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Belfast City Council: Round-up of May meeting

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Belfast City Hall (Liam McBurney/PA)

Belfast City Hall (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Belfast City Hall (Liam McBurney/PA)

Five motions debated at Belfast City Council on Tuesday night were successful.

First up we had a motion calling for equality for the LGBTQ community and the endorsement of the Government's LGBTQ strategy, which was passed without a vote.

A motion highlighting the need to tackle waiting lists for diagnosing autism in children was also agreed. Now the council will write to the Health Minister Robin Swann urging him to take "all steps necessary" to address the problem.

Councillors also discussed charges for the use of ATMs, and agreed to write to the Financial Conduct Authority urging the body to cap the number of cash machines that charge for withdrawing cash.

People Before Profit councillors tabled a motion regarding services at the Mater Hospital that were halted due to the pandemic. Unanimously passed, BCC will now seek a cross-party meeting with Cathy Jack, the chief executive of the Belfast Trust, and Health Minister Robin Swann, to discuss plans for the future of the hospital, post-Covid.

Following on from a similar motion which passed in the Assembly last month, councillors also debated supporting a ban on conversion therapy.

The motion was unanimously supported by all parties, except for the DUP, whose members had a free vote on the issue, as some had concerns regarding how it may affect those of faith. The motion was passed, with 39 votes in favour, three against, and ten abstentions.

The final topic debated was the current pay rise dispute for public sector workers. The motion called on BCC to write to Finance Minister Conor Murphy, urging him to "go back to the negotiating table" with unions to secure a better deal than the 1% non-consolidated salary increase previously offered. Sinn Fein later amended the motion to focus on the UK Government, not Mr Murphy. The amended motion passed.

Four other motions will be tabled and referred back to committee for further debate. These include installing a statue of anti-slavery campaigner Mary Ann McCraken, the extension of the Belfast Bikes scheme, and the recent violence and disorder in the city.

Check out how all the developments unfolded below:


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