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Long seeks greater recognition of Belfast’s shared history

Belfast City Council must do more to celebrate its rich history, Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said, as he called for greater recognition of Belfast’s ‘enlightenment’ period.

The current High Sheriff was speaking as he pushed for the erection of street signage in various locations across the City Centre to celebrate the period of shared history in the late 18th century.

He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve our tourist offering and encourage increased footfall in our city centre and stems from some research I undertook earlier this year. I’m delighted the proposal has met the first hurdle, with a report now to be prepared with all parties.

“While meeting with several heritage groups I was amazed to discover the history within our city that was almost hidden, when we should be celebrating our shared history.

“That’s why I’ve now requested consistent signage to ensure the many areas of historical interest are well marked out. As one of the guides remarked, the way we deal with the history of our city is a bit like the way the River Farcett relates to High St- it is still there but totally invisible.

“The new signage strategy for the Enlightenment period will cover issues like Belfast's proud anti-slavery history as well as the United Irishmen period, as it is an important part of our shared history and should be something that we are proud of and keen to show visitors to the city.

“Belfast has so much more to offer than a shopping destination and this move will only compliment further the network of the City Hall Exhibition, the new statues we have previously agreed and the heritage trails already in place.

“And of course, it will have the added benefit of bringing more people into the town centre to use our shops, restaurants and other city centre facilities.”