A Belfast businessman says the sight of a filthy and run-down city center is ‘absolutely heartbreaking’
A Belfast businessman has slammed the ‘dirty’ city center streets and called them ‘a total embarrassment’.
Gerry White, founder of Jawbox Gin, took to social media on Thursday to say he had never seen the town so run down, describing it as “absolutely heartbreaking”.
Mr White posted photos on Twitter of litter strewn along Donegall Place and a smashed billboard nearby.
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He said, “Have we completely lost the pride of our city? I have never seen the streets of #Belfast Downtown looks so dirty and run down, absolutely heartbreaking.
“It’s a total embarrassment, we’ve gone from ‘Belfast Is Buzzin’ to ‘Belfast Is Boggin’.”
Speaking to Belfast Live, Mr White questioned people’s pride in the city.
“These photos were taken at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, so it wasn’t even like it was late at night. It’s been going on for a long time and it seems to be getting worse.
“There was a time when the city center seemed to be straightening up and looking better, but now there seems to be a lack of pride. I would like to see clean streets in Belfast, but at the moment it just looks dirty.”
He added: “Those involved in hospitality here are investing millions of pounds to get people into the city center and seeing Belfast and then that’s what’s on their doorstep.
“Years ago if someone threw trash on the floor they would be yelled at to pick it up, but there’s none of that anymore. I guess people might be afraid to say anything now, because who knows what might happen.
“What I saw really touched me and I felt like I had to say something.”
A spokesman for Belfast City Council said cleaners were operating in areas highlighted by Mr White earlier on Thursday and again in the afternoon.
“We are working to provide cleaning services as much as possible this week despite the strike. Downtown is a priority and we encourage people to throw trash away or bring it home when the bins are full,” said they added.
Municipal services in the city and across Northern Ireland are facing up to two weeks of disruption due to the Unite union strike over a pay dispute.
Responding to Mr White’s comments, Belfast Chamber chief executive Simon Hamilton said clean and safe streets are the cornerstone of any successful city.
“That’s why making sure the streets of Belfast are clean and safe was the number one issue for our recently launched Belfast City Commitment,” he added.
“As our city continues to reopen and our economy recovers, we urge the Council and other responsible departments and agencies to redouble their efforts to ensure Belfast is welcoming to everyone.”
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