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County Antrim

This is the best place to live in Northern Ireland according to The Sunday Times

It’s official, the best place to live in Northern Ireland has been named. If the beach and lovely seaside views are your thing then you need to move here. Ballycastle in Co Antrim1 has been named as the best place to live in Northern Ireland according to The Sunday Times Best Places To Live guide.

The coastal town was revealed as the overall regional winner2 for Northern Ireland beating South Belfast3 , Cultra, Enniskillen, Portstewart and Rostrevor to take the crown. The Best Places to Live supplements in The Sunday Times assess a wide range of factors, from jobs, exam results and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops in order to compile the definitive top locations to make your home. The methodology relies on hard data and robust statistics on crime and education, but also on expert knowledge from The Sunday Times judging panel.

The judges combine the numbers with their own experience of the villages, towns and cities, such as local pubs, ease of transport and the range of attractive property to ensure the chosen locations truly are places where readers and their families can thrive.

poll loading

Is Ballycastle the best place to live in Northern Ireland?

0+ VOTES SO FAR

YES, it’s the best place in the world never mind just NI NO, I’d rather live anywhere else

References

  1. ^ Co Antrim (belfastlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ overall regional winner (www.belfastlive.co.uk)
  3. ^ South Belfast (belfastlive.co.uk)

New ‘ultrafast’ BT broadband roll-out comes to Antrim

Antrim will be one of the first regions in the UK to secure the next generation of broadband, BT has announced. The firm’s new ‘G.fast’ network will deliver speeds up to 330Mb a second. That’s 10 times the UK average.

Around 4,000 homes and businesses will be able to access the connection, with the aim of 200,000 being able to use it across Northern Ireland by 2020. Mairead Meyer, managing director of networks at BT in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to announce that parts of Antrim will be among the first locations in the UK to get ultrafast speeds using G.fast technology. We recently rolled out ultrafast in Newtownards and it proved very successful for local residents and we look forward to offering Antrim the same benefits.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said: “We warmly welcome this announcement given how important access to fast broadband is to the business community.”

Belfast Telegraph

The week’s news: Attacks in Syria, Pepsi and property prices

GOOD WEEK

Angela Kerins

The former Rehab boss may have lost her landmark legal case against the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee over its handling of her testimony, but this week she at least won a judgment meaning she won’t have to foot the bulk of her legal fees arising from the case.

Barry Manilow

The crooner finally opened up about being gay this week, at the age of 73, after hiding his relationship with his husband for nearly four decades, before they married in 2014

BAD WEEK

Pepsi

The sugary beverage firm made a spectacular contribution to the annals of truly awful ads with its latest effort, featuring model Kendall Jenner1 spontaneously joining a rather upbeat, Black Lives Matter-style protest, then somehow avoiding getting pepper-sprayed when she hands a can to a police officer

Steve Bannon

Donald Trump’s far-right svengali thrives by projecting an aura of menacing control, but that sense of supreme authority was rather undermined when the Donald swiftly removed him from the key national security council committee, marking a major loss in the White House game of thrones.

GRAPHIC OF THE WEEK: PROPERTY PRICES

GIVE ME A CRASH COURSE IN… SYRIA

What happened

At least 70 people, including 20 children, were killed on Tuesday in a chemical attack2 in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, in north-western Syria. Video uploaded to social media showed civilians sprawled on the ground, foaming at the mouth, some in convulsions, others lifeless, as rescue workers hosed down the bodies of small children, trying to wash away chemicals. M?decins Sans Fronti?res and the World Health Organization said the symptoms seen were consistent with exposure to a nerve agent.

Who carried out the attack?

Activists and witnesses say warplanes attacked Khan Sheikhoun early on Tuesday, when many residents were asleep. The opposition and western powers believe Syrian government planes dropped the chemical weapon. The Syrian military denied using any chemical agents, while its ally Russia gave an explanation that would protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad: that an air strike hit a rebel depot full of chemical weapons. This was dismissed by the US, France, the UK and opposition groups.

Is this a first?

No. In 2013, up to 1,400 people are thought to have died in a suspected sarin gas strike in a Damascus suburb, the largest such incident since the 1988 Halabja attack in Iraq. At that time, Washington said Assad had crossed a “red line” set by then-President Obama. Obama threatened an air campaign to topple Assad but called it off at the last minute when the Syrian leader agreed to give up his chemical arsenal under a deal brokered by Moscow.

Why would Assad do this now?

Russian intervention on his side swung the war in Assad’s favour. In recent months his forces have retaken Aleppo and other rebel-held areas. In recent weeks, however, rebels have launched bold offensives in Damascus and north of Hama. Assad may have felt emboldened by his battlefield supremacy, support from Russia and Trump’s position – until this week – of distancing himself from calls for his removal.

How has Washington reacted?

Trump described the attack as “horrible” and “unspeakable.” He criticised Obama for failing to carry through on his “red line” threat and indicated that his view on Assad’s future had changed. Then, on Thursday evening, Trump ordered a limited, apparently once-off strike on Shayrat airfield in western Syria, from where the chemical attack is believed to have been launched. In the early hours of Friday morning, 59 cruise missiles struck the airfield, killing seven people and destroying Syrian aircraft. It was the first direct US military action against Assad since the war began six years ago.

So what will happen now? It depends on how Assad and Russia respond. If the Syrian regime launches further chemical attacks, that could well prompt a dramatic escalation from the Americans, increasing the risk of a military confrontation between the US and Moscow. Russia denounced the US strikes, but its response will depend on whether it knew Assad’s chemical attack was happening.

