POTD – Mountpottinger Police Station and smiling SF representative

Sinn Fein representative Niall Ó Donnghaile pictured yesterday outside the partially demolished PSNI barracks on Mountpottinger Road. Internal stripping of the building has been going on for the last few weeks and this week saw the start of the building itself being demolished. For years the Police station which is located in the centre of the Nationalist Short Strand has dominated the sky line. The need for social housing in the Strand means that in all likelihood the site will be used for new housing.

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  • The closure of local police stations like Mountpottinger (pdf file) will probably make life safer for paramilitaries and other anti-social elements.

  • Kadfoomsa

    Is Niall a councillor?

  • No Kadfoomsa….duly corrected and thanks for the heads up.
    He will be standing for election as far as i know

  • SW

    Indeed. He’s the self-styled (and self-imposed) SF representative in east Belfast. Wonder who he represents, though, as he’s never been elected to anything in his life.

  • Cynic2

    Pity SF needlessly fought a war that kept it there for so long

  • ORWELLSPEN

    It’s the condition of areas where the underclass exist, not just in Irish republican strongholds but across Europe and the USA where forces of law and order are not welcome nor seen as organic parts of the community. What is crime? Crime is a breach of the law. What is law? Law is a rule. Who makes the rules? Well educated monied legislators who ultimately create laws that protect their interests, property and reflects their morality. Such valued are not shared by social groups which do not form part of the legislative coteries of any country. Therefore most of their behaviour and actions are thus at odds with the law as it is not their law.

  • Cynic2

    Orwell

    Less of that and get your politics homework done son

  • Now his constituents have to travel to the Holywood road to speak to police officers.

    Fact of the 3 police stations in East Belfast Mountpottinger / Willowfield / Strandtown most crimes were committed in the Mountpottinger / Willowfield areas. So the Policing Board and the PSNI decide to withdraw and let the gangsters/thieves/scum have free run !!

    Well done loonies running the asylum

  • ORWELLSPEN

    We in NI seem to think that anything less than perfect is failure. We are just like every other western nation; we have a police force that is not liked by the communities within which crime is perceived to emanate from.

  • The Raven

    Reading some of the comments here, and in particular, Orwell there, I’m put in mind of 1984…

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

  • They let a you into the Strand with a camera, Moochin?

    Good work lad, you must have ticked all the requisite boxes.

    Right.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The closure of local police stations like Mountpottinger (pdf file) will probably make life safer for paramilitaries and other anti-social elements.

    That’s populist twaddle, Nevin. The physical presence of a police station in a community is less relevant than it was years ago. Police drive around in cars and are extensively radio controlled. I don’t want police officers sitting in a station somewhere which has to be guarded and secured, waiting behind a desk for stuff to happen outside.

  • Cynic2

    “we have a police force that is not liked by the communities within which crime is perceived to emanate from”

    ….. can you point to one that is? I don’t necessarily want them to be liked. I want them to be respected, effective and seen as fair.

  • stewart1

    oneill- ‘They let a you into the Strand with a camera, Moochin?

    Good work lad, you must have ticked all the requisite boxes’

    O’Neill, I presume that the police are just as capable of tracking the enormous loyalist drug & criminal issues from Holywood Road or Strandtown, as they are from the former Mountpottinger station?

  • oneill……..Thanks sooo much for your comment I loooooooooove being patronised

    Do try to keep up dear boy

  • Comrade Stalin

    O’Neill, I presume that the police are just as capable of tracking the enormous loyalist drug & criminal issues from Holywood Road or Strandtown, as they are from the former Mountpottinger station?

    The riots that occurred in Rathcoole before Xmas were less than half a mile away from Whiteabbey police station. Anti-social behaviour, including racist intimidation, on the Station Road/Fernagh area was in the news a few months back. That’s even closer to the same station. I’m not sure if things would be worse if the station was five miles away instead.

  • Cynic2

    Lets hope that they can get there just as quickly from Strandtown when, in the next riots, the Prods try to get into the Short Strand which now has no fixed police presence.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Stop being stupid. Most police officers are out on patrol in cars so there is no question of them responding to an incident from the station. They’re not hanging around waiting for stuff to happen.

  • fordprefect

    Good riddance to it! It was an eyesore and the people of the area didn’t want it. The cops from it never treated the people of the area with respect nor fairness.

