Northern Ireland news

Groups of young people gather in second night of north Belfast interface disturbances

Bonfire material being stocked at Adam Street in north Belfast's Tiger's Bay area ahead of the 11th of July. 

GROUPS of youths were involved in disturbances in north Belfast for the second night in a row, a councillor has said.

The SDLP’s Paul McCusker said young people had gathered to “fight” in the Cliftonpark Avenue area on Monday evening, with some said to be carrying weapons.

The trouble followed disturbances involving dozens of youths in the Hillview/Oldpark area on Sunday evening.

Mr McCusker said the scenes were “frightening” for people living in the area to witness.

“If this doesn’t stop someone will get seriously hurt and those involved need to be aware that no one supports this,” he said.

“Young people need to be aware of the dangers being involved in this and if arrested by police they could get a criminal record.

“We need all political and community reps to work together to help put a stop to this before it escalates and police to increase patrols and have more presence across all interfaces.”

The Irish News contacted the PSNI for comment on Monday night.

Two teenage boys were released from police custody after they were arrested in relation to Sunday’s trouble. Young people were seen fighting and throwing stones shortly after 6.10pm.

When police arrived, stones were thrown at their car, breaking the rear window and causing damage to the bodywork.
The two boys were arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour. Both were later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

A PSNI spokesman said: “I would urge parents to make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing and to talk to them about the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible criminal outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offence.

“I would ask anyone with any information about this incident to contact police on 101, quoting reference 1474 22/05/22 so we can work together to do something about it.”

Meanwhile, construction is underway at a contentious north Belfast bonfire site that saw attempted legal action by Stormont ministers last year in an attempt to remove the pyre.

The bonfire at Adam Street in the loyalist Tiger’s Bay area became the focus of a High Court bid by then-infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon of the SDLP and communities minister, Sinn Féin’s Deirdre Hargey, to remove the material over fears the site was causing tensions at the interface with the nationalist New Lodge area.

The bid failed after the PSNI said removing the material would present a “risk to life”.

Two months after it was lit on July 11, High Court judge Mr Justice Horner urged a solution to the site to be found “which will permit the Protestant Unionist Loyalist (PUL) community to enjoy the bonfire in future years while at the same time eliminating the criminal and antisocial conduct which does so much to poison relations between the two communities”.

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