A SCHOOLGIRL from Brantry is hoping to save a local beauty-spot from the scourge of illegal drinking and drug-taking.
12-year-old Una McGeough is spearheading a campaign to dissuade Dungannon Council from installing street lighting and new fishing facilities at Brantry Lough, which local people fear will lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour.
Residents claim that the area has been a hot-spot for vandalism and drug-taking in the past.
Setting fires, rowdy behaviour and drinking have also plagued the area, causing residents serious concerns.
They fear that with the fishermen only using for the lough for six months of the year, the new facilities will be vandalised and quickly fall into disuse.
“We have found drug syringes here”, said Una at the site of the proposed development.
“We want the council to commit to ensuring that we will not see this forest, which is renowned for its beauty and tranquillity, ruined by the development.
“The proposal will involve the felling of many trees, and what we believe is the destruction of this beauty-spot.
“The area has been targeted by vandals in recent years, with seating and tables for a picnic area burnt by people drinking illegally.
“If the council install the lighting, then we will have more people congregating at night and causing trouble.”
The forest is also under threat from a different source with the presence of a killer Larch disease being detected in the past week.
Residents are concerned that increased visitors to the new facility will spread the disease further.
“The council should be considering the views of everyone before they embark on this project. However, they haven’t consulted any local people”, said Una.
“We don’t want to be living in fear, afraid to enjoy the beautiful scenery on our doorsteps.”