09 January 2006

Teen arsonists target

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A Sinn Féin councillor for the Upper Falls has appealed to youths in the North Link area to stop vandalising a children’s playground.

On Friday night a number of fires were started in the North Link playpark after youths took bins from nearby houses and burned them in the playground.

Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhín described how she arrived on the scene with the Safer Neighbourhoods Project to witness yet more bins being brought to the area to be burned.

“As we approached this much-needed play facility, many young teenagers ran in different directions leaving three separate fires blazing throughout the play area.

“I am appealing for those who are involved in setting fire to people’s wheelie bins to stop. It has been brought to my attention that during the past week there has been a number of wheelie bins stolen from outside houses and set alight as some kind of teenage prank.”

Cllr Mhic Giolla Mhín said that the community can ill afford to lose such a resource for local children.

“This park has been an excellent facility in the heart of Andersonstown since I was a child living nearby but it unfortunately has become the focus for vandalism and destruction.

“The City Council have been doing what they can to keep the playpark in good order but such destruction is depriving many young children of this play facility," she said.

She also appealed to parents to do what they could to stop the damage being caused.

“I am asking local parents to be more aware of the whereabouts of their children before somebody is hurt. The clothes of the young people standing around these fires must be filthy and stink of the dangerous fumes given off from the burning of household waste mixed with burning plastic."

In order to deal with ongoing problems in the area the Safer Neighbourhood Project, Sinn Féin elected representatives and other community leaders were on the streets on Friday night in the North Link area.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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