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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Policing of estate feud defended
Police arriving in Ballymurphy
The policing of a feud in west Belfast has been defended
The PSNI district commander for west Belfast has defended the policing of a feud in the Ballymurphy area.

More than 1m has been spent dealing with what Chief Superintendent David Boultwood described as an "intense level of violence".

But he said there had been underlying issues which the police have not been able to get to the bottom of.

"I think we've done everything we possibly can under difficult and challenging circumstances," he said.

"If you look at the level of resources we've put into trying to resolve the dispute in Ballymurphy - we've gone out into the community, we've tried a multi-agency approach - we haven't given up on this.

"We're going to continue to work as hard as we possibly can to resolve the issue."

Last week, the police said there had been 600 separate incidents since the dispute between two families began in the estate.

The incidents have ranged from threats to kill to murder.


Trouble in the area has been ongoing since the fatal stabbing of Gerard Devlin in February.

Mr Devlin, 39, was stabbed to death at Whitecliff Parade in Ballymurphy. Four people have been charged with murder.

Several other families in the estate have become involved in the dispute and a number of people have been put out of their homes.

Chief Superintendent Boultwood said that, since March, 75 files had been sent to the director of public prosecutions in relation to the trouble.

"We have carried out detailed investigations in relation to every crime which has been reported to us and we haven't always had the support of the wider community in gathering evidence - that has been a problem in the Ballymurphy area," he said.

He said officers operating in the area had been attacked by youths throwing stones.

However, the chief superintendent said he remained optimistic.

"It is a very challenging one for us, but I've no doubt eventually we will bring it to a successful conclusion."

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