Tourist shares flag protest fear online

Published Friday, 08 February 2013
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A Dublin tourist has shared online his "near death experience" of having masked men surround his car during flag protests in Belfast.

Tourist shares flag protest fear online
Shay Conway said his car was surrounded by masked men. (© Presseye)

Tripadvisor user Shay Conway stayed in a city centre hotel in December last year - the same month when disorder sparked after a Belfast City Council decision to limit the days the Union flag is flown.

It was the second time he had stayed in the Holiday Inn Express on University Street, where he praised the friendly and helpful staff.

But, after getting caught up in unrest during his trip three months ago, Mr Conway wrote on the travel review site that he may never return to the city.

"Unfortunately I had a near death experience on my way [as] I got caught up in a riot and had my car paint bombed and was surrounded by men in masks," he said.

"I feel only my determination and clear intention to immediately run over those surrounding me saved me."

It is not known exactly where the attack happened and despite his praise for the hotel, the user said: "I will probably never return to Belfast."

Hotel manager Jackie Kelly thanked Shay Conway for his post on Tripadvisor.

"I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay and that you arrived safe and sound in the end," she wrote.

Flag protests have continued across Northern Ireland for more than nine weeks and the disruption has affected businesses, with an estimated £15m in trade lost over the Christmas period.

Last month, Pubs of Ulster said up to 300 jobs in the hospitality industry were at risk because of unpredictable trading due to lack of footfall.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
73 Comments
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (581 days ago):
Too true, CrumlinT. There does appear to be a problem with education in areas plagued with loyalist roadblocks.
bella in carrickfergus wrote (582 days ago):
No wonder there will be noTourists coming here why would utv print comments like that i had friends over from Australia last week we done a tour of Crum prison went to the Titanic building walked round Belfast had a great day i think this comment page should be shut down it's a disgrace it's just tit for tat makes me sick and angry only people putting tourists off coming here is comments like the one's i have read here, why don't you all grow up and keep your comment's to yourself.
realistic in planet earth wrote (582 days ago):
Naomi, you checked all those details on the web didn't you !!! :) hehehehehehe Good luck with the psychology course Naomi, definitely a need for trained psychologists here :) You should do a course on politics when you have time...........
Think Mick in Paddyland wrote (582 days ago):
Tommy Atkins in London England - I see wot ye done there, yer while smart arent ye...
Patrick in Dorset wrote (582 days ago):
Loyalist intransigence will eventually push Britain out of Northern Ireland.
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