Deputy Imelda Munster has again met with Chief Superintendent Christopher Mangan as a follow up to discuss progress to date in dealing with the feud related criminal behaviour and intimidation in Drogheda.
Deputy Munster said:
“Whilst welcoming the addition of 18 new recruits which has greatly boosted Garda presence on the streets of the town as well as the increased patrols and checkpoints on a daily basis, we discussed the overall requirement for ongoing and permanent visibility to ensure that the community continues to feel safe.
“There is also an urgent need for investment in CCTV throughout the town which needs a total upgrade.
“We discussed the significant progress made in recent weeks by An Garda Síochána in dealing with this issue, and the need for this to continue long term. There is an urgent need for increased Garda resources so that this lawlessness can be stamped out for good. The people of this town shouldn’t have to live in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has also written to Chief Superintendent Mangan requesting that two additional public JPC meetings be held in Drogheda in locations close to the communities most affected. In addition to this Louth County Council and the Gardaí need to liaise closely in these matters.
If we all stand together as a community we can rid our town of this feud related violence, criminal and anti-social behaviour.
Sinn Féin Councillor David Saurin has welcomed the establishment of a Cross Directive Group to deal with the ongoing issues in Rathmullan Park. The announcement was made at Monday’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting by Louth County Council.
Councillor David Saurin said “this group will encompass various departments of Louth County Council working in a coordinated manner to address all the ongoing anti-social behaviour which is causing misery and distress for the residents of Rathmullan.”
Cllr Saurin outlined some of the actions that were being considered in addressing the problems in the area. “There are a number of things that can be done: estate management, housing infill (which will see replacement homes built replacing those demolished in the past), potential new road safety measures to help combat so called ‘joyriding’ and speeding in the area and also a litter management plan to combat the increasing practice of illegal dumping and the burning of domestic waste.”
Councillor Saurin has asked the Council to ensure “this new Cross Directive Group consult the residents of the estate throughout the implementation of any new initiatives produced as a result of the process. The residents are the ones best placed to identify the issues and problems they would like addressed. I have also asked that this new initiative to alleviate the problem of anti-social behaviour in the estate proceeds without delay so residents can see action and results as sooner rather than later.”
While Cllr Saurin welcomed this new group he explained how “residents of Rathmullen have long felt abandoned by Louth County Council and are at the end of their tether with the ongoing situation. Action and not words is what the people of Rathmullen need and this group is a step in the right direction.”
At October’s monthly Local authority council meeting, Cllr Joanna Byrne – Chairperson of Louth’s Strategic Policy Committee, opposed a motion put to the councillors worded:
“That this council supports a change in legislation which would grant the Chief Executive the power to evict council tenants (who are known to be causing frequent and extreme anti-social behaviour against their neighbours) on the word of a Garda Superintendent.”
Cllr Byrne pointed out that “there is a current Anti-Social Behaviour strategy with procedures of warnings before legal action to evict a tenant, this policy was drafted by the Housing SPC and adopted by the council. We also have a full time ASB Investigation officer within the county, both put in place to deal with the issues outlined in this motion.”
Commenting Cllr Byrne said:
“Whilst I recognise ASB is a contentious issue raised with Councillors on a daily basis, and it is an undeserved endurance for neighbouring tenants, I do not believe that this power should be given to any one person be it our Chief Executive or any other Chief Executive on other councils. These situations are the reason we have policies and procedures in place.”
Cllr Byrne said “Should the SPC need to review certain elements of this policy then that is what we will do. But it does not take away from the fact no God-like power with such severe consequences on families, which could include children, be bestowed on any one individual. We need a multi-agency approach with LCC, An Garda Síochana and other housing bodies all working together to tackle these issues. As pointed out by our Director of Services for Housing today there are currently only 172 ASB complaints on the system from a housing stock of 3975 in the county. 60 of these were unfounded complaints with no further action required so the need for a change in legislation in my opinion, at this given time, is unwarranted. We are there to protect the rights of all our constituents and work with and guide them to comply with Housing policies in place. Evictions are life changing decisions that will not only affect said culprits, but also their partners and children in most cases and should be only considered as an extreme last resort!”