SF in guarded welcome for cameras at interface
The DUP and Sinn Fein have both welcomed the installation of police security cameras on the Oldpark Road, aimed at ending trouble at the north Belfast interface.
The cameras, installed this week, will watch the Lower Oldpark and the Rosapenna and Ardoyne areas — and will be monitored from a control room in Antrim Road PSNI station.
The DUP claim the move will help end sectarian attacks, while Sinn Fein gave a cautious welcome to their arrival.
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said: “What is required are the ringleaders to be arrested and brought before the courts.
“The same people involved in the violence are also at the heart of crime within their own community and residents want them held to account for their actions.
“I remain to be convinced by the arguments from the DUP that CCTV cameras will resolve this problem.
“The installation and operating costs of these cameras set against the amount of evidence presented to the courts has been strongly questioned in successive studies.
“However, we watch with interest to see if this development resolves the issue.”
However. North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the camera should act as a deterrent. He added: “I am very pleased that this CCTV camera mast has been erected and I trust that it will help deter sectarian attacks and the gathering of youths at this interface location.
“I and my party colleagues have been pressing strongly for this to happen, particularly since the closure of the nearby Old Park police station.
“There had been uncertainty over funding for the new cameras and I welcome that financing was secured.
“While many interfaces in north Belfast have become relatively calm, regrettably that is not the case at this location. Protestant residents living close to this interface on the Lower Oldpark Road have suffered from appalling sectarian attacks upon their homes including petrol bomb attacks.
“I trust that this will have a strong deterrent effect and that the message will go out that any trouble is much more likely to result in arrests and prosecution.
“We all look forward to the time when security cameras are considered no longer to be necessary in interface areas.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Andrew Freeburn, area commander, said: “I would like take this opportunity to thank community representatives and residents for their support and cooperation throughout this project.”