MID-ULSTER District Council has been accused of neglecting Railway Park after a man was assaulted in the area on New Year's Eve.
The assault on the 50-year-old has been blamed on teenagers who ‘loiter’ in the area.
According to Police, officers responded to reports of a man being attacked by a number of youths who had been “loitering in the area and possibly drinking alcohol” on December 31.
Railway Park has become synonymous with underage drinking and anti-social behaviour with one local representative strongly condemning this most recent attack.
Referring to the New Year's Eve incident, local Independent Councillor Barry Monteith said: “This brings into sharp focus the complete and total neglect and lack of investment in Railway Park by Mid-Ulster District Council and its predecessor Dungannon Council.
“This is further evidence of the need for investment which has long been promised to the people of the area in terms of lighting, infrastructure and maintenance.”
In October last the Council approved a million pound project to “design out anti-social behaviour and crime” by transforming Railway Park into a shared accessible green space.
The Council-owned park covers an area of 20 acres and is managed by the Council’s Parks team and maintained by Property Services.
The transformation work involves tree clearance, foliage removal and lighting upgrades along 200m of the park's path to improve visitor visibility and safety and increase activity in the park.
The Council views the park, just off Dungannon town centre, as a picturesque place where locals and visitors can walk at their leisure.
In reality, Railway Park is nicknamed “drug alley” by locals and a place where anti-social behaviour is prevalent, incident including drug taking, drinking, fighting and assaults.
In 2017, Police in Dungannon launched a campaign to clean up Railway Park.
Police told this newspaper, which has carried numerous stories of park incidents, they had received a number of calls about ongoing anti-social behaviour, including underage drinking and drug use in the Railway Park area.
Their campaign does not seem to have worked.
In the same year, three teenagers were found unconscious in the park in the space of a week.
In August of that year, a teenage boy was found in Railway Park unconscious with a blood alcohol content over four and a half times of what would be the legal drink drive limit. A few days later, two further teens were found unconscious in separate incidents in the same area.
Chief Inspector Roy Robinson told the Courier at the time that drinking in the Park was a concern to Police. He also said Police patrols in the Park would be ramped up.
Following the incidents, local DUP Councllor Clement Cuthbertson told a meeting of the Council: “Nobody is taking the initiative to sort this out.”
There have been numerous fights in Railway Park not to mention assaults and needles and broken glass are continually strewn throughout the park where people walk with children and dogs.
The latest assault at Railway Park has once again raised concern and fear among locals and visitors to the park.
Police have appealed for anyone with any information about the latest assault in Railway Park to contact them on 101, quoting reference number 1099 31/12/18 or give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.