How Belfast was linked to slave trade

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Peter Hain has apologised for Northern Ireland's involvement in the slave trade, or as it was back then, simply Ireland.

While there was opposition to slavery across the island there were also men who made fortunes out of the exploitation of slaves.

Part of Belfast's commercial and industrial advances of the time were linked to trade with the slave economies of the West Indies.

Waddell Cunningham, founding president of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce and first president of the Harbour Board, numbered among those who made fortunes from slavery and tried to set up a slave company in Belfast...

Historian Eamon Phoenix said Belfast had less to apologise for than ports like Liverpool or Bristol...

"There was a very, very strong pro-abolition and anti-slavery movement in Belfast which chimed with the kind of reception of the French revolution in the city in the 1780s 1790s associated with the rise of the United Irishmen," he said.

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