Glenowen residents ‘fed up’ of lack of care for Derry estate

Residents in Glenowen are coming together to form a residents group with the hopes of tackling long-standing health and safety concerns in their estate.

By Daire Ní Chanáin
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:11 pm

The residents feel they have been ‘abandoned’ by the authorities and some members of the community are struggling to cope with day-to-day life because of the unsuitable infrastructure in the area.

Joe Blee, spokesperson on behalf of the residents group said: “I’ve lived here in Glenowen for a long, long time. As time has gone on, new housing estates have gone up and Glenowen has just been ignored. The money is being put into these new estates and we’re getting nothing. The walls here are falling apart. The paths, drains, gullies are dilapidated. They come and cut the grass but that’s the bare minimum. They don’t care about Glenowen. It’s out of sight out of mind. If you ask any resident here, they’ll tell you it’s like walking into a time warp and it’s just not fair. I grew up here and now my own children are growing up here and I see things with new eyes now, that I didn’t see when I was younger. I’m looking out for their safety. They’re my main concern in life and the reason I’m fighting for this. I need my children to be safe.

“The wall is the main thing we’re focusing on right now. There’s too much traffic here between lorries and cars and they all go too fast. It’s dense with traffic. I would like to see speed ramps, slow down signs and maybe even reflectors to show that the wall is here. There’s steep, long steps here beside my house which are falling apart and dangerous to walk on. We have to bring our wheelie bins down these steps to get them emptied and bring them back up again after. There are older residents here who have to depend on neighbours or family members to put their bins out for them and back in again after because they’re too old to manage the steps. It’s poor planning from day one.

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Children of Glenowen at part of the broken wall that boarders their play area beside their homes and a busy road.

“Going forward, the main objective of these meetings is to build up the residents group. This is only the start of a long, long journey. We hope to keep building on this and hit all our targets. Long term, we would like to see a play park too. There’s nothing for our children to play in. We have to go to Creggan or Brooke Park to play and that’s not right.

“We’re fed up of not being taken seriously and we’re not going to take it any more.”

Sinn Féin MLA Padraig Delargy said: “The wall at Glenowen has collapsed again and I have been in contact with Apex, and so has my colleague Patricia Logue. This needs to be addressed urgently. It’s one of those issues that keeps coming up again and again but we can’t keep going back to Apex and asking them to do something. The residents here need a long-term solution. They need something in place that’s really going to benefit them and their community but most importantly, keep the residents and the children of the area safe.”

People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O’Neill said: “I’ve been working with residents in Glenowen over the past few months to bring a petition to Apex around the repairs that are needed. Residents here have been completely ignored and this area has been neglected for far too long. Residents here really care about their community and they’re ready and organised to demand that the authorities that should be caring for their community actually do the work that they’re required to do.”

Residents of Glenowen beside one part of the broken wall that boarders the estate and a busy road. The wall is beside one of the only areas where children are able to play. Residents say Glenowen has been left for too long and desperately needs updated.

A spokesperson for Apex Housing Association commented: “A taskforce was set up recently by Derry City and Strabane District Council to tackle some of the public realm concerns raised by tenants in Glenowen.  As a member of this taskforce, we are committed to addressing any issues that fall under our remit and look forward to working with other partners including the Council and Department for Infrastructure to address the concerns raised at Glenowen.

“In relation to the boundary walls, work is in progress to address the issues arising.”

A barrier was put in place after another section of the wall was broken but residents say this isn't good enough and don't feel safe letting their children play in this area.
A part of the broken wall around Glenowen estate.
A temporary boarder put on the wall in Glenowen.