Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Belfast still a city that has everything to offer

Flag protests, riots, rain, hail and now even snow, and still the people of Belfast and its traders are bravely facing the challenges of this difficult winter.

Less brave souls might stay at home, but Belfast people have been venturing forth despite the snow, and trying to make the best of what is on offer.

Though the prospects of roads blocked by snow rather than by protestors can be equally daunting, there is also a feeling of adventure in setting out to buy that special present, or to enjoy an evening in a restaurant or a concert hall, and then savouring the achievement of actually getting there.

The traders of Belfast and its people have been living through exceptionally tough times. That is why the Telegraph has launched its campaign, We're Backing Belfast, and that is why we are asking people to ignore the gloom, and come into town. The city really does need you.

This campaign has been backed by leading politicians and other figures. Prime Minister David Cameron is right to urge people to look on Belfast as "a fantastic place", which it really is for many people.

Labour leader Ed Miliband caught the mood when he described Belfast as "one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the world".

First Minister Peter Robinson also sounded the right note when he said that this campaign can send out a positive message and that it can hopefully encourage everyone in the community "to stand behind our local businesses who serve us all".

There are always those, of course, who point out that the wounds of the past few weeks have been self-inflicted, but that is only part of the story.

Few other communities in the world have suffered so severely during the past 40 years and more, but the people of Northern Ireland have shown an indomitable spirit which makes it such a unique and special place.

This is the time for all of us to go out and to demonstrate that spirit again, and to enjoy ourselves as well.

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