Date set for anti-drugs meeting with PSNI

PSNI representatives are set to attend a public meeting on Coalisland’s growing drugs issues for the first time next month following claims that the force has failed to tackle the problem.

Officers are being invited to a further public meeting to be held on Thursday 3 May at 8pm in Coalisland’s Parochial Centre.

Coalisland parish priest Fr Paul Byrne and Church of Ireland minister Rev Andrew Rawding will meet with the PSNI and representatives of all political parties tomorrow (April 24) to confirm the meeting. Update: The PSNI have formally agreed to the meeting.

The public gathering will be the first time police have have met with Coalisland residents since concerns over issues with drugs in the town snowballed last month.

The fears prompted hundreds to attend a series of public meetings and a mass demonstration in the middle of the town.

In an email to members of the Coalisland Cares group, Fr Paul said: “The PSNI will be invited to participate in a public meeting to be held on Thursday 3 May at 8pm in Coalisland Parochial Centre.

“(Myself) and Rev Andrew are meeting with the PSNI and representatives of all the political parties on Tuesday 24 April and will feed this back to the steering group prior to the public meeting on May 3.”

Fr Paul said that following the previous public meeting on April 16, it had been decided that Coalisland Cares would work towards creating a drop-in centre, to be located in the centre of the town and “funded and staffed by professionals and volunteers”.

A parental support network will also be established, as well as a street outreach programme.

He added: “All volunteers will be properly trained as is necessary and appropriate, taking into consideration child-safeguarding and health-and-safety matters.”

A wider publicity campaign will also developed, including the use of Facebook and Twitter.

Related stories:

>Police under pressure to attend public meeting on Coalisland drugs issues – but allegedly say: ‘We’re not ready’

>COMMENT: ‘Our drugs and alcohol problem in Coalisland is a parenting issue’

What do you think of Coalisland’s drug issues? What do you think of the PSNI’s work in the area? Share your views by commenting below


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