Police came under attack last night from a number of youths in the Clanrye Avenue area of Newry.  The incident which saw a PSNI Landrover pelted with stones by a group of youths has been roundly condemned by local representatives who spoke of their concern for elderly residents of the area.

A group of young people had gathered in the grounds of Newry Leisure Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
A group of young people had gathered in the grounds of Newry Leisure Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

The PSNI on their Facebook said that a large group of youths were intent on causing damage to local property and causing havoc to the lives of people residing in the area and that they had identified persons within the group and will be following up.

A spokesperson for St Joseph's Boys High School in Newry said the school had been informed that some of their pupils were involved and asked people not to gather in groups. In a statement on Facebook the Spokesperson said "The PSNI have been in touch with St Joseph’s this morning regarding the anti-social behaviour of young people in the Clanrye area of Newry yesterday evening. It has been reported that up to 50 young people were throwing stones and harassing local residents. Unfortunately some of these young people could be identified as pupils of our school.

"St Joseph’s parents/guardians, some of these young people could be your children.

"We are living through a pandemic and a lockdown in present times and young people SHOULD NOT be gathering in any area of Newry at any time of the day."

Newry City Councillor Charlie Casey condemned the incident and said he believed that people were gathering in the area for a 'fight' between two youths.

Councillor Casey said “This serious anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the community here who have worked hard to make this area a safe and pleasant place to live.

"I am aware that many of those who gathered had travelled from different areas to spectate at a prearranged fight between two youths.

"What we witnessed was a display of serious criminal and anti social activities, not high jinks.

"Anyone involved in this anti-social behaviour really needs to think about the impact of their actions on the local community particularly those elderly residents whose vulnerability has been compounded by the present pandemic situation. People have a right to live in peace and to feel safe in their communities.”

Adding his condemnation last night fellow Newry City Councillor, Cllr Michael Savage said "My thoughts again are with the residents of The Meadow who after months of antisocial behaviour in the area have tonight had to deal with large groups of youths throwing bricks and causing mayhem.

"We have been working for weeks to try and get a grip on this problem and that work will continue again tomorrow. I ask those involved to think about the elderly and frail people that they have frightened out of their wits tonight who on top of having to isolate for months have been tortured with antisocial behaviour in their area.

"If you’re bored we will do our best to come up with more productive and enjoyable things for you to do. But please stop this nonsense and go home and leave these people in peace."


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