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Travellers' chaos 'puts children's lives at risk' in Co Antrim playpark

By Nevin Farrell

Published 15/06/2015

The site of the caravan park and children playground at Loughshore where disturbances were reported over the weekend.
The site of the caravan park and children playground at Loughshore where disturbances were reported over the weekend.

Travellers have been accused of putting children's lives at risk as they caused havoc at a popular caravan park on the Co Antrim coastline.

Staff at Jordanstown Loughshore Park in Newtownabbey said there was chaos overnight on Friday when a number of Travellers' caravans turned up.

With Northern Ireland basking in a mini-heatwave, families had flocked to the facility on the edge of Belfast Lough, which is surrounded by parkland and offers panoramic views. But their peace was shattered by cars mounting footpaths and being driven near a play park.

The police were called and attended the scene.

One staff member told the Belfast Telegraph the group left on Saturday morning. "They caused a bit of anti-social behaviour and weren't very pleasant so we had to get them moved off," they said.

"There were three caravans and a motorhome. They were driving their cars up and down the footpath directly outside the children's playground. Their children were urinating outside the park and there was abusive behaviour towards the wardens.

"Nobody was hurt thankfully and they moved off without too much hassle. They didn't get in the caravan park itself, they parked outside the gates.

"We had a full house this weekend in the caravan park and they didn't have any problems or issues. I made sure of that myself."

Last night at the park things were back to normal. A woman at the play park with a child said she was horrified to think children could have been put in danger by vehicles mounting kerbs.

Antrim and Newtownabbey UUP councillor Adrian Watson said there had been similar problems with Travellers at Antrim Loughshore Park recently.

"The travelling community deserve to be treated equally and fairly from everyone particularly public bodies but that doesn't give them a God-given right to behave in this manner," he said.

"If there is substance to the claims that they were involved in very serious antisocial behaviour I do not believe it is good enough that they are moved on. I would have expected the PSNI to have taken just and appropriate action against them."

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