Belfast Telegraph

Call to fill houses with loyalists and unionists: Residents' group apology over Facebook post

A residents association has apologised after it called for a new social housing development to be "filled up with people from the loyalist/unionist community," saying the comments were aimed at getting "local houses for local people".

The comments were made by the Seymour Hill & Conway Residents Association and Youth Council in a Facebook post about a development on the former Dunmurry High School site.

The group encouraged people to contact DUP councillor Jonathan Craig "and let's get these houses filled up with people from [the] loyalist/unionist community".

Reported by the Irish News Mr Craig distanced himself from the post saying he had no influence in how houses were allocated, saying it was up to the Housing Executive.

Sinn Fein described the comments as a "disgraceful" and urged the Housing Executive to ensure homes were allocated solely on the basis of need.

After the comments were highlighted, the group issued an apology.

"It wasn't our intention to cause any offence to the rest of our community, as a community group we represent everyone," it said in a Facebook post.

"But as we had a lot of residents come into the office feeling that because they are unionists/loyalists they are finding it hard to get housed in their own area where they grew up in & who want to be housed here, so the post was aimed at local houses for local people."

The group continued: "We apologise for using the wrong vocabulary, we as a community group work tirelessly with all different groups in the area, including cross-community groups in which we do great work with and who we have developed a great friendship with.

"We are all unpaid volunteers in our group who work up to 40 hrs a week bringing great developments to the area, we are all still on a learning curve and sometimes we do make mistakes and things are taking out of context, we hope this apology can rectify our mistake and we can all move forward & learn from it in the future."

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