The DUP say they will not be making any comment ahead of tonight's council meeting when the funding proposal is expected to be discussed.

Ó Muilleoir not stepping aside as Finance Minister

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir says he has no intention of stepping aside. Credit: UTV

Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said he will not be stepping aside as Finance Minister.

It follows calls from the Stormont Finance Committee - chaired by DUP's Emma Pengelly - for him to do so amid investigations into the ‘coaching’ scandal.

A majority of members voted to send a letter to the minister asking him to stand down from his ministerial role while an investigation by the Assembly's Commissioner for Standards takes place.

The sole Sinn Féin member present at the hearing - Caitríona Ruane - voted against the move.

The committee also asked Mr Ó Muilleoir – who has denied all involvement in the affair – to appear before them to answer questions.

"There is no basis for me to step aside as Finance Minister and I have absolutely no intention of doing so,” he said in a brief statement.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness reiterated his support for his colleague.

"Máirtín Ó Muilleoir enjoys my full support as Finance Minister and he will not be stepping aside on the basis of calls from opposition parties, much less calls from the DUP," he added.

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McGuinness has ‘full confidence’ in Ó Muilleoir as Finance Minister

Credit: Presseye

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has said Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has his “full confidence and support as Finance Minister”.

His comments come amid a scandal surrounding loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson’s appearance at a Stormont Finance Committee’s inquiry into the NAMA sale of a Northern Ireland property portfolio.

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay, then chair of the committee, has resigned his position and been suspended from the party after he allegedly “coached” him before his appearance.

Mr McGuinness reiterated Mr Ó Muilleoir’s words that “attempts to link” him to the controversy are “no more than petty party politicking”.

He said: “Máirtín is engaged in vitally important work as Finance Minister in dealing with the real crises created by the referendum result and Tory austerity.

“Máirtín will continue with that important work."

The Finance Committee is meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss recent allegations made.

Finance Committee to meet over NAMA Inquiry claims

The Finance Committee will meet at Stormont on Tuesday. Credit: Pacemaker

The Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss recent allegations made about the conduct of former Chair Daithí McKay.

It has been alleged that Mr McKay ‘coached’ the NAMA Inquiry witness Jamie Bryson prior to his appearance before the committee.

The Finance Committee will convene at 10.30am to consider the allegations.

Ó Muilleoir 'no knowledge' of Bryson and McKay 'contact'

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said he had “absolutely no knowledge of any communications between Daithí McKay and Jamie Bryson”.

In a statement, the Sinn Féin MLA described “attempts to link” him to the 'coaching' controversy as “no more than petty party politicking”.

He said he would co-operate with any investigation.

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