Village residents say the shocking discovery of human remains at an empty house this week highlights the plight of people living in the neglected area.
Yesterday, Wednesday April 20, the PSNI confirmed that remains discovered at a vacated property on Donegall Avenue were human and that an investigation has now been launched.
Billy Dickson, chairman of the Blackstaff Community Development Association, told the Community Telegraph: “This is a horrible outcome and my heart goes out to this poor person who has been found this way and to their family.
“I know this has brought back terrible memories for the community here of Margaret Wright who was killed in a local band hall and had her body dumped in a vacated house on the same street 17 years ago.
“The rubbish being dumped in the back yards of these vacated and blocked up houses is a very serious problem.
“The countless number of dead cats and dogs being thrown over these walls in bags is unbelievable — they smell, attract vermin and make residents’ lives around here a misery.
“There was a case not so long ago where bags and bags of used nappies were discovered in a yard — the neighbour was almost forced to move out over the smell until something was done — which took some time I can tell you.
“I have campaigned relentlessly for the houses not to have been blocked up in this way but public representatives have not been fighting our corner.
“It takes something like a dead body to be found for people to take notice of what happens when houses are blocked up in this way. For it to take months for someone to respond to the neighbours’ concerns about the smell highlights how this area is not classed as a priority.”
The Red Sky workman who found the remains has spoken of his shock.
The man, who does not want to be named, said: “It looked to me as if it (the remains) had been there for a couple of years. I could see the fingers and the arm bone — there was no skin. You could also see the head and the teeth.
“The remains looked small – if I was asked I would say it’s an elderly person or youngish teenager.”
It emerged Belfast City Council issued a public health notice against the vacant property last month after neighbours complained about a build-up of refuse at the rear of the building.
The house, which is surrounded by family homes, had been used by fly-tippers in recent months and locals had complained about a bad smell.
It is believed the council contacted the Housing Executive last month asking it to help clear and secure the property.