Local skill shortages in both the Food Safety and Software Development sectors were addressed today by Queen’s University, when it announced exciting new plans that will help boost the Northern Ireland economy. This has been made possible by the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, who has just committed additional funding to these critically important sectors.
The new MSc in Software Development at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences was also endorsed by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster who said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland and the economy as it will address the current shortage of software developers here. We know that an increase in the number of software developers available in Northern Ireland is an attraction for companies considering investing here.”
The course which starts in September 2012 has already seen strong interest from non-IT graduates, with over 50 being offered a place. Selection onto the programme is via a rigorous industry endorsed selection process. The welcome financial support from DEL has allowed the School to put in place additional measures that will enhance the overall student experience and employment opportunities for graduates of the programme.
John Healy, Director and Head of Technology Citi, said: "It is vital to international companies like Citi that we have a world-class University on our doorstep providing quality graduates equipped with the skills we need. The launch of the MSc in Software Development demonstrates Queen's is listening to employers, and by doing this is ensuring global companies such as ours will continue to invest in Northern Ireland."
With growing problems in international food fraud and a need to improve food traceability, the world renowned Institute of Agri-food and Land Use is offering a brand new MSc in Advanced Food Security. Students will be taught by internationally recognised experts in many aspects of current and emerging topics in global food safety.
They will also gain an understanding of the links between the consumption of different types of foods and the effects (good and bad) on human health. Students will have full access to one of the most advanced food safety laboratories in the world to undertake a research project on an important and current food safety topic.
Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute of Agri-food and Land Use at Queen’s said: “The course has been specifically tailored to students who aim to work within the local or global agri-food industries or who wish to follow a career in laboratory based food safety research.
“Food scares such as dioxins in eggs, melamine in milk or E coli in vegetables are reported in the media frequently. What lies behind these contamination incidents is a highly complex global trade in food, and science is seeking solutions to ensure what we eat is safe, wholesome and free from fraud. The MSc will give a unique insight into these problems and give students first-hand experience of developing science based solutions to global issues.”
Professor Elliott concluded by saying that the government of Northern Ireland has recognised the importance food safety plays to the local economy as well as playing a major role in protecting the health and well being of its citizens.
For further details and to submit an application on the MSc in Advanced Food Security please contact Dr Mark Mooney, email@example.com and for the MSC in Software Development please contact Dr Darryl Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media inquiries to the Communications Office at 028 9097 3087 or email@example.com
The universities of Ireland*, North and South, will jointly confer an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) on Charles F. "Chuck" Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies on 6 September next. This is the first time such an honour will have been conferred jointly by all the Universities on the island of Ireland. The universities are coming together to honour Chuck Feeney’s remarkable contribution to Irish society, and in particular to the universities.
Chuck Feeney’s philanthropic purpose in Ireland has been to create a brighter future and a better society for the people of Ireland. He believes that one way to achieve this is to enable Ireland to become a full participant in the knowledge society and to compete in the knowledge economy. The Atlantic Philanthropies,which he founded in 1982, identified Irish universities, which of their nature are devoted to the transmission of knowledge and the generation of new knowledge, as institutions central to this purpose.
Since 1990, Atlantic has donated nearly €770 million to Irish universities, North and South. The physical manifestations of this philanthropy can be seen today most notably in the transformational research infrastructure which has been created on university campuses. This is providing a new generation of researchers with facilities their predecessors could only dream about. Human capital development in the universities had been supported through endowed chairs, scholarships and other forms of student support. University projects have also included support for new libraries and student on-campus housing and projects in the fields of health and ageing. In the longer term, the impact of the funding provided by Atlantic can be expected to be even more significant.
The Atlantic Philanthropies (http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org) is a limited life foundation. It has announced that it will complete its grantmaking in 2016.
The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D., and Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairi Quinn T.D., will attend the conferring ceremony.
NUI is co-ordinating the special ceremony which will take place in Dublin Castle.
