Sunday 25 August 2019

'You wouldn't expect it from an animal'

City amenity: Enjoying a lunch break in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock - but groups of teenagers visiting the area are causing concern. Photo: Tony Gavin
City amenity: Enjoying a lunch break in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock - but groups of teenagers visiting the area are causing concern. Photo: Tony Gavin
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

With its chic wine bars and outdoor terraces, Dublin's Grand Canal Dock is packed from morning to night during the summer months.

Millennials, techies, hipsters and casual brunchers descend on the piece of urban heaven to make the most of the open space, waterside bars and modern architecture.

But each year, groups of teenagers bring trouble. Carrying bags of cans and sometimes stereos, they sit on the granite-paved paths and spend their time swimming and socialising. All harmless fun until a mix of boredom, hormones and booze set in.

After dark, they are still loitering and often causing havoc for restaurants, shops and bars, which have to deal with the fall-out.

Two local workers spoke to the Sunday Independent, on condition of anonymity, about their experience and have called for gardai to act.

One business owner said she witnessed a teenager behaving like "an animal" outside her premises.

"Once the summer comes in, they are always out with their tinnies. They sit outside and drink. The girls are worse than the guys. They're always in and out of the premises trying to change their wet gear in our toilets after swimming in the canal," she said.

"One day a girl came out of our toilets dripping wet and left a trail of water all the way to the door. There are no toilets or changing facilities outside for them. I said to her 'would you ever just bring a towel to wrap around yourself and change outside.' That is all I said.

"She walked outside and pulled down her pants and defecated right in front of me. Now that's not second-hand, that's not hearsay, that happened to me in broad daylight at 5pm. You wouldn't expect it from an animal.

"I've tried to talk to the guards but nothing is really ever done. The council has a nice place for people to come down and enjoy by the water but at the same time there are no toilets and no changing facilities so they are not providing the services for teens who want something to do when the weather turns good."

Another manager said the antics are causing damage to the area and disrupting paying customers: "There are young delinquents. It's every summer. We have mentioned it to the guards a few times but nothing ever seems to come of it. The kids throw mud pies and other missiles and I know a business has had their window smashed in recently.

"You have to treat them with kid gloves. If they see they are winding you up they get a kick out of it. They want a reaction, so we try our best not to give them a rise and sometimes they just get bored and their behaviour fizzles out.

"I know you can't use force to remove them but I really wish the guards would do something more about it.

"We've asked so many times and it's the same every summer."

A local apartment owner said: "They can be intimidating if you are walking past them late at night. The area is beautiful and it is thriving regardless but these are teens, and they are someone's responsibility. And if their parents don't care what happens... it needs to be dealt with once and for all."

Sunday Independent

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