The Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has highlighted the problems faced by the city centre. The issue of vacant shops is not unique to Belfast, or indeed to Northern Ireland. It is an issue that is faced by town and city centres across the United Kingdom and further afield.
The growth of internet shopping has had a major impact on city centres everywhere and, more recently, the situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The accidental fire at the Bank Buildings in 2018 caused major disruption for traders and, on top of that, Belfast city centre has never fully recovered from the IRA's economic war, when so many shops and offices were bombed and burned.
So, how can we improve the city centre? Well, the James Connolly Historical Society has come forward with a proposal to rename Castle Street "James Connolly Street", after the Irish republican rebel James Connolly. They have got some of the traders to sign a petition and it has been lodged with Belfast City Council.
For those not familiar with the James Connolly Historical Society, there is no point in resorting to the internet, because a quick search with a popular search engine revealed nothing apart from the recent demand for a James Connolly Street.
However, we do know that the key person is their chairman, Jim McVeigh, a former IRA bomber, who became the leader of the Sinn Fein group on Belfast City Council and then left to work for a trade union.
Prior to that, Jim McVeigh, who has the nickname "Flash" McVeigh, was jailed twice on bombing charges during the Troubles and became officer commanding the IRA prisoners in the Maze. He was jailed for 31 years in 1992 for conspiring to murder soldiers.
There is already a James Connolly Museum with a James Connolly statue outside it and Sinn Fein's head office is Connolly House. Now, republicans want to badge the city centre entrance to west Belfast as Connolly Street. I suppose they may think it is more permanent than painting the kerbstones.
It is of course a particularly perverse proposal, since Castle Street is one of the street names that help us to understand the geography and history of Belfast.
The old medieval castle is long gone, but the name Castle Street is a reminder of where it was.
In the same way that the bridge over the Farset is gone, but Bridge Street reminds us of where it stood.
Fountain Street is a reminder of the "fountains" that distributed water from a well in the 19th century and Bank Street, Chapel Lane and many other names help to tell the story. To wipe out such historic names would be an act of gross vandalism.
Jim McVeigh may talk about inclusion and equality, but I can't think of any other street name in the city centre that identifies a particular iconic individual.
There are family names such as Waring Street, or Donegall Street, but there is no James Craig Avenue and neither is there a Sir Edward Carson Place.
So, why is there now a demand for a James Connolly Street in the centre of the city?
No one should imagine that this is some new idea dreamed up by a local historical society.
Members of Sinn Fein have been talking about this for some time and they will see this as a new initiative that they can replicate time after time in town after town across Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein think long-term and they think strategically; reassuring their base, this is about showing dissidents that they are still real red-blooded republicans.
Sinn Fein show no interest in building a shared society. Their aim is to create division and this is just another example.
Time will tell how other parties in the City Hall react to this and whether or not non-unionist parties are prepared to show leadership.
We should be aiming to make Belfast city centre a warm and welcoming place, not turning it into another cultural battleground.