Residents say more gardaí are needed to restore law and order in South Kerry

Sinéad Kelleher

Over 90 residents from the Iveragh Peninsula have signed a petition demanding more gardaí to tackle anti-social behaviour which is plaguing towns and villages across the region. 

Increased drug abuse is also a major concern, so much so that parents and teachers facilitated a meeting with Sgt David Leslie of the Kerry Divisional Drugs Squad last Wednesday to voice their concerns. 

Following this meeting a petition and letter was drafted and sent to Garda Superintendent Flor Murphy, calling for an increased garda presence on the streets of Cahersiveen and the greater South Kerry area. The lack of a 24/7 station in Cahersiveen is a major issue for local residents. 

In the letter, seen by The Kerryman, residents say they are concerned about their safety and well-being. 

"There now exists a very real fear among the people of this area for the personal safety and well-being of all our people. We the undersigned, feel that the most urgent need in this area at this time is an increased police presence on the streets of our town and the greater South Kerry area.

"We acknowledge the good work being carried-out in this region by the police force but due to decreased numbers in recent years we understand that it is not possible to adequately cover this area, especially at weekends. We are now urgently requesting your support in addressing this situation as it has now reached crisis point in our opinion," the letter stated. 

The letter to Supt Murphy comes on the same week that frustrated residents organised a public meeting demanding action on anti-social behaviour and drug abuse in the region. 

The meeting, led by residents in Cahersiveen but supported by all local communities on the Iveragh Peninsula, was held at the Ring of Kerry Hotel on this Tuesday night. 

The meeting was called to demand action  on what locals see as an ongoing situation in South Kerry where anti-social behaviour is destroying local communities.

Concerns were raised at the meeting about  the increasing level of  drug abuse in the region as well as lack of sufficient gardaí in South Kerry.

Organisers of the meeting also called on Kerry County Council to attend to discuss residents' concerns about a transitional house for the homeless in Cahersiveen. However, the council did not send a representative to the meeting. 

Superintendent Flor Murphy said he would keep garda resourcing under review in the area.