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Markets residents stress the need for social homes at gates of City Hall

Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey signs the Homes Now pledge outside City Hall on Monday night Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey signs the Homes Now pledge outside City Hall on Monday night
By Ciara Quinn

RESIDENTS from the Markets took to the gates of City Hall last night to reiterate their call that land marked for social housing remains so.
Residents and campaigners gathered on Monday night to mark the first anniversary of Belfast City Council’s vote to earmark land on the Gasworks site – previously zoned for social housing – available instead for a hotel extension and a multistorey carpark.
Members from the Homes Now campaign group handed in a petition to Belfast City Council Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie as Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey and Deputy Lord Mayor, Alliance’s Emmett McDonough-Brown signed the Homes Now pledge.
Homes Now campaigner Bernie Dobbin said: “The people of the Markets have waited too long for adequate social housing to be built in the area and we are no longer prepared to take verbal assurances from officials and politicians.
“Time and again, these officials and politicians have broken their word and left residents high and dry. This is why we are asking councillors and officials to sign the Homes Now pledge – for their commitment to become a matter of public record.
“Belfast City Council have sent out a lot of positive messages since the disgraceful decision of their Planning Committee last September, but still not a brick for new housing has been laid. Meanwhile, families are forced to stay indefinitely in emergency accommodation, share with relatives and ‘sofa surf’ – this cannot continue.
“Like communities across Belfast and throughout Ireland, we are demanding that those in power recognise the nature of the housing crisis and act accordingly. It’s time to build homes, not carparks.”

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