We look at the stories that were making the headlines this week in 1983

Derelict block of flats must come down 

RESIDENTS of Turf Lodge are opposing a Housing Executive proposal to refurbish a run-down block of flats in the Ardmonagh area, and demanding instead that the building be levelled.
Locals insist that Block 9 of the Monagh Flats, which once housed 15 families, has fallen into such a state of disrepair that it must be swiftly pulled down. Despite efforts by City Hall Pest Control Department, the blocked up complex remains infested by rats, which, say locals, pose a serious threat to the health of their children. An added problem has been the dumping of rubbish at the back of the flats.
At present only one young family, the Caldwells, live in the dilapidated block of flats. Mr and Mrs Caldwell, whose young child is receiving hospital treatment, have been left without either gas, running water or electricity for lengthy periods over the last six months, as the condition of the flats began to deteriorate rapidly. The Save the Children Fund which operated a playscheme in the flats has had to move out within the last week because of persistent flooding from vandalised pipes. The organisation is now seeking alternative local accommodation for its activities. People who live near the flats describe it as "a nuisance" and "an eyesore" and claim it is used nightly as a drinking and glue-sniffing den by young people.
Houses throughout the street have experienced rat infestation, especially over the last year, and have been told by the authorities that the problem is linked to the flats. Danny and Geraldine Mallon who live next to the complex, have a rat hole running from their front garden to their cavity wall. 
Remarked Danny: "As long as those flats remain standing, dumping is going to continue and we are going to suffer these rats. As far as the people in this street are concerned, we couldn't look at those flats any longer – they are a real disgrace." Mrs Scullion who lives facing the flats, and who has been advised by Pest Control officers "to keep the doors closed," so that rats don't enter her home, maintains the flats are “beyond repair”. "We support the work being done by community groups using the flats but the place is such a mess that it would be better for everyone if it were knocked down and new premises built."

‘A child is going to be killed’: Warning

MOTHERS of Gortnamona in West Belfast have condemned the Housing Executive and DoE for refusing to block off a sloping pathway which leads from the estate on to the busy Monagh by-pass.
If the exit is closed, people will have to walk further to get out of the estate but nevertheless, locals are adamant that it must be shut.
According to the Gortnamona Tenants’ Association children are placing their lives in danger and riding bikes down the pathway. There have also been complaints from motorists, of toddlers coming out of the estate and throwing stones at passing cars. After an initial complaint from tenants, a short guardrail was erected, but the TA describes this as offering insufficient protection.
A petition signed by 98 out of the area’s 100 tenants has been sent to the Housing Executive but as yet, say the TA, there has been no response.
Representatives of the Tenants’ Association have threatened to take things into their own hands if the pathway is not blocked by the end of the month.
“If we don’t hear from the DoE or the Housing Executive very soon we will close that entry ourselves, brick by brick,” warned TA spokeswoman Sheila O’Hara.
“The DOE can bring us to court if they want but we would rather have that than have a child killed,” she added.
Other protest action being contemplated by the TA is the blocking of the Monagh By-pass itself with a sit-down of residents.

Action on Iveagh dumping

RESIDENTS of Iveagh Crescent, off the Falls Road, are up in arms at thoughtless dumpers who are littering the backs of their homes with all types of rubbish.
Lately mattresses, domestic garbage, bottles and rubble have all been ditched on the vacant stretch of common land and behind the quiet street.
Locals blame the dumping for the presence of rats in the area and feel the place is now a health hazard for children.
Two weeks ago one woman from Iveagh found her young son playing with a bottle of tablets he had lifted from the dump.
Now people living in Iveagh are appealing to the authorities to take responsibility for keeping the area spick and span.
Said a local mother: “When we complain to the City Hall they pass us on to the DoE and vice versa. The ideal solution would be for whoever owns the strip of land to concrete the whole lot.”