Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Beleaguered businesses in Twelfth peace plea

The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as police remove protesters blocking the road ahead of an Orange Order march
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as police remove protesters blocking the road ahead of an Orange Order march 2010
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area
Ardoyne resident Eddie Copeland speaking with Gerry Kelly - Ardoyne residents gather to protest about the recent rioting in the area
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Fr Gary Donegan speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition against those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Ardoyne residents attend a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition to those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
The SDLP's Alban Magennis speaks to residents in Ardoyne during a rally at Brompton Park to highlight opposition to those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly and SDLP's Alban Magennis at last night's rally at Brompton Park in Ardoyne attended by local residents calling for an end to rioting in the area
Ardoyne resident Eddie Copeland speaking with police last night - Ardoyne residents gather to protest about the recent rioting in the area
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly arrives at a rally in Ardoyne to highlight opposition to those who have been rioting in the area in recent nights July 2010
Ardoyne resident Eddie Copeland speaking with police last night - Ardoyne residents gather to protest about the recent rioting in the area July 2010
Angry confrontation between Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly (left) and masked youths at Ardoyne shops on a fourth consecutive night of rioting July 2010
Angry confrontation between a local woman and masked youths at Ardoyne shops on a fourth consecutive night of rioting July 2010
Masked youths set fire to a Union flag and a loyalist UVF flag at Brompton Park in Ardoyne on a fourth consecutive night of rioting July 2010
Angry confrontation between Sinn Fein's Bobby Storey and a masked youth at Ardoyne shops in north Belfast on a fourth consecutive night of rioting July 2010
Masked youths with an Irish tricolour flag at Brompton Park in Ardoyne on a fourth consecutive night of rioting in the area July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast July 2010
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Disturbances in Ardoyne as a fourth night of rioting took place in north Belfast
Rioters shine a green laser light to try to blind police officers during disturbances in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast
Rioters shine a green laser light to try to blind police officers during disturbances in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast
A PSNI water-cannon puts out a fire on the roof of a pub during last night's disturbances in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast July 2010
A young boy stands with his face covered by a hoodiie in front of a burning hijacked car as police come under petrol bomb attack in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast July 2010
Police come under petrol bomb attack during rioting in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast
Police come under petrol bomb attack during rioting in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast
Rioters shine a green laser light to try to blind police officers during disturbances in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast
Police come under petrol bomb attack during rioting in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 13th July 2010. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Belfast.The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm.
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
Police in Belfast's North Queen Street last night after further trouble in the area
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
Police in Belfast's North Queen Street last night after further trouble in the area
The clean-up operation begins yesterday after rioting in the Ardoyne area on the Twelfth
The clean-up operation begins yesterday after rioting in the Ardoyne area on the Twelfth
Police clash with protesters in the Ardoyne Road area of north Belfast
Police clash with protesters in the Ardoyne Road area of north Belfast
A stolen car explodes as police clash with protesters in the Ardoyne Road area of north Belfast
PSNI footage of rioters attacking police in Ardoyne, North Belfast on the 12th of July
PSNI footage of rioters attacking police in Ardoyne, North Belfast on the 12th of July
Riot aftermath in Ardoyne, North Belfast yesterday
Riot aftermath in Ardoyne, North Belfast yesterday
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
Trouble in Ardoyne following the Orange Order parade in the area
The scene in the Ardoyne interface area of Belfast as for a second night in a row police try to restore calm
Disturbances at Belfast's Ardoyne interface. July 12, 210
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
A plastic bullet is fired (right side of the photo) as police clash with youths before a loyalist band parade passes the Ardoyne shops
The scene at the Ardoyne interface as the Orange Order march through the area
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as police remove protesters blocking the road ahead of an Orange Order march
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as police remove protesters blocking the road ahead of an Orange Order march
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
A police officer is brought to hosiptal after being injured during rioting at ARdoyne in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Disturbances in Belfast's Ardoyne interface area July 12 2010
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange Order parade passes through the flashpoint area
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Youths clash with police following an Orange Order march past Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as police remove protesters blocking the road ahead of an Orange Order march
The scene at the Ardoyne interface in north Belfast as an Orange parade passes through the flashpoint area
Nationalist youths stage a rooftop protest as an Orange Order parade passes the Ardoyne shops in North Belfast
Police accompany the parade past the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Nationalist youths clash with riot police before an Orange Order parade passes the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast
Colin Neill CEO of Pubs of Ulster w

Northern Ireland business owners fear financial ruin if tensions around contentious parades spill over into violence in the coming weeks.

Many are already struggling to stay afloat given the huge disruption to trade caused by the widespread disorder during loyalist flag protests at the start of this year.

Retailers also reported a drop in customers as a result of the overhaul of Belfast's traffic system, which brought much of the city centre to a virtual standstill either side of Christmas.

Ahead of the Twelfth commemorations, Northern Ireland's most influential business leaders have warned that a peaceful marching season is crucial to safeguard investment and economic growth. Traders on the ground have gone one step further, saying many of them will be forced to pull down their shutters for good if there's a repeat of the disorder which surrounded the flag protests.

Pubs of Ulster, which represents pubs, bars, cafe-bars, hotels and restaurants across the province, said many owners are still picking up the pieces from the combined devastating impact of protests, the roadworks and downturn in the economy.

Chief executive Colin Neill said more trouble would be the last straw for many.

"It is not for us to comment on politics, parades or flags but obviously we don't want any negative images of Northern Ireland as the damage that goes round the world lasts an awful lot longer than the incidents themselves."

He added: "Many (traders) are still trying to recover and it is still a very critical time financially. Any impact would have severe costs and an impact on economic activity."

The disruption caused by flag protests alone cost hundreds of jobs in the hospitality sector in Belfast, with some premises reporting losses of over £150,000 during a seven-week period.

The Belfast Telegraph launched a campaign – We're Backing Belfast – in an effort to rally behind traders.

A separate initiative, Backin' Belfast, was also launched to encourage people to come into Belfast city centre to shop and socialise.

So far the marching season has been largely trouble-free but the litmus test will be this Friday's contentious Twelfth of July parade through the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

Despite unprecedented talks between nationalist residents and the Orange Order, no breakthrough was made in relation to a compromise ahead of the march, which in recent years has been marred by fierce sectarian clashes.

CBI Northern Ireland, which represents around one-third of the private sector workforce and over 60% of the largest employers in Northern Ireland, said it was essential the mood of positivity in the wake of G8 summit is capitalised on.

It has called on politicians and community leaders to play their part in ensuring forthcoming parades pass off peacefully.

"As we approach the main 'parading season' we would encourage those involved to provide the necessary leadership on contentious parades and related protests," a statement read.

"We should encourage all those involved to go the extra mile in demonstrating a high level of respect to others, ensuring every effort is undertaken to create space for dialogue and discussion, and endeavour to reduce tensions within our community."

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