Belfast Telegraph

Councillor wants prayer room for Belfast City Hall

By Suzanne Breen

An independent councillor is calling for a room for prayer or reflection to be opened in Belfast City Hall to accommodate "people of all religions and none".

Declan Boyle's proposal will go before a full meeting of Belfast City Council tonight.

The Botanic councillor said such rooms were found in government and other public buildings across Britain and Ireland.

"I think it's only right that we should have one in Belfast City Hall. I don't see how anybody could object to the idea," he stated.

Mr Boyle said he realised how much City Hall needed such a facility last summer.

"I saw Muslim women tourists on their knees praying in a corridor outside the men's toilets on the ground floor. There was nowhere else for them to use," he said.

"That is not acceptable and doesn't send out the message to tourists that we are a welcoming hospitable place."

Mr Boyle said there was ample space for such a room.

"City Hall is a beautiful big building that can easily accommodate a prayer or reflection room. It would be a facility for tourists, councillors and council staff," he said.

"It could be used for prayer or reflection or just for a bit of quietness and time out from the hustle and bustle of city life.

"Prayer rooms in airports and civic buildings are very well used and I think that would be the same here.

"I don't see any problems with this idea.

"We are a diverse city that should be open for all."

Belfast Telegraph

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