“Mindless” violence in Banbridge

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“The people of Banbridge have every right to be utterly appalled at the actions of those who attacked members of the emergency services on Wednesday evening. The actions of a few people who are bent on violence has caused disruption and damage at a time when we are actively promoting a positive image of Banbridge as a place to live, work and do business.

“The people responsible for the violence have nothing to offer.

“Violence against the fire and rescue services and the PSNI smacks of ‘mob mentality’ and also puts the lives of innocent members of the public in danger by tying up vital services in one area, thus reducing their capacity to respond to other incidents.

“I commend the swift and efficient action of the emergency services in dealing with this incident and am relieved that, despite the violence, no serious injuries were sustained. The jobs performed by the emergency services are dangerous enough without having to confront the mindless thuggery which occurred on this occasion.

“I would appeal directly to anyone who may have information about those who took part in this violence and which could be useful to the PSNI in making further arrests and bringing to book those individuals involved.

“I am calling for those involved to be caught, charged and convicted with sentences that fit the crime as all too often criminals thrive on the indulgence and understanding of the courts. We need a strong response from the courts if we are to deter these individual from future violent acts.

“Despite the risk of serious injury, those responsible have increased the pressure on already tight policing, council and emergency service budgets which deflects funds from where it is really needed, to help families and businesses in Banbridge.”