The Upper Springfield Community Safety Forum (USCSF) is the latest organisation to withdraw from a task group established to win badly-needed facilities for the Sliabh Dubh estate. USCSF has followed Sinn Féin – whose departure we reported last week – in leaving the task group after the Fold Group, who built the estate, sent letters to some of the estates residents clamping down on children in what Sinn Féin called “a curfew”.
Councillor Stevie Corr last week hit out at Fold and their “can’t-do attitude” which has left the estate sitting for seven years without even basic amenities. Now Seamus Finucane of the USCSF has echoed Cllr Corr’s concerns about the lack of progress.
“This process of engagement has not managed to result in anything,” he said. “It has merely solidified the position of non-movement. We need to create momentum to resolve these issues sooner rather than later.”
A spokesman for the Fold Group denied the curfew claims and said the organisation is committed to the estate.
“In consultation with the local community in Sliabh Dubh, Fold has been working with the residents to address concerns of nuisance being caused to some older people in the area by young people playing ball close to their homes,” he said.
“Fold has not made any attempt to introduce any form of curfew and is working in partnership with the community to ensure that all residents enjoy a safe and secure environment. The local representatives in the area will be aware that since the development of Sliabh Dubh, Fold staff have been committed to working with the residents and supporting any initiatives to enhance the provision of better facilities for the local community.”
However, Sinn Féin now plan on taking the issue to the Assembly with Alex Maskey MLA expected to visit the estate tomorrow (Friday).
“Sinn Féin politically is committed to providing resources for the people of Sliabh Dubh,” said Cllr Corr. “To that end we have already opened discussions with our MLA team at Stormont with a view to bringing these concerns to the next level. You can talk until you are blue in the face, but the facts speak for themselves: there is no playpark in Sliabh Dubh and no facilities. Any facilities on the horizon will be community-led. We do want to work with Fold to resolve these issues. We realise that Fold is not the only piece of the jigsaw but in a period when rents have increased in the area, what are their proposals?”