Donna Mc Crystal

 

24, Magherafelt, Co Derry

`Coming from the country, I'd still a bit apprehensive about living in Belfast and I prefer to commute. But definitely things are better around the North than a few years ago. Then any public place was just out, it wasn't safe. You stayed in your own area around people you knew. Getting a taxi by yourself at night was definitely out of the question.

"Now people are coming into the towns. The social scene in Belfast is brilliant now, really amazing, and its generally very mixed. Although I still know people from home that would be reluctant to come to Belfast.

"During the summer it was quite frightening during the Drumcree standoff, the streets were really quiet. We had to close early some days because there was no one around. Business is good now but we've noticed that shoppers from the South aren't really coming up. I think we lost them after the first ceasefire collapsed. Most haven't been back since although some may be starting to trickle back up now."