POSTERS have been erected in a southside suburb encouraging residents to arm themselves with hurleys and golf clubs to wage war on burglars after an upsurge of break-ins in the area.
The posters have appeared at bus shelters and other prominent positions in Stillorgan urging residents to "clobber the sewer crawling rats" who have struck fear into the community.
The posters were put up on Wednesday night, and spotted by local Fianna Fail councillor Gerry Horkan, whose team had been erecting election posters.
"While I know there is great frustration in the area at the number of burglaries, I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to arm themselves and take these people on," he told the Herald.
"The signs are a bit of a mystery because they don't seem to represent any particular group, and they could also be some sort of mid-term school prank.
"I was out on Wednesday night and meeting up with my team, when I spotted a car with its lights on at a bus stop on the Lower Kilmacud Road and there were two lads probably in their late teens or early 20s out beside it. At first I thought it might be Dublin Bus people changing the timetables or something, but then I saw the poster. I took it down and showed it to my team and we thought it was odd."
The sign read 'Due to the worrying rise in robberies we would like to advise our fellow parish members of Stillorgan and the surrounding areas to have a hurl/golf club in their possession to clobber the sewer crawling rats. PS it's about time the smelly rats were exterminated'.
"At first I thought it was a one-off, but then I spotted more of them at the bus shelters from Goatstown to the Aircoach stop in Stillorgan village," said Cllr Horkan. There is anger and frustration in the area about garda station closures, and the Dail constituency of Rathdown now only has one garda station – the one in Dundrum – to cover an area populated by around 90,000 people."
Mr Horkan said he has heard stories of people cold-calling to homes pretending to be from utility services or targeting homes while people are away.
"We have to encourage people to be very aware of risks, but at the same time we can't encourage people to arm themselves. A person in their 70s with a golf club in the hands might find it used against them if it is taken off them by a much younger burglar," he added.
Gardai said anyone wanting to report an incident should talk to them and not put themselves in danger.