Friday 20 April 2018

Anger in the air as residents try to tackle burglary plague

Garda Aine O’Connell, Jackser Ownes, Bernard O’Leary and Hugo Kelly.
Garda Aine O’Connell, Jackser Ownes, Bernard O’Leary and Hugo Kelly.

Padraig Byrne

You could sense the anger in the air at Bellefield GAA Complex last Tuesday night as residents of the Moran Park and Bellefield areas got together to discuss what can be done about the recent spate of break-ins and burglaries in the area.

A crowd of around 50 residents turned up to the meeting, but it was said that quite a few people hadn't made it on the night because they were afraid to leave their homes.

The gardaí were represented on the night by Garda Aine O'Connell, who was tasked with relaying the concerns of the residents to the superintendent.

One resident was particularly annoyed from the start, saying: 'Some people have lost priceless family heirlooms and nothing is being done about it! What have the gardaí done?' The same man questioned what they were going to do if they caught any of the culprits in the act. He was told: 'Call the gardaí.'

The idea of a text alert scheme was then mooted, to which he replied: 'That won't work. What am I supposed to do? Say, 'here, I'm in the community alert, so I can't touch you' and wait there until the gardaí arrive? I'm going, anyway,' he stormed, before walking out of the meeting.

Cllr Jackser Owens warned other residents that people were going around pretending to sell blocks and alarm systems as a means of establishing whether or not they were home. He said that the recent rise in crime has caused a number of people to be living in fear.

'Some people are terrified to leave their own homes,' he said. 'It's not just in Moran Park either. It's all over Enniscorthy. We all need to work together on this and see what we can do about it. Nearly every day someone is being broken into. There's one lady in particular whose house has been broken into three times!'

Some of the residents complained that they had tried to set up a neighbourhood watch programme before, but it hadn't received enough interest. 'It's fresh now because everyone annoyed,' the woman said. 'But people will forget about it and it's hard to keep things like this going.'

Finally it was decided to set up a committee for the area to decide what to do to protect residents from crime. Moran Park resident James McCormack was appointed chairman with Barney O'Leary as vice-chairman and Andrea Jordan as secretary. It was decided the committee will be made up of Hugo Kelly, Frank O'Connor, Margaret Colfer, Martin Cooney, Jackser Owens, Martin Collins and Dawnie Colfer.

The committee will meet tonight (Tuesday) to decide on what action to take.

In closing, Garda Aine O'Connell urged the residents to continue to report suspicious activity and assured them that despite limited manpower, the gardaí were doing their very best to reduce crime.

Gorey Guardian