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Youth provision vital for East Belfast - O'Neill

February 12, 2017 4:26 PM

sIAN o'nEILL

Alliance Councillor Sian O'Neill has encouraged parents to be aware of their children's whereabouts, after a crowd of more than 100 teenagers gathered in an East Belfast park.

A large amount of alcohol and drug paraphernalia were seized by police from the crowd of 14-17 year olds in Belmont Park on Saturday. PSNI said the young people had come from Belfast and further afield.
East Belfast Councillor O'Neill said the incident should not have happened. "This antisocial behaviour should be condemned. I would encourage those young people who took part to think about the potential consequences of such behaviour for themselves and for their wider community.
"This reinforces the need for adequate youth provision for young people across East Belfast. If we can provide safe spaces for them to attend, it will go a long way to discourage many from engaging in this type of antisocial behaviour and help to reduce the chances of it happening again.
"Both the Department of Education and the Education Authority should see that the delay in 'Extended Hours, Detatched and Outreach Youth Work' funding, coupled with the lack of a long-term strategic approach to youth work causes a vacuum in youth provision, which can lead to these sorts of situations occurring.
"We can only be thankful that no major injuries have been reported given the reported number of young people involved."

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