Anger as masked contractors remove east Belfast structure used by football club

Anger has been expressed after masked Belfast City Council contractors, with the PSNI in attendance, removed a temporary building from grounds used by a football club in east Belfast.

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson described the incident as an ‘invasion’.

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast  on Tuesday Morning.' Pic  Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast on Tuesday Morning.' Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

The removal happened at the former Inverary Playing Fields, now known as Alderman Tommy Patton Park, which is used by East Belfast Football Club.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Bryson said: “Appalling that masked men, along with the PSNI, have invaded a local community football club. Provocative, disgraceful and should outline for the entire PUL community the prevailing agenda within Belfast City Hall and the PSNI.”

He described the temporary building as a “health and well being centre for young people.

The building, a portacabin type structure, is understood to have been installed prior to August last year.

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A portacabin-type building being removed from East Belfast Football Club.' Pic: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A portacabin-type building being removed from East Belfast Football Club.' Pic: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

The council decided in August not to grant permission for the football club to install the container at Alderman Tommy Patton Park.

The decision to remove the building was first taken by the People and Communities committee at Belfast City Council last month, after a motion put forward by Sinn Fein councillors Mairead O’Donnell and Daniel Baker.

The News Letter understands the decision was made in spite of an application from East Belfast FC for an extension until the end of this month for arrangements to be made before any removal.

The committee’s decision was ratified on Monday.

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast  on Tuesday Morning.'Pic  Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast on Tuesday Morning.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

PSNI Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “Following a council decision on Monday 3 December, Belfast City Council asked police to support their contractors in the removal of a portacabin from the carpark at Alderman Tommy Patton Memorial Park. Police officers attended the carpark this morning and monitored the removal of the portacabin.”

The News Letter has requested comment from Belfast City Council.

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast  on Tuesday Morning.'Pic  Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 04/12/2018 'A Portacabin is removed from East Belfast Football by contractors in Inverary area of East Belfast on Tuesday Morning.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker