warning over large rise in anti-social behaviour in Dungannon District

Bronwyn McGahan MLA with DeLaval sales manager Stuart Fulton on the DeLaval stand at Balmoral Show.
Bronwyn McGahan MLA with DeLaval sales manager Stuart Fulton on the DeLaval stand at Balmoral Show.

Anti-social behaviour is blighting housing estates in Dungannon, Coalisland and surrounding villages with a 60 percent increase in reported incidents.

Dungannon is a hotspot for drunkenness, vandalism and violence with 88 complaints made to the Housing Executive in the past two years, followed by Coalisland with 36 and Ballygawley with 26.

South Tyrone’s picturesque villages aren’t immune to the scourge either with Fivemiletown hit with 16 complaints, Aughnacloy with 10, Clogher with 9, Augher with 7 and Caledon and Castlecaulfield with 4 each.

The Clogher Valley area experienced the biggest hike in anti-social behaviour with a 100% increase in incidents in Ballygawley and a 300% rise in Fivemiletown.

The housing authority says it won’t hesitate to take robust action against tenants who refuse to work with it and other members of the community.

It has reminded tenants that they are obliged to adhere to the conditions of tenancy and there are a number of sanctions that they or members of the household could face if they are found to be in breach of those conditions.

Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan, who obtained the figures, said that the Housing Executive must work with the community to help reduce the number of anti social behaviour incidents being reported to them.

“The number of incidents of anti social behaviour being reported to the Housing Executive in the Tyrone area has steadily increased over the past few years and I am concerned that unless we tackle it now it will continue”, she said.

“Social housing tenants have a responsibility to live within the terms of the tenancy agreement which includes the upkeep of the property and behaviour within the housing scheme.

“While some of these may be one off incidents I would appeal to people to be neighbourly and abide by the terms of their agreement.

“The Housing Executive also must address those tenants who continually break the terms of the agreement so that the majority of the community can get on with living their lives free of hassle.”

Avril McAllister, the Housing Executive’s West Area Manager, said: “We will take robust action against those involved in anti-social behaviour.

“We take anti-social behaviour very seriously because we know the impact that it has on all of our tenants, including elderly and the vulnerable.”

She added: “Whilst the Housing Executive is committed to working with vulnerable families and identifying support for parents, if anti-social behaviour continues then the ultimate consequence is eviction.

“We work successfully with local community groups and will continue to do so and we are confident that together we will identify avenues to resolve the current issues.”

The Housing Executive also works with statutory agencies including the Council’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to tackle issues in the community.

The Housing Executive has developed a range of early interventions to deal with anti-social behaviour, including the use of warning letters, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and referrals to its mediation service.

Where early interventions have failed to stop the unacceptable behaviour, the Housing Executive has a range of legal powers at its disposal.