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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK


Tourists' Troubles map

Political murals are featured as tourist attractions

Political murals and graveyards are among the tourist attractions pinpointed by a map showing the sites of some of Northern Ireland's most violent recent history.

The full colour, multi-lingual map of West Belfast has been produced to help increasing numbers of tourists find their way around the now relatively peaceful Troubles' hotspot.

[ image: Gerry Adams:
Gerry Adams: "Demonised community"
Compiled under the auspices of Failte Feirste Thiar, a West Belfast tourism steering group, the map has been supported by local community groups and businesses.

Failte Feirste Thiar spokeswoman Pauline Kersten said it would be a catalyst for future tourism development in the area which suffers from high unemployment.

"The tourism sector plays an important role in job creation," she said.

Failte Feirste Thiar is an umbrella body comprising local economic, Irish language and arts agencies.

"This map shows all the interesting features of a community that has been demonised too often," said local MP Gerry Adams, who attended the map's public launch.

[ image: Sinead O'Connor: Pulled out]
Sinead O'Connor: Pulled out
The launch ceremony was held in a former Presbyterian Church which has been converted into an Irish language cultural centre, Culturlann McAdam O Fiaich. A tourism information office has also been set up in the centre.

The map's publication precedes a frenetic week of arts events as the annual West Belfast Community Festival kicks off on Sunday with a parade.

Controversy has arisen after the sudden withdrawal of controversial rock singer, Sinead O'Connor from a scheduled concert.

She said the festival organisers had refused her permission to speak about punishment beatings during her performance.

Organisers said they felt that a concert stage was an "inappropriate" platform for political statements.

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