Belfast Telegraph

Plans to honour healthcare heroes with Belfast City Hall stained glass window

By Rebecca Black

The dedication of healthcare staff could be honoured with a new stained glass window at Belfast City Hall.

SDLP councillor Kate Mullan is to propose the move at the monthly meeting of the city council this evening.

The motion includes all of those who work for the National Health Service in Belfast.

Ms Mullan described those staff as a "caring and dedicated group of people".

"Over the years this council has regularly highlighted the dedication and service of all those working in the National Health Service in Belfast," reads the motion that Ms Mullan will propose.

"To recognise this caring and dedicated group of people across a broad range of different specialties and services, the council agrees to the installation of a stained glass window in the City Hall to commemorate and celebrate the contribution that those working in the National Health Service have made to the lives of the citizens of our city."

Ms Mullan told the Belfast Telegraph that she was inspired to make the proposal after attending the unveiling of another stained glass window at City Hall celebrating the women of Belfast.

"The stained glass windows in City Hall provide a really unique record of the history of the city which we are lucky to have built up over many years," she said.

"But I felt the important role of the NHS was missing from it.

"Prior to the NHS, the health of Belfast would have been very different, as an industrial city.

"We are fortunate to have had this cradle to grave health care provided by the NHS, and I wanted to recognise its workers for their care, and also innovation when you look at, for example, the recent kidney transplants."

The NHS is one of the biggest employers in Northern Ireland, and its diverse range of workers includes surgeons, doctors, nurses, carers, clerical staff, maintenance and cleaning staff.

Last December the council agreed to bestow the Freedom of the City on nurses in tribute to their work during the Troubles.

In receiving the accolade, the nurses followed in the footsteps of musician Van Morrison and Olympic athlete Dame Mary Peters.

The motion was jointly proposed by Sinn Fein's Jim McVeigh and Alliance's Michael Long last December.

It read: "Over many decades our nurses have served the citizens of Belfast without fear or favour.

"During the most difficult days of the Troubles, our nurses cared for every citizen regardless of circumstances, of religious or political belief."

At that time an annual day to celebrate nurses was also proposed.

A number of new stained glass windows have been installed at Belfast City Hall over the last five years.

They include one commemorating the locals from both sides of the community who fought against fascism during the Spanish Civil War and another marking Celtic myth and legend.

Belfast Telegraph


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