Bookmark and Share

Westlink Bridge Opens Sectarian Attack Route

Belfast's busiest road has once again become a 'front line' as tensions build between rival loyalist and nationalist youths.

The Westlink – which has previously been the scene of many clashes between 'warring' factions - is once again being highlighted after a house at Roden Street, in the loyalist Donegall Road area, was targeted twice over the weekend.

The opening of a new pedestrian bridge is being blamed for exacerbating the trouble which led to windows at the property, owned by grandmother-of-five, being smashed on Friday and on Saturday.

Community workers from the loyalist Village and nationalist Grosvenor Road areas where the attacks are happening said problems have escalated since a new footbridge was built over the Westlink.

They claim the design and location of the bridge gives youths an easy escape route.

Heather Elwood of the Village Focus Group said: "We have had 72 incidents in three weeks.

"Until this new bridge there were few problems. There had been problems in the past but both communities were working together to resolve the situation.

"There was no consultation with either community about the location, if there had been we could have told them this sort of thing would happen."

Daniel Jack from the Safer Neighbourhood Project which works in the nationalist Grosvenor estate said: "The bridge is a magnet for youngsters because it is so easy for them to access the other side."

Residents want to see the bridge closed off at night in a bid to prevent such attacks.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police in south Belfast are investigating an incident of criminal damage in the Roden Street area and are liaising with community representatives to resolve the situation."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 June 2011
Foyle Footway 'A Bridge To Peace'
Londonderry's new 'Peace Bridge' has been celebrated with a weekend of festivities marking the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday. While it is six months behind the original schedule for completion, the £14m cycle and footbridge remains one of the biggest projects undertaken in the area in years.
04 September 2013
Minister Welcomes Progress Made To Restore Teenage Kicks Mural
Alliance East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle has confirmed he has held meetings with government officials, youth and community workers and community artists with the aim of restoring the 'Teenage Kicks' mural at Bridge End.
12 January 2005
Bridge experts to investigate lorry death plunge
A leading bridge consultancy firm has been called in to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fatal accident in which a lorry plunged 150 feet from the deck of the Foyle Bridge in Londonderry on Tuesday.
18 December 2007
Gun Found Near Westlink
A firearm and ammunition have been recovered by police in Belfast in an area that has seen recent sectarian confrontation. Members of the public reported a number of youths acting suspiciously in the Roden Street area of the city this morning. A police operation was mounted and the gun and bullets recovered.
30 June 2006
Foyle Bridge safety system to be installed
A new warning system is to be put into place on the Foyle Bridge in Londonderry during high winds. Regional Development Minister David Cairns said: “Roads Service is about to start installing a series of variable message signs strategically placed across the City.
02 September 2008
M2 Hightown Bridge Open Early
There will be considerable relief for commuters in the busy Belfast suburb of Glengormley today with news that a local road bridge - which was recently demolished to make way for a replacement - is to be opened ahead of the planned timetable.
20 May 2016
Call For Workers At JTI Gallahers To Be Given Help To Find New Jobs
Workers who have lost their jobs at cigarette makers JTI Gallahers should be given help to find new employment, according to Sinn Féin. Approximately 500 employees are to leave its plant in Ballymena, Co Antrim, today, 20 May. MLA Daithí McKay said it is a "significant blow" to the local economy.
21 June 2012
Community Gardens 'Grow Community'
A Northern Ireland community garden project to improve the lives of isolated and vulnerable older people has been awarded a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund. North Belfast's GROW project will develop three community gardens at sites in Camberwell Terrace Fold, Newington Day Centre and the Waterworks.
18 August 2011
£1m Queen's Bridge Investment Underway
Over £1m in investment work is scheduled to start next week on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. NI Transport Minister Danny Kennedy announced that work will start on a £1.3m investment to repair and strengthen the Belfast bridge on Monday 22 August.
11 January 2008
Residents Needs Are 'To Be Accommodated' During Hightown Bridge Closure
Ongoing concerns over major work at the 50 year-old Hightown Bridge over the M2 at Glengormley have been addressed. The busy bridge will be closed on January 27 in preparation for demolition in February. Orginally it was planned to close the bridge on January 21 but to accommodate local events, this has been delayed for one week.
12 January 2006
£600,000 sports facility for northwest
The Northwest is set to benefit from a £600,000 new sports facility to be built at Steelstown Gaelic Athletic Club.
17 December 2012
Other News In Brief
Council Closes Clement Wilson Bridge Belfast City Council has had to close the Clement Wilson Bridge at New Forge Lane following a report which indicated that its condition has worsened. Walkers and cyclists will no longer be able to use the bridge to travel between Belfast and Lisburn.
24 October 2005
Safety improvements on Foyle Bridge announced
Additional safety measures are to be put in place on the Foyle Bridge in Londonderry, the Roads Service announced today. The move will see "two high specification variable message signs" on the approaches to the bridge at a cost of £300,000.
27 June 2011
McGuiness Hails Londonderry Peace Bridge
A new bridge linking Derry's divided communities will be a "catalyst for change", Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said. Mr McGuiness joined First Minister Peter Robinson and the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the official opening of the 235-metre Peace Bridge across the River Foyle.
19 March 2010
Tyrone Bridge Walkway Slammed
The SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Roads Service to discuss the pedestrian bridge built alongside the existing Ballinderry Bridge in Cookstown.