Anger has been expressed by residents of social and housing executive houses in Bessbrook who say they are having their lives ruined by anti social behaviour.

Commenting on the issue Sinn Fein Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said "Over the last few weeks I have been contacted by residents in the Bessbrook area who are having their lives blighted by a handful of thoughtless individuals," 

"It would appear that a lot of the problems stem from the misuse of alcohol and, much more worryingly, drugs. I have spoken to the PSNI, the Clanmil Housing Association, the Housing Executive and also the residents to try and reach a speedy and satisfactory outcome."

The South Armagh councillor also recently visited Dobsons Way, the new development  within Bessbrook, and was shocked and angry to see beautiful new homes boarded up. 

Cllr Mulgrew outside one of the boarded up houses in Dobsons Way
Cllr Mulgrew outside one of the boarded up houses in Dobsons Way

"This is particularly difficult to understand when so many decent families and individuals are desperate for affordable accommodation and many have been on the housing list for years," she said. 

"I want to stress that this is by no means a problem exclusively for Dobsons Way, in fact these issues are being witnessed and felt throughout the area. Last year the Bessbrook community came together after they witnessed a small rise in crime within the village. The message then and now is that those intent in criminal or antisocial behaviour are not wanted in Bessbrook.

"Bessbrook is a beautiful place to live, it has fantastic schools, a full range of shops and services for the entire community and transport links that are the envy of many in South Armagh. 

"Homes in this area are highly sought after and as a councillor I am constantly being contacted by people desperate to live in this area. I would ask Clanmil Housing Association and the Housing Executive to examine their vetting process for tenants and to ensure that those who have broken their tenancy agreements are removed immediately so other residents can enjoy a safe and peaceful lifestyle. 

"Private landlords also have a duty on care to all living in the community. I would also ask anyone with concerns or information regarding any crime, but particularly drug related issues, to contact the PSNI or indeed myself. I intend to have further meetings over the coming days and can assure all that these issues are being taken seriously and will be dealt with."

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