Belfast Telegraph

Football players hit back at fouling issue

Football players at Tommy Patton Memorial Park, on Inverary Avenue, have hit back at the growing dog-fouling problem, with a help from the community.

As reported by The CT in October, players in the local park have found more and more time must be set aside for cleaning-up dog mess before the facilities can be used.

Home to the East Belfast Football club — who are responsible for preparing the four pitches for use — work began this week to address the problem.

Councillor John Kyle, along with members of the club, local dog wardens and representatives from Belfast City Council, joined together to launch new signage targeting dog owners.

More bins have also been put in place and an application has been made to the Alpha fund — which helps communities to help improve infrastructure — for fences to protect all the pitches.

Speaking to The CT, Sue Albert, secretary for the East Belfast Juniors Football Club, said: “The issue has improved in the last year, but we can still fill two plastic bags before training or matches which is not acceptable.”

Deborah Pension, treasurer for the club, added: “We have 58 children and we are trying to give them something fun to do and keep them off the street.

“The referee has had to call off matches before, it is a major health and safety issue and it cannot continue.”

Welcoming the event, Councillor Kyle said he was “hopeful” the new signage would raise public awareness about the health problem.

He added: “This is a terrible problem with real health risks for kids and solving it is not rocket science, all it takes is for dog owners to be responsible and clean up after their dog.

“There is more to be done, but we have made real progress through this event.

“It is great to see the public rallying around.”

The event also increased public awareness about the work of the dog wardens, who were on hand to explain their role.

Recently kitted out with bicycles, dog wardens Jacqui Gormley and Lynne Erskine will be making Tommy Patton Park a top priority in the coming weeks.

Lynne said: “If we get a specific complaint about an area we go and patrol it immediately, if someone is caught letting their dog foul they are fined £50.

“The new bikes were introduced in the past few weeks, they are very good for inaccessible areas such as parks”

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