As Vice Chair of the Health and Environmental Services committee of Belfast City Council, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to the launch of the Brush with the Past, Cleansing Services exhibition.
As the Lord Mayor mentioned, the Cleansing services function stems as far back as the early 17th century. The job of a street cleansing operative has never been an easy one but thankfully through the ages, technology has helped somewhat. Street cleansing continues to be an arduous task but one we cannot live without. Regardless of the weather, staff are required to clean the streets 364 days a year. We are proud that we continue to deliver this service to a high standard for the benefit of our citizens, despite the elements.
This exhibition has been created to paint a picture of street cleansing down through the years but it also features the important role it plays in our daily lives as citizens ofBelfast. The work of our staff not only makes a visible difference to the area, but also has a long lasting effect, instilling a sense of pride in the community. The exhibit displays many photographs of cleansing staff past and present so hopefully you will recognise some familiar faces. Despite their difficult job, the men and women always had a smile on their face.
The cleanliness of our city is vitally important not only for the health of our citizens, but for tourism and industry. Tourism inNorthern Irelandhas become a growing business and last year the Tall Ships alone attracted an income of approximately £10 million. This is a huge boost for the local economy, in the light of current economic conditions. We also want to ensure that we continue to attract new business in to the city. Centres like the Victoria Square shopping precinct has boosted the local retail industry; this will hopefully in turn attract many other retail, financial and other businesses sectors in to the city. Making the city as attractive and tidy as possible will help us achieve this and ensure public perceptions of their local environment remain positive.
The Lord Mayor has thanked those employees who played an important role in the formation of the exhibition and I would echo these sentiments. Many weeks and months of work went in to the research and production of the story and I think this is very apparent. So congratulations to one and all!
I would like you to now join the Lord Mayor and I down at the East Wing to view the exhibition.
Councillor Dr Ian Adamson OBE