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We need to turn central Belfast into a welcoming destination, not a battleground in our culture wars

Nelson McCausland


A proposal to rename Castle Street in honour of James Connolly is historical vandalism

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Castle Street in Belfast city centre / Credit: Google Maps

Castle Street in Belfast city centre / Credit: Google Maps

Jim McVeigh

Jim McVeigh

Castle Street in Belfast city centre / Credit: Google Maps

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.