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Letters: Game Of Thrones' Michael Lombardo needs to experience beauty of Belfast

So Game Of Thrones chief Michael Lombardo feels it's a personal challenge to live here six months of the year? (June 16).

We have it ALL in Belfast. It's a beautiful city framed in fantastic scenery, with Victorian splendour and Georgian simplicity lovingly preserved among the clean lines of the 21st century regeneration projects.

But if, like most people, you work hard it is easy to forget what's on offer, much of it for free. There's music (folk, classical, jazz) and cosmopolitan food (to name a few, at Ox, House and Mourne Seafood Bar; Chinese, Japanese, French, Lebanese, Italian, Indian, Nepali, African and Caribbean cuisine).

Whatever your interest is you'll find it in spadeloads – visual arts, galleries, pop-up exhibitions, poetry readings, esoteric academic lectures, museums, theatre, shows, concerts and film.

If they've any interest in fitness, then just an hour or two from Belfast they can experience some of the best in the world in canoeing, mountaineering, hillwalking and yachting. Maybe they've never really explored the Belfast Hills, Upper Lough Erne or the North Antrim coast with its cliffs and villages.

Leave the work for a while guys – get out and meet the people, breathe the air, enjoy Belfast and Northern Ireland!



In defence of the police over Loughinisland

As a former senior police officer (with direct involvement in the investigation) I write to express my sympathy with the victims and survivors of the 1994 Loughinisland massacre. For many officers it's a great regret that justice has not been done in terms of convictions. But if evidence is not available or is insufficient to meet the standards required by the courts, the police cannot conjure it up.

I'm also dismayed that many who claim to represent the families are, in fact, misrepresenting them and the facts. I listened with incredulity to these representatives claim the police appeals for help on the 20th anniversary was a cynical ploy and that police had "set about destroying evidence".

Very significant effort was made by police to secure evidence. The getaway car was taken to the forensic science laboratory for exhaustive tests. The retention of those forensic exhibits and others, including on the murder weapons led to further tests conducted 10 years later with new forensic science techniques. Yes, the car was subsequently destroyed, but by then the vehicle was of no value as all the forensic exhibits were, as I've said, retained. Relying on the destruction of the car to claim malfeasance is a red herring.

Other claims of informers being protected are easy to make and difficult to disprove. The police cannot explain or deny so as to protect us all, which gives those who wish to feed the conspiracy theories free reign. There is no evidence of anyone being protected.

Facts are spun and inconvenient facts ignored, while the integrity of police officers has been unfairly besmirched and goes undefended. Above all, I hope victims and survivors get a considered truth and, if possible, justice.


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Plea to readers on dealing with deadly tom-cat

While happy to read about Tutti-Frutti, the Newry cat that at 23 is staking a claim to being the world's oldest feline (June 19), perhaps readers could advise on dealing with a tom determined not to let any other creature live for another day.

We've had more murders than in an episode of Midsomer. This week's tally includes two birds and one mouse. Some will say he is only behaving as nature intended but, really, we'd prefer it just to stop. Aside from putting a bell round his neck (too dangerous) is there any other way to curb his bloodlust?


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Is SF targeting Catholic schools?

One can assume from the your article (June 18) that Catholic grammar schools are being slowly targeted into opting out of selection. Could this be because Sinn Fein, using ministerial powers, has coerced boards of governors to accept republican members who are forcing change? This is the tactic radical Muslims were using in Birmingham and it now seems to be happening here.


By email

Upset at flag a two-way street

I was interested to read about the dispute about the Union flag in the Ballynafeigh area. Protestants in the lower Ormeau find alternative names to streets intimidating.

If Catholics are offended, they should be aware of how many feel about the Irish language in streets where Protestants live.



Don't criticise public sector

One of your correspondents mentions the NI pay level in the public sector as if it is something to be vilifed. Does he not realise this is considered to be a relatively low level of pay in mainland UK?

As a retail worker who "enjoys" receiving minimum wage I can tell you I'm envious of those who receive fair remuneration and a pension, but I wouldn't want them to drop to below a "living wage" to make the statistics look better.


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