Bill Clinton

A ceremony was held on Tuesday in the historic setting of the Ulster Hall to confer the Freedom of the City of Belfast on President Bill Clinton and Senator George J. Mitchell.

 

The two American politicians were in Belfast to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and took to the stage in front of hundreds of guests to accept the honour from Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister on behalf of members of Belfast City Council. The former US President and Senator Mitchell received the honour in recognition of their services to peace in Northern Ireland, and for the role they played in helping to reach Agreement in 1998.

With a focus on celebrating peace, the ceremony was presented by local author Glenn Patterson and featured music and readings from some of the country’s most celebrated poets including Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Emma Must and John Hewitt – Belfast City Council.

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Council Chambers

I’ve been inside city hall lots of times over the years for various reasons, from networking events to gala balls and dinners. However I’ve never been in the council chambers, the business end of city hall. 

The main chamber features two rows of banked seating where the local councillors take their seats and discuss the topics of the day. The public are permitted to visit and there are two galleries just above the main chamber to accommodate those that want to sit in during council sessions.

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Birthday Party

The office of Lord Mayor is unquestionably busy but like with all things in life, you need to stop every now and again to enjoy the finer moments.  Nuala’s son, Finn had his first birthday a couple weeks back so of course he had to have a birthday party!

The mayoral parlour gets used for all sorts of things. It’s used to host meetings, accommodate members of the public  and VIPs but on this occasion it would be used for Finn’s birthday party.

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Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo is one of those places that as a local I tend to ignore. I don’t know why; I know it’s there but outside of school trips it’s not somewhere I;ve often visited. I started this project as I wanted to expose myself to the unexpected and this trip fitted that requirement perfectly.

As I’ve said before I had an idea of how I would like this project to work, but ultimately I would have no control as to the path it takes. That would, for the most part be down to Nuala. She mentioned several weeks ago about the Zoo and I said it would fit well in with what we were trying to do.

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Karate in Belfast

My first outing with the Lord Mayor would be following her whilst she attended her old karate club just off College Street in Belfast. We spoke several weeks ago about this project and this appointment was the first occasion that would really suit this project.

Nuala trained with NIKW during her high school years under the instruction of club owner, Oliver Brunton. I was super excited to be joining her to visit the club as there was junior competition on that evening and I’d never really seen karate up close like this before.

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Welcome

Welcome to my latest project, “Year In Office”. The clue with this one is all in the title. Throughout Nuala McAllister’s year in the Mayoral seat for Belfast City I plan to spend time with her documenting what goes on behind the scenes.

This isn’t a project that will consist of the typical posed images you’ll often see of the Mayor in the local paper but will instead consist of a carefully created set of images that will show what life is like away from the cameras and press.

As the year progresses you will get a glympse into what being Mayor of city actually entails and through the fly on the wall imagery I aim to show you how busy but fulfilling the post is to those that undertake this position.

neil.