Irish Republican News · January 18, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Removal of Anderstonstown base underway

The Andersonstown PSNI police barracks in west Belfast is currently being dismantled in a move that has been hailed as long overdue.

A 100-foot spy mast has already been removed ahead of the bases’s official closure next week and the demolition of the site next month.

PSNI police members have already left the base, which was seen as a blight on the community and which offered no public service for the people of West Belfast.

The base was routinely attacked throughout the history of the conflict in the North. The station was badly damaged in May 1983 when a 1,000lb IRA car bomb devastated the station.

The last attack on the Andersonstown station was in 2001, when the breakaway Real IRA detonated a blast bomb at the station.

The closure and demilitarisation of the base had been announced in several statements in recent years. This week saw the first tangible evidence of the move.

Local residents are seeking to use the extensive lands in the heart of west Belfast for community regeneration.

SDLP representative Alex Attwood said the demolition was “proof of the power of the Policing Board”.

Former Sinn Féin publicity director Danny Morrison, who witnessed the removal of the telecommunication mast yesterday, welcomed the visible signs of demilitarisation.

“I used to work in the butcher’s shop opposite the barracks when I was a kid and I can remember when the station had gardens instead of 30-foot walls and spy cameras,” he said.

“Do I welcome its demolition? Most definitely.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News