Douglas says Executive needed to help tackle paramilitarism

Alliance Councillor Karen Douglas has said a functioning Executive must be established as soon as possible to help local communities tackle the poison of paramilitarism.

The Bangor Central Councillor was speaking after attending a community meeting in Rathgill, which was held after local concerns about anti-social behaviour and ongoing paramilitary activity in the area. Agencies such as the PSNI, Housing Executive, Radius Housing and the Education Authority were also in attendance.

She said more needs to be done to support people and show positive changes are possible.

“The paramilitary activity happening here does nothing but place local residents at risk of harm. It is vital we all work alongside the residents to tackle issues such as extreme violent acts, blatant drug dealing and the most recent incident, which saw children finding a gun and ammunition.

“I pay tribute to the residents here who spoke out, even in spite of fear of reprisals against their homes and families. It is important they can continue to feel supported in reporting these crimes to the police and other agencies for action. Residents have a right to feel safe in their own homes and community. Where this safety is compromised, statutory agencies must act.

“We must see a functioning Executive as soon as possible so a working action plan on paramilitarism can be established and the proper support given to organisations such as the PSNI, in order to tackle the poison of paramilitarism, which is pervasive in many areas across our borough.

“If anyone has any information on any of these recent incidents or any other ongoing issues relating to anti-social behaviour and paramilitarism, I would encourage them to go to the police immediately.”

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