McMullan: Belfast City Hall marks national day of mourning following Beirut tragedy

Alliance Councillor Ross McMullan has confirmed Belfast City Hall will be lit in the colours of the Lebanese flag tonight, after he made the request following yesterday’s devastating explosions in Beirut.

Ross – who lived in Lebanon for a time almost ten years ago – secured the move after the tragedy which saw at least 100 people die, more than 4,000 injured and hundreds more missing.

He said: ‘I moved to Lebanon 10 years ago this summer to teach for a year. It’s a country I fell easily in love with its extraordinary places and wonderful people.

“Beirut is a city I had begun to know well- I spent my weekends in the downtown area. I went to church just round the corner from where the explosions took place in Beirut Port. The casualties and damage caused to this city are shocking and heart breaking and this terrible incident could not have occurred at a worse or more difficult time for that country experiencing the Covid19 pandemic and an economic crisis.

“I am thankful that Belfast City Hall will be lit in the colours of the Lebanese flag tonight Wednesday, August 5, to coincide with their national day of mourning and as the emergency response continues. This is an international symbol of solidarity between our two cities- so often referenced together as cities that have experienced conflict.

“At a time when there is very little we can do from so far away, the very least we can do is show love and solidary at a time of great darkness and tragedy. But it’s particularly for those from Lebanon who have made their home here in Belfast and Northern Ireland- as well as those from this place who live in Beirut.

“Lighting City Hall is our way of saying that we stand with you and your loved ones affected by this awful incident with love and solidarity from Belfast to Beirut.”