Call for police ‘clarity’ over who threatened Belfast families

Cantrell Close, a shared housing area off the Ravenhill Road. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Cantrell Close, a shared housing area off the Ravenhill Road. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

A “clear and coherent message” from the PSNI is needed in response to threats made against Catholic families in a mixed Belfast housing development.

Ulster Unionist councillor Chris McGimpsey also said police “needed to move quickly” to apprehend whoever threatened the families at Cantrell Close in the Ravenhill area.

A flag flying near the Cantrell development.

A flag flying near the Cantrell development.

At a press briefing on Thursday, PSNI Chief Superintendent Chris Noble declined to confirm who officers believed may have been behind the threats.

C/supt Noble said: “We don’t want to speculate about which organisation is behind this”.

Cllr McGimpsey responded saying: “We need to get a clear and coherent message from the PSNI. They must have suspected it was paramilitaries when they called in the paramilitary task force. This is Northern Ireland of 20, 30 years ago. There is no place for this.”

Cllr McGimpsey told the Nolan Show: “The police need to move quickly to try to see if they can make these people amenable to justice.”

Alliance councillor Michael Long said: “I don’t really mind which particular [paramilitary group] it is, but...I want the police to make sure that they have a rigorous response. That they actually go out and look for these people, identify them and they bring them to justice.”

• Loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for the threats at Cantrell Close.

The housing development was supposed to be a flagship cross-community development as part of the Stormont Executive’s Together Building United Communities programme.

In the summer the development was hit with another controversy when loyalist paramilitary flags were erected on lamp posts.