Controversy over teenage disco in community centre

A Saturday night disco at Mourneview Community Centre was caught up in controversy in 1991.

First of all a Parents’ Association from the Grey and Mourneview estates called for a boycott of the disco.

They believed it was encouraging underage drinking.

It was also alleged that a taxi firm was supplying alcohol from a car, in response to requests from youngsters made from a call box beside the centre.

A spokesman for the Parents’ Association said that children as young as eleven years of age were drunk at the community centre discos.

“The people of the area need to make a stand,” he added. “They should boycott the centre and stop their children from going there until the council shuts the discos down.

“We, the parents, want these discos stopped now.

“Unfortunately we can’t use our addresses as threats have been made to smash our windows.”

The Saturday night dances had been temporarily suspended for the council to investigate the complaints.

A council officer said: “It seemed that the real problem was alcohol abuse and its supply to underage children. There is nothing to suggest it was being sourced in any way from the disco.”

In the following week’s edition of the ‘Mail’ supporters of the disco laid the blame on the shoulders of the police, parents and Craigavon council.

It emerged that the identity of the main supplier of alcohol to youngsters was known to many local people and had been passed to the police.

A spokesman for the organisers of the disco said that during the two weeks the disco was closed the drinkers just moved to a nearby school.

The spokesman explained that the stewards would not let in children with drink and did their best to move on those who are at the back of the centre.

He added: “But many parents don’t seem to care. They are bound to know if their kids have been drinking and it is up to them to do something about it.

“The police were told twice over the last few months about who was supplying most of the drink in the area.

“People only have to go up and rap on the door to get all the drink they want. It’s a bit dearer but I watched a man being served at 2am.”

Lurgan Councillor Meta Crozier visited the disco and said the young people there were having a terrific time.

“There was no alcohol available, there was none on the premises and none outside,” she added.