Belfast Telegraph

Belfast residents 'praying for bad weather' to get peace from 'terrorising' youths: Caral Ni Chuilin

Residents in north Belfast are “praying for bad weather” over the Easter period to get respite from recent anti-social behaviour in the area, a Sinn Fein MLA has said.

Trouble flared over the past week in the New Lodge area of the city.

Police have been attacked by youths throwing bricks and firefighters have been called to deal with burning bins in a series of anti-social behaviour incidents. 

On Saturday night a 14-year-old boy was beaten by a gang near the area and sustained head injuries.

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Robert Holmes with his mother Lesia Holmes and William Humphrey MLA. Robert was left in hospital with a fractured skull after being beaten by a mob in a terrifying sectarian assault.

Police have called on parents to take control of their children, who they said were "terrorising" the elderly and ill in New Lodge.

Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin, speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster, said the New Lodge area had experienced an “upsurge” in young people coming out on to the streets and being involved in “really dangerous and reckless behaviour”.

She said: “They are involved in really dangerous activity. They are taking bins from the high rise flats and burning them in the middle of the road. They are stoning the police, they are gathering in large numbers, they are intimidating older residents, who will not even use local amenities to go and get a loaf.

“People are afraid to come out of their doors.

“It should not be the case that people are praying for bad weather in order to get a bit of peace. That is unacceptable.”

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Sinn Fein MLA Carál Ní Chuilín

Ms Ni Chuilin said youth workers in the New Lodge were extending their hours to engage with young people in the area and said police officers will be visiting the homes of those involved in anti-social behaviour to speak to their parents.

The north Belfast MLA added: “We have around 3,000 children and young people in this area. We are taking about a small handful, a minority, who are involved in this behaviour."

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