You've come a long way, baby…

STUART Emmrish, editor of the Travel section of the New York Times, returns to find a very different Belfast from the one he remembers seeing in the late 80s. Apart from his disappointment at the empty city centre in the evening, he writes that “the “new” Belfast – the Belfast of outsized ambitions, and perhaps unrealistic expectations – clearly had far to go. But it had already come an awfully long way.”

The Observer also takes a look at the changing face of Belfast today.

  • aquifer

    Plenty of easyjet tourists in the city centre these days. With Eurozone Dublin investors able to borrow money at a couple of percent against their Dublin gains, property investment could run and run, with a massive local spending boost multiplying the economic effects. The demographics are telling, with lots of young educated people available to work.

    Belfast owes little to inheritance, and Lord Donegal’s sale of long leases to pay gambling debts triggered its first nineteenth century boom. The old Unionist economic establishment based on textiles and manufacturing has receded, but Irish entrepreneurialism thrives on, offering multiple routes to wealth. Education has been the fast ladder up for many, and people can still remember hard and bad times well enough not to miss them, and to stick with the job in hand.

    With new money coming in, jobs opened up to whole new classes of young people equally, and with eastern europeans willing to fill any gaps, Belfast could go like a train if the three ‘P’s don’t lie down on the line.

    Paramilitaries
    Politicians
    Planners

  • DCB

    Interesting post, never knew about Lord Donegal having to settle gambling debts.

    Agree the pernicious three P’s can very easily derial things

    I would be cautious of gearing up in euros to fund sterling assets. The foreign exchange movements usually dwarf the savings on interest rates.

  • Bored

    Donegall Pass, the Markets, the Village etc. etc. etc. – all of these places should be razed to the ground and the work-shy, feral scum curently therein moved to Larne, Craigavon, Portadown, Lurgan etc.

    How DARE these fucking scum expect to live within minutes of the city centre while refusing to work, adequately parent their children and refrain from assaulting, intimidating and generally annoying all decent,honest,hardworking citizens of Belfast.

    It never ceases to amaze me how and why these animals are allowed to occupy prime real estate at taxpayers expense. And how do they repay the taxpayer – “Sandy Row is Sandy Row” etc. etc. etc.

    I travel widely and regularly – I have never encountered a city (with the possible exception of Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City) which seems so overrun with spides as Belfast. Travel to Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam etc. etc. and while there are certainly spides about, they (a) tend to stay within the less salubrious districts of town and (b) certainly don’t strut about the city centre as if they own the place.

    Walk down Grafton Street, Stephen’s Green, Nassau Street, George’s Street, Merrion Square etc. in Dublin – now walk down Royal Avenue, Chichester Street, Donegall Street, Castle Street, Donegall Square etc. in Belfast – notice anything? That’s right – the city centre of Belfast is awash with baseball-capped, moustache-sporting, Elizabeth Duke From Argos gold tat-wearing scum, strutting about without a care in the world.

    I have long been of the view that these filth should be offered a voluntary sterilisation procedure in exchange for Regal cigarettes, vouchers for McDonalds, Argos, Winemark and JJB sports and (as a last resort) hard cash.

    These scum are (in parallel with loyalist paramilitarism) the greatest quality of life issue facing Belfast in the next century. Talking, debating, mollycoddling and otherwise entertaining these vermin is utterly pointless. We’ve spent the last twenty years and fuck knows how much money adopting ‘community based’ programs of ‘social assistance’ manned by a veritable army of ‘youth workers’, ‘outreach workers’, ‘welfare advisers’ etc. etc et fucking cetera.

    This policy has failed. We now need to (a) police these cunts within an inch of their lives and (b) jail/sterilise their untermensch arses out of existence.

  • demos

    You’re a lovely person

  • Kelvin Doherty

    Bored

    Yes lets stop debating this via 8 paragragh comments