Gabby Conway of the North Lurgan Drumgask (NLD) Community Safety Engagement Forum has raised the issue of safety for all during the forthcoming Halloween period.
The issues, stemming from firework misuse, have been creating upset for many in the community in recent years. This year is no different. We understand that for many it is a festive time of the year but this shouldn't excuse what has been happening. It is no longer a festive period for our elderly. For them it has become a time of dread. This is equally true of pet owners, farmers and parents of young babies.
Gabby Conway of CRJI said: “I’m on the ground throughout both areas covered by the forum and can say people from both areas are concerned. This has been compounded by the impact of lockdown restrictions leaving many in an extremely vulnerable and isolated place due to the Covid-19 virus”.
James from Drumgask states “people’s nerves are frayed enough as a result of the virus, they shouldn’t have to be frightened about the anti-social behaviour the community have witnessed with regards to fireworks which has included fireworks being thrown from cars and fireworks being fired towards people out walking.”
As we move toward the weekend Gabby Conway NLD safety forum has said: “I would urge everyone, especially those who only seek to financially gain from this period, to think again. Embrace the health and wellbeing of our collective communities and ensure we have a safe Halloween where everyone can go about their daily business without fear.
“It is also worth noting that this is not solely a youth issue, we view it as a collective community safety issue that concerns all of us, from the irresponsible sellers of fireworks right through to parents knowing where their children are and who they are with. This can be an opportunity to come together and make positive change.
We wish everyone well at this time, make it a happy period as families will be celebrating Halloween in their own homes and hoping that next year will be better than this one.”
Collectively we are working across our communities to develop safe and healthy spaces for all the members of our communities. Ursula McGinn from the North Lurgan Community Association has been working with the forum to assist in developing a joined approach. Ursula says that people wish to have a place that is theirs, that they can have a say in and where they can feel safe. The misuse of fireworks runs contrary to that positive vision and should stop now. Having our elderly or anyone else being isolated and feeling helpless within their own homes only works against everything we are trying to do.