Residents urged to remain indoors

Part of the roof has been blown off the Belfast City Mission hall in Rathcoole.
Part of the roof has been blown off the Belfast City Mission hall in Rathcoole.

Local residents have been asked to remain in their homes unless their journey is necessary.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill made the call as Storm Ophelia continues to batter the region.

A section of Innis Avenue was cordoned off by police on October 16.

A section of Innis Avenue was cordoned off by police on October 16.

The DUP representative spoke to the Times after a section of the roof of the Belfast City Mission hall in Rathcoole was blown off during the stormy weather this afternoon.

The Macedon DEA politician said: “A piece of metal that runs along the apex of the roof has lifted and blown off completely. I would like to thank the local residents who made contact with myself and the Missionary, Jordan Neill. We were able to come and remove the metal before it caused any more damage.

“The risk is that if the wind continues and gets underneath the roof, there is the possibility that it could blow off the rest of the roof.”

Cllr Hamill added: “We have contacted the police and the Fire Service, who have both been here and assessed the situation. They have gone door-to-door to inform residents of the risks and have urged them to move their cars away to reduce the risk of their cars getting damaged.

“There is a plan in place and if needs be we can evacuate people to the Valley Leisure Centre, however, that’s not required at this stage.”

Cllr Hamill, who is a member of the Belfast City Mission congregation added: “We have secured the building as best we can by isolating the electricity and gas supply to that part of the building because the water is now coming through the roof.

“I am so thankful that there have not been any reports of any damage caused to personal property or any injuries.

“I would urge people to keep themselves safe by staying indoors unless their journey is really necessary.”

The Times understands that a section of Innis Avenue and part of Innis Walk were cordoned off by police this afternoon.