Angry mums have demanded action after very young children were, this morning, forced to wade through a sea of broken Buckfast bottles on their first day at school.
Children, including toddlers accompanying older siblings to St Francis’ Primary School in Lurgan, were faced with broken glass and drugs paraphernalia at the Portadown Road underpass.
Families meandered through rubbish along the black path to the popular local primary school.
One young mum, Ann McGeown, who has seven-year-old twin girls, was furious.
“It’s totally unacceptable that our young kids have to walk through this mess on their way to school.
“Both parents/residents of Oakridge and Ashwood have had enough of the anti-social behaviour on our door steps.
“Action needs to be taken now. Why is our area being neglected?”
Ann also pointed out that in wet weather the subway becomes almost impassible and urged the authorities to install proper drainage.
The subway under the Portadown Road has been a magnet for anti-social elements taking drugs and drinking. Their bad behaviour spikes in summer and causes major upset to a mainly elderly neighbourhood.
Sinn Fein Councillor Liam Mackle described the conditions young children were forced to walk in as ‘an absolute disgrace’.
“Transport NI have responsibility but do very little to maintain the area.
“I have been on to the council to ask that they take urgent action to tidy the area up.
“While it is not Council’s land I am hopeful that we are able to send in a team from Environmental Services to address the issues.
“This is no way for young children to walk to school.
“It is horrible. The long term plan is to pass this path, from the subway to school, over to the school from Transport NI.
“The sooner this happens the better,” said Cllr Mackle who said he had contacted Transport NI for ‘urgent attention’.