RESIDENTS in a Mayfield housing estate are living with “unbearable anxiety” as their back windows are being smashed on a regular basis.
Lagan Grove householders are being terrorised by gangs throwing stones and rocks from the Tarry Path at their homes in Mayfield.
The path runs behind Lagan Grove and is used as a link route by residents in other nearby housing estates.
The situation has become so bad that residents have taken to erecting wire mesh protection on their windows in order to protect themselves.
Christine O’Connell has been living in her council-owned house for the last 40 years and said her Down syndrome son has been left shaken after the latest incident which saw his window smashed by a rock while he was in his bedroom.
Ms O’Connell said the family has been left living on their nerves by the stone throwing which has only occurred on a regular basis in the last two years.
“We can’t do anything out in the backyard, we are afraid of our lives. This is the fourth time in two years that the window has been broken,” she told The Echo.
“My grandchildren come here to the house and I can’t leave them out in case a stone comes flying down.
“There were never any problems here until the last two years,” she added.
Ms O’Connell has been told by the city council that she must foot the bill for the window breakages as part of her rent.
Her neighbour, William Pearce, is worried that somebody will be seriously hurt before the city council takes measures to either protect the exposed homes or close the section of the Tarry Path behind the homes.
His back windows have also been smashed on a number of occasions.
“Everyone in the area has a similar problem.
“The rocks are flying down at our houses morning, noon and night.
“Summertime is coming and there will be drinking sessions, burnt out cars and a whole lot of other things. The stone throwing is going to kill somebody.
“The anxiety is unbearable. I’m sitting in my living room and I can hear the voices on the Tarry Path and I wonder is tonight going to be the night again that the windows are broken.
“We’ve met with City Hall officials and nothing ever happens. There will be a serious accident. A child could be seriously hurt,” he added.
Councillor Mick Nugent (SF) said City Hall needs to address people’s concerns immediately.
“The council will have to look at another policy of replacement because there are repeated incidents of windows being broken.
“There needs to be a plan to ensure people’s safety. This is no way for people to live,” he added.
The council has previously dealt with motions calling for a €40,000 fence to be built behind the houses and for the section of the Tarry Path to be blocked off to public access.
An infill housing scheme on the path is currently being examined by the council.
The local authority has been contacted for comment on the matter.