DOWN Cllr Cadogan Enright has voiced his support for the PSNI in their request for the Council to prosecute persons under 18 who are found drinking in public places. Cllr Enright is also on the Down District Policing Partnership.
Currently, the PSNI do not refer cases of under age drinkers in public places to the Council as it is current Council Policy not to prosecute, so there is not point in them doing so. At this weeks meeting of Down District Council (Tuesday 17th June), the PSNI requested that the Council should start to prosecute those in breach of the law in line with its own by-laws.
Cllr Enright pointed that there was no point in Councillors calling for the PSNI to tackle underage drinking in public spaces if the Council itself was not prepared to prosecute the offenders when the police ask them to.
Cadogan Enright has previously expressed concern over the high level of drinking in public areas of Down District and is calling for stricter laws to be put in place to tackle this problem, such as the adapting of plans being introduced by the Labour Party in England and Wales.
Cllr Enright said, “The Youth Alcohol Action Plan in England and Wales has introduced a new offence for the persistent possession of alcohol by young people in public spaces. There is a serious, and very obvious problem, with drinking in public in Downpatrick and one of the side effects of this is the large amount of rubbish that gathers in the public spaces in the town. This is particularly evident in the Grove area between the Saint Patrick’s Centre, the Down railway and the Cathedral where empty bottles and cans are strewn across the grass and in the woods.”
“This area is situated between three popular tourist destinations and it is a bad reflection that people travelling from all over the world are being exposed to a negative impression of Downpatrick. If we want these people to return and to speak well of our area we must make it presentable.
Cadogan Enright said, “Down District Council expends large amounts of ratepayers money cleaning this area daily and weekly, and the hard working members of the Council staff clear the rubbish away but it keeps returning. It is a waste of Council resources to continuously tidy up after those who are breaking the law in the first place. What we need is better enforcement against those who are creating the problem.”