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.

10 October 2016
Woman Critical Following Serious Road Crash In Co Down
A woman is in a critical condition in hospital following a serious road crash in Co Down. The collision occurred on the A1 between Dromore and Hillsborough at around 3.30am on Sunday, 09 October. She is currently being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. The road has been closed in both directions.
17 October 2016
Armed Gang Force Into House In Larne
Police are appealing for information after a gang of men, armed with baseball bats, forced their way into a house in Larne. The incident happened at a property in the Lindara area shortly before 1am this morning, 17 October. The men were all dressed in black and had other weapons.
19 October 2016
US Software Firm To Create 58 New Jobs In Belfast
A US software firm is to create 58 new jobs in Belfast. Black Duck Software based in Massachusetts is to open a new open source security research group. The new Belfast office will be focused on cutting-edge open source security research as well as Black Duck's full range of open source security and management products, and professional services.
18 October 2016
New Thales Space Centre Officially Opens In Belfast
The new Thales space propulsion facilities in Belfast has been officially opened by Astronaut Tim Peake CMG from the European Space Agency (ESA). First Minister Arlene Foster and Economy Minister Simon Hamilton also attended the event. Thales, Thales Alenia Space and Invest Northern Ireland invested £6 million in the project.
29 May 2008
Welcome For Antrim Project's Job Creation
A new community-based develoment which is creating employment opportunities in Co Antrim has been welcomed by the NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie. She helped to launch the new, mixed-use resource and business project in Antrim town.
13 October 2016
Shotgun Found In West Belfast
Police have launched an investigation following the discovery of a shotgun at a building site in west Belfast. The firearm was was found in the Whiterock Close area at just before 9am on Thursday, 13 October. It has been taken by police for further examination. Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Pat Sheehan, slammed those responsible.
13 October 2016
Other News In Brief
Man Convicted Of Benefit Fraud A man has been convicted for claiming benefits he was not entitled to at Downpatrick Magistrates' Court. Stuart Johnston claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit totaling £4,366 while failing to declare he was living with his partner. He was given a three month prison sentence suspended for two 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.
19 August 2004
Ravenhill parking problems to be 'tackled'
Police have said they are confident in 'tackling' parking problems in and around the home of Ulster rugby. With up to 12,000 fans expected to descend on Ravenhill nearly every second Friday during the forthcoming season, the parking issue is one of huge concern for local residents.
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.
30 March 2005
Police come under attack in Markets area
Police came under attack near Belfast’s Markets area on Tuesday. Officers responding to a "public disturbance" were targeted with stones and other missiles, as well as a petrol bomb, when they arrived in the area.
19 January 2007
Minister welcomes Omagh's plans for the future
Omagh District Council has published a pilot Community Plan for the Omagh area under the proposed new system of community planning.
28 June 2005
Larne river walk receives £20k facelift
The Riverdale area of Larne has received a £20,000 facelift thanks to the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) Local Community Fund. The once overgrown Inver River Walk has been transformed with the planting of scented wild flowers, shrubs, trees and the introduction of benches and picnic tables.
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.