Willie Jack blasts councillors for failing Belfast

Willie Jack blasts councillors for failing Belfast

Belfast city councillors are failing in the job they were elected to do, hospitality entrepreneur Willie Jack has told LCN.

The publican hit out after a meeting in The Dark Horse organised by the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District saw business owners air their concerns over drug taking, safety and hygiene in the area.

While representatives from several bars, restaurants and cafes turned up, as did policing representatives , only one councillor, Alderman Jim Rogers, was there to listen.

“To say we are disappointed in the lack of respect for business owners is an understatement,” Willie, above left, told LCN.

“They are so far removed from what is happening in Belfast it is embarrassing. The’ll turn up for photo ops in front of the umbrellas but that’s it. The DUP and Sinn Fein didn’t even bother to reply to our invitation.

“Everyone came out of the meeting deflated and feeling that they simply do not care. Our city motto is pro tanto quid retribamus, which translates as ‘what shall we give in return for so much’. The fact is our councillors are doing nothing … it could hardly be more ironic.”

“They are not leading by example in city hall, and it is left to individuals to make a difference.”

Willie Jack told LCN he was particularly concerned that two needle exchanges for drug addicts were now operating in the Cathedral Quarter with the remnants of drug use visible for tourists and locals alike.

‘If Belfast is lifted NI is lifted’

“I know this is about keeping people safe and not getting Aids or Hepatitis and that is good, but we need to make sure things are cleaned up quickly and that the area remains attractive for the night-time economy.

“If Belfast is lifted then Northern Ireland is lifted but our elected representatives are just not doing it.”

Waterman House Cookery School owner Niall McKenna, above right, whose wife Joanne attended the meeting, told LCN: “Look at the Derry Jazz Festival, 75,000 people bringing in up to £2.5m for the city. This is the sort of thing that is needed in Belfast

“Bill Wolsey is opening a new brewery over the Ulster Sports Club and plenty more people are investing and expanding but we need joined-up thinking, dynamic people, and chunky annual events with real value.

“The private sector is pushing it on despite the challenges but we can’t just do it on our own.”

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