Belfast IRSP Activist Seán Nuinseann discusses the recent ”leap of progress” in the building of the new Radio Failte Radio station.
Divis welcomes the new Radio Failte Radio station premises at the entrance of the estate. A multi-million pound project has replaced a waste ground utilised primarily for drug-fuelled bonfires throughout the years and therefore this latest addition to the community must be recognised for what it is; a leap of progress. However, residents are largely unaware of the role this facility will play as part of this impoverished area. Is this merely a fancy building situated to improve the image of the entrance to the Falls Road, or will this facility offer something to local people to enhance their lives?
The appearance of massive fencing surrounding the building portrays the image of a lonely project frightened by its working class surroundings, but shouldn’t this be a welcoming location that engages with the community? In an estate that suffers significantly from a lack of quality housing, suicide and all the issues that spring from prolonged poverty, this positive development must offer benefits for the community aside from cosmetic improvement.
Millions of pounds have been poured into this initiative, whilst many locals wait a weeks for the opportunity to speak with a doctor, young people struggle with drug addiction and families suffer dire poverty due to unemployment. There is no expectation that this new facility will mark an end to the earth’s problems, but there must be a genuine attempt to at least demonstrate a level of care.
Although there’s space in the vicinity of the building for a childrens’ playpark for example, the only purpose the space has been used for up until this point is to provide private car parking for incoming employees. I encourage those spearheading this initiative to use their imagination and to consider venturing beyond the confines of their business plan. You owe it to the families that live here.
The official opening of this new premises is drawing near. What type of jobs and funded projects will occupy the building that reach out to residents? Is the fencing that is being erected on the perimeter built to keep residents out, or are residents indeed welcome? A public meeting should be called as soon as practical to inform residents of the benefits of this welcomed development to ensure that a relationship exists in the community and furthermore to guarantee this project its place in an area that struggled for decades to make its existence possible.