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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Police “reinvigorating approach” as crowds head to North Coast over Easter holiday

PSNI police patrol car

The Police Service of Northern Ireland in partnership with Translink and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, are working together to ensure the safety of residents and those visiting the North Coast this Easter, focussing on Safer Roads, Safer Communities and Safer Socialising.

The North Coast is a very popular destination for both locals and visitors alike, particularly over the Easter period. With tourists expected from far and wide again this year, we want to make sure everyone gets here safely, offering reassurance to the public that our policing teams will be on duty for everyone’s safety, particularly around busy bus and train stations, hospitality establishments, residential areas, and beaches and coastal towns.

Causeway Coast and Glens Chief Inspector, Sinead McIldowney explains: 

“With increased visitor numbers to the coast, there will inevitably be more congestion on our roads due to large volumes of people moving in and around Portrush and Portstewart.

"As many are aware, the peninsula is unfortunately not designed for such volume each year, so traffic to and from the area can be extremely busy with long delays for many road users. Our only ask, is that everyone needs to expect such delays and to be patient, utilise the car parking available, and plan extra time for their journey.

“This year, following helpful feedback from members of the local community, stakeholders, churches and businesses, police were made aware of previous ineffective traffic management plans, so with this feedback in mind we are reinvigorating our approach.

"We will not be implementing a permanent traffic management plan this year, instead and in consultation with Causeway Coast and Glens Council, our aim is to maximise the car parking available, directing traffic to these and any overflow car parks, which will be clearly signposted as visitors approach Portrush and Portstewart areas.

"We want to reassure the local community and visitors to the area, that the footprint of our officers will not be reduced in any capacity, instead we will be working with our partners from Translink and Council to minimise disruption where possible and deter any unwanted antisocial driving and behaviour.

Chief Inspector McIldowney continued:

“Police, along with the local community, are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors, but I would like to remind all road users planning to visit the North Coast over Easter, that any form of anti-social driving or reckless behaviour in general, will not be tolerated – that includes excessive speeds in coastal areas, dangerous driving or any practice that puts the lives of other road users at risk.

"Our officers are very much aware of car cruising and ‘diffing’ practices becoming more popular on our roads up here, which is a type of donut manoeuvre. This type of driving behaviour where large crowds may gather is dangerous, and those keen on taking part are advised not to.

"Remember it only takes a split second, for a tragedy to occur on our narrow roads and we have sadly lost 15 people on roads across Northern Ireland this year already, we do not want to see this number increase. Please don’t rush, don’t take any risks, be patient with other road users and pedestrians, and arrive safely.

“This Easter, our focus will also be on preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, particularly those most vulnerable after a night out. Our teams will be looking out for those engaging in anti-social behaviour in and around our public spaces, and would like to remind anyone planning on staying in the area, to enjoy what the bustling nightlife has to offer, but to do so respectfully, being mindful of local residents and their property. Please drink responsibly and look out for one another and your drinks, taking necessary precautions against any potential spiking.

“If you are visiting for a few hours, please make use of the public car parks that are located in the West Strand and East Strand areas, and if you are planning to spend an evening here, please make sure you are in a position to get home safely. There are excellent public transport services via Translink and numerous local taxi companies available in the town that can be utilised.

“Finally, please enjoy your time here and what the North Coast has to offer, and together, let’s have a fun and safe Easter”.

Supporting this message, Translink’s Director of Service Operations, Ian Campbell, said:

“We have special offers on sale for the Easter break and hope passengers having a day out or taking a short trip to the North Coast have a safe and pleasant journey.

“Our Safe Transport Team works closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to help ensure everyone has an enjoyable trip and we would ask passengers to respect each other and our staff as everyone deserves a safe and pleasant journey.

"We're looking forward to welcoming people on board Translink services this Easter and details of our good value tickets and special trains can be found ". 

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Steven Callaghan, said:

“Causeway Coast and Glens is a beautiful part of the world and a fantastic place to visit over the Easter period. We want families, friends and visitors to enjoy a positive experience. I would urge them to please show respect to local residents, fellow visitors, road users and the emergency services who will be in attendance to keep everyone safe.

"I would also ask everyone to show responsibility for keeping areas clean and tidy by making use of the public bins provided for litter, or by taking rubbish home to dispose of. We are fortunate to have so many popular coastal locations and outdoor spaces, so let’s all do what we can to create a pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy".


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