Friday 19 July 2019

Residents have 'lost faith' with authorities over how they handle bonfires

Hubert Murphy

A plan will be drawn up in the next few weeks in relation to how the scourge of Halloween will be tackled this year.

But local councillor Paul Bell feels it will be a case of action speaking louder than words after incidents in the Rathmullen/ Ballsgrove and Finian's Park areas last year.

'No plan was supplied to councillors or the community last year. Residents have concerns over illegal dumping and they are reporting incidents,' he stated.

He said at one stage, 200 pallets were dumped in the ravine between Hillview and Rathmullen. Gardai said they'd help with their removal with Louth County Council but the council then called off the plan, citing health and safety. The pallets were subsequently burned on the green. 'It was a criminal act,' he said.

He also said that ramps, barriers and CCTV had been investigated to stop joy riding in the area but they hadn't happened. 'Residents have lost faith,' he claimed.

He also said people were impacted by scrambler bikes on the green - 'it's like Mondello Park' - he claimed, adding that gardai do respond but may have issues with the age of the individuals.

'People want these issues addressed as they feel they are not getting the attention they deserve.'

Cllr Oliver Tully suggested that, long term, the council should investigate a community bonfire, where a proper structure and regulations are applied. 'The burning of waste is the biggest problem, tyres, furniture and pallets,' he said.

Cllr David Saurin said people have had enough and asked can the scrambler bikes be confiscated. 'A tiny minority are holding the majority to ransom. How long do events have to go on before the council take serious action to evict these people.'

Chief Supt Christy Mangan said that the bikes can be seized and he added that there was a responsibility on parents to know what their children were up to.

Supt Andrew Watters felt that a plan for Halloween could be put together, but it needed everyone's involvement. 'We want to be proactive on this, not reactive,' he stated.

Drogheda Independent