“We recognise there are concerns around noise levels within the city centre. If the consultation were limited to issues around the use of amplification, then a common-sense discussion could have been held.
We have consistently argued against these more dictatorial ideas. The current proposals are an overreach by the Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green Councillors and go way beyond amplification. These parties want to dictate who can be heard and what can be displayed in Belfast City Centre.
Fundamental freedoms must be protected.
The proposed Code of Conduct for people in the City Centre is fraught with pitfalls. Not only will the issuing of permits inevitably become a political decision, but certain applicants if they even manage to secure a permit, could find themselves subject to further unreasonable conditions imposed without any justification or explanation.
The consultation may euphemistically talk about the “prevention and suppression of nuisance” but it gives the Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green coalition, the potential power to ‘prevent and suppress’ anything they decide to within that specified area.
The years since this idea was first floated have not been used to find sensible or workable proposals. Instead, time has been wasted by Councillors intent on expanding their powers to censor anything they don’t like.”