Moscow was supposed to ensure Assad had no chemical weapons left – as US secretary of state Rex Tillerson put it, “either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been incompetent.” If it was the former, Putin could opt to escalate. But if Assad acted without Russian knowledge, it could lead to a withdrawal of some Russian support for the regime. Either way, the events of the past week complicate diplomatic moves to end the war. In recent months, western powers had been quietly dropping their demand that Assad leave power in any deal to end the war – it now looks impossible for the international community to sign off on a peace deal that does not remove the Syrian president. – Ruadh?n Mac Cormaic

SOUNDBITES

It has been an amazing journey and one that I never wanted to end, however, I feel that this is the right time for me step away from inter-county football.

Colm Cooper3 calls time on his Kerry career

I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what they are thinking about frankly. Easter’s very important.

Theresa May4 criticises the UK National Trust for renaming its Easter Egg Trail as the Great British Egg Hunt

We see that, unfortunately, the situation is not getting better and the clearest confirmation of that is the recent tragic incident in St Petersburg.

Vladimir Putin5 on the terrorism threat after a bomb on the St Petersburg metro

The women’s international team is not being treated as a second-class citizen, but a fifth-class citizen. They are the dirt off the FAI’s shoe.

The Irish women’s soccer team make clear their issues with the FAI

SEVEN DAYS: IN NUMBERS

6.4%

The unemployment rate in March, its lowest level in almost a decade

$48.7bn

Tesla’s market cap at the end of trading on Monday, overtaking Ford for the first time

EUR2,700

Pay rise that more than 90 TDs received this week

EUR50,000

Size of the reward that John McAreavey has offered for information leading to the prosecution of the killer of his wife, Michaela

21

Number of advertisers who pulled their ads from the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox News after allegations of sexual harassment

EUR282m

Amount by which the exchequer returns fell short of Government forecasts

THE QUESTION

Is broadband the new rural electrification?

Tuesday’s announcement6 that the Government’s National Broadband Plan will cover half a million homes, along with confirmation that Eir was going to provide about 300,000 homes commercially, was meant to be met with great fanfare. However, minus the more commercially viable homes being catered for by Eir under this deal, the rival bidders for the National Broadband Plan, Enet and Siro, may take a legal challenge, and the State may have to increase its subsidy to the scheme, already estimated at between EUR1 billion and EUR1.5 billion. It all seems a far cry from the previous major rural infrastructure plan this scheme is so often compared to.

Discussions about the National Broadband Plan carry frequent echoes of the Rural Electrification Scheme – ever since it was first proposed in 2012, ministers and broadband executives have been keen to evoke that proud example of 20th-century Irish engineering prowess when discussing the potential for broadband rollout to transform the country at

large. Indeed, the words of ESB founding father Thomas McLaughlin are just as applicable today as when he suggested rural electrification represented “the application of modern science and engineering to raise the standard of rural living and to get to the root of the social evil of the ‘flight from the land'”. The success of the Rural Electrification Scheme, which between 1946 and 1965 connected 300,000 homes, or 81 per cent of the total number of houses, was a major act of mass modernisation that in some senses marked Ireland’s entry in to the developed world.

It’s true that getting access to 30MBs broadband does not quite represent the same sort of advancement as getting access to the power grid, but if we are not yet at the point where fibre broadband access is a 21st-century equivalent of electricity, it is easy to imagine that point being reached within the next few decades.

Talk of broadband access being enshrined as a human right may seem fanciful right now, but there is every likelihood that in 20 years’ time, such a notion will appear self-evident. – Davin O’Dwyer

MOST READ ON IRISHTIMES.COM

Trump Dublin: US president buys Liberty Hall to build 5-star hotel7

Teenager accidentally flies to the wrong Sydney8

April Fool’s Day: The best of the day’s ‘fake news’9

Woman loses ?75,000 defamation case against Dublin Bus10

Two tribes: A divided Northern Ireland11

Consultant gynaecologist struck off medical register12

Homeowners could get ?10,000 in State aid for green retrofitting13

‘Grammar vigilante’ secretly corrects Bristol street signs14

The fitness fallacy: You can’t outrun a mental problem15

Sinn F?in: Our plan to persuade unionists to support a united Ireland16

References

  1. ^ Kendall Jenner (www.irishtimes.com)
  2. ^ a chemical attack (www.irishtimes.com)
  3. ^ Colm Cooper (www.irishtimes.com)
  4. ^ Theresa May (www.irishtimes.com)
  5. ^ Vladimir Putin (www.irishtimes.com)
  6. ^ announcement (www.irishtimes.com)
  7. ^ Trump Dublin: US president buys Liberty Hall to build 5-star hotel (www.irishtimes.com)
  8. ^ Teenager accidentally flies to the wrong Sydney (www.irishtimes.com)
  9. ^ April Fool’s Day: The best of the day’s ‘fake news’ (www.irishtimes.com)
  10. ^ Woman loses ?75,000 defamation case against Dublin Bus (www.irishtimes.com)
  11. ^ Two tribes: A divided Northern Ireland (www.irishtimes.com)
  12. ^ Consultant gynaecologist struck off medical register (www.irishtimes.com)
  13. ^ Homeowners could get ?10,000 in State aid for green retrofitting (www.irishtimes.com)
  14. ^ ‘Grammar vigilante’ secretly corrects Bristol street signs (www.irishtimes.com)
  15. ^ The fitness fallacy: You can’t outrun a mental problem (www.irishtimes.com)
  16. ^ Sinn F?in: Our plan to persuade unionists to support a united Ireland (www.irishtimes.com)