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Alliance welcomes deal on City Hall grounds

Councillor Michael Long, Alliance Group Leader in City Hall, has welcomed the decision to support a deal to make the grounds of the City Hall more inclusive, alongside addressing a number of other issues across the city centre.

He expressed disappointment that Sinn Féin had opposed the deal - which was backed by Alliance, DUP, SDLP, UUP and the PUP - which he said reflected "a changing, diverse and more inclusive city".

Councillor Long added: "After years of effort, I am pleased that we have delivered an agreement on these contentious issues which required resolution following an EQIA in 2012. It found that symbols were overwhelmingly male, white, Protestant and Unionist.

"Today's decision will continue to develop upon the agreement reached on the inside of City Hall and will help better reflect a changing, diverse and more inclusive city.

"These items will see a much better balance in terms of gender, religion, political background and also recognise members of our ethnic minorities and those who promoted the Irish language.

"As someone who has a number of personal links to the Belfast Blitz, I am pleased to confirm our support for the exciting proposals for a memorial at Bouy Park. As I stated last month, agreement was always possible and the memorial is part of this deal.

I would like to thank all the other group leaders for the efforts that they have put into reach this compromise and I am disappointed that Sinn Fein could not back these proposals. Instead, in recent days, submitting a motion calling for five people to be recognised.

"This deal sees four of them included in some form and so it is hard to understand how they are not content. No-one is ever going to get everything that they ask for in negotiations like this."