A community worker on the Garvaghy Road has slammed increased outdoor drinking in the area as an “absolute disgrace”.
Rosie Toland, chair of Churchill Residents’ Association, said one resident, whose Churchill Park home backs onto the area where the drinkers congregate, is so desperate to leave that she has asked the Housing Executive for a transfer - even if it means a smaller house.
The area, just outside the Spar and Busby’s chip shop, has been a ‘problem’ spot for some time, but a number of people claim that the drinking and antisocial behaviour has worsened since the park closed for its upgrade and the lighter evenings have arrived.
Said Rosie, “They burned the bins outside the chip shop two weeks ago and there is rubbish and broken glass everywhere. They are urinating as well and the smell is terrible.
“Three weeks ago, things were so bad that tenants wanted to confront these people. The chip shop has started closing earlier so it is affecting people’s livelihoods too.
“Some nights there are over 80 people. It used to be just weekends but now it’s nearly every night.”
Two people, who did not wish to be named, pointed out that the culprits are breaking the law in full view of the police. One said, “The police are up and down the Garvaghy Road regularly every day and they can see what is going on. There are two laws being broken, underage drinking and drinking in a public area.”
Sinn Fein councillor Paul Duffy said police had confiscated drink in the past. He added that during the park steering group meetings, officers had promised they would respond to anyone reporting outdoor drinking.