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Man escorted out of home by police after peaceful community protest in Ahoghill

The protest which took place in Ahoghill

A man was escorted from his Ahoghill home by police officers on just after 7pm on Sunday evening, 23 July, after members of the local community gathered in the village to hold a peaceful protest over what they say are "concerns for vulnerable residents including children and the elderly".


A crowd of around 60-100 people, made up of mostly local parents, attended the protest outside the home of the man. It is understood the resident had faced charges in 2018 of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity at a play park in another town. He was also accused of exposing himself.



A local mum said that she had repeatedly raised concerns to Choice Housing, the housing association which is responsible for the properties, but felt the issues which she highlighted were ignored. It was also alleged that appropriate checks were not carried out by Choice Housing, who offered the individual a home metres away from the village play park.


Local residents carried signs

"Locals had to take action as PSNI and Choice housing did nothing to help," a member of the community told Love Ballymena. "We have to protect our kids.”


The local woman added:


"The PSNI were informed before the protest which they said they would attend.


"Upon arrival they made a statement to say that they had previously advised him that it would be in his best interests to leave."



PSNI Officer engaging with local community

A spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland commented:


"Police attended a report of an ongoing protest in the Main Street area of Ahoghill at around 6.15pm on Sunday, 23rd July.


"Officers engaged with those present and the protest dispersed without incident."


Love Ballymena put the allegations made by local residents to the housing association. In response a spokesperson for Choice Housing said:

 

“The safety of our tenants and the wider community is of paramount importance to us and we are committed to providing secure, affordable, quality housing to meet the diverse needs of our tenants.

 


“The Association is unable to comment on individual cases due to tenant confidentiality. We can however confirm that Choice allocates properties in accordance with the rules of the Northern Ireland Housing Selection Scheme, and where necessary, liaise with relevant statutory agencies to ascertain appropriateness of allocation.

 

“Choice is committed to ongoing engagement and liaison with tenants and would encourage any resident to contact their Housing Officer directly regarding any issue or concern they may have.”



 

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