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North Street Arcade Fire: A Tragedy

18 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Councilor Eoin O'Broin (Chair of the Councils Culture, Arts & Heritage Committee) has described last nights fire at the North Street Arcade as 'an architectural and cultural tragedy of significant proportions'. Speaking after surveying the scene this morning Cllr O'Broin said:

'The North Street Arcade was a distinct and prized building which contributed greatly to the built heritage of Belfast city centre. It was a building of great beauty and which contained great history.

'In addition to its architectural importance it was home to a large number of small traders and cultural organizations. The Cream of the North recording studio provided much needed rehearsal space for emerging bands. The offices of the Film Festival and Cathedral Quarter Arts festival gave the arcade much of its cultural focus, and the Arcadia Cafe was a regular venue for many arts and cultural events.

'My understanding is that the damage is so extensive that it may not be possible to restore it. This would be a great tragedy for the residents of the arcade, for the Cathedral Quarter and the City generally

'Only last week I met with a group of traders from the Arcade to discuss their concerns regarding the proposed Cathedral Way development scheme which is currently with the planning service. I will be contacting the traders in the coming days to discuss the weekend events further.' ENDS

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