  • The last time I seen that guy pictured outside the police station his supporters were busy subjecting the area to yet another of their riots, sorry ‘street party’.

    The guy doesn’t care what the living conditions of the locals here are – he wants as many hemmed in as posssible to get himself elected.

    No harm to the SS but their under the thumb of the party of the ghetto.

    The cops from it never treated the people of the area with respect nor fairness.

    And now the building is gone this will all be healed I guess…

    Comrade Stalin: you’ve obviously never been at the mercy of cop reaction times to phone calls. Local stations reduce crime it’s not populism it’s fairly obvious common sense.

  • Fearglic

    a police force accepted by all the community(ies) is essential. appropriate buildings are necessary to house the officers. this building however is ugly and represents obvious oppression of an embattled community by a bigoted sectarian police force controlled by English spooks. glad that THAT era is over.

  • Populist twaddle, CS? It was a tongue-in-cheek response to a photo of a representative of a thuggish element in society gloating over the demolition of a local police station.

    The earlier form of community policing was more effective than what we appear to have at present. Police officers lived in or close to the police station; they’d been drafted in from other other districts which gave them a measure of independence; and they had their finger on the pulse of local ne’er do wells.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Nevin

    Did you by any chance get a couple of Dixon of Dock Green box sets for xmas ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Populist twaddle, CS? It was a tongue-in-cheek response to a photo of a representative of a thuggish element in society gloating over the demolition of a local police station.

    Firstly, just because SF choose to gloat over certain things doesn’t mean that the decision was a bad one. Closing superfluous stations is a good way to make the best use of police resources.

    You specifically said that closing the station would make life easier for paramilitaries and anti-social elements. It’s the old “closing police stations puts the cops further away from crime” thing, and it’s rubbish – ask any police officer. Musgrave Street police station is about five minutes away from the Short Strand and the police can maintain an effective, continuous, responsive and far more flexible approach by patrolling it with a couple of cars. What else do you think having a local station adds to the mix ?

    The earlier form of community policing was more effective than what we appear to have at present.

    I hope that your opinions on how policing should be performed come from sources more up to date than Heartbeat or Dixon of Dock Green.

    Police officers lived in or close to the police station;

    So if we went back to this, exactly what kind of improvements do you think it would lead to ?

    they’d been drafted in from other other districts which gave them a measure of independence;

    I’m not sure what this means. You’re not saying that cops tend to be from the areas they’re working in ? I’d be damn sure that’s seldom true.

    and they had their finger on the pulse of local ne’er do wells.

    I don’t think there are any problems with the cops having their finger on the pulse of local hoods. The problems are to do with gathering evidence for crime and getting people to report it.

  • chewnicked

    Heartening to see that the latest attempt to demolish this ugly building has proven successful. If at first you don’t succeed etc…

  • Cynic2

    I am delighted to see SF’s commitment to community policing in the Short Strand.

  • Cynic2 to be fair i have seen the SF members engage with the PSNI in East Belfast

  • aquifer

    Useful deterrent against sectarian attacks against the catholic community gone, no wonder SF are smiling.

  • CS, I seem to have rattled your cage!!

    I recognise the old salami-slicing trick. It’s nice to be challenged by someone who’s knowledgeable in the ways of Heartbeat and Dixon of Dock Green 😉

    My views on policing are drawn from a wide range of sources. I’ve also published the deficit of constables and related material on NALIL blog and Scribd. You can also read the reflections of an independent member of the DPP who didn’t wish to be gagged.

    When folks see police officers organising community activities with loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers it’s perfectly natural that they would be reluctant to assist the police with their inquiries.

    You may think that remote policing is satisfactory – Mountpottinger isn’t the only local station being decommissioned – but businessmen and others I’ve spoken to preferred the finger on the pulse local knowledge. It was also a local businessman who told me some years ago about the not ruffling paramilitary feathers strategy ie an officer could observe wrong-doing but couldn’t intervene without political clearance. I should imagine that strategy is still in place.

  • Thanks sooo much for your comment I loooooooooove being patronised

    Do try to keep up dear boy

    *Whooosssh*

    Not sure you’ve fully got the “must have ticked all the requisite boxes”?

  • I got it alright and for the record this was not an arranged photo shoot i happened to be in the area documenting the demolition when Niall showed up for a shoot for the A’town news.
    I ain’t no lacky

  • So you missed out on a great 3 for 1 shot: demolition, SF rep and AN other 🙂

  • AN other Nevin?

