Belfast Riots Have Northern Ireland Economy Teetering

Like they need more problems


Businesses in Belfast are counting the cost of a wave of riots they fear could undermine a fledgling tourist boom and scare foreign investors away from a city desperate top shake off its reputation for violence.

The unrest has been some of the most sustained in the British-controlled province of Northern Ireland since a 1998 peace deal ended 30 years of conflict between Catholics seeking union with Ireland and Protestant loyalists determined to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Loyalists have held nightly protests since Irish nationalist councillors voted last month to end a century-old tradition of flying the British union flag every day over Belfast City Hall, exposing a deep vein of discontent with the peace deal.