Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has welcomed a PSNI initiative on drug crime in Ballydonaghy Meadows. It is the latest in a series of agreed initiatives designed to provide support and reassurance to residents in the neighbourhood following recent criminal activity.
Speaking after joining the PSNI during its anti-drug crime leaflet drop in the estate, Declan Kearney said;
“Immediately following the recent circulation of social media images of masked criminals brandishing weapons, at the entrance to Ballydonaghy Meadows, and the deep fear this caused within the estate and wider Crumlin community, I convened a meeting of relevant partner agencies.
“It is obvious that a small criminal gang is active in Crumlin and Glenavy, and that locally based criminals are in conflict with each other over drug distribution and other forms of criminality in this part of South Antrim.
“Councillor Anne Marie Logue and I have now held a series of joint meetings with Clanmil Housing Association staff, the PSNI, and Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) to address the fears and concerns of Ballydonaghy residents.
“As a result of our first meeting I wrote to all residents in Ballydonaghy Meadows to inform them of a planned door to door engagement with residents by Clanmil Housing Association staff, to assist in designing a Clanmil action plan, which will be supported as appropriate by PSNI, CRJI and Sinn Féin. I also reassured residents that everyone is entitled to live free from duress or intimidation, and that anyone with information about criminal or anti-social activity should feel confident in bringing that forward.
“In the intervening period Clanmil Housing officers have completed a very successful consultation with Ballydonaghy residents. A neighbourhood clean-up has been carried out and a more significant environmental improvement scheme is being planned in the estate by the Housing Association.
“Additionally, the PSNI has committed to ensuring a higher profile by local neighbourhood police officers in the surrounding area. CRJI has also agreed to make its restorative justice services available as part of this unfolding strategy.
“The most recent agreed intervention undertaken was on drug crime awareness by PSNI officers in Ballydonaghy Meadows. I was pleased to fully support, and be present during this ‘silent guardian’ leaflet drop, along with local Party Councillor Anne Marie Logue and Niamh Quinn from Clanmil Housing Association.
“No one in Ballydonaghy Meadows and the wider Crumlin community should be subjected to coercive control or intimidation by criminals, drug dealers, and their toxic activities. Local people can be assured of Sinn Féin’s continued support, and the coordinated efforts of the PSNI, Clanmil and other agencies to ensure community safety and quality of life is protected.
“I repeat my call that any Ballydonaghy Meadows tenants with fears about criminal and anti-social behaviour which is infringing on their tenancy rights, personal safety, or is detrimental to their overall quality of life, should make contact with the PSNI directly, or alternatively with myself, Cllr Anne Marie Logue, CRJI, or Clanmil Housing Association representatives.”