Housing workers leave estate after threats

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) has confirmed that a number of contractors have left Rathcoole after threats were made.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 8:16 am
Graffiti at a Housing Executive work site in the Rathcoole area. (Picture by Peter Morrison/PressEye)

Graffiti targeting the contractors working on the site was recently painted in the Newtownabbey estate.

In a statement yesterday, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “We can confirm that contractors have had to withdraw tenants’ services, including health and safety work, from a number of sites in Rathcoole following threats to staff and graffiti targeting contractors in the area.

“The safety of our staff and contractors is paramount, and we utterly condemn this behaviour. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Contractors started preparatory work last month ahead of next year’s planned demolition of one of the estate’s iconic multi-storeys.

The NIHE outlined the proposed timetable for the removal of the Newtownabbey estate’s Monkscoole House after the tender invitation process went live in February.

The Department for Communities approved the housing authority’s business case recommending the tumbling of the vacant high-rise unit in January 2020.

NIHE also proposes to demolish the adjacent Abbotscoole House.

In February, it was reported that the appearance of graffiti opposing the planned removal of one of Rathcoole’s iconic tower blocks was under police investigation.

SDLP Antrim and Newtownabbey councillor Noreen McClelland said the threats to contractors working in areas of Rathcoole are “unacceptable”.

Cllr McClelland said: There is no place for this intimidation anywhere in our society. These workers were just doing their job, providing vital health and safety work on a number of sites.”