It’s not entirely clear to me why Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan has been singled out for criticism by Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, but he has been. Here’s the 11 January press release from the Sinn Féin website
Sinn Féin councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has called on Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan to “stop politicking” and unite with political and business leaders to build the city of Belfast.
Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:
“Sadly, while others have been working full-out to end the protests and back our businesses and communities, Joe Jordan has been more interested in engaging in politicking.
“I would appeal to him to call for the protests to end and condemn the actions of the tiny minority who are disrupting business in Belfast with these protests.
“Belfast City Council is committed to helping our businesses and will not be deterred from that vital work by this type of politicking.”
Back on 9 December 2012, Chamber President Joe Jordan did criticise the timing of the Belfast City Council vote on the contentious issue
The president of Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Joe Jordan, has criticised the council for raising the contentious issue so close to Christmas.
“It’s not really a question of how sympathetic retailers are to the protesters and to the debate about the union flag it really boils down to more who is responsible for creating the protest,” Mr Jordan said.
“I think Belfast city council has to hold its hands up and admit that they are to blame here. Why could this protest or this debate not have happened in February or March of next year?”
But that’s some time ago now…
And, since then, as the Guardian reports
The Confederation of British Industry estimates £15m in trade has been lost in Belfast since the outbreak of demonstrations over the city council’s decision to limit the number of days the flag flies atop city hall.
Which could be seen to justify his earlier concerns about the timing.
More recently, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has called “an urgent meeting with Belfast businesses to discuss recent events in the City” on Wednesday this week at the Europa hotel.
Chamber President Joe Jordan said the meeting was, “To discuss the downturn in trade over the Christmas period and the continuing hardship on the business community”
He continued, “There is no doubt that the past two months have been incredibly difficult for traders in Belfast. We want to hear the first-hand experience of businesses, along with their views and opinions on the current crisis.”
Meanwhile other local business representatives have been openly lobbying the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, for assistance – only to be, properly, re-directed towards the devolved administration and “local politicians”. She will pass on their invitation to visit Belfast to the Prime Minister though. [Those business representatives seem to have escaped Máirtín's wrath - Ed]
Of course, Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has also been known to take umbrage at the sight of the Union flag on a bit of turkey in his local Asda store. And, more recently, on boxes of eggs in Sainsbury’s.
So, perhaps, not the most reliable of witnesses…