Harmony Lane, North Belfast

Oral Answers to Questions — Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of William Humphrey William Humphrey DUP 3:15 pm, 26th April 2021

T2. Mr Humphrey asked the Minister for Infrastructure to state why her Department has been singularly unhelpful in blocking off Harmony Lane in North Belfast, given the considerable criminality that is happening in that area, about which he and his Court ward councillor colleagues recently met with the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council, when they outlined the problems that include illegal dumping; pollution of the river; antisocial behaviour; illegal traffic, including lorries crossing a bridge that is neither regulated nor checked; and drug dealing. (AQT 1232/17-22)

Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party

I thank the Member for his question. He highlighted a number of difficulties and problems that fall across a number of statutory agencies: my Department and DAERA, given that there is fly-tipping; the PSNI, given that there is drug taking; and the council. In fact, the Lord Mayor of Belfast wrote to my Department about that matter and my officials are engaging with him. I am happy to get an update on the latest position and provide that to the Member.

Photo of William Humphrey William Humphrey DUP

I thank the Minister. It is my understanding that the Lord Mayor has not yet had a response.

This morning, my party colleague the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, visited the site, along with council colleagues and local residents. The Minister agreed to convene a multi-agency round-table discussion, including representatives from the Departments that the Minister mentioned and the police. Will the Minister assure the House, my constituents who live in the Glenside area and me that her Department will play an active role in that round-table discussion and multi-agency meeting?

Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party

I assure the Member that my Department proactively engages in a range of multi-agency meetings across Northern Ireland. My officials work and live in their communities, care deeply for them and are considerably proactive in addressing the multifaceted problems that are visited on many of our communities across the North. As my Department has always done, it will continue to engage proactively. It will certainly engage in the multi-agency meetings to which the Member referred.