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New Belfast Chamber president to be a ‘critical friend’ on safety and cleanliness issues in city


New Belfast Chamber President Alana Coyle

New Belfast Chamber President Alana Coyle

New Belfast Chamber President Alana Coyle

The new president of the Belfast Chamber has set the regeneration of the city as one of her top priorities coming into the job amid criticisms of safety and cleanliness in recent weeks.

Alana Coyle was elected at the organisation’s latest AGM and is a partner at the commercial real estate firm Finch.

“A key area of focus for Belfast Chamber has been to encourage the accelerated delivery of the regeneration of Belfast, and we have sought to lead the debate on Belfast’s regeneration on behalf of all of our members,” she said.

“Belfast Chamber has devoted a lot of time in recent years to thinking about the spaces between those places and how we can make Belfast a more people centred city.

“We recognise that attracting and retaining talent is central to Belfast’s economic success. It is also a recognition of the reality that people’s expectations of cities like Belfast is changing.”

In recent weeks Belfast has hit the headlines for issues around cleanliness and problems of anti-social behaviour.

Earlier this month the city’s council also came together to back a “Cleansing Task Force” consisting of members from each party, senior management and cleansing management to be convened by the Lord Mayor, with officer recommendations to be returned this month.

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The new president said she wanted to be a “critical friend” on the matter of cleanliness and safety issues in the city.

“Belfast has come on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. Belfast has undoubtedly changed for the better, but we also need to be honest and acknowledge when things aren’t up to scratch,” she said.

“Belfast Chamber has long reiterated that clean and safe streets are the bedrock of any successful city.

“I know that many will share my concerns that Belfast is experiencing serious issues at present with cleanliness and safety.

“A recent survey of 160 members showed that nearly 2/3 thought that the cleanliness of the city centre was poor or very poor whilst 72% of businesses believed that the city was less clean and less safe since the pandemic. That simply isn’t good enough.

“Belfast Chamber expects those with responsibility to do more and to do better. We will work with the Council, the PSNI and other stakeholders to raise standards.

“We have come so far as a city. We have worked hard to transform Belfast. We cannot allow the basics of cleanliness and safety to become a deterrent for visitors or investment.”

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