Calls for Meenan Square facelift

Sinn Fein election candidate, Maeve McLaughlin (above) believes the regeneration of Meenan Square would benefit the entire community.

Sinn Fein election candidate, Maeve McLaughlin (above) believes the regeneration of Meenan Square would benefit the entire community.

Sinn Féin election candidate for Foyle, Maeve McLaughlin, is calling for the revitalisation of the Meenan Square complex in the Bogside.

The area in question has become very run down over the years and it was used by young people to store tyres and other materials for bonfires last summer.

Ms. McLaughlin described the Meenan Square complex as a “terrible sight” and said that if redeveloped properly it could help to bring about a positive change in the area.

“Over recent years there has been a lot of negativity about anti-community activity in and around the Meenan Square complex in the Bogside. This is added to by ongoing vandalism attacks on buildings there throughout the year. It’s a terrible sight to be greeted by as you reach the bottom of the flyover or have to live beside on a daily basis,” said Ms. McLaughlin.

Calling on the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (N.I.H.E.), which is in charge of the Meenan Square complex, to work towards a plan that could see the area completely transformed for the better”, she added: “It’s important N.I.H.E. investigates how to bring this property back into public or community ownership for the greater good of the community and the residents that live close by.

“This site was once the heart of the Bogside with many local businesses and services and this site has the potential to become the catalyst for change in this community.”

Ms. McLaughlin said she was convinced the area could be transformed for the benefit of the entire community if all stakeholders came together to discuss the best way forward.

“The area has recently been designated as an ‘Urban Village’ by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (O.F.M.D.F.M.) and the measure of the success of this initiative will be the regeneration of Meenan Park.

“I believe now it is the time to change that and for all interested parties to come together and once and for all find a positive future for this site.”

Ms. McLaughlin added: “Over the next few years we will see massive investment with the new Brandywell Stadium and Foyle Valley Gateway project. There are plans for projects in the Bishop Street and Fountain areas and to compliment all that I believe the transformation and revitalisation of the Meenan Square complex would be a major piece of the jigsaw.”