Northern Ireland news

Call for Belfast city centre street to renamed after 1916 leader James Connolly

Jim McVeigh pictured beside a statue of James Connolly on the Falls Road in west Belfast
Connla Young

TRADERS on one of Belfast city centre's busiest streets are calling for it to be renamed after 1916 Easter Rising leader James Connolly.

A petition calling for the street to be named after the rising leader is expected to be handed over to the chief executive of Belfast City Council, Suzanne Wylie, next week.

Mr Connolly was one of the seven republicans who signed the proclamation and was executed by the British in the weeks after the rising 104 years ago.

In the years before 1916 Mr Connolly lived on the Falls Road in west Belfast for a time and a visitor centre in his honour was opened close to his former home last year.

Castle Street is a main thoroughfare leading from the city centre to nationalist west Belfast.

If the proposal is accepted it will be renamed in both English and Irish as James Connolly Street - Sraid Seamus Ui Chonghaile.

The petition has been organised by the James Connolly Historical Society, which is chaired by former Sinn Féin councillor Jim McVeigh.

1916 leader James Connolly

“A lot of businesses have signed for the name to be changed to James Connolly Street,” he said.

“The majority of businesses have signed the petition.”

Mr McVeigh revealed that there are also plans to rename two other city centre streets.

Among those to be honoured is anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass who spent time in Belfast in the 19th century.

There are also plans to name a street after social reformer Mary Anne McCracken, whose brother Henry Joy McCracken, was a leading member if the United Irishmen.

Mr McVeigh said that key groups are not represented in Belfast's street names including women, ethnic groups, the working classes, organised labour or key Irish figures.

“They need to do an equality impact assessment on the city centre in terms of street names and public art,” he said.

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