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Village residents protest housing conditions

category antrim | housing | news report author Wednesday January 23, 2008 17:35author by Ciarán Ó Brolcháin Report this post to the editors

Residents of the Village area of South Belfast held a protest yesterday (Tuesday 22 January) outside Stormont against the housing conditions in which many people are forced to live and against the inaction of the Department of Social Development and NI Housing Executive in dealing with these problems.
Not exactly the Assembly chamber
Not exactly the Assembly chamber

As the Assembly sat discussing the draft budget for the administration, the protestors stood outside in the rain demanding to see the First Minister Ian Paisley or DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie, declaring that they would no longer be ignored by the Executive on this issue.

The Village residents were joined by others from East as well as West Belfast, and by Alex Maskey of Sinn Féin who has visited the area on a number of occasions to see the conditions for himself. In a statement he said, "The conditions in which people in the village area are living, is an absolute disgrace. To learn that elderly people are living in accommodation with no heating, no bathroom facilities, no inside toilet and no upstairs electricity is alarming.

"Community workers in the area have informed me of a case where an elderly man was found dead in his home over the Christmas period. Neighbours who found the man were horrified to find that his oven had been left on, as it was the only source of heating in the home."

As Jimmy Spratt of the DUP exited the building he was challenged by residents who said that they had never seen him in their area and that their community had been ignored for too long. Spratt said that it was Margaret Ritchie's responsibility to deal with the issue.

With Ritchie's department being given an extra £200 million from the British Government-allocated budget to build more affordable housing, only time will tell if the people of the Village area will see any benefit from it.

Other pieces:

News: Village residents clash with DUP (UTV): http://u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=87134

Alex Maskey statement on protest (SF): http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/23642

Windsor Women's Centre
Windsor Women's Centre

Special delivery
Special delivery

No progress from NIHE
No progress from NIHE

Jimmy Spratt challenged by Village women
Jimmy Spratt challenged by Village women

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