Community urged to take ownership of park to prevent further decline

Don’t allow park facilities to slide

By Gemma Burns

The people of Ligoniel have been urged to take ownership of a local park that is currently been refurbished after years of vandalism and misuse. The Tír na Nóg park in the heart of Ligoniel has been the target of vandalism and malicious fires for a number of years. The site has also been used as a gathering point for youths to drink alcohol, take drugs and engage ion other antisocial behaviour.

The situation got so bad that last year schoolchildren from St Vincent de Paul primary school wrote letters to their local political representatives complaining about the state of the park.

Last week Belfast City Council started work on refurbishing the facility. Now local community worker Kieran O’Reilly has called on residents to make sure the park is kept in good condition.

“Now is the time for the community to buy into it and take ownership of the park,” he said. “This is a much needed community resource and the ongoing vandalism and antisocial behaviour just destroyed the park for everyone else. I am delighted the work has started because the community here was deprived of a much-needed resource.

“What was once an asset became a liability as the problems at the park just got worse and it couldn’t be used by the kids in the area. I would ask the people who live in the area now to keep an eye on the park once the work is finished, contact the relevant authorities if there are any problems and just be vigilant.

“The future of the park relies on a community buy in.”

He said the people of the area are hopeful the park can be used by all the children in the area and kept in good condition.

“”We want the park to be considered a real resource and asset to the area that can be used by local groups and schools as an outdoor activity area,” he said.

“The people of the area have much to be proud of and we want the park to be one of those things.”

A Belfast City Council spokesman said work has started on the park and is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.

 

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