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Belfast councillors in online spat over Waterworks 'sectarian' disturbances


The disturbances happened in the Waterworks Park area of north Belfast

The disturbances happened in the Waterworks Park area of north Belfast

The disturbances happened in the Waterworks Park area of north Belfast

A social media spat has erupted between councillors over disturbances by youths in north Belfast.

On Sunday night the PSNI took to social media to report that large crowds of youths had gathered in the Waterworks area.

Police said some of the youths had been verbally abusing others in the park and damaged the property of residents who live nearby.

However, this post on the PSNI’s North Belfast Twitter account was later deleted.

Last night, the PSNI apologised and stated that it’s post should have referred to Saturday night, not Sunday.

The PSNI tweeted: “Earlier today (22 June), one of our North Belfast social media users shared a post on our social media accounts that on reflection, was not clear enough and was deleted. We would like to apologise for our oversight and confusion it has caused.”

The PSNI also issued an appeal for information “following an incident in the Westland Drive area of North Belfast on Saturday evening”.

Inspector Paul Noble said: “Just before 7pm on Saturday evening, police received a report that a male had been assaulted by a group of up to ten young people and subjected to sectarian abuse. A fence panel of a property was damaged and a number of doors to other properties kicked during the incident.

“The group of young people, who are described as all wearing dark coloured tops and shorts, made off in the direction of the Cavehill and Cliftonville Roads.”

Earlier, DUP councillor Dean McCullough had posted on Twitter that he and fellow councillor Dale Pankhurst had been in the area dealing with the situation, which he said was “sectarian” in nature.

“Councillor Dale Pankhurst and I are at the top of the Waterworks following yet another night of sectarianism directed towards the Westland estate.

"When will this end?” he wrote.

DUP MLA William Humphrey was also in the area and said it was the fourth incident of its kind in the past week.

But in response to Mr McCullough’s tweet, SDLP councillor and Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Paul McCusker tweeted that he had spoken to police in north Belfast and “there is no report of any sectarian incidents at the Waterworks”.

Maybe [Dean McCullough and Dale Pankhurst] should establish your facts, stop labelling all young people and start showing leadership. It’s been lacking,” he added.

The DUP representatives hit back before the PSNI clarified the timings.

The disturbances in the Waterworks and Westland estate area follow a spate of sectarian incidents in north Belfast in recent weeks. Last week a banner reading ‘Anti-British GAA not welcome’ was erected at the entrance to Grove Playing Fields, while graffiti with the same message was also sprayed on a wall.

Belfast Telegraph