THE PEOPLE of Helen’s Bay will be stuck with annual summer mayhem unless Stormont gets back up and running.
That’s according to North Down MLA Andrew Muir, who says that without a functioning Assembly to rewrite bye-laws, the booze crackdown recommended by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency can’t happen.
The law change had been suggested as part of a review into public drinking laws set up by the Department for Communities.
But with no minister and no Assembly, department officials recently said they no longer know if the review can go ahead.
That angered Mr Muir, who argues that the people of Helen’s Bay will be left without a solution to their woes because of the ongoing political dispute over the NI Protocol that has seen the DUP refuse to take its Assembly seats.
Said the Alliance MLA: “The urgent need to update bye-laws to help end the endemic problems in Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn Country Park when temperatures rise and the sun shines are now laid bare in a stark and clear manner.
“Reform of the rules around public drinking alcohol are long overdue, but are sadly stuck on pause due to the lack of functioning Assembly and Executive. We cannot continue like this, enough is enough.
“Families seeking to enjoy a peaceful day out should not have to wait any longer for action to end this mayhem, which also imposes misery on local residents long into the night, incurs massive clean-up bills, and ties up the police and Translink.”
Mr Muir added that he’s now written to the senior civil servants running the Justice and Communities departments in Stormont, calling for immediate action to help Helen’s Bay.