* The Universities of Ireland: Dublin City University; National University of Ireland; National University of Ireland, Galway; National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin; University College Cork; University College Dublin; University of Limerick; University of Ulster.
The development of novel medical imaging techniques to revolutionise cancer detection and treatment will be the result of a new partnership announced today between Queen’s University Belfast and Cirdan Imaging Ltd.
The research will focus on developing new imaging equipment using X-rays and near Infrared (NIR) Fluorescence to assist clinicians in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Complete surgical removal of a tumour is vital for the patient, and one of the most important prognostic factors for survival. The new devices will be used in diagnostic procedures, as well as cancer surgery, to better discriminate between healthy and malignant tissue.
Cirdan Imaging’s first new device will be an imaging tool developed to assist Radiologists to take a biopsy from a suspect lesion to help diagnose breast cancer. This product is planned to be launched within the next 12 months.
Queen’s University have taken an equity shareholding in Cirdan Imaging Ltd through its venture spin-out company QUBIS Ltd, representing their first ever company spin-in.
Dr. Hugh Cormican is CEO of Cirdan Imaging. His previous collaboration with QUBIS led to the creation of Andor Technology, the fastest growing company manufacturing high performance digital cameras in the world today, employing some 260 people in 16 offices worldwide.
Speaking about the new partnership, Dr Cormican said: “I am delighted to be working with QUBIS and Queen’s University again, and I look forward to the collaborative efforts in developing new cancer imaging techniques. We know that speed of detection and treatment of cancer is critical to patient outcomes and we hope that through this new faster, more efficient technology, patient outcomes and survival will be improved.
“Queen’s University is one of the world’s leading research centres for cancer research, and with our collaboration we can help bring the benefits of that research to impact on patient’s lives in considerably shorter timescales than occur elsewhere in the world. In business terms we anticipate that there is also the potential to be the next IPO (AIM stock exchange listing) for Northern Ireland in five years time.”
QUBIS CEO, Frank Bryan, said: “QUBIS is delighted to be involved in supporting this research initiative which will help develop safer, more cost effective, user friendly and compact diagnostic tools for early, more accurate diagnosis of cancer globally. Research into cancer has predominately been on getting an improved understanding of the disease, or on new therapeutics. Cirdan Imaging is focused on developing more accurate detection tools for the clinicians to better diagnose and treat the cancer, an area which has lagged behind. The team in Cirdan have an impressive track record in imaging technology and we are excited to be involved in this project.”
Mental health services in Ireland during the past two centuries are the focus of a new book edited by Dr Pauline Prior from Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.
Asylums, mental health care and the Irish 1800-2010 is a collection of historical essays on psychiatric care in Ireland since the nineteenth century.
The book explores the voices of patients as they expressed their views on mental illness and its treatment in poetry and prose, and reflects on the stories of emigrants who left Ireland in search of their fortune, but succumbed to illness and institutionalisation on the other side of the world.
As well as exploring trends in institutionalisation, such as the causes of death and disease in asylums, the book also gives in insight into landmark events in the history of mental health care. These include the legal battle between the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the governors of the Belfast Asylum over the appointment of chaplains; and a major strike at Monaghan Asylum in 1919, when the nurses raised a red Soviet flag over the building and rallied leaders of the trade union movement to their cause. The strike led to improved salaries and conditions of service for psychiatric nurses throughout Ireland.
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A major breakthrough by scientists at Queen’s could lead to more effective treatments for throat and cervical cancer.
The discovery could see the development of new therapies, which would target the non-cancerous cells surrounding a tumour, as well as treating the tumour itself.
Researchers at Queen’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology have found that the non-cancerous tissue, or ‘stroma’, surrounding cancers of the throat and cervix, plays an important role in regulating the spread of cancer cells.
The discovery opens the door for the development of new treatments which, by targeting this non-cancerous tissue, could prevent it being invaded by neighbouring cancer cells.
