Balbriggan growth is 'dangerous' says Councillor
Balbriggan is playing 'catch up' in terms of the resources the town has to cope with an escalating population which has broken through the 20,000 barrier in the latest Census figures.
Balbriggan needed the addition of Balrothery in the last census to top that 20,000 milestone but in the latest Census, the town alone has recorded a population of some 21,723 people, climbing to almost 24,000 when combined with Balrothery.
In that context, Balbriggan Independent Alliance councillor, Tony Murphy is concerned that the services required to serve that population are lagging behind and fears that even greater growth for the town in the years ahead could lead to a 'dangerous' situation.
'I would say the real concern is that with the pressure that is coming on all departments with regard to the housing crisis, we have and Fingal County Council having large banks of land in Balbriggan, that stress will be there to put more social houses in Balbriggan without the resources to manage the population that exists already, It's dangerous where we are going.' Cllr Murphy told the Fingal Independent.
Cllr Murphy is particularly concerned about policing in the area and said for several months, Balbriggan has been without community gardaí on the beat in the town and antisocial behaviour is rising.
At a recent Fingal Joint Policing Committee public meeting in the town, Cllr Murphy said he noted a spike in complaints about antisocial behaviour. He said there were 'gangs of young lads travelling across estates, causing nuisance and intimidation and threatening people'. He related one story told at the JPC meeting where a Balbriggan man had his 'door kicked in' by youths who then refused to leave the house and laughed when the homeowner said he would call gardaí.
The Balbriggan councillor also said there was need for a 'family resource centre' in Balbriggan to give struggling families in the area better access to social services.
On a more positive note, the Balbriggan councillor said that the rate of school building in the town in recent years had caught up with demand and it now seemed there was enough capacity in the system at primary and secondary level but there was a need for some kind of vocational third level institution in the town.