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Monday, May 29, 2006


Yob Culture Tolerated

I picked this up from a piece on "Talkback" before the holiday weekend. Lord Laird has obtained, in answer to a written question in the Upper House, details of Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) issued in Northern Ireland. To date in Northern Ireland 13 such orders have been made. Compare, if you will, to Manchester.

I have a problem believing that throughout each of the twenty six district councils in NI there are only 13 people deserving of ASBOs. Holywood has its' fair share of sportswear clad toe-rags one of which liberally "tags" the town with his nom de plume "Bean". He has at least twelve WKD sodden mates doing the same so why haven't they been ABSOed? The answer dear reader is simple- cost. Local councils are empowered along with the Housing Executive and others to make application to a Magistrates' Court for ASBOs. I have asked a number of councillors from North Down and else where why the rate payers were not being protected from a disruptive minority and on each occasion I was told that the councill as a whole did not want to pay for the prosecutions! They will pay for hanging baskets, to prosecute people for littering and fund twin town junkets but not to operate legislation designed to help the vunerable and check the unruly.

I thought councils in Northern Ireland were frustrated at being powerless. I thought they were crying out for powers to help communities. The government has now given them power which they ignore. Is the cost issue the only problem or is it reflective of a deeper malaise in our society? The anti social, if you are to believe their tatoos and grafitti, are well connected to the local "hoods". Perhaps the failure of local councils to pursue ASBOs has less to do with no money and more to do with no balls.

Next time a wannabe councillor comes knocking ask her or him if your quiet enjoyment of your neighbourhood is worth £1200.00. If not take full advantage of the STV system to put her/ him bottom of the pile.

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