13 February 2006

Join the protest

Irelandclick

Following weeks of campaigning by the Andersonstown News and local politicians, the people of West Belfast are being urged to come out and voice their opposition to the asbestos dump proposed for the heart of our community

Local people are being urged to come out en-masse this week to show their opposition to a proposed asbestos storage facility in West Belfast. protest is due to be held at the Grove Service’s Group offices in Blackstaff Way this Wednesday.

Over the last few months local people have voiced their grave concerns about the proposed facility.

Grove Services have yet to meet with community groups or local political representatives to discuss the plans. They have also steadfastly refused to answer questions posed by the Andersonstown News about the site.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Maskey who is spearheading the campaign against the storage facility said that opposition is widespread.

“ I would urge as many local people as possible to come out and show their opposition to Grove Services,” said Councillor Maskey.

“My view is that they don’t care about the people of West Belfast. I would urge Grove Services to meet with local councillors and community groups.

“A lot of local people have expressed their grave concerns and yet Grove Services refuse to meet with local people.

“The people in this area will not take this lying down and I imagine that Wednesday’s protest will just be the first of many protests,” he added. ver the last few weeks the Andersonstown News has gauged the opinions of local people to the proposed storage facility.

Local sisters Collette Devlin and Anne Carson lost their father Robert Daly to asbestos related mesothelioma in December 1999.

They said they concerned about the welfare of their children in light of the proposed asbestos storage facility in West Belfast.

“We may not see the results in the next five years but in 30 or 40 years it could be our kids who develop this horrific illness,” said Collette.

“Accidents can happen and these people (Grove Services) cannot guarantee us that they won’t.

‘We are so angry and willing to do whatever it takes to get this decision reversed,” she added.

Clodagh Grimes, Manager of the Westwood Centre, has also backed the campaign to stop the facility going ahead.

“We are in close proximity to the proposed site for this asbestos storage facility.

“We are highly concerned that the site is in such close proximity to our own service yard so we are backing the campaign to keep it out of our area,” she added.

The West Belfast Partnership Board has voiced grave concerns and have written to Grove Services calling for an urgent meeting. Chief Executive Geraldine McAteer said that the facility is not wanted locally.

“Asbestos is a deadly substance and the West Belfast Partnership’s environmental sub group and the Greater Andersonstown Community Network are concerned about plans to move massive amounts through the area on a regular basis.”

The Andersonstown News also spoke to solicitor Michael Hollywood who has worked with clients with asbestos related illnesses. He said:

“Unless properly and safely managed there is a significant risk that material would affect not just the people in the vicinity of the facility ie: those receiving and handling the material, but also people in the locality, those that live and work near the facility,” said Mr Hollywood.

The protest will take place at Grove Services Group Blackstaff Way at 1.00pm on Wednesday.

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

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