Carrickfergus War Memorial under watch of private security firm after vandalism
A private security firm is to patrol vandalism-hit Carrickfergus War Memorial months after it was brought in to secure neighbouring parks in the area.
The parks deployment came to light at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee last week.
The council’s operations director Philip Thompson told elected members that there had been “a few issues around Woodburn and Shaftesbury Park” during the summer.
However, the patrols did not extend to Carrickfergus War Memorial, directly opposite the park at Joymount, which has suffered from a spate of vandalism attacks.
In July, graffiti, including a swastika, was reported on the monument and is continuing.
Carrickfergus DUP Councillor Cheryl Brownlee told the meeting that vandalism is still ongoing on a weekly basis despite CCTV in the area.
Councillors were told that no perpetrators have been identified.
The Operations Director commented: “We did bring in additional staff to do security in the park. If they do Marine Gardens, they could go across to the cenotaph as well. It could be extended to cover that area.”
PSNI figures show that anti-social behaviour in Mid and East Antrim increased by 20 per cent during lockdown.
Cllr Brownlee also highlighted broken equipment in the playground at Sunnylands play park and Marine Gardens where two swings have been removed.
“It is poor. That is our flagship park,” she stated.
She was advised that some “remedial work” has taken place at Marine Gardens.
Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Danny Donnelly pointed out that community wardens can patrol “hotspot areas”.
Commenting on social media on Friday, Knockagh DUP Cllr Marc Collins said: “Over recent weeks, Carrickfergus town centre has been plagued with anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
“The cenotaph has been targeted numerous times as well as bins, flower beds and even a local business who has suffered broken windows. This is disgusting at any time but especially given the difficulties of the past 18 months.
“I have spoken to council’s parks team who already employ external security to cover the play parks and they have been briefed to spend a lot more time around the cenotaph and upper North Street areas.
“I have also today spoken to a local PSNI inspector and asked them to ramp up their patrols in these areas as well to try and deter these actions.
“The good people of Carrickfergus have put up with this nonsense for too long and it’s time it was nipped in the bud once and for all.”
A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “Due to a number of incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour within Marine Gardens, council are working with a security firm to help monitor the site.
“As issues started to occur at the Carrickfergus Cenotaph, additional monitoring was introduced to cover this area. Council will continue to monitor these facilities supported by security staff and the PSNI.”
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
Click here to read: CCTV installed at Carrickfergus War Memorial after vandalism attack
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