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9 August 2007 Edition

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Andersonstown barracks : site should be given to community for public use

Andersonstown RUC barracks

Andersonstown RUC barracks

Adams urges Minister to review decision on barracks site

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has urged the Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie to review her decision to give over to a private developer the site of the old Andersonstown RUC barracks. Adams spoke to the Minister on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.
Speaking on Wednesday, Gerry Adams said: “The approach of the Department for Social Development to the future use of the piece of land on which stood the old Andersonstown barracks has been the source of much recent criticism by local residents and the wider west Belfast community.
“Sinn Féin has consistently called for the site to be given to the local community for public use. We raised this issue with British Direct Rule Minister some time ago. I have now spoken directly to the Minister on this issue. I have urged her to review her decision to give the site over to a private developer.
“There is overwhelming opposition among local residents to the proposals put forward by the private developer for this site. The Minister has the power to review her decision and to use her prerogative to gift-aid the land to the local community.
“I told the Minister that the Department had a responsibility to ensure that any developer had community support for their proposal. It is manifestly clear that the proposals which have now been published by the Carvill Group do not command community support. The consultation process was seriously deficient and did not properly and effectively engage the local community and local elected representatives. I have asked the Minister to take this into account in reviewing her decision she made last month.
“The Minister for Social Development has undertaken to come back to me with a response to my request for the decision to be reviewed.  I hope that she will reflect carefully on this case and that she will respond in the best interests of the West Belfast community and order a review of her decision.

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