Belfast Telegraph

Carl Frampton homecoming honour as City Hall is lit up green and white

By Joanne Sweeney

Carl Frampton will be welcomed back home as Belfast's City Hall is lit up in green and white on Sunday night - the colours of his beloved Northern Ireland football team.

The 29-year-old will be travelling back to Belfast on a teatime flight from Manchester where he defeated Scott Quigg in a split decision to win the unified world super-bantamweight title.

Frampton's victory has also earned the warm congratulations of both First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mrs Foster said that the 29-year-old had done Northern Ireland proud and Mr McGuinness described him as "a most admirable young man".

Frampton fever has hit the whole province with even the PSNI in Craigavon getting in on the excitement.

They posted a humorous notice on their Facebook page in a faux police report saying that Manchester police were looking for a man who had "punched another male repeatedly" before making off with some "proper ornate bling".

However, the message was used to motivate young boxers in Lurgan after their Phoenix Boxing Club was attacked last week to emulate Carl and his amazing achievements.

Belfast City Hall will be lit up in green and white from 6pm on Sunday.

The last time it was illuminated in the colours was in October, 2015 to mark Northern Ireland football team's historic win into the European Championships.

North Belfast MLA William Humphrey contacted Belfast City Council's chief executive Suzanne Whylie on Saturday night to ask if the same honour could be afforded to the pride of Tigers Bay in north of the city.

He said: "Sport and boxing in particular has united this city and our wee country right throughout the Troubles. I think that Carl Frampton is someone who is continung to do that. He's a great ambassador for north Belfast that I have the honour to represent but he's a great ambassador for Northern Ireland.

"Last night he made a great sporting achievement and I think that it's important that this city, his home city and its civic building should mark that and be illuminated with the colours of his beloved Northern Ireland.

"The belt was carried in by four members of Michael O'Neills squad and Carl is a member of the Green and While Army

"It's absolutely appropriate that the City Hall should be lit up in those colours to mark his great achievement."

Carl's dad Craig arrived home to north Belfast around three o'clock on Sunday afternoon and was thrilled with his son's success.

He said: “I am over the moon. Carl had the better skills and the better coach to allow him to win.

“Scott is a nice enough lad but his trainer Joe Gallagher is not as nice. You could fit all his friends on the back of a motorbike.

“I was convinced all along that Carl won the fight. I didn't think he lost any rounds at all. I cannot understand how one judge gave the fight to Quigg.”

A Belfast City Council spokesman confirmed that the lighting will be switched on at 6pm and that the decision to illuminate the building in green and white was not part of its planned programme.

North Belfast councillor Julie-Ann Corr-Johnston also contacted the Chief Executive to call for the civic honour for Frampton.

She tweeted: 'Wayhey! speaking to Chief Ex at BCC this morning, as I'm sure 60/60 Cllrs have   & we're lighting her up tonight #TheJackal #andstill'.

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