Northern Ireland

Teenage street drinking in Rosemount 'is child abuse'

Rosemount
Image caption Residents in Rosemount say anti-social behaviour is making their lives a nightmare

Parents who allow their teenagers to drink on the street in Londonderry are guilty of child abuse, a community worker has said.

Tommy McCourt was speaking after a meeting in Rosemount to address anti-social behaviour in the area.

Residents said gangs of drunk youths gather outside their homes at weekends and damage property, urinate and have sex in public.

The meeting was also attended by the PSNI and local councilllors.

Mr McCourt said there was "no simple solution".

"There is definitely a feeling that some way needs to be found of letting parents know exactly what's going on.

"People feel that parents don't appreciate the depth of the depravity that's happening up here.

"It's child abuse. When you've got a 13-year-old girl with drink in her, and there are boys there who are the same age or older, they're abusing them.

"We see parents coming up here in cars and dropping their children off. I don't know if they care about their children, but they're coming in here and causing mayhem on the street."

Mr McCourt said both a short-term and a long-term solution were needed.

"The question is, what happens this Friday night?

"We're asking taxi drivers to refuse to leave young people with drink off in Rosemount, we're asking parents to keep their kids off the streets, and we're asking the off licences not to sell to people who are handing the alcohol to children.

"In the longer term, we need to start thinking radically."

Councillor Mark H Durkan, who was at the meeting, described it as "positive".

"The residents have been suffering these problems for a very long time, and they're now saying enough is enough.

"They're prepared to work with whoever and work however to get these problems solved."

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