PENSIONERS in the southside of Mallow town are terrified in their homes when gangs of youths descend on their estates during the hours of darkness. Alleyways at O'K eeffe Walk and Ward Terrace leading into several other estates are offering anti-social youths convenient escape routes from gardai, residents have complained.
Burnt out cars and a mysterious fire at a vacant house at Ballydaheen last Sunday morning are some of the recent events to wreak havoc on the area.
Pensioner Dan Doolan, Ward Terrace is one of several residents calling for the construction of walls to block off the alleyways. "These youths are out to destroy life and destroy tranquility. I would warn parents of young children to keep their children inside once the cover of darkness descends. We dread to think what Halloween will bring around here," said Mr Doolan.
Town engineer Keith Jones warned that closing off the alleyways could be a 'complicated' matter, however.
Meanwhile, frustrated residents on Mallow's northside fear 'sporadic waves' of unrest with appeals to prevent youths from entering PineWood on Kennell Hill.
Resident at Pinewood John O'Connor complained that youths often throw stones intimidating some neighbours. Earlier this year gardai were called to the area when a car was smashed.
"Fencing would protect us from these youths," said Mr O'Connor. RESIDENTS in the Ballydaheen area of Mallow want alleys leading into their estates blocked off to keep out gangs of drunken teenagers who
visit nightly terror on the area.
The residents say alleys at O'Keeffe Walk and Ward Terrace, leading into several other estates, are also offering the teenage gangs convenient escape routes from gardai.
Terrified pensioners who spoke to The Corkman said gangs of drunken teenagers gather in their estates and are making their lives a misery. The situation has become so bad that some residents now want to abandon their homes to get away from the constant harrasment.
Stones have been thrown at residents' windows, plants have been ripped from their gardens, cars are regularly vandalised and even set alight and drunken teenagers are urinating on residents' property. Tidy Towns Chairman Paddy Whelan expressed disgust that increasingly cars are being vandalised in the southside. In the latest incident a car was burned out at Russell's Place last week.
And in the early hours of last Sunday morning a vacant house and shed mysteriously caught fire. Kanturk and Mallow fire services spent up to two hours battling the inferno into the early hours.
Pensioner Dan Doolan, who has lived in Ward Terrace for the past 25 years, is one of several residents calling on the town council to build walls to block off the alleyways leading into the estate.
"These youths are out to destroy life and destroy tranquility. I would warn parents of young children to keep their children inside once the cover of darkness descends. We dread to think what Halloween will bring around here," said Mr Doolan.
Sinn Fein party member Martin Mullane said that the majority of residents want the alleyways closed. A petition is currently being circulated among residents calling on the council to wall off the alleys.
"People are afraid of them [gangs of teenagers]. it is a shame as the majority of these people who are being terrorised are pensioners who do not deserve any of this," he said.
Residents have suggested closing off alleyways at O'Keeffe's Walk, Ward Terrace, Collins Place and entrances known locally as the 'Hole in the Wall' to prevent teenage gangs from getting into their estate at night.
Mayor of Mallow, Sinn Fein Cllr Willie O'Regan. who lives at Collins Place close to where pensioners are being terrorised, said he has not personally encountered any problems with antisocial behaviour.
Mayor O'Regan said that he is aware that residents are complaining about antisocial behaviour and he has visited the estate with town engineer Keith Jones.
"I am aware that drunken teenagers are causing hassle. It is not as clear cut as closing the alleys; the will of the people living there will have to be looked at. There is a need for proper consultation, the alleyways have been there since the estates were first built. I would hate the impression to go out that this area is a bad place to live in. I have not come across any problems,' said Mayor O'Regan.
Town engineer Keith Jones said closing off the alleyways in these estates could be complicated. However, he said that the decision to close the alleyways will ultimately lie with members of Mallow town council. The process could take at least three months to complete and will involve public submissions.
Garda Superintendent Pat McCarthy said the town does not have any major problems with antisocial behaviour.