A community meeting between Garda and residents of the Butts Community last week to discuss a serious incident of harassment by local drunken teenagers against a 72 year old women in Connolly Street has lead to agreement to establish a new committee to look out for elderly and young children in the area.
Srgt. Gary Gordon and Communtiy Garda Caroline Daily (nee O’Malley) heard a packed meeting at the Fr. McGrath Centre on St. Joseph’s Rd tell them of a litany of problems with teenagers and young people drinking on the streets and in their new park and children’s playground.
The problem of fires being set in the new public park, drunken brawls in the a.m. hours, broken beer bottles in the children’s playground and a group of young people who felt they were above the law and could do anything they wanted in the community were brought to a head by local families who declared to the Garda that they have had enough.
The meeting heard that Town Clark Brian Tyrell had informed staff at the Fr. McGrath Centre that the Borough had passed By Laws making it illegal to drink in public parks or community streets and that they were determined to fully support Garda and local residents to prosecute offenders.
The issue of teenage drinking, which has been getting worse of late became a crisis for local families when a 72 year old women living alone in Connolly Street suffered harassment described by one neighbour as – ‘one of the most disgraceful incidents against an elderly person he had ever heard of in a life time of living in the community.’
The 74 year old man who asked not to be identified also said how disappointed he was that there were so few young men or fathers of teenagers in the community at the public meeting. He said –
‘They should not be leaving it to senior citizens and local mothers to tackle this problem on their own. These local parents, especially fathers, have a central role to play if we have any chance in standing up for our elderly against these young thugs who think it is a laugh to terrify elderly or vulnerable people living alone.’
Borough Housing Officer, Anne Marie Robinson and community Garda, Caroline Daily will attend a special meeting with residents this Thursday night at 8.00pm (after the Community bank) to set up the new group.
Residents have made ‘a zero tolerance to public drinking on the streets and park’ as their key objective.
They also plan to establish a local registry of elderly or vulnerable families in the community to encourage neighbours to keep regular contact with them in their homes.