Belfast Telegraph

Protesters standing up to drugs dealers

by Bob Malcolm

Political and council representatives and members of the Monkstown community protested last week against drug dealers in the area.

In the last two weeks, around £250,000 worth of cannabis was seized in the area by the PSNI and the protesters say they want the drug dealers ousted from the area.

Philip Hamilton, PUP candidate in the Newtownabbey Council elections, arranged the protest and was accompanied by party members, other parties, independent candidates and members of the public at 5.30pm on April 15 at the crossroads of Jordanstown Road, Devenish Drive in Monkstown.

He has been campaigning against drug dealers in the area for over a month, has received a death threat and had his car damaged twice because he has “had enough” of “scumbags poisoning our kids” and is asking people to stand up to drug dealers in the area.

At the protest, he said: “This is a proactive response by the community to send a clear message to these drug dealers.

“I’m so glad to see members of different parties standing here today.

“The only way to tackle this problem is to show that the community is working in conjunction with the PSNI.”

Rodney McCune, UUP candidate in Newtownabbey, said: “I’m delighted to see the community working together.

“People are often afraid to take a stand against people pushing drugs on our children.”

Barbara Gilliland, a councillor in the area for 22 years, and council candidate for the UUP, said: “This has been needed for some time, the thing that confuses me is that people know who these dealers are, they need to be upfront about it and tell the police.”

Independent candidate Stephen Ross said he hoped to see more people out but was glad there were people there to show that “enough is enough”.

He said: “People don’t want these drug dealers here.

“There are young boys taking tablets and they don’t even know what is in them.

“There are kids stealing electrical equipment for their addiction.

“One boy spent four months in a young offenders’ institute after his mother phoned the police.

“When he came out, he said it was the best thing for him, it’s strange to think but it was the smartest thing his mother could have done.

“Most people couldn’t do that to their children.”

He said: “The problem is rife everywhere, it’s not just in working class areas.

“It is a social change that needs to happen, most of the kids now can be talked round very easily.”

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