Belfast Telegraph

From left, Martina Anderson, Naomi Long and Diane Dodds at the count for the European elections

Fionola Meredith: MEPs' gender completely irrelevant ... it's what they actually stand for that counts 

Did a little tear of sisterly pride and joy spring to my eye when I saw our three new female MEPs take to the podium this week? Did it heck. Far too much has been made of the fact that Naomi Long, Diane Dodds and Martina Anderson happen to share the same chromosomes. That's about all they share, as far as I can see, and it means diddly squat. Despite all the trumpeting, their gender is the least relevant thing about them as politicians.

Nigel Farage (right) after being hit by a milkshake during a walkabout this week in Newcastle

Fionola Meredith: Current craze for drenching politicians on the far-Right only makes them stronger 

Nobody has ever thrown a milkshake at me - so far - but I can imagine how it feels. First the shock of the sudden cold splash, as the cup hits you, then the rising smell of sickly-sweet dairy, and finally the mortifying realisation that you look as though you've been dive-bombed by a flock of incontinent seagulls. And then the aftermath, when the horrible stickiness soaks in and starts gluing your trousers to your legs. Nasty.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has dropped mandatory make-up for female cabin crew

Fionola Meredith: Other airlines should follow Virgin's lead and abandon regressive make-up rules 

Virgin Atlantic has abandoned its long-standing diktat that female cabin crew must wear make-up when they're on duty. And in the same mood of enlightened generosity, they will also offer the women trousers, if they like, to wear on their bottom halves, instead of tight little red skirts. Trousers were available before, to be fair, but they had to be asked for specially, on request. Now they are to be freely, gladly given.

Jesus Christ has been regularly depicted in The Simpsons without much of a backlash

Fionola Meredith: Banning Jesus Christ as a comic book character an own goal for Christians 

It seems stupid to get offended over something you haven't read, in fact, something that hasn't even been published. But hey - why let a trivial little thing like the truth get in the way? Hardline Christians in the United States are jubilant because DC Comics - the original home of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman - has apparently caved under pressure and cancelled a new comic-book series featuring Jesus Christ.

Belfast poet Michael Longley has called on unionists to embrace the Irish language

Fionola Meredith: Why we should take heed of poet Longley's words on the Irish language 

The days between Christmas and New Year have a curious, other-worldly quality all of their own. The wild excess of gift-giving and feasting is over, but most people are still off work. If you venture outside you find the roads are almost empty, apart from die-hard spenders rushing to the post-Christmas sales - as if there hasn't been enough spending already. There's nothing much to do except eat leftover turkey sandwiches or sip another glass of Baileys, if you still have the stomach for it.

Westminster could pass laws that would see wolf-whistling treated as a misogynistic hate crime

Fionola Meredith: Sexist quips and wolf whistles may be a pain, but they can hardly count as hate crimes 

I've heard this particular sexist remark so many times in my life, and always from random male strangers. "Cheer up, love. It'll never happen." On the most recent occasion it happened while I was waiting to take part in a radio broadcast. I'm sitting there in the green room, minding my own business, staring into space. A balding bloke - completely unknown to me - pops his head around the door and, with a perky grin, delivers the stunningly original quip: "Cheer up, love…"

Belfast’s Linen Hall Library is facing serious funding cutbacks

Fionola Meredith: The Linen Hall Library is an institution like no other - it must not be allowed to die 

If you have never walked through the doors of the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, you have been missing out on the very best of what this city has to offer. To me, this extraordinary independent institution embodies the city at its finest. It is a place, open to everyone, which gathers up all the colourful, complicated threads of who we are as a society - stretching back centuries into the past - and holds them safe for local people and international visitors to explore, examine and reflect upon.

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