Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

George Galloway Belfast gig at Ulster Hall sells out in wake of DUP furore

George Galloway is due to speak at Belfast's Ulster Hall
George Galloway is due to speak at Belfast's Ulster Hall
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall

The controversial 'Saturday night with George Galloway' event in Belfast later this month has sold out after the Respect MP predicted DUP complaints would make tickets "sell like hotcakes".

A spokesman for the Ulster Hall confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph there are no tickets left for the August 23 gig.

Earlier this week the DUP group on Belfast City Council formally requested a review of the decision by council officers to grant the use of the Ulster Hall for the speaking engagement following recent comments the outspoken politician made at a public meeting in protest at the bloodshed in Gaza.

The DUP and other unionist politicians raised objections to the Belfast event, booked by a third party promoter, after Mr Galloway was filmed declaring Bradford an "Israel-free zone".

Mr Galloway is being investigated by West Yorkshire police over allegations of "incitement to hatred" over his Israel comments.

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Background

The Ulster Hall in Belfast city centre is no stranger to politics and controversy, and has a special place in unionist history.

The 155-year-old building played host to anti Home Rule rallies at the start of the 20th century.

In 1986, the paramilitary group Ulster Resistance was announced by the DUP at the hall in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The rally was chaired by the Democratic Unionist Party member Sammy Wilson and addressed by party colleagues Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster.

In the 1990s, it became the scene of a series of meetings of the Ulster Unionist Council over the Good Friday Agreement. It also hosted a major Sinn Fein rally in 2002.

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