Saturday 19 January 2019

Council slammed for handling of graffiti on private property

Local authority insists that the job 'will be finished'

Martin O’Connor outside his house in Gimont Ave, Enniscorthy
Martin O’Connor outside his house in Gimont Ave, Enniscorthy

Pádraig Byrne

An Enniscorthy man has blasted Wexford County Council for their actions in relation to graffiti that was recently scrawled on the side of his house.

Martin O'Connor from Gimont Avenue says that his family moved into the council-owned house in 1986 when he was a child. Shortly after this, despicable graffiti of a racial nature about Martin appeared on the wall.

He claims his family made repeated unsuccessful appeals to the council to have the graffiti removed.

However, when fresh graffiti which mentioned other names appeared on his house last week, workers were sent to strip it off immediately - despite the fact that the house is no longer owned by Wexford County Council.

'It was horrific as a child to come out every day and read this graffiti about you,' he said. 'We tried to tidy it up and change the letters and that, but for years we asked the council to do something about it and they didn't.'

According to Martin, the family eventually purchased the house from the council in the mid 1990s and when his mother passed away she left it to him.

He decided to paint over the graffiti eventually and then one morning a couple of weeks ago, he heard council workers outside.

When he emerged from his house, the council workers said that they were there to 'deal with the graffiti'.

This was the new graffiti which had apparently sprung up overnight mentioning other names.

'I don't think they realise that this is no longer a council house,' said Martin. 'I don't know how they can come along and change the side of a house.

'They came in and blasted the wall and what I'm left with now is half a wall that's painted while the rest of the house is a different colour.'

Wexford County Council's Housing Liaison Officer Mr Eddie Doyle said that he was aware of the incident.

'The work that was carried out there was very much on a temporary basis,' said Mr Doyle. 'The work is not near finished at the moment and the plan was to return and finish painting the wall as soon as the weather conditions allow.

'There were some remarks scrawled on the wall and the house is in quite a prominent place. Nobody wants to see that kind of thing. I've no doubt that the job will be finished as soon as possible though.'

Martin said that he's now having trouble getting his insurance company to cover the cost of fixing the wall, as it was done by Wexford County Council.

'I just really do feel that it's unjust,' he said. 'I called down to the council offices and I was told that they couldn't leave it (the new graffiti) up there. It just seems unfair.'

Enniscorthy Guardian