Primark has announced it will donate £500,000 to the recovery effort for Belfast city centre as a “gesture of goodwill”.

In a statement, the retailer confirmed it would be making the donation to Belfast City Council’s recovery programme, with the money being distributed to local businesses impacted by the fire.

A Primark spokeperson said: “Following the devastating fire at Bank Buildings, Primark has been focused on the welfare of our colleagues, while also working with the authorities regarding our on-going commitment to businesses and the wider community in Belfast. Today [Tuesday] we want to provide an update on our plans.

“It is our intention to be back up and trading again as soon possible. As you can appreciate, we are at the early stages on this and will confirm details as soon as possible. We hope that this will assist the on-going efforts to drive footfall into the city centre.”

The spokesperson also asserted it was committed to reestablishing a shop presence in Belfast.

Belfast City council Council welcomed the announcement Primark would donate to the wider City Recovery Investment Fund.

“Primark is very keen to support small businesses in the city centre – in particular those that have been severely impacted by the fire.  The company has asked Belfast City Council to distribute this funding on its behalf,” a Council spokesperson said.

“Belfast City Council is developing a City Recovery Investment Programme which includes immediate, medium and longer term proposals to support businesses, re-establish and sustain high levels of trading the city centre in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, increase connectivity across the city centre, ultimately ensuring the city’s economic resilience.

“The contribution made by Primark will be an important part of that overall programme delivery.”

In a statement, Belfast DUP MPs Nigel Dodds, Emma Little Pengelly and Gavin Robinson welcomed the donation.

They said: ““Everyone is aware of the disruption that has been caused to Belfast City Centre as a result of the cordon in place around Bank Buildings. It is important that efforts continue to reduce that as quickly as possible and allow business to return to as much normality as possible.

“There are concerns about the impact of forecasted high winds over the next 24 hours and how this could affect the building. It is those risks which mean the safety cordon has to be kept in place, but we hope that progress can be made quickly.

“The donation made by Primark to the City Council’s recovery programme is a very welcome goodwill gesture. Primark have demonstrated a strong commitment to Belfast since the fire and the donation recognises the impact upon many other smaller traders in the city centre.”

We would encourage all those businesses to access the funding when it becomes available.”

More details of how affected businesses can access funding are expected to be released after a meeting on Friday.

The Belfast city centre Primark housed in the Bank Buildings was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday, August 28.

Since the blaze a safety cordon has remained in place, blocking access to businesses inside the safety cordon.

It is still unclear how long the cordon will remain in place for and how long businesses will remain closed.

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