Antrim and Newtownabbey events to show appreciation of health workers

Glengormley Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Goodman has expressed “disappointment” over items planned for an “event of appreciation” for health workers this summer.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:00 pm

Speaking at a remote meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on Monday evening, Cllr Goodman described the local authority’s planned programme of events as “copy and paste” of that “put together by the UK Government”.

He said that it was “what they are doing in England” and “not a lot of appreciation being shown to local workers”.

“We have Antrim Hospital on our door. It is not in the proposal to be involved in any of this. I am extremely disappointed.”

Mayor Cllr Jim Montgomery on National Day of Reflection.

He added: “If anyone else claps for them, they will swing for them to be honest.

“I thought a working group was set up to develop a local programme of appreciation for key workers.”

He went on to say that there has only been one meeting of the working group which he could not attend and he would have liked an opportunity to engage before asking if it was too late to make an amendment.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor Councillor Jim Montgomery said that more events of recognition can be considered.

“This is just the initial set of recognition but there will be more to come.”

However, Antrim DUP Councillor Paul Dunlop said that he was happy to second the proposal.

“The NHS is UK-wide. We have a great service in this country. I am more than happy to second this recognition.”

Antrim Ulster Unionist Councillor Leah Smyth who seconded the original motion for an event of appreciation for key workers locally said: “I think it is very fitting. It is a UK-wide appreciation. I think it is fitting for our borough.”

A national NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day is planned for July 5. This date marks the anniversary of the formation of the NHS in 1948.

It is proposed that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenant will raise a specially commissioned NHS flag at the council’s three main civic buildings – Mossley Mill and Antrim Civic Centre and Ballyclare Town Hall.

This will be followed by a two minutes’ silence at 11am led by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor at Mossley Mill and Antrim Civic Centre.

It is also proposed that the council will organise for local bands to play a specially chosen piece of music in the borough’s five main towns. This anthem has been written by Brass Bands England to coincide with the “Nation’s Toast”.

It is also expected that the borough’s parks and open spaces will be decorated with NHS banners and residents will be “encouraged to come together” within Covid guidelines for “picnics in the park” or participate at home in their gardens.

Two “open air afternoon teas” are being planned “on either side of the borough”.

Churches in the borough will be invited to take part in UK- wide bell ringing at 8pm with residents invited to participate in “Clapping Our Heroes”.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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