Temsions coming to a head as small group holds area to ransom with all night open air partying

All night raves wreak havoc for residents

By Paul Ainsworth

P ROBLEM tenants in the Markets area of South Belfast are causing havoc in the estate with on-street weekend raves. all night drinking and drug taking.

Over the last number of weekends, Markets residents have been plagued by a group of youths reported to be up to 30 strong in number, openly partying during the night in th middle of the residential area.

The persistent problem has forced the local community group, the Markets Development Association (MDA), to meet with housing associations to demand any tenants involved in the disorder are held accountable. They are asking for action to be taken to prevent continued distress for locals – including families and the elderly – who are too scared to confront the youths involved in the anti-social behaviour.

Niall Houston of the MDA said the problem was concentrated in the Friendly Place flats area, scene of the open-air parties, and insisted further meetings with local political representatives would be taking place in the coming days.

“We have had problems with anti-social behaviour in the past, as most local areas have, but this is really coming to a head,” he said.

“These people are partying on the street for whole weekends at a time, with music blaring and evidence of drugs being taken. Last weekend there was a respite, but for a number of weekends before, it has been hell for those living nearby, and of course, many are too intimidated to say anything to these people.

“A handful of individuals and residents is holding the entire community to ransom here, and it has to stop. We cannot continue to have people’s lives disrupted in this way, and it’s up to the Housing Executive and other housing associations with property in the markets to step up to the plate and do something about the anti-social behaviour involving their own tenants.”

Responding to the claims, a Housing Executive said they had a number of measures at their disposal to tackle problem residents: “We are aware of ongoing antisocial behaviour at this location and we are working closely with the local community, the PSNI and other social housing providers to try and address the matter. Where agreement cannot be reached, or where interventions fail, we will not hesitate to use legal measures including, as a last resort, the repossession of a property.”

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