MLA condemns arson attack on building site

South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney with local Sinn F�in rep Noel Maguire.
South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney with local Sinn F�in rep Noel Maguire.

South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney has strongly condemned an arson attack on two houses under construction at new housing development site in Antrim.

Construction began in recent weeks at the ‘Ballyveigh’ site on the Ballygore Road where Hagan Homes are to build 250 new properties in a £30m development.

The Sinn Fein Assemblyman said that on Sunday night, two of the first three houses at the development were destroyed in an arson attack.

“This is the biggest housing development in Antrim in over 10 years,” Mr Kearney said.

He added: “It will significantly increase the local housing stock and provide a welcome mixed housing site suitable for first time buyers, families and those who may wish to downsize.

“Last Sunday night two of the first three houses at an advanced stage of construction were destroyed in a serious arson attack.

“This was a disgraceful act of premeditated criminality.”

Mr Kearney said his party has already been in contact with the PSNI locally to request that they ensure a thorough investigation is conducted aimed at detecting and prosecuting those responsible.

He added: “The ‘Ballyveigh’ project represents a huge investment in the local town economy. That ambition is undermined by what has happened.

“I have asked the PSNI to increase patrolling in the area to help maximise security of this site and I would also appeal to community and civic leaders in the area to do all they can to support the developer and contractor in taking forward this five year building programme.

“At a time of continuing austerity which severely impacted our local construction industry, projects such as the ‘Ballyveigh’ development are essential investments in the regeneration of the South Antrim economy.”