LOCAL politicians and members of the community of Ballinamallard have shared their outrage at the wanton vandalism of a walkway on the outskirts of the village – the second such case to be reported in the past month.

Erne North Neighbourhood policing team discovered the new damage to the Mill Race walkway on the Kilskeery Road, Ballinamallard on Sunday (May 2).

This follows only a few weeks after police put out an appeal for witnesses following reports of criminal damage to the walkway, where a bridge and fences had been vandalised.

In a statement to The Impartial Reporter on May 6, a PSNI spokeswoman said: "Erne North Neighbourhood Policing Team are aware of damage to the Mill Race walk in the Ballinamallard area which is believed to have taken place within the past five to seven days.

"We are asking the local community to work together with the police and to make any reports to us surrounding suspicious activity or acts of vandalism.

"Mobile patrols and neighbourhood officers will also be keeping a watchful eye in the area, going forward."

Calling this activity in the Ballinamallard area "disruptive and distressing for those local people who know and love this area", the spokeswoman continued: "We understand the effect that criminal damage can have on communities and we are committed to finding solutions to address it.

"However, these solutions require combined efforts, and I am keen to appeal to anyone with information, or indeed concerns, to contact us on 101.”

A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport, or alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.

Ballinamallard Development Association Committee member Bert Johnston condemned the vandalism of the walkway.

He said: "I feel terrible. I, and the Development Association and Councillors as well, worked to get these facilities for the community, and to think that there's people in the community that doesn't appreciate it but wants to wreck it – I think it's terrible for us law-abiding citizens, who are most of the people.

"I think it's a very tiny minority that wants to destroy things, and I condemn it utterly.

"There's no need for that [vandalism]. What we need to do is encourage the Council to provide more outdoor facilities, like where people can take exercise which is very good for you," Bert told this newspaper, going on to praise the Council for fixing the previous damage on the walkway.

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has said that news of further damage to a community area at Ballinamallard just serves to harm the local population.

Mrs. Barton said: “This is the second reported damage to the community area near the Mill Race at Ballinamallard in as many weeks. This wanton destruction must stop.

“I would invite all those who are engaged in such activity to turn their attention to doing something positive for the local community, instead of these disgraceful actions.”

DUP Erne North Councillor Deborah Erskine noted that a lot of people are enraged that this destructive activity is continuing.

She said: "I have spoken to Ballinamallard locals who are very upset and annoyed that a minority seek to ruin a public space which is for the enjoyment of people in the area.

"I can not convey the anger I feel, that anti-social behaviour and these incidents are happening so regularly.

"It does not reflect well on the village, and the people of Ballinamallard want it to stop," she said.

"There are vast amounts of money being pumped into the Mill Race walk for improvements. Those responsible have such a disregard for the people of Ballinamallard and the place in which they live. I regret this.

"However, if caught, they will be answerable to the PSNI for the criminal damage they are causing.

"That's why I am appeal to parents – know where your young people are, and to anyone who may have witnessed anything, please bring that forward to the police," Councillor Erskine told this newspaper.