Belfast City Hall must play active and constructive role in tackling recession - Ó Muilleoir
Ahead of today's (Wednesday) inaugural meeting of the new Development Committee of Belfast City Council which will discuss its £20m plan of action for the coming year, Balmoral Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said it was urgent that City Hall adopt strategies and actions which will impact on "this crippling recession".He said: "The scale, intensity and duration of this recession call for focused, radical and bold steps by Council to create jobs and build the new Belfast. We have many troubled thoroughfares in Belfast — including parts of the Lisburn Road — where merchants suffering a downturn in business are struggling with onerous rates bills. We need to identify ways to occupy closed units, replace dilapidated buildings, provide rates relief and boost business throughput. Backing traders' associations and supporting our arts and culture organisations are just some of the economic actions which council needs to adopt.
"We also need new, dynamic models of economic regeneration which embrace all the quarters of the city — primarily Titanic, Cathedral and Gaeltacht — in unison and leverage our wonderful natural assets such as the Lagan river and towpath.
"Over recent weeks, with my Council colleagues, I have been listening to the small business owners who are the backbone of this city and the providers of the bulk of our rate base, call for actions which will help them build a prosperous city with opportunities for all. Now it's time for the Council to start to deliver."