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West Belfast Intervention Project

24 July, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams today formally opened the new office for the Intervention Project in the upper Springfield.

The office, which is in the Upper Springfield Development Trust building on the Springfield Road (near the top of the junction of the Springfield and Whiterock Roads), is a key part of the community and statutory based response to the problems in the Ballymurphy area arising out of a feud between two criminal gangs.

Speaking at the event Mr. Adams thanked all of those from the community sector, as well as the statutory agencies who have worked very hard at developing initiatives to tackle the difficulties in the Upper Springfield area. He made a special mention of the late Councillor and MLA Michael Ferguson who did Trojan work in the area before his sudden death last year.

Mr. Adams said:

"Today is an opportunity to look forward.

"It is a measure of the resolve of the people in this area that after everything that has happened to them in recent years and in the recent decades, that they remain strong, confident and up for the challenges presented by recent difficulties.

"The Intervention Project has done great work in the short time it has been in existence.

"Today is another important stage, with the centre for this work finally opening. The funding which David Hanson pledged when I met with him six months ago has now finally been approved and will sustain this work until the end of January next year.

"However, Intervention work is just that - it is an intervention. What is needed is the development of, and agreement on an integrated strategy, properly resourced, which can effectively tackle the neglect of this community by government departments and others over many years.

"Work on the production of this integrated strategy is ongoing but I am very hopeful.

"Phase 1 of the Intervention Project last year was very successful. Phase 2 began at the start of this month.

"A co-ordinator has been appointed who will work out of the Intervention Office and whose task is to bring together the work of all of those groups involved in this project.

"Among the activities which Phase 2 of the Intervention Project will support are an increase in the hours of the youth workers attached to the Youth section of the project and an increase in community-based mental health provision.

"Community empowerment has to be the lynch-pin of any plan for the future. The Upper Springfield area is home to hundreds of families and Sinn Féin will continue to work to defend and assert the rights of the local community and promote an agenda for transformation in the area." ENDS

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