Reminder to parents after spate of trouble

Reminder to parents after spate of trouble

14 October 2020

WORK to address ongoing anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick has been welcomed by two politicians who have appealed to parents to know where their children are and what they are doing.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath and local councillor John Trainor say no one wants to see anti-social behaviour elements operating in the area.

Both men say that while what’s happening is troubling, the added worrying element associated with those causing trouble is coronavirus.

Their appeal to parents comes after members of the emergency services were recently pelted with missiles during more ugly scenes at the Killough Road in Downpatrick.

The busy main road — which dissects the Flying Horse and Model Farm housing estates — has become a flashpoint for trouble over recent years, especially in the run-up to Halloween. 

Two weekends ago, a large crowd of youths drinking alcohol also congregated at the Movilla Rod area at the Knocknashinna estate in the town last Friday afternoon but dispersed when police arrived, with the more worrying incidents occurring at the Killough Road with fireworks and missiles thrown at police last Friday and Saturday night. 

Residents who live in the area say they are fed up the activity of young people allowed to run amok and cause mayhem and while police say that they are aware of ongoing problems of anti-social behaviour at the trouble hot-spot, they insist that the community needs to work together to help address the issue.

Angry residents who live at the Killough Road area say they want sterner action taken against the troublemakers.

Mr McGrath said local politicians were receiving reports of anti-social behaviour and was sure other elected representatives were aware of the situation.

“There is deliberate destruction of property with public nuisance being created in residential areas,” he said . “The actions of those responsible is only creating deeper frustration in the community. It’s totally unacceptable and needs to stop.”

Mr McGrath confirmed that he is working closely with the PSNI, local SDLP councillors and the community to help bring a halt to the trouble.

He continued: “We recently had the launch of Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s new ‘Shaping Our Downpatrick Future’ public consultation and I want everyone to have the opportunity to be a part of shaping the town’s future for the better.  

“I would appeal to all families to be aware of where their children are as there are now very specific regulations in place about public gatherings.  Aside from the fact that those gathering are engaged in anti-social behaviour, they could also potentially be spreading coronavirus or catching it from those they are engaging with.”

Mr McGrath said there was only so much the PSNI could do as resources were already limited.

He added: “I am aware of the great work being done by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership and other local community groups involved in this effort to address anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick.

“We appeal to everyone to take responsibility, show respect for their neighbours and report any incidents that take place. We all need to work together to end this trouble.”