The research, led by Professor Dennis McCance, has just been published in the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal. Professor McCance said: “Cancer spreads as the result of two-way communication between the cancer cells in a tumour and the non-cancerous cells in the surrounding tissue.
“We already know that cancer cells are intrinsically programmed to invade neighbouring healthy tissue. But the cells in the non-cancerous tissue are also programmed to send messages to the cancer cells, actively encouraging them to invade. If these messages – sent from the healthy tissue to the tumour - can be switched-off, then the spread of the cancer will be inhibited.
“What we have discovered is that a particular protein in non-cancerous tissue has the ability to either open or close the communication pathway between the healthy tissue and the tumour. When the Retinoblastoma protein (Rb) in non-cancerous tissue is activated, this leads to a decrease in factors that encourage invasion by cancer cells. And so, the cancer doesn’t spread.”
The Rb protein is found in both cancer and non-cancerous tissue. Its importance in regulating the growth of cancer cells from within tumours is already well-documented, but this is the first time scientists have identified the role of the Rb found in healthy tissue, in encouraging or discouraging the spread of cancer.
The research was conducted using three-dimensional tissue samples, grown in Professor McCance’s lab, to replicate the stroma tissue found around cancers of the throat and cervix.
Speaking about the potential implications for cancer treatment, Professor McCance continued: “Current treatments for cancer focus on targeting the tumour itself, in order to kill the cancer cells before they spread. This discovery opens the door for us to develop new treatments that would target the normal tissue surrounding a tumour, as opposed to the tumour itself. By specifically targeting pathways controlled by the Rb protein, it would be possible to switch-off the messages that encourage cancer cells to invade, and inhibit the spread of the tumour.
“Our research has focussed on cancers of the throat and cervix. But it is possible that Rb or other proteins in the healthy tissue surrounding other types of cancer, may play a similar role in regulating the spread of tumour cells. Therefore, the implications of this discovery could go far beyond throat and cervical cancer, and that is something we plan to investigate further.”
The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the National Institutes of Health (USA), and was supported by the Northern Ireland Biobank.
The research paper, entitled ‘Inactivation of Rb in stromal fibroblasts promotes epithelial cell invasion’ can be found online at http://www.nature.com/emboj/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/emboj2012153a.html
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office +44 (0)28 9097 5320 firstname.lastname@example.org
Queen’s University is calling on more businesses to make use of a £13 million funding package to help them get ahead in the local and global marketplace.
The funding has been made available by Invest Northern Ireland and the Technology Strategy Board to help local businesses participate in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with local universities and colleges.
Queen’s is currently the lead institution in the UK for KTPs which can help companies to grow, innovate and boost profits.
Backing Queen’s in its call is Hughes Insurance, a leading broker that has grown its business through a KTP project with the University.
Hughes’ Chief Executive, Gareth Brady, said: “Hughes Insurance has been working closely with Queen’s for almost two years to develop new ways to improve our customer contact activities.
“KTP has been hugely successful for us, embedding new technology and expertise in our business and contributing to a 4.5 per cent increase in customer retention figures.
“I would urge any firm in Northern Ireland, and particularly those in the flourishing financial services sector, to contact Queen’s to see how engaging in a KTP could help them. Even if they only have an idea about the direction they want their business to grow in, that conversation could be the start of new growth for them.”
Dr Mary Flynn, Head of KTP and Business Networks at Queen’s, added: “Now, more than ever, businesses need to think of new ways to stay ahead of the competition. KTP at Queen’s allows them to do that by giving unrivalled access to the world-class research and technology available here.
“As the UK’s leading KTP university, Queen’s has helped more than 300 companies improve their products and services through knowledge transfer. We are currently working with 30 companies across all sectors, ranging from multi-nationals to very small firms, but we want to see more businesses cross our threshold.
“KTP is a driving force in local wealth and job creation. KTP businesses see an increase in pre-tax profits of around £270,000 per year. On average, each project creates three extra jobs, secure training for an additional 14 staff members, and invest an additional £166,000 in plant and machinery. These are tangible benefits, which can have a huge impact on a company’s ability to outlive the economic downturn. I would encourage any local company looking for new ways to stay ahead of the competition to get in touch to find out how we can help them to innovate and increase their profits.”
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Business Solutions, said: “The Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme (KTP) has been developed to deliver effective partnerships between individual companies and academia. It enables businesses to gain new knowledge that they can go on to use to develop new business, enter new markets, increase turnover or profitability, or enhance employee skills.
“Hughes Insurance is a strong example of a local business which has focused on differentiating itself from the competition and is now reaping the rewards of its collaboration with Queen’s. I would encourage other companies to explore how knowledge transfer activities could benefit their products and services.”
Further information on the KTP process is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/KTPandBusinessNetworks
Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Senior Communications Officer. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email email@example.com
Queen’s has issued advice to students receiving their A-level results today.
Jennifer Dwyer, Head of Queen’s Admissions and Access Service, said: “It is important that A-level students and their families have as much information as possible at this time so they can make informed decisions.
“The University receives A-level and AS-level results directly from UCAS and candidates do not need to communicate their results to the University. Students will be contacted if any results appear to be missing. Those who did not take an examination listed on their application should let the University know as soon as possible.”
Decisions made by Queen's, the University of Ulster, and Stranmillis University College are posted on a website hosted by Queen's on the morning of Thursday 16 August and updated twice each day.
The address is www.qub.ac.uk/ucas-decisions. This also carries the most comprehensive details and is the simplest way to find out about the status of an application and Clearing vacancies. Details are also published on the UCAS website at www.ucas.com.
Applicants who achieve the exact grades or points specified in their conditional offer should have their place confirmed through UCAS following the publication of results. These applicants do not need to telephone the university or college. The only official notification is sent by UCAS. If accepted, students should respond to the appropriate university as soon as possible following the instructions given in the AS12 letter they will receive from UCAS.
Students who do better than expected can, through the Adjustment process, hold their offer while they look for an alternative course. It may be difficult, however, to find a vacancy on a high demand course. Full details are available on the UCAS website www.ucas.com/students/nextsteps.
Students who average out or narrowly miss the grades required may still be accepted for their original choice. This will depend on vacancies being available, and it may be a few days before this can be confirmed. A* grades at A-level may be taken into account in borderline cases. Queen’s has provided all students holding offers with an Enquiry Form. This should be returned to the University as soon as possible if they want to be considered for an alternative course, in the event that they are unsuccessful for their original choice. Assuming Queen’s can help, a changed course offer would be made. This is simpler than going through Clearing.
Any student unable to gain admission to either their firm or insurance choice, and who is not offered an acceptable alternative course, will be eligible to participate in the Clearing process. Details of Clearing vacancies appear in the national press, on www.ucas.com and on university websites. Students must be pro-active, as Clearing vacancies usually disappear quickly.
Alternatively, some students may decide to repeat one or more subjects and reapply for 2013 entry. Any student considering this option should check with the institution concerned about receiving an offer as a repeat candidate, and remember the entry requirements may be different.
Jennifer Dwyer added: “It is crucial to make decisions sensibly at this time of year and not to accept alternative courses, or Adjustment or Clearing places without careful consideration. There are many people who can help. Students unsure about which option to pursue should discuss their situation carefully with their parents, their school or college or the Careers Service of the Department for Employment and Learning.”
Queen’s will operate advice lines following publication of results to ensure that students receive the guidance they need. These will operate as follows:
The number to call is 028 9097 3838. Further details and FAQs are also available at www.qub.ac.uk/new-students.
In addition, a personal advice session will be held on Monday 20 August in the Whitla Hall from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. A separate session for Medical/Dental applicants will also take place in the Larmour Lecture Theatre (Physics Building) at 2.30pm on the same day.
For media inquiries please contact the Communications Office.
A rare collection of letters from renowned writer C.S. Lewis were presented to Queen’s today.
