Tim McGarry: Now that Hillsborough has a royal title, Cultra fears getting an Irish one

There was bad news this week for the Hillsborough branch of Sinn Fein when the village was given the new title of “Royal Hillsborough”.

By Tim McGarry
Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 7:02 am
Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday. His next column after this week will appear on June 17
Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday. His next column after this week will appear on June 17

This regal stamp of approval is a singular honour and marks Hillsborough out as the most exclusive and elite place in Northern Ireland.

I bet the people of Cultra are absolutely raging.

It’s not fair.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The waterfont path at Cultra. The exclusive neighbourhood’s residents dread a bilingual Irish-English road sign to the yacht club

Hillsborough gets the Royal prefix whereas, if the Irish Language Act eventually goes ahead, the only thing Cultra will get is a bilingual road sign to the yacht club.

There are bound to be protests.

Cultra’s equivalent of Jamie Bryson will be standing on top of a Range Rover fulminating against the royal protocol and arguing that compared to Cultra, Hillsborough is like Lurgan on a wet weekend.

The Concerned Residents of Cultra will be setting fire to their golf clubs and forming barricades made out of Audi Coupes.

Hillsborough gets the Royal prefix. To the Concerned Residents of Cultra, Hillsborough is like Lurgan on a wet weekend

I think the Queen and Brandon Lewis have missed a trick here.

They shouldn’t have given the honour to Hillsborough.

At a stroke they could have ended the perennial tedious argument over the name Derry/Londonderry. All they had to do was order the dropping of London and rename the city Royal Derry.

Who could possibly object to that?

The Queen has missed a trick. All she had to do was order the dropping of London from Londonderry and rename the city Royal Derry. Who could possibly object?

Regular readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that comedy is hard.

The great Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges described the worst show he ever had.

When he was performing in a prison, half-way through his act, a life prisoner in the front row got up from his seat and voluntarily went back to his cell.

Last Thursday, however, Edwin Poots went one better. He had a walk out before he’d even opened his mouth.

Edwin contributed to the Doc. Dr Jessen, outside court in Belfast, after being sued by Arlene Foster. One online contributor donated £10 to Dr Jessen’s fund and gave his name as 'Edwin Poots'

I genuinely feel for Edwin Poots.

On paper, last Thursday should have been an easy gig. He was the shiny new leader talking to the party faithful.

All he had to do was rally the troops, slag off the Shinners, blame Dublin for everything, maybe set out a couple of policies, shout ‘Scrap the Protocol!’, and then hit the juice bar.

Instead his moment was ruined by rancorous votes, alleged paramilitary intimidation and walkouts.

Before Edwin even rose to his feet many of the DUP big hitters had hit the road.

That’s a snub of epic proportions.

To be fair Edwin was never likely to deliver the 21st century version of the Gettysburg Address.

He’s not exactly an inspiring speaker.

Looking for rhetorical fireworks and oratorical flourishes in an Edwin Poots speech is like looking for facts in a Gerry Adams autobiography.

Sammy Wilson was the star of the evening for me.

Sammy is of course a climate change sceptic who refuses to acknowledge facts that are staring him in the face.

He brought all his experience of denying stuff that is undeniably true in to play when he brazenly denied there was a split in the DUP while everyone watching the BBC’s The View watched the split live as it happened.

Alex Kane described the shenanigans superbly as ‘Game of Thrans’.

So Sammy may not think there is a split but be honest which side are you on?

Are you Provisional or Official?

Real DUP or Continuity DUP?

All in all, it’s been a difficult time for unionism.

Ok the 12th is back but we also learned this week that Boris Johnson is just one decade of the Rosary away from full blown Catholicism.

Boris got married for the 3rd time courtesy of a Roman Catholic ceremony in Westminster Cathedral.

Boris was baptised a Catholic but was confirmed as a member of the Church of England.

Clearly he’s edging slowly back to the one true faith.

It’s obviously wrong to indulge in sectarian stereotypes but let’s be honest Boris is definitely Catholic.

He likes a drink and is averse to a hard day’s work.

Mind you, on the other hand, he appears to have no sense of guilt or shame whatsoever.

So maybe he’s not.

We’ll only know for certain if I take a break and he ends up writing this column.

Edwin snubs Arlene with a donation to the Doc

I promise this is not a thinly veiled loan application, but I’m delighted that Arlene Foster won £125,000 in damages in her libel action against Dr Christian Jessen.

It’s very difficult and traumatic to take a legal action even when, as in Arlene’s case, you are 100% in the right.

Arlene did all of us a favour by suing Dr Jessen (pictured, right, outside court in Belfast).

It sends a powerful warning message to Twitter trolls and false rumour mongers.

So I won’t be contributing to Dr Jessen’s crowdfunding scheme to help him pay the damages and legal costs or to launch an appeal.

In his online plea for donations Dr Jessen emphasises his long term advocacy of LGBT rights.

This is a poor argument.

I’m in favour of LGBT rights but that doesn’t mean I can libel and slander people. Just because I support equal marriage it doesn’t give me carte blanche to falsely say that Michelle O’Neill secretly hates Gaelic football, that Doug Beattie cheats at Scrabble and Naomi Long’s favourite pastime is kicking cats. (Editor- please check these are all false)

One online contributor donated £10 to Dr Jessen’s fund and gave his name as “Edwin Poots”.

I presume this is a joke, but given the current situation in the DUP…who can tell?

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe