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Avoniel Leisure Centre closes doors after staff ‘threatened’

A loyalist bonfire has been erected in the car park of the East Belfast leisure centre A loyalist bonfire has been erected in the car park of the East Belfast leisure centre
By Staff Reporter

AVONIEL Leisure Centre had to close its doors on Sunday afternoon after its main entrance was closed by men who were behaving in a “threatening” way to staff.
In a note sent to councillors, Belfast City Council said the decision to close Avoniel Leisure Centre was taken “due to the potential threat” to workers. A loyalist bonfire is currently being built in the leisure centre’s car park.
Belfast City Council said the decision to close the leisure centre was taken at around 12.30pm on Sunday.
DUP MP Gavin Robinson said the actions of the men at the leisure centre were “wrong and should not be a part of our, or any, community.”
“Leisure centre staff were going to work to provide a service to the people of east Belfast – they should not have been subjected to this criminal behaviour,” he said. “Those responsible should face up to the consequences of their disgraceful actions – they are hurting their own community.”
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said the latest marching season controversy was “absolutely disgraceful”. “The community should not be deprived of facilities because of thuggery,” she said.
SDLP Councillor Séamas de Faoite said it was “shameful behaviour we’ve long expected to be left in the past.”
Avoniel Leisure Centre opened for business this morning as usual. In its note to councillors, the Council said the Avoniel matter would be reviewed today (Monday) and it would remain in contact with the PSNI.

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