Belfast Telegraph

Tom meets Cluan Place face to face

by Fiona Rutherford

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey brought his successor, Tom Elliott, to east Belfast last week to see first hand the problems facing residents of areas such as Cluan Place.

The east Belfast MLA commented: “I thought it was important for Tom to see that while progress is being made, there is still a lot of work to be done in areas such as Cluan Place.

“The problems we usually associate with interface areas are sectarian rioting and tension, but when you scratch the surface you find a whole host of social issues that urgently need to be addressed.

“These interface areas in east Belfast have long been neglected, on our visit we saw windows boarded up that were broken months ago, the street is becoming overgrown with weeds and there is a real sense from the residents that they are being forgotten about,” added Sir Reg.

“The people who live in the areas do so in unenviable conditions, they are coming under attack day and daily with missiles regularly being thrown over the “peace wall”. The stress of living in an interface area is bad enough without watching your street fall into such poor condition.”

He said the residents had been working hard to stop trouble on the interface and to dampen tension in the area.

“They have a hard fight ahead of them as a big problem they face is youths coming from outside the area and participating in trouble at the Wood

stock Link/Mountpottinger Road and Bryson Street interfaces. When they get bored and go home it is then the residents who are left to deal with the aftermath.

“I will continue to work with the residents of Cluan Place and also those who live in Madrid Street, Thistle Court and Pitt Park and hope we can improve their streets and restore their pride in their area,” he added.

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