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McLaughlin calls for support for Toome ‘Reclaim the Streets’ Rally

6 July, 2008

South Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin has called for a large turn out at Monday night's (07 July) Reclaim the Streets Rally in Toome.

Monday night's rally which commences at 8pm has been organised by South Derry and South West Antrim Communities for Safer Neighbourhoods. It is the first in a series of public initiatives aimed at addressing the rise in anti-community activity across the area.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Monday night's rally will give everyone, young and old, an opportunity to show solidarity with residents from other communities who are also facing an upsurge in anti-community activity by a hard core element intent on destruction and intimidation leaving people, especially the elderly living in fear.

"My constituency office in Randalstown has received numerous complaints from residents from Toome and surrounding areas who feel vulnerable to the negative actions of this tiny minority of young people.

"Last week's violent sexual assault on a thirteen year old girl in Toome has left all right thinking people deeply shocked. It is well past the time for service providers such as the Housing Executive to live up to their responsibilities to local residents. Where it is found that premises are being used for drug dealing and all-night drug and alcohol parties tenancy agreements must be revoked immediately.

"Let me be very clear - the majority of the young people who live in Toome and surrounding areas are decent, upright citizens who want community life enhanced for everyone. These same young people over the course of recent days have been telling me how disgusted they are at the actions of the minority who are attempting to hold their community to ransom.

"Monday nights rally will be a positive act of community solidarity. A message will be delivered that proud communities, across rural counties Derry and Antrim that have stood up for their rights in the face of adversity many times before are not going to let their communities be over-run by drug-dealers, death drivers and other anti-community elements." ENDS

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