Vandals threaten social housing

Cllr Noel McGeown with site foreman Steven McCourt at the new houses at Ennis Green. INLM3911-102gc
Cllr Noel McGeown with site foreman Steven McCourt at the new houses at Ennis Green. INLM3911-102gc

TEENAGE vandals in Kilwilke and Wakehurst are inflicting thousands of pounds of damage on a social housing scheme in the two estates.

In the latest incident, which happened over the weekend, PVC windows were kicked through, walls smashed down and manhole covers set on fire on the site at Ennis Green.

Steven McCourt, the foreman of the two sites, told the ‘MAIL’ that there is a “real possibility” the building work could be stopped if the trashing continued.

“This vandalism is putting the whole project back,” said Mr McCourt.

“This latest damage has cost us around £2,000 or £3,000, and that’s not including the labour required.

“Last week a few of the guys had just finished a wall of around 300 bricks. They came in the next day and the whole thing was smashed to the ground.

“Who is going to pay for the damage if it keeps going on like this?

“The housing associations don’t pay the extra costs, so it will come down to me. If this continues at the current rate, the work could very well be stopped.”

Sinn Fein councillor Noel McGeown, who was contacted by workers at the site, hit out at those responsible.

He said: “Both these sites have been targeted by vandals over a period of several weeks and the seriousness of the damage escalated at the weekend when materials and work estimated at a value of £2,000 were destroyed.

Newly built walls were pulled down and building materials already in place were ripped out. Some of these materials were smashed beyond use and others were set alight.”

He continued: “If this wanton vandalism continues the contractor may be forced to pull out of these sites and they will be abandoned.

“These houses are being built by the South Ulster Housing Association, a non-profit making body, for the use of local people and without them local people will be forced to leave the area.

“There is an onus on the community to help bring this activity to an end.”

Cllr McGeown added: “The parents of those involved have to be made aware of what their young people are doing and they in turn have to take action to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”