Barriers 'still needed' at Tigers Bay

PEACE walls are still needed in the loyalist enclave of Tigers Bay, two local residents have claimed.

Dana Smyth, 40, who lives on an interface just off Halliday's Road, said the "time isn't right just yet".

The mother-of-three and Tigers Bay Mount Collier Community Voice Group member said while rioting has calmed down in recent years, it has "just recently started up again".

"I really think it is because there are no facilities for the youngsters. The children have nothing to do so they head up to the corner to riot. They seem to see nothing else to do.

"I live in a wee street off Halliday's Road but they use our street to get to the rioting.

"They stand and riot at the corner of the Limestone Road – and seem to arrange all the meetings over the internet. Bebo sites I am told."

Mrs Smyth said the 40ft peace wall built at the back of houses on Halliday's Road was "really needed".

"The fence does some good, but there is still stuff fired over it.

"My house has not been attacked but my mother-in-law's has. It has been stoned and shot at.

"For a few years it has been great here with relatively little trouble. But now it has started to kick off again. I think it is mainly boredom. The children get off on their holidays and can find nothing to do. I am talking about children of 12 years and upward."

Mrs Smyth said while there are CCTV cameras in the area youths can be "fighting hammer and tongs in the middle of the Limestone and the police don't go near them".

Mrs Smyth said she believed it is "way too soon for the peace walls to come down".

She said there needs to be a mind change before peace walls are dismantled.

"The children have to be taught a different way of thinking and they have to learn to trust each other," she said.

Meanwhile, Leanne Marshall, 31, who has lived in Tigers Bay all her life, said sectarian trouble has quietened down in her area in recent years – but has now reignited.

"It had been quiet for a while but it has started again, with mainly children keeping it going.

"The other night there was an incident and a lot of men got involved. The trouble is nearly generational.

"When I was wee the children rioted in Alexander Park. Then when the peace wall went up it moved into Halliday's Road and the Limestone Road. Then people's homes start being attacked.

"Once homes started getting damaged then it gets more serious because people come out to protect their property and it escalates."