ukrainian refugees

Belfast To Bangor Ferry Service, R&D Job Drop, Advice Centres Open For Ukrainian Refugees & More…

Belfast to Bangor ferry service set for 2024

Plans have been unveiled for a Belfast to Bangor ferry service using a zero-emissions wave rider 150-seat vessel.

Said to be “the world’s most advanced zero-emission commuter ferry service” it will be operated by Condor Ferries alongside the Belfast Maritime Consortium.

Beginning in 2024 it is set to be a pilot scheme for revolutionary fast passenger ferries currently under development by the consortium, led by Artemis Technologies.

The 30-minute journey will be between Bangor Marina and Belfast’s Titanic Quarter offering travellers a greener alternative to one of the busiest commuter corridors in the country.


R&D job drop in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK where the number of jobs dedicated to research and development (R&D) is falling, according to analysis by innovation funding specialists Catax.

The number of R&D jobs in Northern Ireland fell for the first time on record in the first year of the pandemic, sinking 11.1% from 9,000 in 2019 to 8,000 in 2020, the latest ONS data reveals.

R&D jobs are an important indicator of future economic growth, particularly when it comes to industries reliant on innovation. These roles stimulate economic activity and often lead to the creation of more skilled jobs locally.

Lack of innovation reduces overall prosperity and leaves areas more vulnerable to economic shocks such as inflation, currency fluctuations, recessions and rises in the cost of living.

Northern Ireland’s R&D jobs represent 2.8% of the UK total — slightly higher than its 2.6% share in 2010. The total has doubled in number from 4,000 a decade ago.


Advice centres open for Ukrainian refugees across NI

Advice centres have opened all over Northern Ireland for Ukrainian refugees.

The first centre opened in Belfast with Newry, Craigavon and Ballymena following suit.

Whilst it’s unknown how many Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the country since the Russian invasion earlier this year it is believed to be around 300 people.

The advice centres will provide advice and assistance in areas such as health, education, benefits, employment, immigration and housing.


In Arts…


Women’s Work festival set for June

The sixth Women’s Work Festival will take place in June at Belfast’s Oh Year Music Centre, with a four-day programme of events over the bank holiday weekend.

With a mix of live and online events it is said to be a festival that is open and welcoming to all while placing women in music at the heart of each event.

Features include music events focussed on women’s output including celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of Ireland’s best selling albums of all time, A Woman’s Heart.

The annual showcase, now considered the jewel in the Women’s Work crown and always a strong snapshot of the incredible talent coming out of the whole island of Ireland.

Women’s Work will also be launching the Carol Clerk bursary in partnership with Dig With It.

The Festival runs 2nd – 5th June with full details are available at


Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is back

One of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic festivals – The 22nd Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival – is back, live and unleashed, from 28 April – 8 May. 

Nearly 150 events in a variety of venues across Belfast’s historic quarter and beyond in what will be the first fully live festival in over 2 years. 

More information can be found at 

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