Thursday 24 January 2019

Time to change attitudes

Hubert Murphy

It's time to tackle the social issues that exist in areas of Rathmullen Park - once and for all.

That's the feelings of many residents whose daily lives are blighted by anti-social behaviour. They feel the time has come to sort out the situation, rather than allow it to fester and erupt in the future.

'People need to be given a sense of ownership in this estate. With that will come pride and a community spirit. But for too long, anti-social behaviour has been allowed to win out. This needs to change,' one resident told the Drogheda Independent this week.

At last week's municipal district meeting, it was revealed that a cross-directorate staff group had been formed to look at up to five issues in Rathmullen. This have been raised by residents and councillors. Head of housing, Joe McGuinness will lead it.

There are plenty of issues on the agenda, dumping, anti-social behaviour and some new initiatives - including looking at alleyways.

And it is that point - alleyways - that has many residents concerned.

'St Finian's Park had many issues down the years and a proper plan was put in place to tackle issues. That included closing up alleyways and it worked. Rathmullen has too many alleyways, too many points of entry. We need to sort that out, one way in, one way out. Cul de sacs are the only way,' the resident added.

Efforts to tackle the issues in Rathmullen have been piece meal and are not working.

'Bollards were erected and that means the likes of the gardai can't get into certain areas. The area is too open plan and at least six alley ways could be closed as they serve not purpose, apart from allowing people the chance to congregate and cause problems for those living nearby,' they state.

'Boundary walls could sort out things and help to curb joyriding. There are 300 houses here and there's no residents association. A lot of that is down to fear, people don't want to be seen to be making an issue as they'll be targeted. There is a lot of fear in this estate.

'I know of elderly people who sit in the dark for fear of youths seeing a light on and drawing attention to themselves.

'At times we feel the gardai have little interest in answering calls. One Saturdat evening recently I rang them after a house was attacked and two hours later they hadn't arrived. They said there was one patrol car on duty and it was tied up.

'I can understand their frustration. They come up and when these youths see the car, they scatter in all directions. It's pointless.

'There was an issue in the area around the Community House some years ago and CCTV was put up and the problem was solved. Maybe we need more cameras.'

They hope the new initiative will lead to changes in Rathmullen but it will only work if there are discussions with the residents.

Drogheda Independent