Falls Park attack which saw teen left unconscious slammed as "one step too far"

Falls Park, Belfast.
-Credit: (Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)

A Belfast councillor has hit out at antisocial behaviour in public park, which saw a young boy assaulted and left unconscious.

Police received a report of a serious assault in Falls Park, West Belfast on Saturday night after it was reported to police that a 15-year-old male was unconscious after being assaulted by a number of young males.

Police responded to the incident "within a minute", and the young man was taken to hospital for injuries that are described as serious.

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Responding to the police statement, Sinn Féin councillor Micheal Donnelly said: "Our council staff in the park week in week out are doing their upmost to keep people safe. The abuse, both physical and verbally that they take is totally uncalled for.

"The role that they play along with our invaluable youth workers has to be commended. This behaviour in the Falls Park has to end before someone gets seriously hurt.

"Last night's incident was one step too far."

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council told Belfast Live that council staff alerted the PSNI and NIAS after the attack on Saturday.

"Belfast City Council is aware of a violent incident that occurred in Falls Park on Saturday 25 May," they said. Our Safer Neighbourhood Officers were present throughout the evening, engaging with young people and preventing alcohol from entering the park.

"We worked closely with the PSNI and youth workers, intervening in several altercations and dispersing those involved. Unfortunately, a young male was assaulted further into the park, and our officers immediately alerted the PSNI and NIAS who responded swiftly.

"Our staff remained on site to assist emergency responders and worked with the PSNI to disperse the remaining group of young people.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of our parks and will continue to work closely with the PSNI and other partners to address antisocial behaviour and violence.

"We encourage anyone with information about the assault to contact the PSNI."

PSNI Inspector Brown added: "Whilst officers administered first aid, other altercations between the large group of young people broke out so further policing resources were deployed into the park and the young people eventually dispersed from the area.

"Police are very aware of the ongoing issues in Falls Park and are committed to finding solutions for the whole community. We want young people to gather and enjoy the park responsibly, however this type of violence is unacceptable.

"Local residents also have the right to feel safe where they live. Those who engage in anti-social behaviour and other forms of criminality are only hurting their own communities, and unfortunately sometimes themselves. I appeal to parents and guardians again to know where your young people are.

"This was a very hostile environment for our officers, but police will continue to carry out additional patrols across West Belfast. Anyone who witnesses anti-social or criminal behaviour to contact police on 101 so that we can respond.

"We would also ask parents and guardians to speak to their young people and to know where they are to prevent them from engaging in behaviour which could result in injury or a criminal record."

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