  • Ceist

    The station was an eyesore (not helped admittedly by the consistent paint attacks and graffiti) but whacking more houses on it to the same density (or higher) as the rest of the Short Strand isn’t the best idea.

    The layout of the Short Strand owes a lot of its planning to security and not to building safe, healthy and cohesive communities. An Glas is too small for any real running about (and its squeezed between two busy roads on the interface and I know some parents won’t let their kids go down to it) and while the playground is great, kids tend not to go there when they get a bit older (ironically when they start drinking they may go back).

    But unfortunately an extra 15 or so houses will be of more help to our sectarian headcount system, bringing SF to about a council quota. Throw in another couple dozen houses on the bus depot site and our wee friend Niall is laughing (any guesses what SF’s next campaign in the Strand will be?).

    Pity to see the original mill being demolished along with the modern fortifications – another bit of industrial heritage bites the dust. If they’d have kept it and got Groundwork NI to redevelop the carpark they could have a huge number of options to choose from.

  • The Andytown News photographer, MP.

  • Good point re the industrial heritage being lost i hadn’t considered that aspect.
    I think i’m right in saying that the Short Strand was designed by the MOD so that it could be blocked off with the minimal number of vehicles

  • Oh don’t worry i got a TtV portrait of William just prior to Niall’s arrival

  • fordprefect

    100% MP and the Markets area was designed the same way, as in, there are only 3 ways in and out (easier to seal it off, block it off, whatever). I don’t vote for any party (waste of time and energy), but, Niall lives in the SS, grew up with the people there and knows what he’s talking about. For people on this thread to suggest that he’s promoting himself for election, well, what polititian wouldn’t?

  • MP, as the photo stands, it looks too much like you doing a SF promo. William’s inclusion would have told a different, more accurate story.

  • Oh FFS Nevin…….more accurate? The photograph tells it’s own story and yes i placed him with the barracks behind him but seeing as i do take alot of individual portraits i don’t see why i should have included William. Perhaps you’d be happy if I could arrange for a Unionist rep to come down looking glum and get William to come and take a photo of me taking a portrait?

  • Neil

    Worth bearing in mind that last year a man was beaten up against the wall, literally in contact with the wall, of Woodbourne PSNI station. The man died touching a police station, yet the cops did not respond.

    Cops categorically do not come from within the area they police and having a PSNI station close to hand gaurantees nothing.

  • JH

    Good photo. It would be good to see a public consultation on the redevelopment of this site, similar to the one conducted by PLACE (www.expowestbelfast.com) for the A’town barracks site. Better that it be developed according to the wishes of the community than just throw up some houses. I was really proud to have a small part in the A’town project, would be happy to work on this one as well.

  • MP, it was a AN propaganda shot for SF so I don’t see how including a Unionist or AP rep would have made it more accurate.

  • Nevin…..seriously did you read what i said?
    I repeat i happened to be there to take my own photos of the barracks being demolished. I met William who told me Niall was meeting him for a shoot for the A’Town News (Williams employer not mine) so i took it upon myself to get a photo of my Niall who i know to be the local rep. It was by pure chance and with no prior arrangement that i met Niall and decided to get a ttv portrait to add to my growing collection of characters.
    Including the A’town News photographer would not have added a jot to my portfolio or “the story”.
    Can’t be any clearer than that really.

  • chewnicked

    ‘But unfortunately an extra 15 or so houses will be of more help to our sectarian headcount system, bringing SF to about a council quota’

    The 15 or so extra houses will actually be of great assistance to some of the hundreds of families in uregnt housing need, patiently waiting to be rehoused in the Strand. After all, they have no chance of being rehoused elsewhere in East Belfast unless they are willing to be intimidated from their homes by loyalists, as was the case in the pogroms of the early 70s.

    Still never let the truth get in the way of a good old Shinner conspiracy theory, eh, Ceist?

  • MP, your follow-up merely reinforces that 2:23 misperception.

  • Comrade Stalin

    CS, I seem to have rattled your cage!!

    Sectarian bile dressed up in polite language rattles my cage. So sue me.

    I recognise the old salami-slicing trick.

    It’s not salami slicing. It’s allocating resources more efficiently, and until you can provide some sort of explanation as to how exactly policing will suffer because of this decision you’re just blowing silly smoke. Maintaining and guarding police estate is expensive and wasteful.

