Residents break their silence
Problem families are asked to leave as tension mounts

After months of being terrorised by local youths, Albert Street residents yesterday broke their silence on the death-driving epidemic that has convulsed the area.

Angry and disillusioned after months of anti-social behaviour, they told the Andersonstown News about what life is like for them.

Fearing retribution from the teenage tearaways, they asked for their identities to remain anonymous. One of the residents, a mother of two, spoke of the increase in the problem.

“This used to be a weekend problem but now it is happening on a daily basis,” she said. “On St Valentine’s Day the first car came into the area about 3pm, as the children were coming home from school, and the last car was abandoned at 7.20am the next morning.”

Another concerned mother is anxious for her family.

“I have to text my son as he is coming home from work when there are two or three cars stolen to get him to take another route home.

“Joyriders tried to knock us down last Tuesday. We were standing at Servia street, a group of women watching the area. The car came up the street slowly as if it were driven by a normal driver and then swerved at us. Luckily no one was injured.”

The residents have a litany of concerns which go beyond car crime.
“It is not just joyriding either. There is vandalism, open glue-sniffing on street corners and underage drinking. Children come out of school and see a car and it is a bit of excitement so they hang around – some child will be killed.”

The residents say that the problem is limited to a small hardcore of people but it can be resolved by residents standing up for themselves. To this end a public meeting was organised for last night (Wednesday) in Albert Street.

“What we want is for the community to stand together. We are not accepting this as a daily way of life.”

Community worker Joe McGuigan said that it is essential that the residents of Albert Street and Servia Street are heard.

“People are literally afraid to walk out on the street, or let children out to play. The residents don’t know what to do. This is a form of bullying. Bullied children are encouraged to break the silence and talk. Now the residents are breaking their silence about this. This is about ordinary people having a voice.”

Speaking on behalf of the Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), Chrissie Mac Siacais said that the organisation had been working to address the concerns of local residents in the Falls area.

“The concerns centre on a family who have been involved in anti-social behaviour and many other issues in and around the area. CRJ have held meetings with the family in question to offer them support and to address the issues.

“Community groups from the Falls area and beyond delivered letters to those concerned, asking them to terminate their tenancy, and desist from any further actions which may be anti-social or abusive to any member of this community,” she added.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Shock for Crumlin residents as asbestos dump gets the go ahead

Crumlin was rocked last night by the news that a controversial asbestos dump is to be sited in the town after all.

After spending months campaigning against the proposed dump in the County Antrim town, residents were stunned yesterday to learn that Environment Minister, Angela Smith, has confirmed that the application for the asbestos storage facility at Crosshill Quarry will be approved.

Local SDLP MLA Thomas Burns said that local people were extremely angry about the decision.

“People in Crumlin are very shocked and disappointed at this decision and they feel that it is the wrong decision,” said Councillor Burns.
One resident told the Andersonstown News last night: “This isn’t the end of the matter. The whole town is against this dump being located here and we still mean to stop it.”

The decision to site a controversial asbestos dump in Crumlin has been met with shock and anger in the town.

Environment Minister, Angela Smith, confirmed yesterday that the application for the asbestos storage facility at Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin will be approved
Residents opposed the dump on health and safety grounds and have fought a vigorous campaign against it.

SDLP Councillor Thomas Burns said that local people were extremely angry about the decision.

“People in Crumlin are very shocked and disappointed at this decision and they feel that it is the wrong decision,” said Councillor Burns.

“The proper place for this type of facility is near a port, not in a built-up area.
“The safety of local residents has been ignored.

“I believe that this decision has been taken on financial rather than health grounds,” he added.

Minister Smith said that she was satisfied there were no environmental reasons to withhold planning permission. She said she was aware of concerns raised about the site.

“I am aware also that disproportionate and unnecessary fears have been aroused, and that is regrettable.

“Both the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) and Eastwoods will continue to monitor for the presence of asbestos in water to ensure full compliance with the discharge consent. With the addition of independent air quality monitoring as a condition of any licence or permit application, these measures will ensure that there will be no risks to nearby residents from water, land or air,” she added.

The Minister stressed that thorough scientific investigations have concluded that there are no significant residual risks associated with the historical deposit of redundant railway carriages in the site and therefore there are no environmental reasons to withhold planning permission.

Last night Sinn Féin Antrim councillor Martin Meehan said: “Certain councillors in Antrim Borough Council are to blame because they did a disservice to people who campaigned against the dump.”

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

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