Borough’s reputation is ‘tarnished again’

A heavy police presence moved into make arrests after another night of trouble on the O'Neill Road.
A heavy police presence moved into make arrests after another night of trouble on the O'Neill Road.

The reputation of the borough has once again been tarnished after the outbreak of sporadic trouble in the O’Neill Road area.

Politicians who represent the Macedon area roundly condemned the violence of the past week .

And although the violence was nowhere near the level of the scenes of public disorder previously witnessed in the area, community representatives said once again the name of Newtownabbey was brought into disrepute.

DUP man Billy Ball, who lives in Rathfern and witnessed the violence on Sunday evening, said: “We are working hard in the council to bring jobs and investment and this does not help.

“If people want to protest, then by all means, but it has to be peaceful, otherwise any message is lost.

“When I heard it kicking off on Sunday I just thought ‘Here we go again: the borough’s reputation dragged through the mud’.

“There were kids wearing masks and throwing stuff at the police. What kind of message does that send out?”

He added: “Praise has to go to the council’s cleansing department, who were out early on Monday to clear the area. They did a fantastic job.”

Alliance councillor Billy Webb said: “Violence has to be condemned, and once again the borough’s reputation has been tarnished.

“We need jobs for the area and investment, not these ugly scenes. I would also appeal to the parents to know where there children are and what they are doing.”

Meanwhile, community worker Phil Hamilton called on the public to engage with politics rather than taking to the streets for violence.

He said: “The Protestant, unionist and loyalist community is a tinderbox at the moment over what is perceived to be the erosion of our culture by Sinn Fein.

“While the Parades Commission may send out the message that violence pays through its determination on the Ardoyne march, I would urge people to step back and take their arguments into the political sphere.”