Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry councillors hit out at ‘heartbreaking’ anti-social behaviour

by Diarmuid Pepper 

Newry councillors have been taking a stand over the recent spate of anti-social behaviour in certain parts of Newry.

On Friday, Sinn Fèin councillor Liz Kimmins released a statement condemning the actions of a group of men who accosted a passerby.

The incident happened on Kiln Street and the group of men had been drinking on the Kiln Street steps.

Cllr Liz Kimmins revealed that Newry councillors met last week to discuss ways in which to address this growing problem “throughout the city, including Bulls Hill, Loanda House and many other locations”. 

She further added: “We are currently working with PSNI, PCSP, Youth Outreach workers, and Council Officials to do what we can to deal with this properly and are working hard to improve the quality of life of the communities affected by this behaviour.”

The police were called over the incident on Friday and Independent councillor Gavin Malone worries about the increasing frequency of such problems.

“This has been going on for two years, but thankfully there is now recognition by everyone that it is an issue,” Malone told The Examiner.

“Some people were saying that it is scaremongering and it wasn’t happening but the reality is we need to continue to highlight this issue.

“We called a meeting last summer over this issue and over 200 people showed up. 

“We anticipated that this was only going to get worse and unfortunately we have been proved to be right.   It’s escalating and it is a very worrying situation. It is impacting on people’s daily lives.”

Cllr Malone attended Friday’s incident to ensure that elderly residents were able to freely use the area. 

He said that people feel “insecure” and “threatened” in the area, so much so that some residents are leaving.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I know families who have been living here for 50 years and are leaving because they can’t put up with it anymore.  But we will keep fighting the good fight in a diplomatic way.”

Newry councillors have held meetings with the police and council in the hope that fines can be implemented soon to help with the situation.

However, Cllr Malone says that the police are doing their best in dealing with what has become a very difficult issue. 

Cllr Malone has also extended his support to the community and said: “I am at a standby over this and will be there when people need someone to speak on their behalf.”