Housing of sex offenders discussed at Casey meeting

December 9, 2013

Acting on local concerns regarding the housing of two convicted sex offenders in the Erskine Street area of Newry, Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey has held a meeting involving PPANI (Public Protection Arrangements NI) CRJ, the PSNI and community representatives.

Fears had grown in the area after a Sunday Life expose revealed that two foreign nationals with  convictions for rape and sex attacks were living in the city, in close proximity to two schools. As a result of the article,  Our Lady’s Grammar School took the step of issuing a letter to parents to reassure them of the safety of their children.

Worried members of the community also took to social media to vent their anger that the pair, who were pictured in the Sunday Life article, were allowed to set up home in the area. The men were subsequently moved from the Erskine Street property.

Councillor Casey immediately moved to set up a meeting with relevant groups to discuss the concerns of members of the public. Speaking following the meeting, which took place on Thursday 28th November, Mr Casey said,

“There has been a lot of genuine concern among the people of this area regarding the fact that these men were placed in this community without any notification to local residents.  I attended this meeting to try to get a sense of what the correct processes and procedures are in these difficult circumstances.

“I found the meeting useful as it clarified the responsibilities of the police and it gave the representative from PPANI the opportunity to explain their role in managing the risks posed by certain sexual and violent offenders when they are released from prison into the community.

“Following this meeting my colleague Mickey Brady MLA is submitting a question to the Justice Minister to get a better understanding of what information local people can access regarding offenders being situated in their communities.”