    My views on policing are drawn from a wide range of sources.

    Someone give that man a medal.

    I’ve also published the deficit of constables and related material on NALIL blog and Scribd. You can also read the reflections of an independent member of the DPP who didn’t wish to be gagged.

    I couldn’t give an airborne ejaculation about your blog or people’s “reflections”. I’d like to you provide something in the way of solid proof to actually justify this claim you’re making – quite an extraordinary claim I might add – that the police are attempting to deliberately weaken their own position and are acting to increase crime levels by closing a police station. You can start by demonstrating how exactly the presence of a police station effects the crime rate in its immediate radius.

    When folks see police officers organising community activities with loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers it’s perfectly natural that they would be reluctant to assist the police with their inquiries.

    Yes, but what’s that got to do with the closure of this station ?

    You may think that remote policing is satisfactory –

    It might be helpful to get a few definitions. What does “remote policing” mean ?

    The nearest station to Short Strand when Mountpottinger is closed will be Musgrave St. As the crow flies, that’s 0.6 miles, according to Google Maps between the two. So does that mean that anywhere which is 0.6 or more miles away from a police station doesn’t have a community policing service ?

    I mean, do we need police stations every 0.6 miles in order to ensure that the coverage that is required exists ?

    Don’t you see that you are talking total nonsense ?

    Mountpottinger isn’t the only local station being decommissioned

    And it’s certainly not the only station where people, usually of a unionist bent, have complained that closing police stations causes crime to suffer and (with boring regularity) claim that the whole thing is about appeasement of republicans. Most laughably of all, I remember several UUP politicians complaining when Queen Street RUC station was proposed to be closed in the early 90s. The police pointed out that it was in a catchment area where something like 73 people resided and it needed six police officers just to keep it open. Surely you can understand that selling off (or renting) underutilized property like this and putting those six officers in a couple of cars where they can patrol, help the public and respond quickly to incidents makes far more sense ?

    – but businessmen and others I’ve spoken to

    Ah yes, the old “it must be true because a bloke down the pub told me” argument. Always a winner.

    preferred the finger on the pulse local knowledge.

    What local knowledge ? Do the bricks and cement have eyes and ears ?

    Are you arguing that police officers stationed in Musgrave St, which is 0.6 miles away, cannot possibly have local knowledge ? Could you kindly explain to us what the maximum distance required between a neighbourhood and a police station is required before the officers there can be deemed to have “local knowledge” ?

    It was also a local businessman who told me some years ago about the not ruffling paramilitary feathers strategy ie an officer could observe wrong-doing but couldn’t intervene without political clearance. I should imagine that strategy is still in place.

    I thought it was about time for the old “the taigs are getting away with murder due to political appeasement” argument. It’s a shame it’s completely unjustified by the evidence. You’re increasingly sounding like a 1960s Paisleyite, what with arguments like this, and that other comment you made about Sinn Fein being run like the Vatican because there are so many Catholics in it. You need to take a long look at yourself.

    By the way, apart from anything else, I know of specific incidents where Sinn Fein activists – and indeed former prisoners – have attended anti-social behaviour incidents with police and have pointed out, and given names of, the protagonists. That’s not some sort of police/paramilitary co-operation. That’s republicans, together with non-republicans, who are themselves victims of burglary, crime and anti-social behaviour, who want to live in peace like everyone else without having their homes and cars broken into, and who know that co-operating with the police is the only way that will happen. It’s time you accepted that things have moved on.

  • “So sue me”

    I laugh at your idiocy. Perhaps I need to explain that the ‘salami-slicing’ referred to your slicing of my post. And then the old Paisleyite card. Why not play the old Humeite card too seeing as I’ve highlighted the outcome of the confrontational street politics of both? And with all that thrashing about you failed to spot the possibility that the businessman was referring to, er. loyalist paramilitaries – but linked to Vatican-style top down management anyway. Well done you.

  • There’s more here than meets the eye – well spotted Nevin & Oneill

  • Nevin and your reply at 8:42 yesterday does the same.

    bjj….no show without punch eh?

  • MP, I thought Niall was playing Punch to your Judy – or vice versa. Now that would have been a nice photo for Wee Willie Winkie 😉

    I suggested a simple escape route from the lackey tag that bothered you but you just kept on digging.