Shopping as usual after Belfast parade

Published Thursday, 27 September 2012
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Traders in Belfast say it will be business as usual in the city centre after Saturday's Ulster Covenant parade.

Shopping as usual after Belfast parade
The covenant parade is expected to be finished in Belfast by 1.30pm. (© Pacemaker)

Shops will be open as thousands march through the streets to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the covenant.

The parade sets off from Belfast City Hall at 11am and is expected to be clear of the city by 1.30pm, with shops open from 9am to 6pm.

Joe Jordan, President of Belfast Chamber of Trade, said: "After a highly successful meeting last week with the Orange Order, we can confirm that all parades will have left the city by 1.30pm, allowing for normal traffic flow and trading from this time onwards.

"We want to encourage consumers into the city to support our retail core," he added.

The time hours between 1pm and 4pm are among the most lucrative for the city's shops as they make up 25% of the entire weeks trade.

Retailers have told UTV they feel forced to open on a Saturday, despite their reservations about the number of customers they may have, because they cannot afford to miss a whole day's takings.

Martin Quinn, who has been running his Belfast barber shop for 40 years, said: "I feel business will be bad because a lot of my customers will be nervous coming into the streets, but Saturday is my main day

"Already they have been in asking me will you be open on Saturday. I can't afford to lose the work," he added.

Hugh Black, centre manager, Victoria Square said: "The Covenant Parade will have an impact on the footfall into the city centre.

"The last Saturday of the month is traditionally one of our busiest days and this will undoubtedly have an impact on trade.

"We hope that disruption will be minimal and would encourage the public that Belfast city centre, and Victoria Square is very much open for business.

"I think we will drop quite a bit on what would be a normal Saturday. We may pick it up on Sunday, but that would be a hope and a wish," he added.

Earlier this month, city centre retail representatives met with the Parades Commission in the hope that the parade would clear the area by 1pm.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
35 Comments
Jack Dickson in Holywood wrote (675 days ago):
I wish they would have parades in the early hours of the morning until the participants start behaving themselves. We can't have people going to the toilet on our streets, drinking alcohol on our streets, intimidating people and disrespecting places of worship. This year has been very difficult for local commerce. Do these people not realise that tourists do not come to our City for parades? Our tourist figures our lower in July than usual and lower than the UK average. Why? People do not want a wasted journey.
Ben in Dublin wrote (758 days ago):
Your right Danny, the media can hype things up alot. We are coming to Belfast tomorrow for 4 nights looking forward to it. It started off with 6 of us going on the trip, now its 11. Should be good. Thanks Danny.
Danny in Ulster wrote (759 days ago):
@Ben in Dublin - don't believe the hype, the vast majority of parades pass off peacefully and are enjoyed by many, including the annual Rossnowlagh one in Co Donegal. I hope you enjoy your visit to Belfast if you do manage to visit NI in future.
GeeWhizz in Armagh wrote (759 days ago):
Ann, to demonise 30,000 individuals in one fell swoop is itself an act of bigotry and reveals more about your own innate prejudices than it does the people on parade.
Leanne in newtownabbey wrote (760 days ago):
I was in town on saturday with my daughter and two nieces, who all are under 8 tell me how those children are biggots. I wouldnt set foot in Belfast City Centre on a saturday afternoon, but since we were watching a piece of history I went and spent a lot of money in City Centre shops which wouldnt have got my money had the parade not have been on. The parade passed off peacefully which was what everyone wanted. Of course tho UTV had to find something to pick on to try to bring blame and shame onto the protestant community. What a great day we had and everyone around us. The family beside us came up from Armagh to watch the parade and intended to do there christmas shopping while in Belfast. BORE OFF, UTV!!!!
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