Belfast Telegraph

Royal baby: Celebrations begin across Northern Ireland to mark arrival

BY MICHELLE SMYTH

Celebrations have begun across Northern Ireland to mark the birth of the royal baby.

First Minister Peter Robinson led the way in offering local warm words of congratulations to Prince William and Catherine who welcomed their first child into the world yesterday.

Offering his "warmest congratulations" to the Duke and Duchess yesterday evening after the birth of their son, Mr Robinson said: "I want to extend my very best wishes to them on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland. I was honoured to attend the celebration of their wedding in April 2011 and I wish them every health and happiness in the next chapter of their lives together."

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt MLA welcomed the "brilliant news" saying: "First and foremost it is great to hear that mother and child are both well, and we wish the new parents all the very best. The United Kingdom can now enjoy the next few days as we celebrate the birth of the latest addition to the royal family."

Grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said the organisation was "delighted" by the "wonderful" news.

"On behalf of the entire membership I wish to convey our warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of a baby boy. We offer the royal couple God's richest blessing as they come to terms with parenthood and wish the new family unit health and happiness in the months and years ahead.

"Amid times of austerity and economic gloom, the birth of a royal baby who will one day succeed his father to the throne is welcome, inspirational and uplifting news. Today's announcement will be met with great joy particularly here in Northern Ireland, where the royal family is held in such high esteem and unrivalled affection."

MP Jeffrey Donaldson congratulated the couple, saying: "A prince and future king of our United Kingdom is born."

Deputy leader of the Alliance Party, Naomi Long MP, said: "I would like to offer my congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge following the birth of their son. I am glad to hear that both mother and child are doing well."

SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt said it was a great day for all parents, tweeting: "A birth is wonderful. Many thousands born today will some day share their birthday with a king. Congrats to all the mums and dads, royal and not."

Upper Bann Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson tweeted that her thoughts were with William and Kate, adding that the "whole royal family will be beaming tonight – a royal baby boy to captivate and melt the hearts of a nation."

UUP MEP Jim Nicholson tweeted: "Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy, and Ukip MLA David McNarry described the news as "just marvellous".

An ecstatic DUP MLA Peter Weir tweeted: "Hurrah! It's a boy! Our future monarch is born. Although on ITV nothing allowed to interrupt Corrie."

President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Dr Heather Morris, said that she rejoiced at the "safe delivery of the new royal prince". "I pray that he along with his parents will experience the blessing of God today and for the rest of their lives."

Northern Ireland-born ITV journalist Bill Neely took to Twitter encouraging people to suggest names for the new arrival: "Come on guys – names! The royals probably follow me. I can pass your suggestions on."

Shortly after the news broke last night, celebrations were taking place in communities across the province.

In Twadell Avenue, near the Shankill Road, blue balloons were tied to railings and a crowd had gathered.

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