Controversial Cannes property convention sparks debate amongst Belfast Metropolis Council

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A Cannes property convention which members of Belfast Metropolis Council will attend subsequent yr has been branded “little greater than a celebration”.

reen Get together councillor Áine Groogan made the remark throughout a debate over who ought to attend the MIPIM occasion within the South of France in 2023.

It was agreed that council reps will go to the 2023 occasion, at ratepayers’ expense, regardless of Inexperienced Get together and Folks Earlier than Revenue councillors urging Metropolis Corridor to boycott the occasion.

Particulars on the dimensions of any Metropolis Corridor delegation can be determined at a later date.

Authorities representatives, property teams, traders, building companies and designers head to the South of France for MIPIM, billed as “the world’s main property market” yearly. However in 2018 the occasion grew to become mired in controversy, with allegations of sexism, drunken behaviour and even of prostitutes being on the occasion.

Organisers on the time rejected the declare, saying: “By no means does MIPIM register prostitutes.”

The occasion, thought of by many to be male-dominated, has been the topic of a number of complaints by ladies who say they have been the victims of sexist abuse, misogyny and discrimination.

In 2018, Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Pageant of Structure, launched the Elephant Marketing campaign, to confront exploitation within the property and building industries.

That yr Belfast Metropolis Council spent £60,000 sending seven officers to the four-day occasion in March.

Ms Groogan advised the chamber this week: “It’s disappointing, because it appears to be enterprise as common after Covid. I believed we’d have taken inventory about how we do enterprise and the way we transfer ahead as a society, however it doesn’t actually appear to have gotten there.

“Sustainable growth and development can not simply be buzzwords to us. I’ve but to be satisfied on the deserves of MIPIM and what it delivers to the town, as a result of to date what I’ve seen it delivering shouldn’t be an terrible lot. And what it has delivered shouldn’t be very constructive.”

She added that MIPIM appeared “a really male-dominated, wealth-driven jaunt within the South of France, and the behaviour at it’s not one thing this metropolis or this council must be related to.”

She known as it “little greater than a celebration”.

Her proposal that the council don’t have any involvement with the MIPIM convention subsequent yr fell, with eight votes in help from the Greens and Folks Earlier than Revenue, 25 in opposition to, and 18 Sinn Fein votes abstaining.
Sinn Fein councillor Ryan Murphy mentioned: “Our occasion put ahead a proposal that we wouldn’t attend MIPIM within the political sense, the place there could be no occasion representatives, however the place the council could be corporately represented by employees.

“Folks will know we now have raised reservations about MIPIM and the council’s attendance at it and what worth and profit that it brings to the town. From then, over the previous couple of years, we now have had experiences coming again to the committee from council officers concerning the want for the council to be represented there.

“We heard that once more at committee, represented to us by the Renewed Ambition Programme partnership. The report outlines there are different council areas concerned with going, and for that cause it’s why we prompt we’d be glad for council officers to attend and for them to report again precisely the engagements they’d on the market and what worth they felt it may deliver to the town going ahead.”

His proposal for officers and never elected representatives to attend the convention fell, with 19 votes in help and 32 in opposition to.

Folks Earlier than Revenue councillor Fiona Ferguson mentioned: “I believe that is completely out of step with the kind of angle this council claims to undertake on points like the price of residing, or no matter else. It’s all the proper phrases then it’s little junkets to France — and it is not sensible.”

She prompt no extra affiliation with MIPIM until there was a political resolution to take action. She mentioned the proposal to ship council officers relatively than elected representatives was “laughable”.

UUP councillor Carole Howard mentioned: “MIPIM is massively profitable and has introduced quite a bit to this metropolis.”

SDLP councillor Carl Whyte mentioned: “My goodness, it feels like Mordor, or someplace the place actually dangerous issues occur, someplace the place nobody would ever want to go of their whole lives. I’ve been to the South of France fairly a couple of instances and I don’t keep in mind seeing this hellhole that’s being talked about tonight.”

He added: “What I’ve heard tonight completely flabbergasts me. We aren’t sitting right here on this constructing with tons of of cranes as you stroll out. We’re in dire want of institutional funding — from the kind of folks that go to MIPIM.”

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