Residents form new group to tackle ‘legitimate concerns’

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Residents form new group to tackle ‘legitimate concerns’ thumbnailBALLYBOT / Barcroft Concerned Residents Association committee: Aine McCoy, Martin Cranney, Paul Kavanagh, Jim Grey - pictured with SDLP councillors Gary Stokes and Michael Savage

A NEW residents association has been set up to represent Barcroft and surrounding areas.

The practical purpose of forming the new group, which will cover the areas of Barcroft, Ballybot, Dominic Street, Pool Lane/Cleary Crescent, John Martin Gardens and Loanda is that it will be able to liaise directly with statutory bodies such as the PSNI, the Housing Executive and the Council.

In order to do this, it will be affiliated with the Confederation of Community Groups. Two other groups in the areas, representing Barcroft and Ballybot are already in existence, and are affiliated to the Confederation of Community Groups.

Gavin Malone, from the new group, spoke to the Democrat about the outcome of the recent meeting, and what it is hoped the group will achieve.

"There was a very big crowd at the meeting, and we only called it at very short notice," said Mr Malone.

"The next step is that we will have our first committee meeting tomorrow night (January 31). We have 18 members who volunteered to come on the committee, nine men and nine women. And very importantly we have a woman from the Latvian community, who is buying into what we have been doing.

"We all live in this area, we are all rearing our children here, we're all hard working people and we want to have a say in what goes on in our area.

"And most importantly we all have genuine, legitimate concerns about the general decline of our area".

Asked to elaborate on what those concerns are, Mr Malone added: "There is serious, serious anti-social behaviour with regard to drinking all over the streets.

"That is now a regular thing in large parts of the area. Raymond McCreesh Park is a massive issue.

"There are people who are in a bad way about this in Kiln Street. It's impacting on their daily lives, elderly people who are confronting six or seven gangs every day, every single day.

"We don't take this challenge lightly, we're going to show a lot of cutting edge, we're going to do a lot for the people - this isn't going to be a talking shop.

"The agenda is quite simple. My Mummy lives in the area, I rear my children there. I have a daughter at university, I have a daughter who goes to Our Lady's.

"And I have had to pick up my daughter at Our Lady's and my son at Colman's College up at the sports centre due to anti-social behaviour going on in the area - when they are afraid to walk up in through their own areas because of the carry-on.

"So it does impact on my daily life, and as a Father and as a son, I have a duty of care to speak up and not be shouted down.

"And I'll tell you what I am very happy with. Ninety percent of the people in the area are wholeheartedly behind us, and that really galvanises us."


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