Plans to Trample Over Community Wishes WIll be Opposed

Guest writer, Dee Fennell, a candidate in the upcoming May local government elections in the North writes about opposition to plans for the St Gemma's site in North Belfast. Dee Fennell feels that those behind the plans show scant regard for the concerns of local residents.

Today I accompanied a number of Marrowbone residents as they met Sacred Heart parish priest Fr Martin Magill. I organised the meeting at residents' request so that they could raise concerns at rumoured plans for the site of St Gemma's, and Fr Magill was more than willing to meet and listen to their concerns. He was also able to clarify the situation, to the best of his knowledge and ability.

Residents' concerns stem from a proposal that has been put to the Diocese by Ardoyne Youth Enterprise (a new private company, formerly Ardoyne Youth Providers Forum) that they effectively take over the vast site and run it as they see fit. This is being supported by Sinn Fein, which is no surprise as many of the Directors of this new company are also members and supporters of Sinn Fein. There will be no leisure facility or social housing on the site, under this proposal.

Not one resident in the immediate vicinity of St Gemma's has been consulted on whether they support this proposal. This is totally unacceptable to Residents, most of whom want to see this site used for a Health and Leisure facility and/or some social housing.

In the coming weeks, I will be assisting Marrowbone and Ardoyne residents that live closest to the St Gemmas site as they carry out a genuine consultation in the area regarding the site. I have also spent the day speaking to community organisations, housing associations/activists and others in the Marrowbone and Ardoyne areas to plan for an alternative written proposal for the site that will encompass true community benefit with potential for a Health and Leisure facility, Social Housing and units for Community Use. We have been told the Diocese of Down and Connor will consider any proposal we bring.

I would like to thank Fr Magill for meeting us today, and the information that he was able to give us. The fact that others, many of whom no longer live in this area, were willing to plan on imposing their own will on the community, without any consultation with the good people of the Bone and Ardoyne is a disgrace


  1. Dee things will only ever change for the better when people you start to get elected.

  2. Quisling $inn £eind in the Ardoyne area are only following the party,s dictum i.e. Fill their heads with idle promises,while we line our pockets with gold"and if you dont believe me ask Joe O Donnell,Maskey ,Kelly et all,the gfa is a total fucking shambles and those micro brit ministers and their quisling cronies need to be confronted on ALL their failed promises , an island of equals my fucking arse,a single war cry for all independent candidates could be no more misrepresentation..we,ve had have had to much!or in quisling $inn £eind speak move on .

  3. Your right Marty regarding filling peoples head with idle promises..flash McVeigh was pictured in the ATN 2 years ago at the 3 nurses towers on Broadway claiming he had secured them for social housing etc After the claim was made an internal letter was sent to residents assuring them that there was no plans to evict them and hand over the towers to any outside agency..funny enough when the letter was forwarded to the ATN there was no front page fact there was no coverage of the letter anywhere in the paper despite it being emailed and delivered to the office TWICE.

  4. Now why doesnt that surprise me Brendan a cara..

  5. Necessary to have the genuine needs of local residents fully reflected in any type of proposal rather than just assuming what an area requires. Meaningful representation is key. Fair play to you Dee.

  6. Brian Rowan another difficult marching season ahead...AKA 'A long hot summer'

    An Ardoyne resident called Paddy ..

    Joe Marley & Wiston Irvine on the stand off at Twaddell