Belfast Telegraph

Gloria salutes 'girl power' as she greets Belfast Lord Mayor in Loose Women's live TV broadcast

By Jackie Bell

TV presenter Gloria Hunniford has praised Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister for representing the new 'girl power' in Northern Ireland politics.

The Portadown-born broadcaster was back on home ground for yesterday's episode of Loose Women as the ITV show hit the road.

Belfast was the first stop on its tour, and to mark the show's National Television Award nomination for Best Live Magazine Show, Gloria and Denise van Outen were in Victoria Square to drum up support and votes from the public.

The pair met a host of characters from Belfast and beyond, including Newtownabbey-based Irish dancing group Celtic Flair who performed a jig live on the show.

Local snorkelling champion Danika Maguire and the Lord Mayor also appeared for a chat.

Gloria was full of praise for 29-year-old Nuala McAllister, saying: "I think it's fantastic having a female Lord Mayor.

"I don't think that would have happened in my day - it would have been more the older man.

"I know the city has had other female Lord Mayors, but because this one is so young it somehow breaks the mould and, as she said herself, there's girl power here in Belfast.

"I love that strength."

Denise and Gloria chatted with the crowd during their appearance and posed for pictures with fans.

"The city has been more than amazing," Gloria said of their time in Belfast.

"Some people have travelled from all over Northern Ireland to be here just to support us, it's been great."

Denise added: "There's so much love for Loose Women in Belfast.

"I loved watching the Irish dancing - I actually got goosebumps whenever I saw the performers and they danced so well for us."

Gloria has been a presenter on Loose Women since 2014, having previously been a frequent guest panellist.

Denise also appeared as a guest panellist on the show before becoming a regular last year.

She is set to appear as a judge on the debut series of Ireland's Got Talent next month.

Loose Women has been broadcast since 1999, and focuses on the experiences of its panellists with a range of topical issues.

It also features regular contributions from Christine Lampard, who grew up in Newtownards.

Speaking about the daytime show's huge popularity, Gloria said: "Growing up in Northern Ireland we were never allowed to talk about sex, for example, and some of the older ladies here today were telling me about just how much they loved the programme. I think it's because we talk about everything live on air, so they feel up to speed on any topic."

Loose Women is broadcast on weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV

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