Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newtown community concerns addressed at meeting with PSNI

A meeting with the PSNI to address ongoing community concerns in Newtownhamilton has been described as frank and thorough by Sinn Fein Councillor Barra Ó Muirí.

The meeting was organized on the back of a string of recent incidents in the town, including a serious sexual assault, that have heightened fears among residents.

Ó Muirí was joined at the meeting by Newtownhamilton Community Association representatives Ita Gibney and Niall Murray.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “The local Councillor who has been vocal about the fears of many living in the south Armagh town in relation to the health, safety and well being of residents said,

 ‘Ultimately, we’ll have to see what difference comes from the meeting, but I believe it was imperative that it has taken place.  Much has happened in Newtown in the past few weeks to make residents question the role of the police in tackling crime and offering protection to the community.

“The PSNI were told in no uncertain manner of the concerns about human trafficking and sex trafficking. Serious criminal activities such as drug dealing, burglary, intimidation, as well as car crime and illegal parking were discussed.”

Police gave assurances that all matters will be fully investigated and every effort made to ensure the safety of residents, he said. 

“Police officers present also said that any cars that were found to be untaxed, uninsured or unfit for road use would be taken away and impounded. They advised that this will begin immediately.”

 Explaining that all agencies with responsibilities for Community cohesion, health, safety and well-being would be asked to support the Newtownhamilton community, Cllr Ó Muirí said he had invited Housing officers from the Council’s Environmental Health Department out to Newtown to discuss housing issues such as over crowding, anti social behaviour and collective responsibility.

“The Housing Executive, Council and Landlords all have a role to play to ensure that as best as practically possible, landlords and tenants live up to their responsibilities and that any type of serious anti social activities are challenged.  For example there must be checks to ensure that all Landlords are abiding by the rules governing HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy).”

 Cllr Ó Muirí says he is also to meet with Department of Infrastructure chiefs to establish a Traffic Management Plan for the centre of Newtown.