Lewis Backs Public Virtual Meeting Over Downpatrick Fire

Recreational vandalism is unacceptable says Councillor Alan Lewis.

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Recreational vandalism is unacceptable says Councillor Alan Lewis.

Slieve Croob Ulster Unionist Councillor and PCSP member Alan Lewis has said that a recent arson attack at the old Downe Hospital site “amounts to recreational vandalism”, calling it “unacceptable”.

Cllr Lewis added: “Yet again firefighters have had to put their life’s on the line to tackle a deliberate fire at the old Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.

“I want to thank them for their dedication, commitment and swift response. It really is unacceptable that they are put in harms way, with lifesaving equipment and their time diverted to deal with recreational vandalism.

Cllr Alan Lewis.

“Those responsible just have no moral judgement or any conscience of right and wrong. Their actions aren’t just foolish, they are dangerous.

“To lure fire fighters into such a hazardous situation is nothing short of attempted murder. There is no excuse for such reckless stupidity “

Cllr Lewis said that the PSNI have a role to play addressing anti-social behaviour as do the wider community, the PCSP and elected representatives. He indicated that there is a collective responsibility in tackling anti-social behaviour.

“This is recreational vandalism, either through boredom or ignorance, and those responsible aren’t beyond reproach, neither are they above the law. The PSNI should make clear if caught there will be huge consequences.

“I have written to the Public Prosecution Service outlining my feelings, if they are presented with the opportunity to prosecute then the heavy burden of responsibility of public scrutiny rests with them.

“A clear message must be sent, continuing arson attacks at the Old Downe Site will not be tolerated.”

“It’s such a shame to see this historic building, boarded up, graffitied, ablaze.

“Many within the area have fond memories of working there. I myself was a regular visitor to the hospital in my childhood following my antics leaving me needing treatment.

“And I remember skipping school to visit my granda as he lay in one of the wards. Many people have their own stories but were forced to watch as the building burned. More must be done to safeguard this site, protecting it from recreational vandalism and destruction.

“ At the next meeting of the PCSP I am happy to join with other elected representatives to seek a lasting solution.

“I commend Councillors Brown and Enright who have organised a virtual public meeting, for Thursday 18th February at 7pm. I certainly will be attending, and I encourage others to do the same.”

Contact Patrick Brown to register at: patrick.brown@nmandd.org