Belfast Telegraph

Problem flats must be razed, say locals after man's fatal fall

By Leona O'Neill

The Housing Executive is facing calls to demolish a block of flats where a 56-year-old man died following a fall.

Seamus McGuire was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday evening after being found injured on concrete communal steps at flats at Iniscarn Crescent in Londonderry's Creggan estate.

He died in hospital on Thursday morning.

Residents of the flats said the steps were a "death trap" and that they had warned the Housing Executive at a meeting in August that they posed a risk, particularly to mothers with prams and people taking their bins down to ground level.

They also claimed that anti-social behaviour in the flats had been getting "out of control" as people with serious alcohol and drug issues are housed among young families, and claimed "it was only a matter of time before a fatality occurred".

One householder who wanted only to be identified by her first name Sharon said: "Our children are witnessing everything that is going on. The steps at the side of the flats are a death trap. That poor man that fell down them is dead now.

"It was only a matter of time before someone was seriously injured.

"It is an issue that really needs to be solved."

Another resident, Donna, said she was willing to picket the Housing Executive offices in Derry in a bid to get action.

"We have complained to the Housing Executive, but they haven't taken us seriously," she said.

Independent councillor Gary Donnelly said he wrote to the Housing Executive in the summer of 2016 warning that it was only a matter of time before there was a fatality at the complex.

"At the time residents believed that their concerns were not being taken seriously and were worried about the effects on their children and grandchildren," he explained.

"The Housing Executive need to demolish these flats, which are one-bedroom and are outdated. They are limited as to who they can put into them."

Offering its sympathies to Mr McGuire's family, the Housing Executive said it was working with residents to tackle anti-social behaviour at the flats, but was not aware of issues with the steps.

It added: "If residents have any concerns we would ask them to contact their local Housing Executive office."

The PSNI said that a post-mortem examination would determine Mr McGuire's cause of death and appealed for witnesses to the incident.

Belfast Telegraph

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