Thursday 18 October 2018

Gardaí vow zero tolerance over youths' behaviour

David Looby

Gardai will arrest any youth who acts in an anti-social and threatening manner in the Irishtown area.

A group of up to 60 young members of the Travelling community have been gathering in Irishtown in increasing numbers over recent months.

Sergeant Eddie Wilde said repeated attempts have been made to engage with the youths but to no avail. There have been garda patrols in the area in an effort to deter anti-social behaviour.

Sgt Wilde said: 'We have tried to communicate with them not to get involved in anti-social behaviour. They are coming from different locations and we have contacted various organisations to see if we could engage with them as we have been trying to act constructively, but we have found it's not working.'

The gang of youths are hanging around the area stretching from St Stephen's Cemetery to the take aways at the traffic lights.

'We met them during the summer but there are serious concerns for senior citizens in the area. We will be taking a much more firmer approach from now on.'

Some of the youths, who are aged 14 to 21, have been brought home by gardaí over recent weeks.

'We have powers under the Public Order Act and we will be using behavioural warnings. Elderly residents are being intimidated by the noise and the crowds and the general hijinks. We have engaged up there and have met them at the highest level and discussed with them how they should act.'

Having exhausted all possible lines of communication, gardaí say they will now start arresting youths who misbehave.

'These are a large group of youngsters from County Wexford and beyond. We have been trying to foster good relations and we are now making it clear that they won't be allowed to congregate in large numbers in Irishtown any more. We will issue anti-social behaviour order warnings.'

Sgt Wilde said Travellers have been gathering in Irishtown for decades but the anti-social behaviour problem has progressively gotten worse in recent months.

'They have been knocking on residents' doors. It doesn't seem like a major thing but if you are an elderly person inside and there is a large group outside it can be very intimidating to have that presence nearby.'

New Ross Standard