Wednesday 20 March 2019

Council has 'failed communities'

Louth County Council has been accused of letting down communities which are living with anti-social behaviour and criminality.

Drogheda Cllr Paul Bell said that the council had made provision in last year's budget to take steps to prevent joy-riding and anti-social behaviour in a number of places in Drogheda, including Rathmullen and had made a commitment to close off lane ways which didn't happen.

'The issue in Drogheda didn't spring up overnight and people are suffering in those communities and no doubt it's the same in Dundalk and Ardee,' he stated.

'None of the works promised and budgeted for here have been fulfilled,' he complained.

He called for a co-ordinated approach to tackle what was happening in Drogheda.

The Labour councillor also noted that about 18 months ago the Council had identified a problem with the CCTV system in Drogheda, where a number of the cameras were not operational due to wear and tear.

'The CCTV has to be replaced with the most up to date equipment,' he said, adding that issues surrounding GDPR needed to be addressed.

'Commitments have been made and we have failed those communities,' he said. 'I am concerned at the lack of urgency and attention being committed to those communities.'

Cllr Frank Godfrey was 'very concerned at the alarming rate of violence,' and was 'flabbergasted that there is no CCTV in a number of estates which were flashpoints for bombings and shootings.'

People were regularly dealing in drugs and the Council needed to identify them so they could be evicted from council properties.

He felt for the neighbours living beside those responsible for the violence saying he knew of one woman who had to leave her home because she had no heating as the oil tank had exploded due to a shooting.

Cllr Richie Culhane said it was two or three families within the estates in question who were responsible for the majorit of anti-social behaviour.

He wanted to know if the Council had received any complaints from residents of these estates, Moneymore, being one.

'Two or three families are holding the majority of decent law-abiding citizens in estates to ransom,' he said, recalling that there had been an incident about 12 months ago where council staff had to get Garda assistance to go into a halting site where there had been an attempted murder.

He also questioned the value of CCTV when people 'hell bent on causing mayhem in estates' could cover their faces.

He felt it was time to start evicting those responsible.

Cllr Pio Smith said that people were not reporting anti-social behaviour due to fear and he wanted to know if there was a system in place whereby someone could make a complaint on their behalf.

Director of Service Mr Paddy Donnelly said there was on-going communication between the council officials and the Gardai.

He said the CCTV system comprised aging equipment which was challenging to maintain. The Council was looking at how this could be replaced and the data transferred directly to the gardai. The council had carried out some blocking of laneways.

He assured councillors that they would follow up with evictions but pointed out that some of the perpetrators might no be living in council properties,

The Argus