Open Season?

Sometimes the news here in Northern Ireland is unbelievable, like today as reported on the BBC website…

Youths on roof ‘not prosecuted’

roof2.jpgThe minister of an east Belfast church vandalised by youths has criticised a decision not to bring any prosecutions.

During the summer stained glass windows at St Donard’s in the Bloomfield area were smashed and its roof was damaged.

Pictures of children on the roof were taken, but the Public Prosecution Service has written to the church saying there is not enough evidence.

The rector, Rev Charles McCartney, has said he intends to appeal their decision.

“If the prosecution service don’t do this, then it sends a message to the young men involved that there’s nothing the police can do,” Rev McCartney.

“It says to the local people there’s no point ringing the police, it also says to the police themselves ‘what’s the point in taking a case’.

“Really, we’re back to square one and in a way Bloomfield has been told it’s open season.”

I had a look at the Church of Ireland website and a statement made by the Rev Harold Millar the Bishop of Down and Dromore. Back in September he highlighted issues which included…

  • The abuse of places of worship.
  • The inadequacy of community policing.
  • The lack of common sense.

He stated

The inadequacy of community policing. For whatever reason, the story of policing this past week at St Donard’s is the all-too-common cry of ordinary citizens in their own homes and lives: The lack of visibility of police on the streets, the difficulty in getting hold of police in the community, the slow response in situations which means that it is too late to catch those who are committing the crime, and the perceived response, ‘There’s nothing we can do’.

It leaves decent everyday folk that encounter anti social behaviour regularly with questions like ‘Should we call the police?’ ‘What can the police do anyway?’ ‘Should I seek help to deal with this elsewhere?’


4 Responses to Open Season?

  1. talkni says:

    And… you know how you often wonder what happened about a particular story but you can’t find out?

    Well, at Talk Northern Ireland we try to be different! Here you go.. the upshot of this story is here on the good old Beeb:-
    Embattled church erects defences reports:-

    “Defence mechanisms put in place to protect an east Belfast church have proved extremely successful, its minister has said.

    Rev Charles McCartney said security measures adopted at St Donard’s Church had helped see an end to attacks by teenagers.

    Last year, children threw slates, smashed windows and let off firecrackers during services at the church.

    Rev McCartney said the church now aimed to make its buildings more user-friendly, with schemes for young people over the summer months. “

    Great stuff and nice to hear that things have got better!

  2. CyberScribe says:

    I read that the minister said…
    “A gang was actually coming into the area from Tullycarnett, running riot, and then getting the bus home again.”
    Unbelievable! 🙂

  3. ??why?? says:

    Xcuse me… why is that unbelievable? I don’t know the area at all… does it matter where vandals come from in Belfast?

  4. CyberScribe says:

    ??why?? I know both areas and I’d find Tullycarnet a safer area to walk through than the area that church is in.

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