Youths causing ‘panic and fear’

Youths causing ‘panic and fear’

7 November 2018

PEOPLE in Downpatrick are living in fear and panic because of anti-social behaviour.

Local SDLP MLA Colin McGrath says the situation has become intolerable and must end. Mr McGrath’s appeal comes in the wake of yet more complaints about incidents involving unruly young people.

A public meeting to highlight the issue was held just over a fortnight ago, but the incidents have continued.

Mr McGrath said: “I have had yet more calls from residents and constituents about the ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick with the latest calls in relation to fireworks being thrown at people and cars, particularly around the St Patrick Centre.

“There are reports of people walking around with scarves tied around their heads to obscure their faces from being identified.”

Mr McGrath said the incidents must end now.

“The levels of panic and fear that are being caused by those engaging in this behaviour have reached a new height,” he remarked.

Describing Downpatrick as a “thriving and vibrant town”, Mr McGrath said there was no need for such behaviour.

“There is so much for our children and young people to be getting involved in that doesn’t involve this sort of anti social behaviour,” he continued.

“If we can tap into their talents and abilities and begin to appeal to their obvious passion for what they do, then we can direct them to a better means of expressing that. 

“I’d love to hear their views on this, but at the moment all we have are people now living in fear — fear of intimidation, fear of leaving their homes and fear of having a firework thrown at them.

Mr McGrath said it was “time for the masks to come off and for those who are engaging in this behaviour to call it a day”.

He added: “Everyone has the potential for a bright future and just because you are engaging in this behaviour today doesn’t mean you can’t turn things around tomorrow. Please bring it to an end.”