PCSP chairman urges

Vice-chair of Mid and East Antrim Statutory Transition Committee Cllr. Mark McKinty, Larne, Chair Cllr. Billy Ashe, Carrickfergus and vice-chair from Ballymena, Cllr Tommy Nicholl.. INLT 38-656-CON

Vice-chair of Mid and East Antrim Statutory Transition Committee Cllr. Mark McKinty, Larne, Chair Cllr. Billy Ashe, Carrickfergus and vice-chair from Ballymena, Cllr Tommy Nicholl.. INLT 38-656-CON

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Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan has been branded “irresponsible” after he made claims that bar owners in Larne had been warned not to serve

Catholic customers.

As reported in the Larne Times, Mr McMullan’s allegations in the Press provoked a backlash from unionists, who warned that the claims were damaging Larne’s image and hurting community relations.

And former deputy mayor of Larne, UUP Councillor Mark McKinty has also criticised the Sinn Fein representative for his handling of the situation.

Cllr McKinty said that while he was concerned about reports of intimidation in the town, he felt it was “highly irresponsible” of Mr McMullan to “continue in his apparent desire to report crime through the Press instead of dealing directly with the police”.

He added: “If these reports are found to have any basis in fact, then they must be utterly condemned as such behaviour has no place in our society.

“I would urge anyone who has been the victim of intimidation – or any other crime – to contact the police immediately.

“As chair of the Larne Policing and Community Safety Partnership, I would like to point out that, contrary to Mr McMullan’s claims, this matter was not discussed at Council, nor was it raised at the PCSP.

“Just over a year ago Sinn Féin made a lot of noise about not being represented on the PCSP.

“I would now suggest to Mr McMullan that if his concerns about policing and general safety within Larne are genuine, he should impress on his Sinn Féin colleague, Cllr James McKeown, the importance of attending meetings of the PCSP.

“This body exists to provide a forum for elected, business and community representatives to express their concerns, and to formulate a plan aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour.

“Larne is a great place in which to live, work and socialise.

“It has a reputation as town that gives a warm welcome to all and that is exactly how I want it to remain,” Cllr McKinty concluded.