Eleven of the author’s letters to Captain Bernard Acworth, founder of The Evolution Protest Movement, were donated by the Captain’s son, the Rev. Dr. Richard Acworth.
Captain Acworth was founder of the Evolution Protest Movement in the 1930s and was dedicated to opposing the teaching of the theory of evolution as scientific fact. In his letters to Lewis, he corresponded with the author on his views on the incompatibility of evolution and Christianity.
In the series of previously unpublished letters, written between 1944 and 1960, Lewis explains, at some length, his views on the question of origins.
Donating the letters, Rev. Dr. Richard Acworth, said: “My father became friendly with Lewis during the 1940s. In his published works, C.S. Lewis infrequently addressed the subject of creation and evolution, and when he did, he usually endorsed some version of theistic evolution. These letters are fascinating, because they reveal that during the last years of his life, Lewis was growing increasingly uncomfortable with the claims being made for organic evolution.
“They also contain insights into various aspects of Lewis’ private life, including when he married his wife at her bedside in hospital, as she was dying of cancer, and she seemed to make a miraculous recovery. He also talks of visiting Donegal, describing the scenery in North Donegal as ‘lovely’ and South Donegal as having a ‘sinister character’.
“I am delighted that my daughter Phyllida, a Queen’s English graduate, is here with me today. I know my father would have been happy to have his letters preserved as part of the C.S. Lewis collection at Queen’s.”
Deirdre Wildy, Head of Special Collections & Archives at Queen’s said: “The works of C.S. Lewis are enjoyed the world over. We are delighted to be in receipt of the Acworth Collection, and will be pleased to facilitate access to the letters as they are likely to be of great interest to researchers in several subject areas. This generous donation will be a valuable addition to our manuscript holdings in Special Collections & Archives at Queen's.”
Today’s handover event took place in the C.S. Lewis Reading Room, in the University’s McClay Library, which is entered through a replica of the wardrobe door used in the feature film, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Queen’s was chosen to host the Irish film premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media's The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005.
For further information please contact Anne-Marie Clarke on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses across the island of Ireland are to receive a welcome boost over the coming months with the announcement of a new graduate programme at Queen’s University Belfast.
The Leadership Institute, at Queen’s new £15 million Graduate Executive and Education Centre at Riddel Hall, has been chosen to deliver a new Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Management to graduates involved in InterTradeIreland’s all island FUSION Programme.
The FUSION programme partners businesses with high calibre graduates and third-level education institutions, allowing them to access the wealth of research and expertise available at prestigious academic institutions across the island of Ireland.
Aimed at science, technology and engineering graduates, participants will be better equipped to understand the challenges facing their organisations, and help them to thrive in today’s challenging economy. The course will be delivered to around 150 graduates over the next three years.
Anne Clydesdale, Director of the Leadership Institute at Queen’s, said: “Participants on the InterTradeIreland FUSION programme will complete this one-year course under the guidance of the world-class teaching and research staff here at the Leadership Institute.
“In partnership with the FUSION programme, the Leadership Institute at Riddel Hall aims to develop a pool of talented and skilled graduates who can make Ireland – North and South –a more attractive proposition to international investors. By enhancing the competitiveness of local companies across Ireland, and delivering a high quality Postgraduate qualification from Queen’s University, our partnership with the FUSION programme will have a highly significant and positive impact on the economy.
“Queen’s already has very close links with the local business community thanks to its Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. The University is the lead institution in the UK for KTPs, and has helped more than 300 companies boost profits through knowledge transfer. Through this new venture with InterTradeIreland, we will continue to strengthen our ties with industry and see more companies cross our threshold.”
Margaret Hearty, Director of Programmes and Business Services at InterTradeIreland, said: “Queen’s University’s Leadership Institute at Riddel Hall is a premier centre for professional and postgraduate education. With world-leading staff and unrivalled links to the business sector, it provides the perfect learning environment for anyone participating in the FUSION programme.
