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MLA to review his Omagh office security after worker abused during incident

Thursday, 20 July 2017

WEST Tyrone SDLP MLA, Daniel McCrossan, has revealed that he will have to review security at his constituency offices after one of his staff was threatened by a member of the public.

Mr McCrossan said the incident happened at his office in Omagh on Monday morning.

He outlined how a woman entered began "shouting and hurling offensive" abuse about him at the worker, who was on her own.

He also revealed that unrelated abusive incidents have been happening at his offices on almost a monthly basis for a year.

Mr McCrossan said his member of staff had been left frightened and shaken by the woman, who he said "kept shouting and roaring, slagging off me, SDLP representatives and the party generally".

He claims the incident lasted for up to 20 minutes before his staff member was able to get the woman to leave.

As revealed by the Tyrone Constitution during election time the MLA said they had been the target of a spate of abusive incidents over the past 12 months, but said he does not believe there is a specific motive behind them.

 

He said windows at his offices in Omagh and Strabane have previously been smashed, staff have received abusive phone calls and people have come into the offices to confront staff directly.

"There is no reason, in particular. There are a number of elected representatives and offices from an array of parties who get this," said Mr McCrossan. "Largely, most of us have stayed quiet, but we've had enough.

"I accept public representatives are going to face some level of aggression, but when people come to abuse a member of my staff it's entirely unacceptable."

The SDLP MLA was due to meet with his team yesterday (Tuesday) evening to discuss reviewing security measures at constituency offices.

"My offices in Omagh and Strabane are very accessible, but if this continues we are going to have to look at putting security buzzer systems on doors," he added.

Mr McCrossan said, however, that because of budget constraints on office expenditure, he would have to consider raising money in order to ensure that staff were protected.

"There needs to be some consideration given to all elected representatives, and constituency staff on the frontline who are always in the office even when MLAs and MPs aren't," he said. "It's time MLAs and elected representatives spoke out against this, it shouldn't be happening no matter who they are."

The police said inquiries into Monday's incident were ongoing.

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