The committee and the members of the West Belfast Historical Society were shocked and appalled when we heard of the decision to delist some of the most important historical buildings in Belfast city centre.
Belfast has already lost enough of its fine buildings during the Troubles and this decision would only seek to compound the damage already done during those dark years.
You would think the powers that be would be trying to save these buildings for future generations of Belfast people to enjoy and what do they do, they take away the only protection that these buildings have and leave them wide open to constructive vandalism, destruction and even demolition.
The North, South, East and West Belfast Historical Societies have been working together with the Belfast Civic trust and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society to try and get the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings a more enhanced protection status than the current listing system provides.
The present listing system is clearly not fit for purpose and this fiasco seem to prove that point very clearly. Over recent years many historical local buildings have been lost due to constructive vandalism in the Belfast area and we believe that it is time to put a stop to this and to preserve what little built heritage that we have left for the future generations of our people to admire and enjoy.
In addition if we wish to attract tourists into the city we must at least attempt to retain and restore these buildings as it is important that Belfast retains its unique feel.
What is surprising is that the buildings suggested to be delisted are amongst some of the most important buildings in the city.
If these are to be delisted what hope is there for other historic buildings in the city and indeed the North of Ireland as a whole.
The city has lost too many significant buildings over the last few years and this proposal quite clearly undermines the listing process.
(Chair & P.R.O. The West Belfast Historical Society)