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Residents’ Easter fears as youths shipped in increases likelihood of anti-social behaviour

McDonalds

Residents in Lurgan have said they are concerned Easter holidays will bring with it an added element of anti-social behaviour on their doorsteps.

There have also been claims that the youths involved in much of the nuisances are not local – but shipped in from outside the town.

SDLP’s Ciaran Toman says the local community are outraged at the consistent anti-social behaviour activity in Edward Street, Shankill.

The behaviour has forced the Housing Executive (NIHE) to intervene and introduce measures to deter youths from
congregating in the area.

Mr Toman explained: “Just before the Christmas period we became aware of an increase in incidents of anti-social behaviour and underage drinking in the area which was impacting on local residents.

“This was more prevalent on school holidays.”

He added: “Members of the community tried to engage with the young people and explain how their behaviour can affect local residents. In most cases the young people moved on but returned later that evening.

“There have been a number of incidents which involved lighting fires near an oil tank, throwing stones at windows and tipping rubbish bins.

“It soon became clear that many of the young people didn’t live locally and parents were using McDonalds, Lurgan as a pick up point.”

Mr Toman said he welcomed the the efforts NIHE are currently carrying out, and how they have engaged with the residents.

“The NIHE have listened to their fears of leaving their own home and are now introducing measures to try discourage this behaviour from young people. Fencing will be erected, rear garden steps have been blocked off and a railing will be installed on top of the wall to defer people from sitting on it.”

Mr Toman added: “The Easter holidays are coming up and I am concerned that residents will be tormented day and night due to the school holidays. I will be working with the PSNI to ensure the Neighbourhood Team and Response Team are actively on the ground.

“In recent weeks, the PSNI Lurgan Neighbourhood Team have been patrolling the area of Shankill and have made a number of arrests related to possession of drugs.

“I urge the residents in the area to be the eyes and ears of the local community and continue to report to the PSNI on 101, this is the only way to establish a pattern and catch those responsible.”

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