The Balmoral Councillor stated: “It is a complete nonsense to close our number one tourist attraction for two full summers. No one has been able to illustrate to me why this is necessary.
“The Alliance Party’s amendment would have seen major function rooms remain open for charities, tourists and other users at least part of the time. Any additional cost from doing this would have been more than covered by the income from tourism.
“But instead the other parties have chosen to take the easy option, despite the fact no one has been able to come up with a clear figure of the costs of keeping part of the building open during the renovations.
“It is the height of short-sightedness to close Belfast’s leading building entirely for such a long time, thus depriving us of our main tourist attraction. Councillors in other parties took the easy option last night, but they and the citizens of Belfast will live to regret it.”