Dungannon mum claims ‘up to 30 youths were inside bar in town’

Underage drinkers
Underage drinkers

Fire crews were tasked to the Newell Road area of Dungannon on a number of occasions within the last seven days following reports of underage drinking and vandalism.

One local mother has contacted the TIMES to express her concern that children as young as 13 are frequenting one licensed premises in the town.

Obviously it is not clear how many of those young teenagers were served alcohol on the premises and I have been told that more evidence is needed in order for the PPS to take action over licensing issues.

Police say they are aware of an incident in February where as many as 30 youths under the age of 16 were present at the bar.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “My son is only 14 and I have spoken to him about the dangers of drinking alcohol so he is well aware of what can happen. But with peer pressure being such a problem for young people, it is so worrying for parents because you just wonder how you can keep your child safe.”

PSNI Inspector Keith Jamieson explained, “Police received a report from a concerned parent on February 17 about intoxicated young people having, reportedly, bought alcohol from premises in Dungannon. Police carried out an investigation at the time.”

Meanwhile, grass fires at the rear of a row of houses on the Newell Road were reported on Monday and Tuesday of last week.

Local councillor, Denise Mullen, described the incidents as “concerning” due to the proximity to the houses.

The SDLP representative for the area told the TIMES she has been in regular contact with police and other agencies after receiving reports of underage drinking in Dungannon.

While she acknowledged the issue has been a long-standing one, Cllr Mullen said the situation with underage drinking had worsened since the beginning of 2015.

“I have been in contact with police in Dungannon about one particularly worrying case where upwards on 30 youths were in a bar in the town. Obviously it is not clear how many of those young teenagers were served alcohol on the premises and I have been told that more evidence is needed in order for the PPS to take action over licensing issues.

“In the case of the most recent reports of youths drinking along the Lines, it is believed that older youths are acquiring the alcohol in a supermarket which of course is extremely concerning.

“I understand the concerns of parents as I have a teenage son myself, but I do think there is a need for more awareness and education about the dangers of alcohol as this is a problem which is not new to any town, let alone Dungannon.”