Opened on October 25, 2011
Thompson House is situated at 428 Antrim Road, Belfast (opposite First Trust Bank). It is a Probation Approved hostel accommodation and has been used to accommodate at least fifteen male offenders. The building is run by the Presbyterian Board of Social Witness in partnership with Helm Housing Association.
Among the ex-offenders housed in this hostel are some of the most dangerous sex offenders to have passed through the courts in recent years. Some of these have gone on to re-offend, committing murder, horrendous rape and child molestation. Due to the secrecy surrounding this house, we do not know how many were resident in this house at any given time. We know the hostel could accommodate at least fifteen however the renovation and extension application passed by our town planners will now increase the available living space to at least nineteen once complete. The refurbishment work has now begun and pending the completion all the residents have been moved temporarily to other city centre hostels.
Thompson House is situated in the heart of a residential area, it is also located within a few hundred metres of two homes containing vulnerable children and is close (0.2 mile) from the highest concentration of schools and creches in North Belfast. Hundreds of children and young people walk past its doors every day of the week. In our meetings with all concerned parties we have pointed out the serious risks involved and stressed the irresponsibility of the authorities in allowing this to happen.
We do know that a previous Secretary of State (circa 2006) for Northern Ireland, when he learned of the situation, was so concerned at the potential risks he arranged to have all sex offenders removed from this property. When those who are responsible for the building were asked how this decision was later overturned, we were told, that ‘times had changed, things had moved on and we now have our own Department of Policing and Justice’.
The fact that Thompson House is now closed for renovations provides our community with a window of opportunity to question the rationale for such a facility in this location and to lobby our political representatives for a more suitable use for the building.
How to support us
• Sign and Organise the Petition
• Lobby your MP, MLA’s and Councillors
• Lobby pro-active involvement by the local schools and creches
• Contact local media outlets
• Support our fundraising efforts
It is important that we show a strong voice to everyone who has any influence on what goes on at Thompson House, everyone over age 16 should sign the petition, and those with access to social media should be promoting our campaign and e-mailing local politicians and news media.