“On average, FUSION companies see over £1 million of sales or efficiency savings in the three years following the project. Through access to high calibre graduates and world-class researchers and teaching staff, they have the potential to develop and improve products and services, streamline business processes, implement new technologies and increase sales and reduce costs – benefits that, in today’s environment, can be the difference between a business succeeding or not.
“We are delighted to embark on our new partnership with Queen’s University and, together, we aim to help businesses across Ireland boost their bottom line and at the same time to help graduates get their ‘foot in the door’ to fast track their careers.”
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email@example.com
Queen’s University Belfast has won a top award in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.
The University won a Green Apple Environment Award for the arsenic-removal water cleansing project, which was carried out by the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering.
The School competed against more than 500 nominations to win this award in the international category. The award was for Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta and his team’s work in developing a method to remove arsenic from ground water without the use of chemicals, in the world’s first low-cost arsenic removal plant in India.
Dr Sen Gupta said: "I am delighted we have been awarded this UK Industry Award as it is a great recognition for the work we have been carrying out into the removal of arsenic from groundwater without using chemicals.
“It recognises the team's hard work in tackling the world's worst case of ongoing mass poisoning. This solution overcomes arsenic contamination of groundwater and improves the quality of life in rural communities.”
As a result of this success the University has been invited to have their winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow their example and learn from their experience.
The Green Apple Award recognises, rewards and promotes environmental best practice around the world. The University will also be considered for the European Business Awards for the Environment.
For further information, please contact Communications Office on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5320 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Distinguished writers Paul Muldoon, Polly Devlin, Carlo Gebler and Robert Welch have signed up to be a part of the new Autumn/New Year Open Learning Programme at Queen’s. They will contribute to the World Literature series which is just one of a vast array of courses on offer at Queen’s this Autumn.
The new Autumn/New Year Programme offers hundreds of short courses open to the public. This year, as always, the programme responds to major international themes. In addition to Aung San Suu Kyi and the Struggle for Democracy in Burma, there is a topical spotlight on the forthcoming US elections, with So, You Still Want To Be President: A Guide to the 2012 Presidential Election.
In this very special year for Belfast, there is also a special series, funded by the Arts Council’s One City, One Book initiative, celebrating the musical, literary and visual arts heritage of the capital.
Cathal McManus, Programme Co-ordinator of the Open Learning programme said: “We are really delighted to launch the new Autumn/New Year Open Learning Programme, and as always there are a huge range of programmes available to people from all walks of life. From wine-tasting to film making and personal finance to first aid – there really is something for everyone at Queen’s this Autumn.
“There are courses on aspects of Belfast’s history and walking tours concentrating on the most important citizens of Belfast and its most significant buildings and builders, as well as a course about the history of life on the River Lagan. As always there are plenty of practical courses including building a website, interview skills, yoga, and documentary film making.”
Sadly, the Open Learning Programme lost one of its most exceptional literature lecturers with the passing of Dr Edith Newman Devlin in July. The Programme is, however, keen to remember her legacy.
Dr Tess Maginess, Director of Undergraduate Programmes in the School of Education said: “Edith was legendary, and irreplaceable. But we hope to continue the World Literature series in her memory, and have attracted some very distinguished contributors including Paul Muldoon, Polly Devlin, Carlo Gébler and Robert Welch.”
The wide-ranging programme, encompassing daytime, evening and weekend courses, also includes language courses at various levels to enable learners to progress from one year to the next, as well as courses in everything from investigating your family tree to Indian culture to Celtic literature and spirituality.
There are no entry requirements for any of the courses and there are concession rates available to ensure they are affordable. You can enrol online for any of the courses at www.qub.ac.uk/edu/ol or, alternatively, by post, by telephoning or just calling in. the Open Learning office is at 20 College Green, Belfast BT7 1LN, telephone, 028 9097 3323/3539.
For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 2890975391 / 07814415451 or email@example.com
Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.
Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788
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