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Minister visits St George's market to consider access issues

2 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy MP MLA today visited St George's Market in Belfast to see at first hand the access and parking problems which traders and shoppers experience there.

The Minister said the market was primarily the responsibility of Belfast City Council but he was anxious to work with the council and the market traders to help reduce their problems.

He announced that he has appointed a senior official from his Department to join a working party, set up by Belfast City Council, to explore solutions to problems relation to the famous weekly Friday market.

Mr Murphy walked around the market, spoke at length with traders and shoppers and viewed the geography of the area.

"St George's market has a long and distinguished history and is still an important feature of social and commercial life in the city," said Mr Murphy.

"Obviously when it was built the city did not have the volume of traffic which it has to cope with today and there was much less development in that part of town.

"Some steps have already been taken to make life easier for stallholders setting up on a Friday morning and removing their goods and stalls around lunchtime. With the success of the market some congestion is inevitable however, I will work with the City Council to see what can be done to minimise this. The reality is that there is no single easy solution."

Mr Murphy added: "I believe the traders will also cooperate fully with the Council to work around the problems and ensure that the market continues to provide a special attraction for shoppers and tourists on a weekly basis. Any suggestions which the traders and members of the public have to offer should also be directed to the group and I am sure they will be given due consideration." ENDS

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