Seal off the Town Centre

c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-13–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-12–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-11–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-10–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-9–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-8–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-7–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-6–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-5–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-4–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-3–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-2–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-1–>c505218304b50c59c3659f6dda43bae7-links-0–>span lang=”EN-GB” style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;”>The destruction of the hand-rail on the pedestrian bridge over the canal at Buttercrane Centre took several thugs working in unison, swinging, pushing and dragging until it became detached ….

…  – and unhindered by any fear of interruption from the PSNI. It is just one symptom of many. This article – and the man who pens it – will come under attack from the self-publicising ‘City Fathers’ as being likely to undermine the authorities, but the truth is, they forsake all responsibility for the City and its inhabitants after dark!

Our town centre at night is abandoned to the drug and alcohol-crazed youth and any wise adult would clearly give it and its frenzied denizens a wide berth! 

On my first Saturday night out in months last weekend I alighted quickly from my taxi and ran into my favourite hostelry – but not fast enough to avoid witnessing the systematic destruction of an abandoned

Hill Street
. Stones were raining down from all sides. My taxi driver was frantically radioing to all drivers to stay clear away. No doubt the police were receiving a similar message. A group was systematically kicking in the panes of the telephone booths in
Marcus Square
. Another was lighting those massive fireworks and pitching them into shop doorways and waste containers – a number of which were on fire along the length of the street. I could hear more massive explosions from the direction of the back of The Cathedral.  I genuinely feared that the reinforced door of our Club would yield to a determined attack! I wondered how I might get home if all taxis responded to the call and abandoned their shift for the rest of the night!

The suburbs too, and indeed the outlying villages are all suffering a huge rise in vandalism, personal attack and weekend drunkenness. From eight pm on Friday the small knots of young teenagers complete with brown paper bag carry-outs set out first to get ‘charged’ in dark corners, before their orgy of free expression.


If, as seems clear, the PSNI is determined to abandon the town centre at night, is it not time to return to high, strong gates at all entrances that can be closed to protect these premises and the public property within? 

Only the Club I refer to actually trades there after dark and it has a Mall entrance it could use!

These gates must be located at: 

Marcus Square
between Nationwide and Woolworths: facing it at Menarys: Woolwich: Hannas: Hodgetts: Collins&Collins.  Closed from 6 pm Saturday to 6 am on Monday, these will offer some protection. Access to the Cathedral and to the Good Food Shop could be by their respective rear entrances. No other functioning premises would be adversely affected: to the contrary, all would benefit. The police – who neglect their responsibility – should be made responsible for the cost and the maintenance of this added protection. Town Centre Management could supervise them to ensure they lock up and open on time. 

If somebody has a viable alternative to offer, I’d like to hear it.

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