Tourist shares flag protest fear online

Tourist shares flag protest fear online

A Dublin tourist has shared online his "near death experience" of having masked men surround his car during flag protests in Belfast.

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.


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